CloudWATCH2 & the Digital Single Market
The Digital Single Market (DSM) in Europe is an unprecedented opportunity to create one of the biggest digital marketplaces in the world with cloud, the Internet of Things and the big data economy playing a central role.
Cloud computing has now reached a point where it is truly accessible to all types of organisations and pretty much a staple in the start-up culture, radically reducing the barriers to entry in any sector. While it’s a winning move for businesses, work still needs to be done on making the cloud more agile and flexible. What is standing in the way to realising the full potential of the DSM?
If cloud computing adoption is to continue to grow and evolve into a traditional commodity market, consumers are going to have to be able to truly trust the cloud services that they sign up to. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face significant challenges when it comes to adopting new services or implementing information security systems. With limited budgets, resources and expertise the main impediments to adoption are lack of fair pricing, lack of transparency, complex contractual terminology, as well as fears of vendor lock-in and security concerns. Many public authorities (PA) have similar concerns.
Greater transparency and standardisation are key to lowering the entry barrier for small businesses and public authorities across the European Union. Standardisation is crucial because it means we have common agreement on the most important technical and service requirements. Security standards ensures compliance to a common security baseline and interoperability avoids vendor lock-in.
The CloudWATCH2 response
The aspects of standardisation necessary for the DSM are manifold, and described in further detail in this paper. CloudWATCH2 Think Cloud Services for Government, Business and Research (September 2015 - August 2016) builds on the success of the CloudWATCH project A European cloud observatory supporting cloud policies, standard profiles and services (September 2013 – September 2015).
This paper looks at how outputs from CloudWATCH and activities of the CloudWATCH2 project address standardisation for interoperability, portability and security. The paper then provides information on CloudWATCH2 online tools and services which help to educate CSCs on these issues as well as cloud contracts. Furthermore, we assess how SMEs and public administrations can better manage risk. Finally, we look at the impact of greater standardisation and transparency in terms of the continued growth of the cloud market.