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European public sector seeks multi-cloud approach to services

Source: Capgemini Research Institute, Sovereign cloud survey, May 2021, N=1000 organizations, Government/Public Services N=200.

“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.  

Source: Capgemini Research Institute, Sovereign cloud survey, May 2021, N=1000 organizations, Government/Public Services N=200.

Indeed, research by the Capgemini Research Institute suggests that the multi-cloud model is set to be a feature of government innovation moving forward: 31 percent of public-sector respondents surveyed said they felt the best approach is to host confidential data on a local sovereign cloud and everything else on a public cloud. 

“To keep it simple: don’t put all your eggs in the same basket,” Pierre Chastanet, head of the unit for cloud and software at the European Commission, told tech.eu. “That’s the basis of a multi-cloud approach. The European public sector should be free to use different cloud services, therefore portability of data and software between services is essential.”  

Independent clouds 

Cloud sovereignty is not an end in itself. Rather, it’s a set of conditions that must be met for governments to create innovative digital ecosystems. 

It can be realized with strategies that serve the multitude of needs of the European public sector. Adopting a multi-cloud approach enables governments to innovate while ensuring citizen data is safe and secure. By allocating different workloads to different cloud environments — a virtualized data center, a sovereign cloud or a public cloud — governments can innovate flexibly and safely.  

By rethinking cloud approaches to optimize both digital sovereignty and technological innovation, the European public sector can take control of its digital future and, ultimately, deliver on improving and enhancing citizen services.  

1 IDC, Sovereign Clouds and the Digital Sovereignty Imperative: Europe’s Quest for Digital Independence,  Doc # EUR149098122, December 2022

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