Europe increasing focus on cloud computing

    The European Union is taking more concrete steps to improve its IT infrastructure and, according to a recent report, one of those steps is the widespread use of cloud computing.

    Comparing the influence of the cloud to that of the PC in the 1970s, the news provider noted that cloud computing has the potential to cause a “technological and societal leap” that will affect European businesses, consumers and the public sector. Organizations from nearly all industries, including healthcare, retail and even farming, are now leverage the cloud’s its potential to improve operations, while also reducing costs, the report noted.

    While many organizations have found they can reduce the cost of business functions by deploying cloud services, the technology also has potential to impact Europe’s economy as a whole. According to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and EMC, the cloud could generate $1.1 trillion and create as many as 2.4 million new jobs in Europe by 2015.

    One sector where the cloud is likely to have a big impact is healthcare, according to EUobserver. As in other developed markets, healthcare organizations in Europe are gravitating away from paper documents to electronic medical records. As this shift continues, many predict the cloud will play a key role.

    As EUobserver points out, the cloud can provide doctors and patients with instant access to patient information, including medical history, past treatments, prescriptions, allergies and so forth. This could enable doctors to provide more effective healthcare services. And, in the event that a patient changes healthcare providers, his or her new doctor will have an accurate record of the patient’s medical information.

    Along with North America, Europe is expected to represent one of the largest cloud computing markets in coming years. According to research firm Gartner, Western Europe alone will account for 29 percent of the global cloud computing market by 2014, trailing the United States, with 50 percent.

    Even as organizations across Europe increase their adoption of cloud computing, many influential parties have called for more regulation of the technology and for standards to be set. In a recent blog post, European Union vice president and Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes asserted that the EU’s lawmakers need to be part of the process to establish regulations for the cloud. Not only will this bolster cloud security, but it will also help ensure future growth of the technology throughout Europe.

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