European cloud adoption rates will trail the US by at least two years, as a result of privacy rules and financial issues, according to analyst house Gartner.
Gartner said that although interest in the cloud is high in Europe, the diversity of Europe’s 44 different nations will result in slow cloud adoption in the region. It said privacy rules, multi-country business processes, a deep euro crisis and a lingering recession will conspire to delay cloud computing adoption in Europe by at least two years when compared to the US.
"The opportunities for cloud computing value are valid all over the world, and the same is true for some of the risks and costs," said Gartner analyst Paolo Malinverno. "However, some of cloud computing’s potential risks and costs - namely security, transparency and integration - which are generally applicable worldwide, take on a different meaning in Europe.”
Gartner said companies in Europe frequently express their concern that the existence of the US Patriot Act of 2001 makes it undesirable or even illegal for them to use cloud service providers that are located or incorporated in the US (where the majority of them are), on the basis that US agencies might, under some circumstances, be able to "look into their data."
The analyst said Europe's cloud diversity issues are compounded when it comes to regulations and business practices, with some in one country incompatible or undesirable in another.
The slowness of the EU in drawing up business and technology rules were another delaying factor in cloud take-up, said Gartner.
Despite the difficulties though, Gartner said the advance of the cloud would ultimately not be stopped. Gartner analyst David Mitchell Smith said: "While these inhibitors will certainly slow down cloud adoption in Europe they will not stop it, the potential benefits of cloud are too attractive and the interest in its efficiency and agility are too strong to stall it for long."
Earlier this month it was suggested combined legal and market factors may force cloud providers to offer more flexible contract terms to organisations, according to research from Queen Mary, University of London.