The European Union is to urge national governments and businesses to invest heavily in cloud computing technology over the next decade as part of an effort to increase economic growth and employment.
A draft version of the European Commission's cloud computing strategy, obtained by EUobserver
, claims that an investment of €45bn by 2020 could contribute to a €900bn boost to gross domestic product and add 3.8 million jobs to the European economy.
The strategy – due to be published next week by commission vice-president Neelie Kroes, who is responsible for the Digital Agenda – calls for greater cooperation in the EU to create a "trusted cloud environment in Europe" but stops short of proposing a 'European Super Cloud' for the public sector.
Cloud computing, a rapidly growing part of the information technology sector, has been described by campaigners as a potential "game-changer"
for the economy. It allows data to be stored and processed remotely and accessed over the internet from any location.
However, concerns have also been raised about the security of storing data in this way, and its regulation formed part of the EU's new data protection laws
put forward by commission vice-president Viviane Reding.
There are also doubts about businesses' readiness for adopting the new technology. "Many organisations are sleepwalking into the cloud," Mike Small, a senior analyst at the information security firm KuppingerCole, warned in an article for PublicServiceEurope.com