European Commission Urges Increased Security for Cloud Computing

A group of experts appointed by European Commission will scrutinize how European cloud computing contracts are established. It will also try to develop a standard contract.

The European Commission launched a call for applications to recruit people from the industry, academia and other profiles, to establish a group of experts whose mission is to create a model on transparent cloud contract.

According to Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, one of the big barriers to using cloud computing is a lack of trust. People don’t always understand the terms in their contract: what they’re paying for, and what they can expect. It should be easy to ensure that the terms in contract are reasonable: open, transparent, safe and fair.

Small firms might hesitate to use the cloud because of fears that they will not meet their legal obligations, or worries that they might get locked in. They don’t want the risk of getting mired in foreign court cases in foreign languages; nor of exposing the data which may be their business’s life blood to security risks or breaches. And they cannot afford costly legal fees to figure all this out case by case.

Protection of Data

The development of a standard contract was part of the one of the four key objectives of the cloud strategy the Commission published last September. Other areas the European Commission looking is related to the definition of technical standards, certification service providers and cloud adoption in the public sector.

The executive wants to establish contractual clauses “safe and fair”, including quality of service agreements. Kroes believes that many existing standard contracts allow suppliers to reduce costs, but are often disadvantageous to the user.

Future panel will examine specifically the issue of protection of personal data in order to include relevant security in cloud contracts with an aim to provide a working model suitable for all situations.

That’s important because it is those same small businesses who stand to gain particularly from the cloud. Services that are flexible and adaptable, without high start-up costs, can really help those smaller companies boost Europe’s growth and jobs, it can transform how to do business and bring the best in class technologies within economic reach of small firms everywhere.

The legal framework of contracts is an important element of the strategy of European Commission for cloud computing. By taking full advantage of the cloud, Europe could create 2.5 million new jobs, and increase EU GDP by about 1% per year by 2020.

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