Europe trails US by two years on cloud adoption

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Gartner blames a range of problems including the Euro crisis

European cloud adoption is being hindered by a range of problems, which are putting the region two years behind its US counterparts according to a Gartner report.

The analyst house has said although interest is high, European privacy rules, multicountry business processes, a deep Euro crisis and a lingering recession are all conspiring to delay cloud computing adoption in Europe.

Paolo Malinverno, vice president at Gartner, said: “The opportunities for cloud computing value are valid all over the world, and the same is true for some of the risks and costs.

“However, some of cloud computing’s potential risks and costs – namely security, transparency and integration — which are generally applicable worldwide, take on a different meaning in Europe.”

Gartner pinpointed four of the main obstacles it believes cloud adoption will face over the next four years.

Firstly, it said, was the diverse and hanging Data Privacy Regulations, which complicate moving personal data to the cloud. It said that  privacy and data protection rules make it hard for companies to implement the technology.

It believes companies in Europe frequently expressed their concern that the existence of the US Patriot Act of 2001 made it undesirable or even illegal for them to use cloud service providers that were located or incorporated in the US – and this is where the majority of them have been. The Patriot Act led to fears that American law enforcement agencies will have access to personal data.

Gartner argued that although the Patriot Act would allow law enforcement authorities to access personal information hosted by third parties in cases of terrorism or severe crime, or to protect national security,  agreements like these were in place between several countries rather than just the US and any legal entity would have to abide by them.

The second problem identified by Gartner was what it called a “Complex B2B Multienterprise Integration and Processes”. Europe’s diversity issues were compounded when it comes to running very common and intrinsically multienterprise processes across different countries, it said.

In most cases, regulations and business practices in one country are incompatible or undesirable in another, because each country typically extends its pre-existing legislation.

Another problem was the slowness and undesired effects of some EU policies, which are different in each EU state. This meant that the whole cloud process could take considerable time, especially as each member state had the power to add local legislation to whatever policy or regulation was agreed at the EU level.

The Euro crisis, unsurprisingly,  is playing its part. Many countries are uncertain of the lay of the land and therefore companies are putting investments on hold.

“The bottom line is that the interest in cloud is as high in Europe as it is elsewhere in the world” said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“While these inhibitors will certainly slow down cloud adoption in Europe, they will not stop it — the potential benefits of cloud are too attractive and the interest in its efficiency and agility are too strong to stall it for long.”

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