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15.08.2014

Adopting the Cloud

Why only half of Europe has embraced the technology

A global survey on smaller businesses by Acronis found that 65% of companies now use cloud-based storage, with 93% of US companies leading the march. However, while cloud adoption continues its ascension around the globe, it would seem as though not everybody is as eager to embrace it. Citing security concerns as one of the reasons not to use cloud storage, only 59% of organisations in Western Europe have adopted the platform.

In lucrative markets like Western Europe, adoption of new technologies is often considered a competitive advantage. So, why hasn’t the progress of cloud computing taken off in this part of the world in the same way as others?

One reason is that Europe is comprised of many diverse countries, each with their own laws with regard to data privacy, security and legislation. It is highly likely that by using cloud services in Europe, data may cross national borders. Data centres could be located in another country, and that adds a level of complexity that may dissuade organisations from embracing the cloud. Many companies have policies that prevent certain data leaving the premises, let alone the country. Moreover, some of those policies may not be in harmony with those of the cloud provider. It raises more questions than answers and many will feel that the safer option is to simply store and back-up critical data on in-house servers instead.

That’s not to say that the physical security of an in-house data centre is necessarily the easier option. To ensure that the data is kept safe, access to the facility is often restricted to designated personnel. Surveillance will run at all times and, in advanced data centres, biometric authentication may be in place. Aside from the physical security, network managers and experts are often in place monitoring the infrastructure to certify that the data cannot be accessed through security breaches. With the level of detail that goes into safeguarding the data, it isn’t hard to see why some organisations would prefer not to hand over such an enormous responsibility to a third-party.

So then why have US companies made the jump to the platform? They will likely share the same security concerns as businesses in Europe. The same applies to those in other parts of the world. Perhaps the other reason is arguably the simplest – money.

The cloud seems to be more beneficial from a financial standpoint across the Atlantic. European countries, akin to the aforementioned laws, all have their own national carriers. There are a plethora of benefits that the cloud offers, but the costs associated with wide area networks across Europe is certainly not one of them. We’ve all made a call to an international phone number before and braced ourselves upon receiving the bill. The case here is largely the same due to the cost of international lines being significantly higher than those within a country’s borders.

International law and financial benefits are seemingly where Europe is at a disadvantage in terms of cloud adoption, and could very well be why we have yet to jump on board with it.

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