Only regulatory intervention by the European Union (EU) will fully satisfy many prospective users and beneficiaries of cloud computing. So says the global intelligence firm IDC who was commissioned by the European Commission (EC) after the commission released its own, new cloud strategy.
According to Cloud Expo Europe, the IFC told the EC, “The diffusion of cloud computing is expected to generate substantial direct and indirect impacts on economic and employment growth in the EU.” There are also some pretty substantial financial benefits to improving user confidence in cloud technology.
Hands-off or Hands-On?
The IDC says that if the EC chooses a hands-off approach, the economic contribution to GDP will be €88bn. In this strategy only about 1.3m new subscribers will enter the market. On the other hand, improved technology will not only inspire user confidence but will contribute about €940bn in direct growth in GDP from 2015 to 2020. During the same period, if the EC adopts a hands-off policy, growth would be just €357bn.
IDC also added, “Public cloud was worth €3.5bn for software services and €1.1bn for hardware services (storage/servers-as-a-service) in 2011″, suggesting that spending on cloud is still limited. However, analysts agree that the potential for growth is strong.
So, for the EC to fine tune its broad vision of a competitive and secure cloud marketplace, intervention is needed. IDC calls for “bureaucratic scaffolding” to overcome organizational fears about the cloud. With new technology being developed to take the cloud to a more active mobile role, one obstacle has already been overcome.
The consulting firm identified five hurdles to cloud adaptation in the EU:
- Uncertainty about legal jurisdiction and location of data in the cloud.
- Concern about the level of cloud security and assessing the trustworthiness of suppliers.
- Uncertainty about the business case of adopting the cloud model.
- Fear of lock-in with proprietary systems.
- Insufficient local support.
IFC presents a more positive picture of the future of the industry than does the EU, whose assessment has been challenged by the UK.
Information Security Officer at Fiberlink, David Lingenfelt agrees with the IFC report. He offered his considered view: “Cloud computing brings with it many legal issues including privacy and jurisdiction. With the European Commission stepping up and adopting this communication ‘towards an Integrated Cloud Computing Strategy for the European Union’, it begins to open the doors to further adoption of cloud services throughout the EU.”
Spokespersons from other cloud computing firms were quick to agree that the future is in the cloud.