Cloud sovereignty means jurisdictional control and ownership of data and information in a cloud computing environment.
To understand the importance of cloud sovereignty in a cloud computing environment, let’s look at some of the data breaches that have occurred in the past.
# 1. Hacking Epsilon Mail
On March 30, 2011, an unforgettable thing happened when data security at Epsilon, one of the largest email marketing service providers, went wrong. Epsilon handles email marketing for more than 2,500 companies, some of which are among the Fortune 500.
The consequences of what happened began to be felt at the beginning of April. Customers of many Fortune 500 companies have begun to complain that they are receiving spam and phishing emails at the email addresses they have provided to Fortune 500 companies.
On April 2, Epsilon explained what happened. On March 30, 2011, Epsilon discovered unauthorized access to its email system.
There was a data breach and more than 40 million customer names and customer email addresses from a range of companies served by Epsilon were stolen. This data breach alone caused approximately $4 billion in damages.
The case of Epsilon is not unique. Countless companies have experienced costly breaches that have left sensitive data in the wrong hands.
Now imagine what would happen if medical, financial or military data were compromised. This is a scenario that users of cloud computing must constantly think about.
A key concern for many organizations, due to the cost and impact of a data breach, is the security and transparency of their cloud service providers.
#2. Incident in the NSA’s Prism program
Another key event that spooked organizations using cloud computing was the Prism incident. In 2013, it was revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had direct access to the user data of leading Internet companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Apple through the Prism program. Note that some of these companies are leading cloud service providers.
The Prism incident made people realize that there is no such thing as a cloud. What people call the cloud are simply data centers that are not immune to the regulations of the countries in which they are located.
If an organization uses cloud computing and its provider’s data center is located in another country, unauthorized entities can gain access to its data due to the regulations of the country where it is stored.
As a result, more and more organizations are concerned about where their data is stored. To support this, Capgemini, an international IT and consulting firm, released a report in July 2022 that showed 69% of organizations are concerned about exposure to extraterritorial rights in cloud environments.
In addition, the Journey to Cloud Sovereignty report found that 66% of organizations globally and in the public sector consider a cloud provider’s local/regional data center offering to be a key selection criterion.
This is due to the fact that more and more organizations are concerned about the possibility of accessing foreign government data due to the location of their cloud service providers’ data centers.
All of this points to the need for Cloud Sovereignty to take advantage of a market that cares about the security of its data, where it is stored, who has access to it, and various data privacy regulations.
Especially in Europe, companies are interested in cloud sovereignty due to the dominance of US cloud providers. In a global CEO survey conducted by International Data Corporation, 80% of European organizations consider digital sovereignty their top priority.
What is cloud sovereignty?
Cloud sovereignty is based on the idea that a country or region has the right to regulate and control the storage, processing and use of data within its borders.
As a result, cloud sovereignty provides the benefits of cloud computing combined with compliance with local data privacy and security laws. In addition, it is in line with the cultural and social values of the region.
A sovereign cloud ensures that data and metadata remain in the region or country where they were collected. It also provides data protection from external access and full owner control.
As outlined in Journey to Cloud Sovereignty, cloud sovereignty creates a cloud computing environment that is owned, deployed, managed and managed locally or regionally within a single country or jurisdiction.
How to achieve sovereignty in the cloud?
For a cloud solution to achieve sovereignty, the following conditions must be met:
Compliance with local data privacy laws
Many countries have laws governing the collection, processing and use of their citizens’ data. Often these laws are different.
For example, Germany has a privacy law that restricts the transfer of data to third countries, even if the data processing company is not based in Germany. Countries like China and Russia require data to be stored on servers in their country.
In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs data protection and privacy and regulates the transfer of data outside the European Union. Therefore, the sovereign cloud must comply with the data privacy laws of your region.
Data localization is key to achieving data sovereignty. To achieve this, data stored in the cloud is stored and processed in a specific country or region in accordance with local data privacy laws.
Additionally, data access is limited to authorized personnel only, and data owners have full control over data stored in the cloud.
Data control and access
A sovereign cloud should allow full regional control over how data obtained from it is stored, processed and shared.
In addition, data control and access may mean allowing regions to access data stored in data centers in a particular location and the ability to review, audit, and demand that data in data centers be stored and processed within their boundaries.
The cloud achieves sovereignty by ensuring compliance with regional data privacy laws and regulations, data sovereignty, and providing control and access to data.
Why cloud providers should offer cloud sovereignty to their customers
More and more organizations and countries are investing in cloud computing and the industry will continue to grow in the coming years. However, with this growth, cloud sovereignty will play a key role in the choice of cloud solutions.
Here are some of the reasons why cloud service providers should consider offering cloud sovereignty to their customers:
- Address user concerns: As cloud computing grows, organizations and countries are increasingly concerned about the security of their data, lack of control over data residing in the cloud, and exposure to extraterritorial laws that could mean unauthorized access to sensitive data. All these problems can be solved by a cloud service provider that offers cloud sovereignty.
- Comply with regulations: Various countries and regions have developed data privacy laws. Organizations moving their data and services to the cloud will want to comply with their region’s data privacy laws. As a result, cloud sovereignty will allow cloud service providers to offer solutions that allow organizations to take advantage of cloud computing while complying with their country’s data privacy laws.
- Adapt to market needs: According to a report by Capgemini, more than 66% of organizations worldwide consider a local or regional data center as a key criterion when choosing a cloud solution. Therefore, cloud service providers must offer cloud sovereignty to attract a large part of their market.
- Performance and Latency: Storing data in the cloud close to where the data is collected and used will improve performance and reduce latency. This is useful for organizations and applications that need fast access to data, such as data analytics.
- Data security and control: Cloud sovereignty allows cloud service providers to better protect their users’ data and privacy by limiting the storage, processing and sharing of privileged data to the country or region of origin. As a result, organizations are guaranteed full control and ownership of their data. They can avoid unauthorized access to their clients’ data due to different territorial regulations.
- Reduce costs: By storing data close to the source and where it is used, cloud service providers can save on data transfer costs. In addition, by complying with regional regulations, suppliers can avoid additional compliance costs for organizations that may require additional compliance measures. Finally, some locations may offer lower storage and bandwidth costs to the provider.
Cloud sovereignty is important for governments and organizations. Cloud sovereignty is key to complying with regulations in different countries and enabling organizations to have full control, ownership and security of their data.
In the coming year, cloud sovereignty is expected to take center stage when choosing a cloud service provider. So it’s best for cloud providers to start offering cloud sovereignty to avoid lag, losing customers and being on the wrong side of the law.
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