Thursday, 27 September 2012

EU to unveil plans for cloud ‘boost’

EU telecoms regulators will spell out today how they want to accelerate the use of ‘cloud’ computing by public bodies and companies, in the hope of boosting the region’s GDP by nearly €1 trillion through the next eight years. Concerns about privacy and data loss have hampered the take-up in Europe of cloud computing, where customers’ data is stored on remote servers that can be accessed from anywhere over the internet.

The European Commission wants to address such worries by getting experts to clarify tricky legal questions on data protection and to develop a global privacy standard, it says in a draft of the strategy to be announced today and seen by Reuters. European customers complain that many cloud contracts do not specify who is liable when data is lost. And a proliferation of different standards for privacy and security can confuse prospective customers, though some companies have begun updating the commonly used global information security standard - ISO 27001 - to the cloud era. Commission research shows cloud computing can cut companies' costs by up to 20 per cent and groups like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and have been developing new products and services to attract business "in the cloud".

EU Telecoms Commissioner Neelie Kroes will detail the strategy, which the Commission says could yield €957 billion in increased EU GDP in the years through 2020, creating 3.8 million jobs. Servers in the EU's public sector are up to 90 per cent under-used, commission research shows. Optimising their use would mean they were being accessed by clients in all time zones, so that when one region goes to sleep another wakes up and the server works around the clock.

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