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European Commission cloud computing strategy slammed

17 Jan 2013
Cloud computing

The European Commission's (EC) cloud computing strategy has been criticised by an economic committee for not going far enough to help businesses realise the benefits of the technology.

The blueprint for pushing cloud computing uptake, first shown in September 2012, included measures for a European-wide certification scheme, the development of 'safe and fair' cloud contractual terms and a pan-European buying body.

However, in response, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has said these plans only promote uptake, rather than actively providing the means to do so.

"They should help businesses and public administrations to become 'cloud active' by offering cloud-based services and make Europe 'cloud productive' by providing cloud infrastructure", said Eric Pigal, rapporteur for the EESC.

The report also said that a single EU-wide certification model for cloud computing needed to be created to boost understanding, starting from the bottom-up.

"The Commission should prioritise users with the lowest awareness and show SMBs how they can benefit from cloud computing", added Pigal.

Another point raised by the EESC was the potential for non-European operator to dominate the market, leading to an "oligopoly" of suppliers.

"Under current market conditions, expanding the use of the cloud in Europe will inevitably strengthen non-European operators", warned Pigal.

One way this could be avoided is to ensure operators and businesses have a single dispute resolution system, based on a similar system used for e-commerce providers, to make it easier for local firms to operate across the region.

"Since it has to be independent and impartial, this mediation could be entrusted to an existing or a new European agency. Its expertise and knowledge of recurring problems could further be used to adjust practices and regulations", said Pigal.

He also pointed to the importance of developing strong data protection standards and the preference many firms have for dealing with local suppliers, as further ways to strengthen local firms.

Currently the EC is consulting on a new data protection standard to be enforced across all member states, in an effort to provide a more harmonised set of rules for firms to adhere too.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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