UK and EU disagreement on Cloud policy
An interview with Denise McDonagh, the head of G-Cloud, and director for IT for the Home Office in the UK, has revealed a different attitude between the UK government and their counterparts in the EU. She described the EU approach to the cloud as “a bit more restrictive, and … still a bit old-world thinking”.
This divergence of thinking appears to stem from the proposed policy from the European Commission to certify cloud services, so that only regulated companies would be able to host public data in the cloud, as opposed to the open approach by G-Cloud in the UK, which encourages SMEs to apply for requests to tender for government organisations, not just enterprises.
It would be too simplistic to frame the two parties as bureaucratic EU and the more laissez-faire UK – the EU approaches the cloud from protecting the consumer, and there is no doubt that the public want their data protected by companies that can manage data in the cloud properly. However, this regulation almost inevitably means that the market is less competitive for vendors and service providers, as only companies with the resources to secure the appropriate certification will be able to apply for tender. This means that the public may be getting less value for money than might be possible, and at a time of decreasing public spending throughout the EU, this becomes increasingly significant.
Overall, where the bar is set for companies in finding the balance between open competition and protecting public data, is still yet to be decided, but as government spending on cloud services increases this question will become imperative for both governments and the public throughout the EU.