US to Europe: “Eat My Cloud Dust”
Europe may trump the United States in such matters as academic prosperity in mathematics and sciences, as we know it celebrates its monarchs with far more compelling pomp and circumstance that we could possibly muster for our heads of state. But clout in cloud remains one discipline in which America continues to exert overwhelming dominance over the continent across the pond. This isn’t to say that nations like France, Germany, and even economically beleaguered Greece aren’t curious about cloud and the shot in the arm it could offer to their collective IT acumen. But heaps of curiosity won’t help Europe catch up to us Yankees for quite some time – at least two years in fact, according to UK Computing.
What exactly is holding Europe back from catching up to us Americans? Arguably the largest restraint the continent faces in cloud are the tightly controlled privacy laws and regulations that have soaked deeply and indelibly into the governmental fabric of many of its countries. Speaking of many countries, the plurality of nations also complicates a continent-wide engagement with cloud; each country’s cultures of business and economy tends, more often than not, to elbow and chafe with the tendencies of another state. Anyone who pays even faint attention to world news is aware of the painful debt debacle (Greece, cough, cough), and the subsequent pervasive recession, that has preoccupied Europe ahead of less pressing matters such as IT reform.
To elaborate on myriad European countries’ data protection regulations is an important step in fully understanding how they thwart cloud, fazing efforts to wholeheartedly embrace the promising yet not-risk-free technology. These laws seem to constantly change and mushroom, leaving several American cloud companies with no other choice than to abandon Europe in fear of challenging the Patriot Act and how it relates to European data protection law. As the European Union boasts 17 nations currently, each of them with their own unique stances on issues of new technology, these cloud providers may able be put off by the difficulty of adjusting to a plethora of diverse business procedures.
Policymakers in the EU are also restricted by an extremely lethargic and stubborn tradition of snail’s-pace bureaucracies. Add to this an economic climate hampered by persistent debt, which naturally discourages investments and encourages conservative consideration of risky ventures, and you can understand Europe’s holistic challenge to welcome opportunities like cloud. Rest assured that cloud’s undeniable assets cannot go ignored for much longer. Intelligent European businesspeople and IT folk will see to it that cloud gets its day in the EU sun. Until that day, however, we in America won’t wait for the Continent to play catch-up.
By Jeff Norman