Communication & Knowledge: the new IT revolution

Cloud Standards Coordination Phase 1

Cloud Computing Standards and Europe

The European Commission adopted in September 2012 the Communication "Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe" to stimulate the uptake of cloud computing to the benefit of European customers and providers. One of the three Key Actions proposed in the Communication focuses on standardisation.
  • Promote trusted and reliable cloud offerings by tasking ETSI to coordinate with stakeholders in a transparent and open way to identify by 2013 a detailed map of the necessary standards (inter alia for security, interoperability, data portability and reversibility).
  • Enhance trust in cloud computing services by recognising at EU-level technical specifications in the field of information and communication technologies for the protection of personal information in accordance with the new Regulation on European Standardisation.

Cloud Standards Coordination

In December 2012, the European Commission and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) launched the Cloud Standardization Coordination (CSC) initiative.

The initiative was launched in response to a request to ETSI from the EC to coordinate with stakeholders in the cloud standards ecosystems and devise standards roadmaps in support of EU policy in critical areas such as security, interoperability, data portability and reversibility.

The CSC Report

The final report from ETSI’s Cloud Standards Coordination initiative was made public on December 11,2013 in Brussels. The report was delivered at an event jointly organised between ETSI and the European Commission attended by over 100 experts from the cloud community.

The overall objective of the Cloud Standards Coordination initiative led by ETSI was to identify a detailed map of the standards required to support a series of
policy objectives defined by the European Commission. The initiative attracted cloud industry players, public authorities, user associations and more than 20 standards setting organisations to work collectively on this objective.

“I am pleased that ETSI launched and steered the Cloud Standards Coordination (CSC) initiative in a fully transparent and open way for all stakeholders. Today's announcement gives a lot of hope as our European Cloud Computing Strategy aims to create 2.5 million new European jobs and boost EU GDP by EUR 160 billion by 2020.” says Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda.

The audience

The audience for the CSC report includes
  • Cloud service providers who should be able to use it to understand which standards and specifications they may wish to select and apply to their services.
  • Cloud service customers, who should be able, from knowing the standards and specifications applied by a cloud service provider, to understand how their requirements can be covered by the current and future offerings and to have confidence in the service offering.
  • All sizes of cloud service providers and cloud service customers from small businesses to public procurers and multinationals.
  • Administrations that have to act as cloud service customer.
  • Governmental authorities that have to act as cloud regulators.

The results

After an analysis of major aspects of cloud computing standardization, the final Report provides:
  • A definition of roles in cloud computing;
  • The collection and classification of over 100 cloud computing Use Cases;
  • A list of around 20 relevant organizations in cloud computing Standardization and a selection of around 150 associated documents, Standards & Specifications as well as Reports & White Papers produced by these organizations;
  • A classification of activities that need to be undertaken by Cloud Service Customers or Cloud Service Providers over the whole Cloud Service Life-Cycle;
  • A mapping of the selected cloud computing documents (in particular Standards & Specifications) on these activities.
On top of this, conclusions regarding the status of Cloud Standardization at the time of the writing have been developed, concerning general aspects (fragmentation, etc.) and more specific topics of Interoperability, Security & Privacy and Service Level Agreements.