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Barriers to cloud computing in Europe cost billions

According to a new IDC study for the EU, policy actions aimed at removing barriers to adoption of cloud services would increase the value of spending on public cloud services from €35.2 billion to €77.7 billion by 2020.

“The migration to a new IT paradigm enabling greater innovation and productivity – the roll-out of cloud computing – will generate substantial direct and indirect impacts on economic and employment growth in the EU,” European Government Consulting IDC EMEA associate vice-president Gabriella Cattaneo said.

According to the model developed by IDC and published in “Quantitative estimates of the demand of cloud computing in Europe and the likely barriers to uptake”, if the EU adopts a ‘no intervention’ policy towards cloud adoption, cloud could generate up to €88 billion of contribution to the EU GDP in 2020.

However, if the EU follows a proactive policy-driven scenario towards cloud, it would generate up to €250 billion GDP in 2020, corresponding to an increase of €162 billion over the ‘no intervention’ scenario.

“We estimate that the cumulative impact for the period 2015-2020 will be €940 billion in the “policy-driven” scenario, compared to €357 billion in the “no intervention” one,” European Industry Solutions research vice-president Giuliana Folco said.

According to IDC’s survey underpinning the report, the main barriers to wider adoption or increased intensity of usage of cloud computing can include uncertainty about legal jurisdiction and location of one’s data in the cloud. Other barriers include concerns about the level of security guaranteed in the cloud, and difficulty to assess the trustworthiness of suppliers, uncertainty about the business case of fully adopting the cloud model, fear of lock-in with proprietary systems, preventing portability between different vendors and guarantee of data access, and insufficient local support, in local language, slow internet connections, loss of tax incentives on capital spending.

IDC said overcoming these barriers requires regulatory action at the EU level and a determined effort to increase the accountability of cloud vendors.

The key policy actions which would create a “cloud proactive” environment in the EU include harmonising data protection and privacy protection regulation, so that cloud service providers and users are sure that the same regulations are respected, no matter where the data is. Other factors include clarifying data jurisdiction regulation, promoting common standards and interoperability of cloud systems to prevent lock-in and facilitate portability of data, establishing clear and harmonised principles around cloud service providers’ accountability and liability for security breaches, and developing EU-wide certification of cloud service vendors on their security and data protection arrangements and compliance with main regulations, to build trust in the offerings.

Small and large companies alike pointed out that insufficient and patchy high-speed broadband coverage remains a serious obstacle to full cloud adoption in the EU.

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