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Standards and the European Cloud Strategy

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: G-Cloud

A guest post by the Government CTO, Liam Maxwell

The recent publication of our updated CloudStore buyers guide marks an important step in our journey to become a more intelligent customer of cloud services. We get the best from cloud providers when they are transparent about the services they provide and how they meet our needs as customers. That's why we also recently published our cloud service security principles - so we can be clear about what we will look for when buying cloud services.

Standards and Certification

The European Commission cloud computing strategy published in 2012 examined the possibility for development of new standards and certification schemes for cloud services - backed up by legislation and procurement policies in member states.

Given our commitment to making Government business more accessible to SMEs, now would be the wrong time for a government body to develop new standards and certification schemes specifically for cloud services for government.

We expect standards to emerge as markets mature - led by the industry, not by government. Governments should be cautious about intervening in the development of standards unless there is clear evidence that markets are not meeting user need.

As cloud computing evolves to a more mature state we would expect industry to collaborate to agree standards which are:

  • open
  • address a user need
  • enable suppliers to compete on a level playing field

  • A transparent cloud market

    At the end of last year, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) published the results of its work to map existing standards. The report concludes that: ‘Cloud computing specific standards are not seeing widespread adoption by cloud providers to date’.

    Neelie Kroes (Vice President of the European Commission) recently blogged to clarify the Commission's current intent, stating that developing new certification schemes is no longer the priority and that adoption of existing schemes should be voluntary:

    “Our aim is more transparency in the cloud market: in my view it is up to the players to opt for the schemes that meet their needs best.”

    I’m really pleased to see this development in the debate. It’s a pragmatic and market sensitive position. As with all technology, I think the market for cloud services should be driven by user need.

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    1. Comment by John Booth posted on

      The Governments Green Delivery Unit (ICT) has two requirements for Government Data Centres, the first was that by April 2013 all departments should be "endorsers" to the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency), the second is that all new services from April 2014 should be located in data centres/server rooms that are "participants" to the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency).
      G-Cloud tender documents ask the question "is your service located in a data centre(s) that are participants" but it is not mandatory.
      We believe that all data centres used by Government (both owned, outsourced or colo/hosted and G-Cloud) should be at a minimum, participants to the EUCOC.
      We are on G-Cloud offering pre-assessment, assistance with your participant application and external assessment to the BCS CEEDA (certified energy efficient data centre award)
      It is believed that the use of the EUCOC can deliver energy cost reductions in the 25-30% range, and would offer an ROI on consultancy/implementation costs in 24 months or less.

    2. Comment by Standards and the European Cloud Strategy – G-Cloud | Public Sector Blogs posted on

      […] Original source – G-Cloud […]

    3. Comment by Kahootz (@Kahootz) posted on

      We would agree with this pragmatic approach to cloud standards.

      Standards should be mutually beneficial to both buyer and vendor. They should help to minimise the development effort, improve sustainability of service, increase portability and provide consumer confidence on issues such as security in the Cloud.