Building Confidence in the Cloud: A Proposal for Industry and […]
Building Confidence in the Cloud: A Proposal for Industry and Government Action for Europe to Reap the Benefits of Cloud Computing:
Cloud computing offers the potential for efficiency, cost savings and innovation gains to governments, businesses and individual users alike. And because the cloud transcends national boundaries, cloud computing also offers a unique opportunity to bring Europe one step closer to achieving the EU 2020 vision of a robust, truly integrated and seamless Digital Internal Market.
To realize these benefits, there are also challenges that must be addressed along the way – enabling wide-scale cloud adoption by giving users the confidence needed to embrace cloud computing. Some of these challenges call for industry action, some require government action, and many will involve active collaboration of consumers, industry and government. This paper is intended to explore some of these issues, particularly those that touch on regulatory differences between countries where more harmonization and government coordination or legal reform is needed. The call to action presented includes proposals that will need careful consideration and an open and inclusive debate, and Microsoft looks forward to a constructive dialogue with users, policymakers and innovators on the subject.
Equally important are many aspects of cloud computing involving the relationship between consumers of cloud services and the many providers of cloud services, or among cloud providers themselves – issues such as service level agreements, interoperability, and transparent business practices. These discussions are getting considerable attention as customers voice their needs, and the marketplace is both active and competitive in attempting to meet these needs. This marketplace includes many customers and many vendors, that are large and small, and that come from every country and region. Europe can take full advantage of this heterogeneous and vibrant marketplace and reap the benefits of this wave of computing by removing the obstacles that could reduce confidence in the use of cloud services and slow the uptake of cloud computing.
Responsible government action includes ensuring that Europe has the right communications infrastructure in place to support the cloud; creating a sensible and coherent EU regime governing the flow and protection of data stored in the cloud; and establishing and enforcing an advanced privacy and security framework that is more closely aligned with the ways in which computing is evolving.
The digital agenda is now squarely at the centre of Europe’s priorities, and with a new Parliament underway and a new Commission soon to be in place, this is an ideal time to initiate a multi-stakeholder dialogue about the cloud. This paper is intended as Microsoft’s contribution.