On the other hand, the Swedish National Courts Administration -- a state authority that reports to the government and functions as a service organization for the courts -- doesn't use any cloud services at the moment. It has started to classify data to open the door for moving some data to the cloud, but using services from U.S. companies feels like a big step, at the moment, according to CIO Magnus Petzäll.
"What has been revealed in the U.S. does have an effect on how we think, and in upcoming procurements of services we will have to be even clearer when it comes to our points of view and demands on security," Petzäll said.
"I can understand people's sensitivity towards this, but I do think they need to be realistic about it," said David Bradshaw, IDC research manager for public cloud in Europe.
In many European countries, security agencies don't have to go to a court to get access to cloud data. If companies thought about that, they would be a little less concerned about using U.S. cloud providers, according to Bradshaw.
That cloud providers are jockeying for position doesn't come as surprise. The customer base is growing strongly and demand isn't going to let up, Bradshaw said. That trend is underlined by a rapid build out of data centers in Europe. In May, Salesforce.com announced plans to build a data center in the U.K. that will go online in 2014.
The local angle will in some cases give European vendors an edge. But they will still have to match Amazon's pricing and SLAs, or better them, Bradshaw said. Microsoft has already gone down that route by committing to match Amazon's prices for commodity services such as computing, storage and bandwidth. Also, the E.U. sees the uptake of hosted services as a competitive issue for European organizations.
"It sees U.S. organizations getting the economic and flexibility advantages and Europe falling behind a bit on exploiting that capability," Bradshaw said.
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