Industry watchers mull over impact of EU cloud strategy


The European Commission's cloud computing strategy has received a mixed response from industry watchers, with some claiming it does not completely address the barriers to adoption.

The report, published yesterday, calls for a pan-European approach to the cloud. In particular, it advises harmonising data protection across the EU and promoting common public sector leadership through a European cloud partnership.

The 27 European states need to come up with a definitive answer to data sovereignty questions.

Ian Brooks, HP's European head of innovation and sustainable computing, threw his weight behind the document, adding that cloud innovation will encourage European economic growth.

"Clearly, business recognises cloud will be critical to driving successful outcomes and innovation. However, there is still some work to do in unlocking the benefits of it, and we therefore welcome the EU Commission's sustained leadership in the region," added Brooks.

Tiffany Lathe, vice president of legal international at Rackspace, was similarly upbeat about the strategy document's content.

"We welcome the cloud strategy initiative from the EU announced today as Rackspace has always championed interoperability through our Open Cloud and the use of open standards in general.

"The introduction of minimum standards, codes of best practice and certification would ensure a common framework, aid interoperability and help phase out vendor lock-in," she said.

However, some legal experts are less impressed with the EU's propositions.

Data protection specialist Vinod Bange of law firm Taylor Wessing, said: "[The report] acknowledges EU data protection hurdles to cloud, but it's hard to see where it actually comes up with fresh solutions to these challenges. New thinking would have been welcome here."

Ian Moyse, sales director of cloud-based CRM provider Workbooks aired similar feelings on the issue.

"The reason this EU piece has come about is [because] the European and data protection laws were formed before the year 2000 and before the Patriot act," Moyse told IT Pro.

"The world has moved on very quickly since then and the 27 European states need to come up with a definitive answer to data sovereignty questions. That is what customers want," he concluded.

Jane McCallion
Managing Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.