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Berlin Cloud Whitepaper
This Berlin Cloud Whitepaper is a starting point for initiating a Think Tank of cloud computing experts for cloud adoption in the public sector. The Cloud for Europe project encourages all stakeholders from public sector, industry, SMEs and standardisation bodies at the national and international level to join the conversation, and contribute to this whitepaper.
The basis for the white paper is the discussion that took place during the launch event of the Cloud for Europe project on the European cloud strategy in November 2013.
Transparency enables trust. It also encourages active participation in political decision-making processes, supporting cooperation within public administration and industry. Furthermore, it fosters continuous innovation. Cloud computing facilitates transparency through shared platforms, standards and principles.
Common minimum denominators in key regulatory areas are required to unleash cloud in the public sector and in sensitive areas in the private sector. Regulatory decisions at the political level can help to overcome obstacles, but legislation is still behind the technical potential. A jurisdiction-aware infrastructure makes it easier to join the cloud and offers transparency. To take advantage of a trusted cloud, regulation shall be harmonised to avoid fragmentation.
The procurement of cloud services needs to change from big contracts covering several services to many small service procurements that allow SMEs to participate and compete openly and fairly. Certification shall be either open or at least affordable for SMEs, and published via an online portal.
We shall invest in a classification scheme for cloud service categories, to be able to decide where the cloud can be used.
2. Strong European Economy
A strong European economy guarantees independence, openness, and fosters innovation. With a particular focus on SMEs, the expected financial potential for cloud computing is 940 billion euro or 9% of EU GDP.
The cloud is a meeting place for citizens, businesses and the public sector. It is important to build on local capacity, local data centres and comply with local rules, but we need to look beyond national borders to create a Single Market for cloud services. One option would be to create a trusted cloud, where Member States and even non-EU countries could take part at an opt-in basis.
European SMEs should be supported to bring innovative solutions to the market – in addition to cost savings, they are also capable of achieving high levels of reliability and efficiency. The delivery of the cloud revolution is largely in the hands of the SMEs, as they are able to adapt more quickly. For businesses, platforms are the real enabler to deliver secure and reliable operations; these platforms should not be constrained to national boundaries. The SMEs will be able to focus on service deployment, its market and adapt to specific requirements from the public sector. We shall not lock the EU, but try to connect with European services and create a European market place. With joint efforts, Europe should aim to become the world's leading trusted cloud region.
3. Data Security
Citizens' greatest concern, but also a major requirement to achieve a strong European economy, is data security. Our major challenge for the future is the protection of sensitive data for the public sector and industry.
Strong contracts are needed to ensure that any breaches of data security are avoided and detected. Contract templates, codes of conduct, and model clauses could be provided to procuring partners to manage and build trust in cloud computing. By ensuring security, more companies and public authorities, who are currently afraid of losing knowledge or data, could be convinced to join the cloud. Measurements can be used as a basis to check the security in the cloud. We need to concentrate on the important things about privacy, how to protect data in the cloud.
4. Access to Knowledge about Cloud Technology
There are still many doubts for adopting cloud services. Some of the concerns come from the lack of knowledge for a trustful use of cloud services.
With cloud, there is a fundamental shift to deliver services, to increase efficiency and accelerate innovation. In that regard, cloud drives a significant paradigm change. Cloud helps to make things simpler, clearer and faster for the public sector, citizens and companies. All levels of government can become service providers – with cloud computing, small municipalities are able to provide the same services to its citizens as large cities.
Efficiency is a key element in strong economies and even more relevant in the public sector. Demographic change and European mobility of citizens cause a big need for efficient process management. Cloud services and technologies enhance not only efficiency but also effectiveness of administration matters.
Europe needs a cloud value chain, with cloud brokers connecting different suppliers and creating business value for end-user businesses and public sector organisations.
Interoperability is a basic requirement for cross-border services. It allows fair competition and is fundamental to integrating components, so that an ongoing innovation process is possible. Interoperability demands common technical and legal parameters – but what are the minimum standards and what kind of certification is needed?
EU should not only be cloud-friendly, but also cloud-proactive. Cloud computing is about overcoming segmentation and fragmentation. Legal harmonisation of cloud computing at the EU level is urgent, to stimulate cloud use. Open standards and open interfaces are the key elements for interoperability.