Despite having become an essential pillar for economic digitization, Europe continues to depend on the cloud infrastructure created by the big American technology companies. This has its consequences.
What is the point of the fact that in Europe we strive to protect the privacy of data, ensure its security, and put control of it in the hands of each person, if a US company later arrives, where the same rules do not apply, and takes them for their own interests? Well, more or less, that’s what happens now.
We are in what some call the data economy. This implies that the data already has more value than money. Not in vain Whatsapp or the Google search engine allow us to use their services ‘free’. The data that we generate, both individuals and corporations, we pour into the network.
In the case of companies, until recently they were governed by the on-premises model. In other words, each one acquired the software they needed by paying a license fee for its use and then contracted the rental of their own servers to store the information generated. The entire installation was, therefore, in-house, so that each company controlled and guarded its own data and that of its clients through its own or rented hardware.
From ‘On-Premise’ To Cloud Computing
Later, cloud computing emerged. Companies appear that are constituted as large data centers with gigantic servers that offer other corporations the possibility of hosting information and content on their servers, without the need to have their own infrastructure. The offer is tempting since the need for hardware compatible with software is eliminated, technical maintenance costs are reduced, security is increased and company data can be accessed at any time and from anywhere in the world, plus beyond the office walls.
The advantages were undeniable and the business opportunity obvious. Given this, the big American technology companies rushed to create their own data centers with their powerful servers to offer the necessary infrastructure to any corporation that wanted to migrate computing to the cloud.
As new additional business lines, Amazon creates AWS (Amazon Web Services), and Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud appear. They are the three main architects of the construction of most of the cloud infrastructure and the main beneficiaries since they control between 60 and 70% of the business worldwide. We are talking about a booming market and nothing insignificant. Of the 500 billion dollars that it will move, approximately, in 2022, it is expected to jump to 1,500 billion dollars in 2024.
To illustrate the volume of business, take the case of Amazon Web Services as an example, where the 80/20 rule is almost fulfilled. While its collection of public cloud computing services generated 74% of the company’s profits in 2021, the remaining 26% comes from e-commerce, the supposed core of the business, and others.
Where are we now
Although the advantages of taking advantage of cloud services are quite evident for companies, the truth is that only large corporations, a large part of national governments, and most technology startups benefit from it. In the case of Europe, only 15% of SMEs and micro-enterprises have transferred computing to the cloud. The reason: “it was expensive and complicated”, according to David Amorín, CEO of Jotelulu, a national provider of cloud infrastructure for SMEs, although, instead of targeting the end customer, they focus on IT companies as enablers of the transition.
The problem is that it is now time to digitize the entire economy, a task in which the cloud has revealed itself as an essential factor for said transformation. Hence, all governments are beginning to consider it a strategic sector and are now betting on the development of their own infrastructure that makes it possible to become independent from US technology companies and dictate our rules of the game.
The Drawbacks Of Depending On American Technology Companies
In addition to giving up part of the succulent market share that the cloud represents, the fact of continuing to depend on the infrastructure built by the great American technology companies has consequences that are far greater than the economic ones.
According to Amorín, if a European company has its information hosted on one of the servers of Amazon or Google -for example-, if a US judicial authority claims the data of its customers from the infrastructure provider, they are legally obliged to provide them without the need to inform or request permission from the owner of that data.
It implies, therefore, the loss of sovereignty and control of our data, no matter how much the community authorities then insist on tying local companies short in terms of data with measures such as the implementation of the RGPD, General Data Protection Regulation. Data.
Another risk involved in depending on these companies with many steps ahead is that of exercising monopolistic practices, an accusation that has fallen on them on several occasions. This is the case of Microsoft Azure, which a group of European cloud providers led by the French OVHcloud denounced for what they consider anti-competitive practices by taking advantage of its dominant position in the cloud to hinder competition from rivals.
The same company recognized that this was the case. In fact, the global president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, took advantage of a trip to Spain a few months ago to sing a mea culpa and apologize for it. “We were wrong,” he said.
And what can we do
Given the situation and loss of the step, the European Union is now willing to take the baton of the cloud and create its own infrastructure and rules of the game. European organizations are growing aware of the importance of governance of computer systems and data processed in the cloud, as well as the risks posed by uncontrolled dependence on large cloud service providers.
In this scenario, the white paper on the cloud in Europe emerges and the Gaia-X project is born, a European initiative based on four fundamental principles: data protection, portability, security, and transparency. The project aims to create a community environment in which data can be stored, used, and shared under the control of proprietary users, with the aim of returning technological sovereignty to European companies.
Along the same lines, CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers Europe or European Coalition of Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers) was created, of which David Amorín is a member. With this “the aim is to provide European cloud service providers with a code of conduct for data protection (among other things), and thus ensure compliance with current regulations: The General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD)”, they affirm in Jotelulu.
This coalition has various bodies, among which there is a committee that is responsible for ensuring compliance with the standards defined by the said entity and dealing with complaints and claims related to non-compliance with the obligations of the partners assigned to this coalition.
Among other things, the companies belonging to CISPE -less than fifty- are committed to guaranteeing that clients who want to contract their services will be certain that the data stored or processed by the provider will not be accessed or resold to third-party companies and that the data repositories will always and exclusively be in the Protected Area of the European Union and under the current regulations of the EU.
