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EIT ICT Labs: Europe can become a byword for trust in the cloud

The Cloud can be a scary place

How secure really is your data in the cloud? The answer to that question is probably “not very.” Celebrity picture hacking, state-sponsored spying, financial fraud: The cloud can be a scary place.

And the recent high-profile cyber attacks which have seen content stolen from the cloud have served to drive home reality; that the cloud, while an integral part of our online lives, is not as safe and secure as we want it to be, especially in Europe.

Future Cloud High Impact Initiative has kick-started

The timely development of a cloud that is safe and secure - a trusted cloud - has thus become of the utmost importance. And that's why EIT ICT Labs has launched a High Impact Initiative (HII) as part of its Future Cloud action line.

In simple terms, the HII will create a platform giving frustrated companies both large and small the ability to offer their customers the kind of trusted cloud products and services they just cannot at present. It will create a European solution to storing digital data and content securely - so that consumers and businesses no longer need to worry about the wrong people accessing their information.

The project represents a significant investment from both EIT ICT Labs and its partners, totalling well into the millions of euros, and will follow lean and agile principles to ensure that unlike other similar large-scale, multi-partner projects, concrete results can be produced quickly and regularly. To help achieve this, the initiative will bring together the different partners at the EIT ICT Labs co-location centers in cities around Europe in a spirit of collaboration to minimize friction and increase efficiency.

Together, the partners will accelerate the development of a trusted cloud ecosystem to create the tools and services required in order to maintain better control over sensitive online data.

So what makes it high impact?

Firstly there is the make-up of its protagonists: Core industrial partners including F-Secure, Telecom Italia, BT and Ericsson, the reach and capabilities of the EIT ICT Labs business development network, leading research institutes and universities, and SMEs that will help grow the ecosystem. To that end, a call to SMEs was issued at an event in Helsinki on December 4, where F-Secure CEO Christian Fredrikson was also set to speak.

Secondly, once the ecosystem has been developed, it will be made available to anyone wanting to contribute to the services on offer in Europe, no matter in what domain. EIT ICT Labs and the research institutions will support with business development, and the companies will provide the platform and related technologies. The partners involved in the project will certainly be establishing their own services on the platform, but it is also being targeted at companies that already have some idea of cloud services, but which are not yet able to store their data in a reliable manner.

A lack of privacy and security, be it online or in the real world, is something that Europeans quite rightly will not tolerate. And why should we, when the continent has the skills and the desire to create alternative solutions? By doing so, Europe - backed up by stringent national and international legislation - can become a byword for trust in the cloud.

The call "European Trusted Cloud Platform with Advanced Data and Service Management Ecosystem - Call for Participation (CFP) for SMEs" is open now, visit the EIT ICT Labs' Calls & Tenders web page for more information.