Published on October 3, 2022
Author: Topias Marttila from Efecte
Over the last decade, the use of cloud services has become more commonplace, so much so that nearly all of us probably use at least one cloud service at work. That said, it is worth pointing out that there is a real dearth of European cloud services on offer: more than two thirds of the digital platforms on the market were developed in the United States, roughly 20% in Asia, and only approximately 3% in Europe.
You can’t help but wonder why there are no more cloud services being developed in Europe. We should consider the issue both at an organisational level and from a social perspective. Maybe we are yet to realize the significance of the origin of the cloud service.
The key difference between the cloud services developed in Asia or the US and those developed in Europe is clear. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU imposes clear requirements on the processing of personal data. Service providers operating elsewhere are not necessarily obliged to comply with similar regulations.
Only recently have we woken up to the realisation that European cloud services are needed in addition to the Asian and American ones. The issue has been widely discussed in Germany for some time now and, in the last few years, also increasingly in Sweden. For example, earlier this year, the City of Stockholm made the decision to not adopt the Office 365 cloud service, quoting growing privacy concerns.
From a social perspective, the importance of European platforms should also be considered from the viewpoint of business continuity planning. Global challenges like the energy crisis and various cyber threats raise questions. What are we going to do if the connections to cloud services produced outside of Europe are cut? What will happen to the data we can’t access?
The core promise of cloud services is based on the idea that the service is produced by another party and that the responsibility is left to someone else—leaving the customer with more time to focus on their core business. In and of itself, this is an amazing value proposition. What’s been thrown out with the bath water, though, is the knowledge of how and where the customer’s data is being processed. With the responsibility passed on to someone else, you don’t have to concern yourself with the issue as much. This is why it is so important to offer organisations the opportunity to increase their understanding of the way data is processed and the ways in which the service provider can influence it. When it comes to delegating the responsibility to someone else, the old adage still holds true—if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In addition to the strong data protection enabled by the EU, we care about our customers seamlessly getting what they need. The data center in the service of Efecte’s Finnish customers is located and operated in Finland. As the architecture, automation, and monitoring of our cloud service are not dependent on the features of the data center, we are also able to run our cloud service from the customer’s own data center. We believe that a platform-independent cloud architecture is the best choice for the customer and the service provider alike. We call this the cloud on your own terms philosophy.