The right policies are essential to ensure the European Union fully realizes the potential economic benefits of cloud computing, digital agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes says.
Cloud technology could be worth €2,000 for every citizen in the Union’s five largest member states within five years, with the internet economy as a whole tipped to generate 5% of GDP by 2016 – equivalent to €800 billion -, Kroes told delegates at a European Internet Foundation event on cloud computing.
However, that potential will only be reached if the EU embraces the technology by putting the right policies in place, the Commissioner said. Areas that must be addressed include data protection, clarity of contracts, lock-in periods and information portability. “For example, 90% of cloud users would have no idea about who is legally liable in case of a cross-border problem,” Kroes notes.
The Commissioner said buying cloud services should be as easy as buying a loaf of bread for consumers, while the public sector needs a common approach to avoid “pulling this still-young market in every direction.” Member states must also work together to avoid creating “new barriers within the digital Single Market.”
Kroes said the European Commission is developing a horizontal policy for cloud, and noted it is investing €10 million into a European Cloud Partnership that will develop common requirements for public sector procurement.
“With those measures, we can ensure the cloud happens not to Europe, but with Europe.”