When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

Cloud Helps Europe's Small Biz Smash The Economy

Cloud Helps Europe’s Small Biz Smash the Economy

The tribulation of the European economy has sunk dramatically enough to warrant the front page of even American financial headlines. Yet in the face of such widespread woe has arisen a new population of pliable SMEs, or small- or medium-sized enterprises, throughout the continent. Cloud computing has reinvigorated the SME set, particularly those with a small staff, with its simplicity of use, speedy implementation, and a cost-effective scalability that makes traditional server solutions seem arthritic and old hat. Cloud is also reducing their costs of operation by an attractive range — by up to 20% according to surveys appearing in a recent Guardian article.

This boon in cloud’s popularity with the small business set contrasts with the regulatory difficulties for which Europe has become infamous. Privacy laws and country-to-country restrictions have coupled with lingering concerns regarding data protection to retard the process of integrating cloud into European business by two years, according to the piece.

This optimism in Europe’s SMEs must stem from a firm belief in cloud’s propensity to elevate the scale of their presence and effectiveness to those of the continent’s larger and more powerful enterprises. Cloud’s benefits democratize the business landscape and beef up peewee business endeavors. Europe’s stubborn frigidity regarding cloud will inevitably thaw in the face of its SME’s craving for the technology.

Yet the benefits of cloud, which outweigh Europe’s leery treatment of it, do not benefit the SMEs alone. As the Guardian article explains, “Small businesses are the lifeblood of Europe’s economic engine,” comprising two-thirds of Europe’s private sector. If cloud can potentially improve two-thirds of Europe’s business power, the economy as a whole cannot help but regain health massively.

Doubters and detractors are encouraged to watch this short CNN interview with Microsoft International president Jean-Philippe Courtois, who clarifies better than anyone the precise reasons why Europe needs cloud yesterday. Titled “How the ‘Cloud’ Could Save Europe,” Courtois coolly states that: “SMEs need only pay a few euros a month to use cloud services and be visible on the Web, be more efficient, and compete with big global players. This makes change particularly in countries where recession is pretty tough. [Europe’s] concept of the single market needs to grow into a single digital market [via cloud computing], where you can make goods, products, and services flow across boundaries in a secure way, with one common policy across Europe. That will help Europe compete with Asia.” To outline: recovery from tough economic recession, the chance to play catch-up with the Asian market, for just a few monthly euros? ‘Nuff said.

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.