“Every organization should have a level of sovereignty in what they do when it comes to technology,” says Marc Reinhardt, public-sector global industry leader at Capgemini. “It’s basically a matter of being master of your own domain — being able to control the things that happen, being able to control the decisions that you make.”
Finding the balance
It can be challenging for governments to reconcile digital innovation with the need to protect digital sovereignty.
One area in which sovereignty is becoming ever more central is the adoption of cloud services by the European public sector.
If the public sector is to make the most of the latest innovations in health data, education, tax processing and law enforcement, a comprehensive approach to cloud is required. Quality, scale, access to innovative features and functionality, user experience and cost are key factors — all supported by cloud — to be taken into consideration when making decisions about technology for European citizen services.
“If you want to make sure that your data does not leave a specific domain, you can have different levels of sovereignty in your infrastructures — but if you want to balance the agility of a cloud solution with the strong control of a sovereign solution, today there are ways you can do both: you have the option of a sovereign cloud,” says Reinhardt.
The cloud market is changing. Many new cloud services — some originating from the European technology sector and others from the large dominant providers — are coming into the market, each offering different benefits.
For example, national suppliers such as OVHcloud in France and IONOS in Germany allow for investment in homegrown public cloud, whereas Bleu, the future joint venture between Capgemini and Orange, will provide trusted cloud (“Cloud de Confiance”) services leveraging Microsoft solutions to address specific needs in France, in a way that is disconnected from Microsoft’s global infrastructure.
Rethinking cloud approaches
A fully sovereign cloud is not defined merely by the location of data centers. Cloud sovereignty entails cybersecurity and operational and technical conditions that allow users to choose their preferred setup.
As more cloud providers enter the European market, the ability of users to switch providers and avoid being locked in has become another key condition of cloud sovereignty.
Migrating to cloud doesn’t necessarily mean choosing a singular appropriate cloud setup or provider. Many of these new cloud services can be adopted as part of a multi-cloud approach in which different environments are selected to meet specific requirements. This creates a fully operational and diverse digital ecosystem.