Cloud computing is not only more widespread in the USA than it is in Europe. Companies also associate it with completely different goals.
While 55% of surveyed organizations in the USA had already been in the cloud for at least three years, the contingent in Europe was only 20%. These are the results of a study for which 542 organizations on both continents were surveyed. But Europe is catching up: During the past two years, the number of European companies in the cloud has increased to reach 38% of all European firms. However, there are striking differences in how it is used. While American companies primarily want to advance innovations, in Europe it is all about reducing overall costs.
Moreover, the two sides of the Atlantic differ in the types of solutions that companies use to go to the cloud. According to this comparison, European IT managers tend to use applications in the customer contact (59%) and back office (54%) sectors, while US decision makers primarily rely on web infrastructures (61%), work productivity (60%) and IT management (60%).
The business world is critical of the argument regarding data security. The NSA scandal, in particular, caused significant setbacks in the cloud market. According to a study by NTT Communications, about nine-tenths of the 1,000 surveyed ICT decision makers from Europe, USA and Hong Kong, reacted by changing their cloud buying behaviour. In addition, the surveyed IT managers subsequently preferred a cloud service from their region (EU: 97%, USA: 92%).
This development also includes the fact that EU Directive 95/46/EC prohibits the transfer of personal data to a non-EU country that does not have an appropriate level of protection – which is the case in the USA. The Safe Harbor Framework between the USA and Europe should have closed this precise loophole. But the agreement is under criticism and it will be subjected to a review. A number of providers are currently accommodating this situation.