Cloud migration journey for European businesses is still challenging

1 July 2021

All businesses in the EU need to be GDPR-compliant – and this could set back their cloud migration attempts. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Compared to other regions around the world, cloud migration in the European market is a rather complex journey. While businesses are aware of the importance of embracing the cloud, there are often a few barriers to cloud migration that may hold them back. These barriers to migration can be solved if businesses find the right cloud provider to help them with their migration journey.

Gartner reports that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4% in 2021 to a total of US$304.9 billion. Software as a Service (SaaS) remains the largest market segment and is forecast to grow to $117.7 billion in 2021, followed by application infrastructure services (PaaS). The increased consumption of PaaS is driven by the need for remote workers to have access to high-performing, content-rich, and scalable infrastructure to perform their duties.

Despite this, European businesses still facing some challenges in their cloud migration process:

Legacy infrastructure – Most European businesses have invested a lot in hardware in the 90s and early 2000s to speed up their digitalization, long before the cloud became mainstream. Today, these pricey infrastructures are struggling to adapt to the fast pace of digitalization. With data volumes growing exponentially, these infrastructures often struggle to cope and are not fast enough in delivering the desired outcome.

At the same time, replacing legacy infrastructure with modern ones is a costly affair. This is why most businesses with legacy infrastructure end up relying on the same vendors to provide them solutions for their cloud services.

The most common type of legacy infrastructure in most European businesses are linked with backup and storage, as well as analytical tools. Today, AI is enabling all these processes to be simplified and automated, which in turn saves more time for the organization. There is some light at the end of this tunnel though, as some modern cloud applications can support legacy infrastructures.

Compliance and regulations Europe is known for its strict data privacy and data sovereignty laws. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe is probably the strictest data privacy law in the world. The GDPR forms the outline for many data privacy laws outside of Europe as well.

Many businesses have been fined by the GDPR for failing to protect their customer data or using customer data for the wrong reasons. As such, businesses looking to use the cloud to store data or for analytics – especially those from highly regulated industries – need to be sure their cloud provider meets all GDPR and compliance sets.

For now, cloud providers assure businesses that they are GDPR-compliant. But even if they say so, businesses need to still make sure their data is encrypted before moving them to the cloud – and also be sure of which data they want accessible on the public cloud.

Also, Backup as a Service on the cloud is growing in demand as businesses understand the need to have faster recovery processes should their data be compromised.

Public, private, or hybrid cloud – When picking a cloud provider, how do businesses know which is the right option for them? With legacy infrastructure and compliance issues influencing their decision, the cloud migration journey has to be able to support both of these aspects.

While the public cloud offers flexibility and cost efficiency, can businesses ensure the services on the public cloud are compliant with data privacy and data sovereignty laws?

If they are looking to the more secured private cloud, they also need to ensure that their legacy infrastructures can handle the workloads and scalability of their data on it.

The hybrid cloud may seem the best option, but again, how do businesses decide which data and workloads reside on which part of the cloud, and how compatible are they to their infrastructure.

Cloud migration is indeed a challenging task for businesses all around the world. However, unlike Europe, the APAC region has an upper advantage in cloud migration as most businesses are cloud-native and do not have the legacy infrastructures to deal with.

European organizations need to have a cloud migration framework in place. They can meet up with cloud providers to discuss the options available for them before embarking on their migration journey. Either way, having a cloud migration framework is key before making any decision or investment in cloud technology.