We are fast entering a world where astonishing computer power can be quickly deployed by anyone with relative ease. Cloud computing is revolutionising the face of business at every level. Many of the fastest growing companies have, in part, achieved great success through their ability to capture the immense power of cloud technologies.
The economic impact of cloud computing is clear. The Centre for Economic Business Research estimates that over the past five years cloud computing industries have boosted the five largest European economies by a staggering £623 billion, and has the potential to generate almost a trillion pounds by 2020 and create 4 million jobs.
If cloud computing is to live up to it's potential in Europe providers need to put the customer first. It needs to appeal to the core values of Europe and Europeans. Privacy and freedom must be upheld, and power must be firmly placed in the hands of the customer. That includes reasonable contracts and licensing fees. It means the ability to walk away from a contract or to switch or modify services that aren't working for them. This is a clear departure from the restrictive, long-term contracts and prohibitively expensive capital outlay costs of old, that have only served to stagnate business.
Data protection is another area where cloud really needs to prove itself. Control of data must truly belong to the customer. Data protection and privacy are still some of the top concerns of businesses, governments and individuals alike. These fears must be put to rest if we are to win the hearts and minds of European businesses and see widespread adoption of cloud technology.
The European Commission has taken the initiative and realised how valuable cloud computing is to bolstering the EU economy. In 2012 the ECP (European Cloud Partnership) was set up. It's aim is to bring together technology leaders. policy makers and cloud users both from public and private sectors to help direct the future for cloud computing in the continent.
It is recognised that cloud computing must benefit the masses, not just big business. The ECP's recommendation to focus primarily on the customer, removing entry barriers and restrictions is key if Europe is to lead the way and in cloud technology and build a fair, efficient and flexible system that provides benefit for everyone.