As the European Union moves ahead with its cloud computing strategy, a number of other nations around the world are aiming toward similar goals.
The EU's European Cloud Computing Strategy focuses on standards, partnerships, and cross-border interoperability. One of the main goals of this strategy is to speed up the adoption of cloud computing within EU member nations and, ultimately, accelerate the process of technological growth across the Union.
According to an IDC survey of 1,056 businesses in the EU, 64 percent of respondents are using cloud services in some fashion; of these, 34 percent are using cloud computing across multiple areas of their organizations. The European Commission is aiming to use its strategy to encourage new standards and partnerships to make cloud usage virtually ubiquitous in the EU. The European Cloud Computing Strategy is based on the following three key actions:
- Standards and Certification: Identifying technical standards for optimum interoperability, data portability, and reversibility by year-end 2013, with an eye toward developing a list of what the strategy statement calls "EU-wide voluntary certification schemes" by 2014.
- Contract Terms and Conditions: Developing model contract terms for issues such as data ownership, preservation, and disclosure. The European Commission strategy plan claims that this will "accelerate the take-up of cloud computing by increasing the trust of prospective consumers."
- European Cloud Partnership: Promoting what the strategy plan identifies as "better public procurement" of cloud services in Europe, including “procurement across borders.” Goals of this action include improving efficiencies in the public sector and promoting what the strategy document calls a “European cloud industry.” To achieve this, the European Commission is investing 383 million Euros in funding research projects using cloud computing for information and communication technologies (ICT).
Achieving European standards in cloud computing will help governments and enterprises alike move toward a clear cloud adoption strategy while reducing fears of security and privacy issues.
Nations line up "cloud-first" strategies
The EU is not alone in its efforts toward developing cloud standards. For example, Australia's Department of Finance and Deregulation, a division of the government's Information Management Office, has consulted with government agencies, industry, and the public to develop a detailed paper. This paper explores the opportunities and impact of cloud computing on the Australian government. This initiative is particularly important because the Australian government's business operations are highly dependent upon ICT.
The Government of New Zealand is also moving ahead with its cloud computing strategy, originally announced in August 2012. New Zealand's all-of-government cloud computing approach means that as cloud-based service offerings become available, core public services will be expected to transition to them.
New Zealand's "cloud-first" policy, led by the Government CIO, means that agencies will adopt the cloud when faced with new procurements, or when preparing for an upcoming contract extension decision. However, with security concerns top-of-mind, New Zealand's government is waiting before it takes its data hosting offshore, demonstrating a balance between accelerating cloud adoption and taking a conservative approach to data hosting.
Cloud computing use in national governments is taking big steps around the globe. How do your cloud computing efforts stack up? Do you think these and other government initiatives will achieve the goal of accelerating cloud adoption? Tell us below.