EC wants cloud computing to be governed by standardised service-level agreements

Cloud suppliers have agreed to common guidelines for SLAs for the first time

The European Commission (EC) has released guidelines that businesses can turn to at times of cloud-computing need, with the aim of bringing in standard service-level agreements (SLAs) for all providers and customers.

The guidelines have been developed through the EU and by the Cloud Select Industry Group, an outfit that includes input from Atos, Cloud Security Alliance, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security, IBM, Microsoft and SAP.

The EU said the cloud represents many opportunities for businesses, and could save them as much as 20 percent on their data centre costs.

“Today’s new guidelines will help generate trust in innovative computing solutions and help EU citizens save money. More trust means more revenue for companies in Europe’s digital single market,” said European Commission (EC) vice president Viviane Reding.

“This is the same spirit as the EU data-protection reform, which aims at boosting trust. A competitive digital single market needs high standards of data protection. EU consumers and small firms want safe and fair contract terms. Today’s new guidelines are a step in the right direction.”

Key to cloud success is the standardisation of SLAs, according to the EC, which said that they are “very much required” by cloud users.

Neelie Kroes, EC vice president for the Digital Agenda, said cloud providers have agreed to adhere to the standards. “This is the first time cloud suppliers have agreed on common guidelines for SLAs,” she said.

“I think small businesses in particular will benefit from having these guidelines at hand when searching for cloud services.”

The next stage will see the guidelines tried out on end-user customers. The EC will also look to gain support from the ISO Cloud Computing Working Group in its push towards international cloud-computing standards.

Will Semple, vice president of research and intelligence for cloud security provider Alert Logic, said: “The guidelines produced by the European Commission are an important step in helping business understand how to work with and adopt cloud-based services. This is especially important for the SMB and SME consumers of cloud services.

“Businesses looking to move to cloud adoption will need to ensure that the cloud service provider can provide these core security services if they are to succeed. As the threat from cyber attack and data loss increases at an exponential rate, mature and reliable cloud security needs to be top of the mind of any business leader.”

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Source: v3.co.uk
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