A lot of people talk about cloud computing: and no wonder. It’s a whole new model for providing computer services – where data or software are provide remotely, and accessed over the web. Maybe some of you already use services like Facebook or Hotmail without even realising they are a kind of cloud service.
In fact these are just the beginning: in future cloud computing could be huge, transforming business, leisure and government alike. Small businesses could get a cheap, flexible way to get their IT services; consumers, somewhere to store and access all their favourite pictures music, and films; and all of us, public services that are integrated, effective, and cheaper to run.
Given the boost this brings, by 2020, the cloud could be worth a significant proportion of our economy – equivalent to a few hundred euros per citizen. But only if we get the framework policies right.
Because without trust, many people are nervous or uncertain about using these new services. There are legally complex issues, like cross-border liability, who “owns” the data in the cloud, and so on. And those hold a lot of people back from diving into the cloud.
I think you shouldn’t have to have a law degree to use these services with confidence; nor face protracted and expensive contract negotiations each time. And you should be able to easily change providers if you find a better offer.
I’m determined that we find a European solution to this: for maximum economies of scale. National rules would constrain clouds to national borders, with all the frustration that involves when you and take your data or services across a border. My ambition goes beyond that.
Today we launch our cloud strategy to find this European solution. Through developing standard contract terms, making it easy to take your data from one provider to the other, and “certificates” so you know which cloud providers you can trust – we can cut through the uncertainty and get right to the brilliant benefits that lie in the cloud.
Obviously cloud services all rely on fast broadband networks so you can easily access your data. With network usage doubling every 2-3 years, old networks could quickly get congested and unreliable. So I’ll also be pushing decision-makers to unlock support for the Connecting Europe Facility – which could get 45 million households connected to new fast broadband networks, a big step towards us becoming the “e-EU” with great cloud access for all.
Still want more? Check out the views of Oracle, this list of 25 European cloud companies, an interesting Guardian article on how SMEs benefit from the cloud, and a Study by IDC on Quantitative Estimates of the Demand for Cloud Computing.
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