The first meeting of the new Steering Board of the European Cloud Partnership (“ECP”) was held this week in Brussels.  The meeting, and the formation of the Steering Board, represent some of the first concrete steps towards the implementation of the European Commission’s plan to develop Europe’s cloud computing market, as set out in the Commission’s summer 2012 Communication on “Unleashing the potential of Cloud Computing”.

The Board is chaired by the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and is made up of representatives of public authorities and senior CEOs and ex-CEOs of the IT industry.  It will now prepare “strategic advice” for the Commission on how to leverage the public sector’s buying power in order to shape the market for cloud services (for example, by promoting standards for interoperability).

Following the meeting, the Board released a public statement, detailing next anticipated steps:

  • In 2013, the Commission will work with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (“ETSI”) to develop a map of information security and interoperability standards.
  • Voluntary certification schemes for cloud providers will be developed to deal with European data protection and security issues.
  • By 2014, three cross-border and interoperable cloud pilot projects will be established, to encourage cloud utilisation in areas such as electronic IDs (“eIDs”), smart cities, e-Health, e-Education, and other research and digital content services.
  • By 2015, the Board anticipates that public authorities will increasingly migrate IT usage to the cloud, to encourage take-up by private bodies, including small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”).  To stimulate the growth of cloud computing infrastructure to match this uptake, the Board will initiate public awareness actions, raising the political profile of cloud computing issues, and promoting the development of “common user” cloud requirements.