Sovereign cloud is a concept that has been around for a while but has gained increasing attention due to the changing geopolitical landscape and new regulations affecting control of data. It's a solution for the battle of digital sovereignty, providing a trusted environment for storing and processing data that can never be transferred across borders. This ensures all data, including metadata, stays on sovereign soil and prevents foreign access to it. And with 81% of businesses repatriating data due to sovereignty concerns, this has become more critical than ever before.
Cloud sovereignty and data jurisdiction are crucial due to the increasing importance of digital sovereignty in the digitalization debate, with industries like banking, insurance, and healthcare looking to ensure compliance with legal requirements.
What is sovereign cloud?
Sovereign cloud is a cloud computing service that's specifically designed to meet the data protection, privacy, and regulatory requirements of a particular country or region. It ensures that data is stored and processed within the geographical boundaries of that country, thereby adhering to local legal and regulatory frameworks. This type of cloud computing service aims to address the concerns of governments and businesses that are wary of entrusting their sensitive data to third-party providers who may not comply with the data protection laws in their jurisdiction.
Sovereign cloud vs private cloud: 4 key differences
While both sovereign cloud and private cloud provide a secure environment for storing and processing data, there are some key differences between the two:
- Geographical constraints: A sovereign cloud ensures that data is stored and processed within the boundaries of a specific country or region, while a private cloud may not have such geographical restrictions.
- Data protection and privacy: Sovereign cloud services are specifically designed to comply with the data protection and privacy regulations of a particular jurisdiction. In contrast, private clouds may not always adhere to the unique legal requirements of the countries in which they operate.
- Government involvement: Sovereign clouds often involve collaboration between governments and cloud service providers to ensure compliance with local regulations. Private clouds are usually managed by private organizations without direct government involvement.
- Control and access: Sovereign clouds typically provide more control and access to the data for government bodies and users, whereas private clouds may limit such access to designated administrators.
Why is sovereign cloud gaining importance?
As data breaches and cyberattacks become more prevalent, governments and businesses are increasingly concerned about data protection and privacy. This concern is further heightened by the growing use of cloud computing services, which often involve transferring sensitive data across borders. Sovereign cloud addresses these concerns by ensuring that data is stored and processed within the geographical boundaries of a country, thereby adhering to local legal and regulatory frameworks.
Moreover, with the introduction of stringent data protection laws, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), businesses are required to comply with these regulations or face hefty fines. Sovereign cloud provides a viable solution for organizations to meet these regulatory requirements while still benefiting from the advantages of cloud computing.
5 top benefits of sovereign cloud for IT teams
There are several benefits of sovereign cloud for IT teams, including:
- Compliance with local regulations: By ensuring that data is stored and processed within the country's borders, sovereign cloud services help organizations comply with local data protection and privacy laws.
- Enhanced data security: Sovereign cloud providers often implement stringent security measures, such as encryption, access control, and regular security audits, to protect data from unauthorized access and cyber threats.
- Increased control and visibility: Sovereign cloud services typically provide more control and visibility over data, enabling IT teams to manage and monitor data usage and access more effectively.
- Support for data sovereignty: Sovereign cloud services support data sovereignty, ensuring that the data remains within the country's jurisdictional control and is subject to local laws and regulations.
- Improved performance: By storing and processing data within the country, sovereign cloud services can help reduce latency and improve the performance of applications and services.
4 use cases for sovereign cloud
Sovereign cloud computing is already a popular option in a number of different industries, such as:
1. Government agencies
Sovereign cloud enables government agencies and public sector organizations to store and process sensitive data securely within the country, ensuring compliance with local regulations and reducing the risk of data breaches.
2. Healthcare organizations
Healthcare providers can store and process patient data securely on a sovereign cloud, ensuring compliance requirements with data protection laws are met while maintaining patient privacy.
3. Financial institutions
Banks and other financial institutions can use sovereign cloud services to store and process customer data securely, complying with local regulatory requirements and safeguarding sensitive information.
4. Critical infrastructure
Organizations responsible for critical infrastructure, such as energy, transportation, and telecommunications, can use sovereign cloud services to protect their data and systems from cyberthreats while adhering to local regulations.
Addressing concerns and challenges with sovereign cloud adoption
Despite the numerous benefits, organizations may still face several challenges when adopting sovereign cloud services.
Limited choice of providers
Since sovereign cloud services are designed to comply with local regulations, there may be a limited choice of providers available, which could impact an organization's ability to find a suitable provider.
Potential vendor lock-in
Organizations may face vendor lock-in, as it may be difficult to migrate data and applications to another provider or back on-premises due to strict data sovereignty requirements.
Although sovereign cloud services can help organizations save on infrastructure costs, they may be more expensive than traditional cloud service providers due to the need to maintain data centers within the country and comply with local regulations.
Data transfer limitations
These types of cloud computing services may also impose limitations on data transfer and processing across borders, which could impact organizations with global operations.
6 steps to transition to a sovereign cloud infrastructure
Transitioning to a sovereign cloud infrastructure can seem like a daunting task; there's a lot to think about and even more to manage. So how do you seamlessly transition to sovereign cloud?
Step 1: Assess your organization's data protection and privacy requirements
Evaluate your organization's data protection and privacy requirements to determine if a sovereign cloud service is the right fit for your needs.
Step 2: Identify suitable providers
Research and identify suitable sovereign cloud providers that offer services within your jurisdiction and meet your organization's data protection and privacy requirements.
Step 3: Evaluate providers
Evaluate the selected providers based on factors such as security measures, compliance with local regulations, cost, and performance.
Step 4: Develop a migration plan
Develop a comprehensive migration plan that outlines the cloud strategy for migrating your data and applications. Remember to include timelines, resources, and potential risks.
Step 5: Implement the migration
Execute the migration plan, ensuring that data is securely transferred and stored within the sovereign cloud infrastructure while maintaining compliance with local regulations.
Step 6: Monitor and optimize
As with all areas of business, you should regularly monitor and optimize your sovereign cloud infrastructure to ensure it meets your organization's data protection and privacy requirements and is still delivering the desired outcome.
Is it time to reconsider sovereign cloud?
There's no doubting sovereign cloud offers a number of benefits for IT teams handling particularly sensitive data. As data protection and privacy concerns become increasingly important, it may be time for organizations to reconsider what sovereign cloud can offer in terms of meeting these challenges while still benefiting from the advantages of cloud computing.
In order to make an informed decision, you'll need to carefully weigh the benefits and challenges of adopting sovereign cloud services and develop a comprehensive migration plan to transition to a sovereign cloud infrastructure. As more governments and businesses recognize the importance of data sovereignty, it is likely that the adoption of sovereign cloud services will continue to grow in the coming years.