While businesses located all over the world are showing interest in cloud computing, special circumstances in Europe are slowing adoption there.
Paolo Malinverno, Research Vice President at Gartner, said that ”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.”
In a special report by Gartner on the uptake of cloud computing in Europe, Gartner notes a number of challenges, and Gartner estimates that because of these challenges that adoption of the cloud in Europe will lag the US by at least two years.
European companies worry that use of cloud services, many of which are based in the US, will run into conflicting government regulations around privacy. The US Patriot Act, for example, gives US authorities right to look at data under certain circumstances, while this runs counter to privacy requirements of the EU.
Local regulations and processes
Despite the efforts of financial standardization that have come about among EU countries and the adoption of the Euro as a common currency, business practices, regulations and accounting methods still vary widely across EU countries. Those differences mean that software has been traditionally tailored for the specific requirements of each country, and those differences now make it difficult for software developed around business practices in the US to be acceptable to businesses in the EU. Garter describes this obstacle to cloud vendors by saying that “Diversity makes achieving the required critical mass more difficult and significantly slows down the execution of players wanting to offer cloud services throughout Europe.”
European policy delays
European regulations for cloud computing have not yet been well defined, and until that happens, the use of cloud computing carries with it risk and uncertainty. Once specific policies for the cloud are established in the EU, businesses will have a better understanding of the implications of using cloud computing. But creating the policy and regulations for the cloud industry within the EU will likely take time, and because each member state of the EU has the sovereign power to amend legislation established by the EU, there may be differences in policies that are ultimately enforced by each member state.
Euro crisis investment delays
The financial problem faced by EU countries like Greece and Spain are causing many companies in Europe to put major investments on hold, waiting to have a better understanding of how the crisis will unfold. Gartner commented that “This is slowing down strategic and game changing decision making.”
David Mitchell Smith
, Vice President and Gartner Fellow, summarized the situation saying that ”The bottom line is that the interest in cloud is as high in Europe as it is elsewhere in the world. 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.”