European Commission launches $12m cloud partnership

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European Commission launches $12m cloud partnership
EC vice president Neelie Kroes.

To develop common requirements for government procurement.

The European Commission (EC) has established a €10 million ($A12 million) cloud partnership to drive public sector adoption of the technology in member states.

The initiative was launched at the World Economic Forum last week by Neelie Kroes, the commission’s vice president for the digital agenda.

Kroes has continued to push cloud adoption in Europe since announcing plans to launch a Cloud Computing Strategy last January. She wanted to “make Europe not just ‘cloud-friendly’ but ‘cloud-active’”.

But she told the forum this month that concerns about service levels, data security, vendor lock-in and legal protections were hindering adoption.

Kroes said the European Cloud Partnership would investigate issues to do with standards, security and competition with a view to delivering a set of common requirements for public sector cloud procurement.

“Our flagging economies need us to make the best out of [cloud computing],” she said, highlighting efficiency, flexibility and cost benefits of the as-a-service model.

“The partnership's initial work will create a strong common basis for cloud procurement by public authorities.”

Kroes invited participation from public authorities and industry and expected the partnership to deliver first results next year.

While governments would likely procure cloud services separately in the beginning, she said the partnership could grow to facilitate greater resource pooling and joint procurement across borders.

Such procurement practices may spread to the private sector as well, she said, putting greater pressure on vendors to “listen and adapt”.

Kroes highlighted as an example the US ‘Cloud First’ policy, introduced by former US Government CIO Vivek Kundra early last year.

The US policy required agencies to move three services to the cloud within 18 months with the expectation of cutting energy costs by $US5 billion by 2015.

When Kroes and Kundra appeared at cloud vendor Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference last September, they agreed to collaborate on Europe’s Cloud Computing Strategy.

At the time, Kroes explained that data jurisdiction was, by definition, a “global issue”, and one that required cooperation between policymakers in Europe, the US and Asia.

Kroes said last week that the European Cloud Computing Strategy would be launched later this year.

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