Cloud computing is a concept for the provision of scalable IT infrastructure, platforms and applications that are used on-demand over the internet and billed by usage. The object of study of this master thesis is limited to public clouds which unlike private clouds are offered by a provider to a large number of customers, who consequently share the underlying infrastructure. The thesis analyzes the corporate use of cloud computing from an IT strategy point of view as well as its legal conditions and the current market situation from the perspective of Austrian companies as (potential) users of cloud services. At first, cloud computing, its various manifestations and related concepts are defined. It is shown that cloud computing is not something completely new, but has been developed from existing concepts. The following chapter deals with the legal conditions governing cloud computing in Austria, in particular with the Austrian Data Protection Act. Under certain circumstances data protection law can considerably restrict the use of cloud computing. After the discussion of IT strategic considerations concerning the strengths and weaknesses of cloud computing selected cloud services on the market are investigated.
Descriptions of the services are given and their contract terms as well as further conditions important for deciding whether to use the services are analyzed. These findings as well as the results of the theoretical chapters are systematically aggregated into a procedure model for decision making on the corporate use of cloud-services, which is the major result of the thesis. Austrian companies can apply this model to support their decision making on the use of cloud-services. Based on the procedure model possible applications of cloud-services in different types of companies are evaluated. Finally, the last chapter presents a test project which was developed and implemented to gain experience in using cloud-services.