Germany leads EU countries on cloud computing
By Benjamin Fox
Five EU countries rank among the world’s top ten for policies that promote cloud computing, according to a study published on Wednesday (22 February) by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an ICT body representing Microsoft and other international software giants.
In third place, Germany was the highest rated country according to the BSA scorecard, which ranked 24 of the largest countries according to seven indicators, including data privacy, cybersecurity, cybercrime, intellectual property, technology interoperability and legal harmonisation, and IT infrastructure. France, Italy, the UK and Spain were all in the top ten, with Japan and Australia ranked first and second.
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The study comes just weeks after the European Commission started the first of a series of policy initiatives on cloud computing.
Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes launched a new European cloud partnership during her speech to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland in January, and has promised to introduce proposals for a comprehensive EU Cloud Strategy by mid-2012. The cloud partnership, which the Commission has backed with an initial €10 million, is expected to see public sector organisations and the IT industry working on establishing common EU-rules for cloud procurement.
BSA’s Director of Government Affairs Thomas Boué praised EU countries for having made “great progress in developing solid policy environments to promote the full potential of cloud computing.” But he also cautioned that EU rules are better than a series of separate national rules.
"A healthy national market for cloud computing does not necessarily translate into a market that is attuned to the laws of other countries. It is important to allow data to flow smoothly across borders — within the EU as well as beyond.”
The BSA study also revealed a sharp divide in cloud readiness between advanced economies and the developing world.
While EU countries, Japan, and the United States, have a strong legal and regulatory framework to promote the growth of cloud computing, developing countries, such as China, India, and Brazil, lag at the bottom. These findings tie in with the findings in a report on international cyber-security released earlier this month by the Brussels-based think-tank Security and Defence Agenda (SDA).
The SDA report, “The vexed nature of global cyber-security rules”, featured country-by-country stress tests on 23 major countries, as well as the United Nations, NATO and the EU. It ranked EU countries Sweden, Finland, Germany and the UK up with Israel as having the best cyber-security, placing Brazil and India at the bottom of the list.