All this represents an advance in the future of the cloud in the European market but, first of all, we will have to accelerate the construction of our own infrastructure, something that, according to Amorín, is expensive and complicated. As far as they’re concerned, they don’t seem to be doing too bad. The startup, launched in 2020, has already jumped from Spain to Portugal and they hope to open the French market shortly. It has a team of around 35 people with a forecast of doubling the workforce and turnover next year. One more example of the business opportunity that the cloud currently represents.
Frequently Asked Questions About European Cloud Infrastructure
What is European cloud?
1. Cloud computing allows businesses to move from on-premise to public or hybrid clouds.
2. Cloud computing saves money, reduces IT headaches, and accelerates time-to-market.
3. Cloud computing is about more than just infrastructure. It offers agility, portability, security, flexibility, and more.
4. Cloud computing lets you move applications where you need them.
What are European cloud providers?
1. Nederlandse clouds in Dutch.
2. Eurowings Cloud in German.
3. Iliada in Greek.
4. Freenet in French.
6. Gogol in Russian.
7. BikeshareCloud in English.
8. Kinepolis in German.
9. Nederlands clouds in Dutch.
10. Eurowings Cloud in German.
What is cloud computing?
1. A cloud is a virtual storage area where your files are stored and accessed.
2. It’s like a shared network drive where you can access your files online.
3. It can be accessed from any device, including a phone, tablet, or computer.
4. Google Drive is free to use, but they offer extra features for a fee.
5. If you have a Dropbox account, you can use their desktop app or the web app.
What is Europe cloud market?
Europe is home to numerous cloud companies. Here are some highlights.
1. Nimbix: One of the world’s largest providers of cloud computing services, with over 30 million customers worldwide.
2. Atos: A French company that specializes in IT infrastructure.
3. Accenture: One of the world’s leading consulting companies.
4. Capgemini: A large European technology services provider.
5. G2 Crowd: An international business reviews site.
6. Gartner: An independent research and analysis firm.
7. Ovum: A specialist consulting company focused on the cloud industry.
8. 451 Research: An independent market research firm.
9. TechMarketView: A market research and analysis firm.
10. Global Cloud Index: An independent research and analysis firm
Are we towards a next generation cloud for Europe?
1. It’s a “next generation cloud” for Europe.
2. And it was created by European companies.
3. And they’re based in Europe.
4. They can provide cloud services in 28 languages, so you know it’s good.
5. They’ve got the data centers, and they want to expand into the UK.
6. We’re going to get some of the best cloud infrastructures in Europe.
7. And we’re going to make some of the most innovative use of data centers.
8. And we’ll have a really well-designed system.
9. And the guys who started it are all Europeans.
10. It’s got a lot of cool stuff in.
What is Eurostat cloud computing?
1. It’s the best way to cut costs, and increase efficiency.
2. Cloud computing allows you to get access to high-speed data centers at a low cost.
3. You can store all of your data in the cloud, and access it from any device.
4. The biggest advantage is that it saves you money because you don’t have to buy equipment and pay for electricity.
What is European data strategy?
1. European data strategy starts with understanding the market and customer segment you are in.
2. European data strategy includes all the traditional data-driven activities, including research and development.
3. European data strategy requires a cross-functional team and a commitment from top executives.
4. European data strategy involves a strong focus on data governance, as well as a strategic approach to customer segmentation.
5. European data strategy begins with a clear understanding of who is your customer.
6. European data strategy involves a full-time Chief Data Officer.
What do you know about European alliance for industrial data, edge, and cloud?
1. Europe is the world leader when it comes to the adoption of industrial IoT.
2. European cloud market is estimated to be US$19.9B, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 13.9% from 2015 to 2020.
3. European enterprises are adopting Industrial Edge Technologies at the highest rates.
4. The majority of European organizations are moving their data into public clouds, while the majority of global companies are still on-premise.
5. European countries have embraced the Industrial IoT more than any other region.
Why do we need cloud infrastructure?
1. Because the internet is a cloud.
2. Because we’re building an ecosystem of services.
3. Because it’s the only way to keep our data safe and secure.
4. Because it’s more scalable than building all those machines ourselves.
5. Because we’re moving beyond centralized infrastructure.
What are common reasons people use the cloud?
1. You can work from anywhere.
2. You can access all your files from any device.
3. Your work and information are stored safely.
4. There is no need to back up your hard drive.
5. Your files aren’t scattered across multiple devices.
6. It’s easy to get the latest version of a file.
7. You can access your files from any Internet connection.
8. You don’t have to worry about losing anything.
9. Your files can be accessed on a remote server.
10. The data is backed up regularly.
Which is the most important reason behind cloud adoption in industry?
1. Improve the way you do business and improve your productivity
2. Avoid risks and save money
3. Reduce the need for IT department resources
4. Increase the reliability of an organization’s data
5. Improve the security of an organization’s data
It’s important for Europe to look at what’s happening outside its borders when it comes to cloud computing. Not only does it allow for a deeper understanding of how cloud computing fits into other industries, but it also gives Europe the opportunity to leapfrog ahead in cloud technology and services. In particular, a growing interest in mobile computing and applications is helping to drive this new market and provide the foundation for a European cloud computing industry.