The European Commission recognises the benefits of cloud computing and has policies to ensure cloud providers and users have a balanced playing field. The goal of the Commission is to expedite the use of cloud technology by a majority of businesses. The Commission’s standards are designed to protect the user but also clarify expectations of providers.
The Commission’s strategy is a three-fold action plan
- Cutting through the maze of technical standards
- State safe and fair contract terms and conditions
- Establish a European Cloud Partnership to drive innovation and growth in the public sector
Cutting through the maze of technical standards
These standards should be crystal clear and ensure ta users can enjoy a high degree of operability, data portability and reversibility. The necessary standards must be identified and agreed upon by industry providers by the end of 2013. As part of is initiative, the Commission has agreed to work with ENISA and other cloud connected entities to implement an EU voluntary certification program. A comprehensive list of these programs must be delivered by 2014.
State safe and fair contract terms and conditions
The Commission has created a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law. The provisions of this law will address many of the obstacles created by the existence of so many varying tax policies inside the EU. Under the new program, all cloud contracts will have a uniform set of rules.
The fairness contract initiative must include provisions for digital content, long a sticking point between government and cloud hosts.
The goals of the fair contract model term development are:
- Data preservation after either party terminates the contract.
- Disclosure and integrity of data in the cloud.
- Date location and transfer capabilities must be respected.
- Ownership of the data should be to the user, not the host.
Best practices are pretty much undefined at the present time. Clarification of these practices and uniform integrity of the provider is a major concern with buyers.
Establish a European Cloud Partnership to drive innovation and growth in the public sector
The European Commission has already taken up the European Cloud Partnership (ECP). The partnership consists of industry experts and knowledgeable consumers.
One of the goals is to build a competitive marketplace where the possibility of cross-border sales is possible. The pooling of public requirements is hoped to increase operational and cost efficiency. The cloud is where it is at, but this public opportunity will be monitored.