IDC supports EU stance on cloud computing

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.

The International Data Center (IDC) has come out in support of the European Union’s stance on cloud computing in a new report from the analyst house – albeit one published on the EU’s behalf.

Back in September, EU digital agenda vice president Neelie Kroes set out her strategy to make the EU the ‘e-EU’ in a report entitled “Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe”, which summarised that the cloud could provide a €160bn injection to the European GDP by 2020, and a net gain of 2.5m jobs. 

But the IDC, in their analysis, goes a step further. In a study conducted by IDC on behalf of the EU, removing the barriers to cloud adoption through sustainable policy would bring up to €250bn GDP growth by the end of the decade.

The IDC model is straightforward enough. If the EU doesn’t intervene and introduce relevant policies, the EU can see a domestic product growth of €88bn by 2020; however, if policy is introduced, then look towards the aforementioned €250bn figure. 

So what are the principal barriers to cloud adoption in the EU? IDC explains:

  • Worry about the level of security guaranteed in the cloud
  • Uncertainty concerning legal jurisdiction and location of data in the cloud
  • Difficulty in understanding the cost-benefits balance of a cloud model
  • Fear of vendor lock-in, alongside insufficient transparency and control in terms of data access guarantees
  • Insufficient local support in local languages, and loss of tax incentives on capital spending

There isn’t an awful lot new in these directives, admittedly. Security fears and worries of vendor lock-in have been around since the dawn of the cloud, even if the likes of CliQr are developing a solution which attempts to eradicate vendor lock-in. 

As for legal uncertainties, it was one of the highlights of the EU report, but again perhaps not a surprise the IDC agrees. As Kroes wrote in a blog post at the time of the EU report: “Without trust, many people are nervous or uncertain about using these new services.

“There are legally complex issues, and those hold a lot of people back from diving into the cloud,” she added.

The IDC model promotes “a determined effort to increase the accountability of cloud vendors” as a major policy action, which seems perfectly understandable. Other policy actions that are recommended include clarifying data jurisdiction regulation, promoting common cloud standards and wide-scale improvement of broadband in the EU.

Gabriella Cattaneo, European Government Consulting associate vice president of IDC EMEA, commented: “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”.

This won’t be a revelation to those who have read the EU’s earlier report, but is the cloud the key to European economic recovery?

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