Securing Europe's global position hinges on establishing an economy that is open, digitally autonomous, and sovereign. To turn this vision into reality, we will need healthy competition and have to ensure the transparent integrity of European data, a subject we thoroughly explored during our recent Sovereign Cloud Day.
The event involved some of the most influential figures on the subject of European sovereignty, including; Pearse O’Donohue (Director, Future Networks, DG CONNECT, European Commission), Carmen Artigas Brugal (Secretary of State for Digitisation and Artificial Intelligence, Government of Spain), Sylvain Rouri (Chief Sales Officer, OVHcloud) and Alfredo Nulli (Head of Portfolio – Innovation and Center of Excellence, TIM Enterprise), and Laurent Allard (Leader Sovereign Cloud EMEA at VMware).
The speakers collectively agreed that – while there hasn’t been a more critical time to look at data security and privacy in the cloud – to reach the ambition of a sovereign Europe, 10 fundamental issues need to be addressed. Here you can download a summary in our guide: ‘The drive to digital sovereignty in Europe: A 10 point plan to realise success on the world stage’.
Clarity and certainty to create capacity
By the end of this year, the EU expects that cloud computing should be worth about €560 billion to the European economy. But unlocking this opportunity requires action - it will not happen if we continue to maintain the status quo. This, alongside the objective to cut the region's reliance on hyperscalers, is why we’re seeing such a flurry of activity when it comes to new legislation.
The Interoperable Europe Act will reinforce cooperation around interoperability among public administrations, the Data Governance Act requires data intermediaries to take all reasonable measures to prevent the international transfer or governmental access to non-personal data and the Digital Operational Resilience Act creates a regulatory framework for firms need to withstand, respond to and recover from all types of ICT-related disruptions and threats. There are other acts too, both confirmed and in the planning phase.
The complexities, rationale and objectives of each one have been widely covered on the internet. Though the overriding point is that we need a sovereign cloud capability as a landing spot for everyone to understand these acts and how they affect activity - both today and in the future. Right now, these evolving legislations are impacting cloud strategy and purchase decisions, which, in turn, is influencing business spend and investment. Europe needs the clarity and certainty of knowing what is coming and to create the capacity to prepare accordingly.
A fast track to the future
If Europe is to secure a flourishing business sector, grow tax revenues and create prosperity via a functioning democracy and rule of law it will also need decentralised digital technologies at its heart. It is why there has been targeted funding and support for developing technologies such as quantum computing, blockchain, human-centric artificial intelligence and secure cloud services - all of which will be the bedrock of a sovereign digital Europe.
We must also accelerate the adoption of edge and open source to go further, faster. At a macro level, both of these areas of technology can give Europe a chance to create and maintain its own, independent digital approach. The concepts of open source and digital sovereignty are both based on freedom, choice and flexibility, while edge makes it easier to know where data resides and who governs it. Unlocking the potential benefits of both will place Europe on a fast track to the future.
Importance of cloud-smart
Regulators, lawmakers, business decision-makers, citizens all have different influencers and drivers - which means the journey to sovereign cloud is both long and nuanced but the governance required to control data has to start now. If it does not, we will be behind in the blink of an eye because, according to Statista, data is going to more than double in the next five years and there will be further challenges associated with where it comes from and how it is captured, processed, managed and monetised.
Organisations must be able to take control of where their data resides - without compromising sovereignty or compliance, and the choice of providers to manage it - and the sooner the better. Never has it been more important for organisations to be ‘cloud-smart’ and work with, often, multiple cloud providers that negate getting locked-in or tied to things that potentially are going to cause problems in the future whether that's through regulation or simple repatriation.
Action from the European ecosystem
A sovereign cloud framework isn’t the end goal here. It is the starting point of a new digitally-based future for Europe that can unlock endless possibilities for businesses, citizens, governments and nations. However, while it must be built to capitalise on the opportunities in the future, it must also be reflective of the digital economy we are in today.
We must consider what is strategic for both the EU union and each independent nation to build a secure, trustworthy and resilient digital infrastructure that safeguards our data, protects our citizens and boosts our economy. Achieving this isn’t for any one company or government to solve. Action needs to be taken from many players in the European ecosystem and there is much work to do in order to deliver digital sovereignty in Europe.
For more detail and to find out what some of Europe’s most influential authorities think when it comes to achieving sovereignty in Europe, please download our guide: ‘The drive to digital sovereignty in Europe: A 10 point plan to realise success on the world stage’.