Cloud computing may be becoming a more widely accepted means of storing data, but there are still those who are very wary about having their information reside on servers operated by someone else.
Speaking at Dell Tech Camp in Amsterdam, Kevin Norlin, vice-president and general manager for the EMEA region of the firm's software group, recalled how one of his customers feared adopting the cloud would mean handing information to the American government.
"A couple of years ago I was in Germany and I was meeting with a customer and this was before a lot of the cloud initiatives really took-off," he told Computing.
"I mentioned some technologies that could help customers move data to the cloud, and their response immediately was, ‘We will not give our data to the CIA!'.
"And I didn't say I was with the CIA, I didn't say I was going to give data to the CIA! I didn't even know how to respond, but there was that very aggressive posture."
Fewer and fewer enterprises now have such reservations, and Dell is seeing increased demand for its cloud solutions.
"What we see within Europe is customers are moving solutions to the cloud," said Norlin.
"We work with a systems integrator In France called ATOS who've got a massive programme, A3C [Anytime Collaboration and Communication Cloud], and they're trying to move people who traditionally have Microsoft messaging environments around Exchange. They're trying to migrate them to the cloud in an Office 365 environment. Now ATOS is actually going to host all that within the EU in their own datacentres."
Norlin added that the fact that the cloud service is based in Europe helps to allay businesses' concerns about government snooping.
"They're actually also using Dell hardware to run it on, but it stays within the EU, so its managed and maintained within the terms of EU regulations," he said.
Sometimes, what businesses want to store in the cloud comes down to what sort of data they deal with, added Tom Kendra, vice-president and general manager of Dell Systems Management Software.
"It differs according to the customer's perception of the sensitivity of their data. If you're a drug company, for example, would you put your latest drug research there? Most would be inclined to keep that in-house," he told Computing.
"On the other hand, would a video game company put customer reactions to a UI session in there? Well, if I was a smaller company I'd use Amazon Web Services to throw that up.
"I think everything is a risk-reward profile: there are certainly advantages for certain kinds of data, certain applications have greater penetration than others. It's down to what the customer wants," he concluded.
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A discussion of the "risk perception gap", its implications and how it can be closed