When it comes to technology, the Irish can't afford to rest on their laurels. That's the stark message from Google’s managing director in charge of Media Platforms for Northern and Central Europe, Damian Lawlor.

In an interview with Irish tech website Siliconrepublic.com, Lawlor admits the move to a so-called cloud-based online world - where users back up and share files via the Internet - is the wave of the future and Ireland's success and survival as a tech corridor will be driven by mobility, flexibility and, ultimately, skills.

Tightened budgets in the present economy are causing Internet technology directs to consider the benefits of cloud computing, which industry leader Apple has embraced in it's latest product roll out this week.

The move to cloud-based computing has been driven by cost-effectiveness and by the fact that the modern workforce is becoming even more mobile. "The days when all work was done in the office are over," Lawlor said.

"Employees need to work from different locations, access email and documents using mobile devices – the mobility and flexibility cloud computing offers is unprecedented."

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Lawlor added that Google planned a series of new Irish hires this year.

"2011 is set to be another great hiring year for Google and here in Ireland," Lawlor said, adding: "From a longer-term perspective, though, we cannot afford to get complacent about education standards in Ireland."

"For years we have been talking about the superb standards of education in Ireland, and have held it up as a unique selling point for Ireland, but I think we need to constantly look at the global education league tables and objectively critique where Ireland falls in these tables."

Lawlor thinks a greater Irish embrace of cloud computing will bolster Irish business and enhance its competitiveness globally.

"Google was born in the cloud so we are strongly committed to it and we are seeing more and more Irish businesses realize its value and potential. We see great potential for cloud computing in Ireland and we would like to see more Irish organizations making the move to web-based applications."