New continent-wide initiative could drastically change the cloud

Europe is seeking to expand the reach of cloud computing solutions within the business world and the public sector, but holding back their efforts are a patchwork of laws and regulations dealing with data security in the cloud.

Europe is seeking to expand the reach of cloud computing solutions within the business world and the public sector, but holding back their efforts are a patchwork of laws and regulations dealing with data security in the cloud. To get the continent moving toward cloud computing, the European Commission has proposed creating a single set of guidelines relating to cloud-based solutions for all member nations.

The European Union of late has been targeting cloud computing as almost a panacea for its economic woes, seeing it as a way to dramatically boost the monetary fortunes of its member states. By turning toward further implementation of the cloud, the EC anticipates adding 2.5 million jobs and contributing 160 billion euros to its collective economy over the next eight years, GigaOm reported.

However, the patchwork nature of technology implementations throughout the continent is holding back the progress of cloud-based solutions, according to the European Commission. In particular, each country has its own laws relating to how data should be protected and maintained in the cloud and on how information should be securely stored. As a result, cloud computing solutions have not caught on in full force across EU member states because of the difficulty in implementing a solution that meets the needs of all laws and standards in place.

To ease companies and public sector entities into the cloud, the EC has proposed creating a single set of guidelines for all member states to follow in their cloud implementations. The EC does not anticipate creating one shared cloud solution, but rather making it easier for information stored in the cloud to be easily accessed from within any nation on the continent.

“Cloud computing is a game-changer for our economy,” Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, said in a statement. “Without EU action, we will stay stuck in national fortresses and miss out on billions in economic gains. We must achieve critical mass and a single set of rules across Europe. We must tackle the perceived risks of cloud computing head-on.”

Proposed changes
The European Commission released a report on September 27 detailing the changes they would like to see enacted to make cloud-based solutions easier to implement:

· Create a single set of standards for all EU member states in regard to laws that dictate how digital information can be stored and shared. With one overarching set of guidelines, the European Commission hopes that businesses will be able to more clearly realize the benefits of the cloud free from unnecessary governmental restrictions.

· Address country-specific differences in relation to contract law, so that no ownership disputes will be created or exacerbated by cloud computing. The EC wants to have one rule that dictates how patented and copyrighted information can be stored and shared in the cloud.

· Adopt one set of guidelines to be adhered to by all EU nations in regard to how data must be protected in the cloud. In this way, businesses and public sector entities can be confident that any and all data stored in the cloud will be safe regardless of where the cloud server is hosted.

Do you think other government entities should follow the EU’s example in creating a common guideline for cloud computing? Should the EU also mandate a single set of layered security and application control guidelines to protect the cloud? Leave your comments below to let us know what you think about this issue!

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.