SAP and Atos are working with the European Union to bring in new standards for web-based programmes and data storage in an effort to tackle growing surveillance fears following ongoing NSA revelations.

The move, if successful, will see the implementation of new labels identifying which services and programmes are safe and secure to use, according to Jim Hagermann Snabe, co-CEO of SAP, who revealed the plan to news agency Bloomberg.

The proposals, which have the backing of EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, are part of a pan-European effort to develop new cloud standards that cover all participating nations, which will tackle inconsistencies and incongruities between existing national standards.

Security and privacy

The debacle over the security of online information following Edward Snowden's leaks of widespread government snooping has caused considerable consumer and business privacy concerns, especially in Europe, which was a particular target of the NSA spying.

SAP and Atos, both members of the European Cloud Partnership, were already working on a partnership before the NSA leaks, and are now hoping to accelerate their plans for new standards that will apply to all EU members. This would address the risk of inadvertently breaking laws in one EU country where the standards differ.

There has been a rise in government investment in cloud security in the wake of the NSA revelations. IDC predicts that government cloud spending across the world will hit $107 billion in 2017, more than double the figure for 2013. A new security labelling system could spur cloud adoption and give European providers like SAP and Atos a significant advantage.