Will Europe Take to the Cloud?

Jan 28 2013 | by Zev Schonberg

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This week London will play host to Cloud Expo Europe, providing European businesses an opportunity to hear from leading cloud insiders, meet vendors and network with their peers. While the expected 6,000 delegates clearly indicate increased interest in cloud computing, questions remain on just how quickly European companies will become true adopters.

Take the UK for example

Although it may be debated whether the UK is representative of the European Union, a recent survey by Redwood Software showed that the UK lagged well behind the US in using the cloud for things like private data storage and capacity management.

According to international law firm Pinsent Masons, the cause of this trend is not unique to the UK. According to them reasons for the difference in cloud adoption (when compared to the US) include a fragmented EU regulatory environment and a cultural tendency to view outsourcing IT as a security risk. This would imply that cloud consumption patterns are likely similar across European nations.

Global cloud insanity

Charles Park, partner at Pinsent Masons, pointed out that while Britons take the attitude that IT is “inherently less safe with a third party”, it can be easily argued that “the reverse is true, if you opt for a reputable supplier with industry-accredited security levels”.

Similarly, in an excellent GigaOm article, Dave Girouard writes “if you care about the reliability, security, and the protection of your data, then you should entrust it to those who are most capable of managing it. If you believe you can match the capabilities and rigor of Google’s Security Operations team, I wish you well”. He also points out that while in reality “Gmail uptime is in the range of 99.99 percent….and Amazon targets 99.95 percent for AWS” highly publicized yet relatively infrequent “outages merely provide your IT department with excuses to protect their kingdom”.

The cure

Of course, in the world of business, if something makes sense from a ROI and efficiency perspective, prejudices and misconceptions will quickly disappear. Even real issues will be worked out so that increased revenues won’t come with any nasty side-effects. This will no doubt prove true for cloud computing as well, whether in Europe, the US or anywhere for that matter.

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