Cloud adoption in US and Europe compared

A new study has found that European businesses are lagging behind their US counterparts when it comes to adopting cloud computing to replace older IT systems.

Analyst firm 451 Group has released a report outlining the global progression of cloud computing and the US is undoubtedly in the lead in terms of investment in and uptake of cloud-based IT solutions.

451 Group’s William Fellows said that the global cloud market was primarily supported by US business, with 57 per cent of investment coming from America. Europe accounted for around 31 per cent of the market last year, whilst Asia was in third place with 12 per cent of the total spend.

The use of cloud computing as a service is even more prevalent in the US and 451 Group estimates that about 93 per cent of spending in this context is accounted for by US businesses.

Mr Fellows said that although European businesses seemed to be slower to sign up to cloud solutions than their US contemporaries, it is a general lack of data centres and available resources that is causing the discrepancy, rather than the willingness to support the technology and services.

There are fears that the development of cloud computing could be hampered by government initiatives which relate to data sharing and privacy. The US Patriot Act has come under criticism from certain cloud supporters who fear that it could damage relations between Europe and America, whilst its implications could lead to a vaguely defined cloud system with no clear boundaries, creating a regulatory nightmare.

Contradictory international laws which govern data stored in specific geographies are proving to be a roadblock for the development of the cloud in certain areas. The protection of private data is being seen by some as of paramount importance, whilst others feel that data protection needs to be considered in parallel with development of cloud-based solutions.

Google’s recent conflict with Chinese authorities is seen as a perfect example as to how vague borders and unclear legislation can lead to problematic data-related incidents. Spending on cloud computing is predicted to soar regardless, with over 8.5 billion expected to be invested in 2013.

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