International companies are still wary of cloud adoption because of concerns over data security and legal exposure, including worries about American government interference.
Speaking at GigaOM’s Structure 2012 conference in San Francisco, Juergen Urbanski of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems said that European customers, in particular, were wary of moving to the cloud because of their security fears.
“In Europe, security and compliance is a big issue,” he said. “In fact it is definitely the No. 1 obstacle to the faster adoption of cloud services.”
However, he suggested that most of these concerns were misplaced.
“If you peel back the onion a little bit, about 90 percent of those concerns are really perception versus reality — in other words, it’s evident to everyone that your money is better off in the bank, but with data, people are like ‘is it really safer in the cloud?'”
“Keep in mind that the issue of the U.S. Patriot Act is way overblown in the minds of European customers,” he added. “They will go to great length to keep their data outside the realm of discoverability, outside of U.S. data centers or U.S.-run data centers.”
Tony Lucas of Scottish cloud orchestration software provider Flexiant, agreed that it was an important issue — but said that the development of cloud services meant it would eventually shake out.
“Perception is probably the biggest issue, especially in Europe, each country has different perceptions on how comfortable they are with those things,” he said.
“If you rewind 15 years, these things weren’t a problem because data portability was near impossible — so in some ways it’s a problem of our own creation that is not a concern to most people,” he added. “Most workloads now and ever are going to be whizzing around between different cloud platforms as fast as they possibly can, every time they can save a cent per hour on running it.”