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Cloud reticence will cost EU €587Bn in 5 years of lost economic growth

New policies needed to overcome legal uncertainties and lack of trust. Article by by Nick BoothA 'policy driven scenario' within the EU could be worth E980bn If cloud computing projects are the green shoots of economic recovery, they will struggle to break through the stony ground of European conservatism, says a report by market watcher IDC. The analyst estimates that the squandered chance for growth will cost the EC communities a combined €587bn in lost economic opportunity. According to IDC's study, conducted on behalf of the EU, around €35.2bn will be invested in cloud computing across Europe between now and 2020. However, removing the barriers to cloud computing in Europe could encourage an extra €42.5bn investment in the technology and generate up to €587bn worth of growth every year from 2015 to 2020. Though these figures are projections, IDC was able to identify tangible problems with the cloud in today's European business environment. Europe's unresolved issues with cloud computing were named by IDC's analysts as legal uncertainties, security fears, trust issues, cost benefit doubts, worthiness of suppliers, confidence crises over the business case of cloud computing, fear of vendor lock in and insufficient local support. Policies that removed these barriers to adoption of cloud services would have a strong impact, said Gabriella Cattaneo, associate vice president of IDC's European Government Consulting division EMEA, who talked of migrating to a new 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," said Cattaneo, who called for a policy drive to make cloud computing happen. According to the model developed by IDC, the cumulative impact for the period 2015-2020 will be €940 billion in a 'policy-driven” scenario, while a 'no intervention' policy will generate €357 billion in economic activity. Though IDC did not reveal how it quantified these figures, it hinted at 'key policy actions' which would create a 'cloud proactive environment' in the EU. These include harmonising data protection and privacy protection regulation across the EU, clarifying data jurisdiction regulation and providing EU-wide guidelines about which laws apply to data stored in the EU MS, promoting common standards and interoperability of cloud systems, establishing clear principles around cloud service providers' accountability and EU-wide certification of cloud service vendors. Europe's insufficient and patchy high-speed broadband coverage is still a serious drawback, says the report.
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