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2023: The year of digitally sovereign clouds

This year, companies are sure to rethink their cloud strategies and increasingly rely on European clouds. In doing so, they will reclaim their digital sovereignty, implement sustainable data strategies and take the issue of green IT into their own hands. By Holger Dyroff, Co-Founder and COO, ownCloud
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In recent years, companies have moved more and more applications and data to the public clouds of the major US providers. In some cases, they did this of their own free will in order to benefit from advantages such as great scalability. Often, however, they were also forced to do so by the providers, who gradually discontinued support for their on-premises applications.

In 2023, many companies will rethink their cloud strategy – and increasingly use applications from European clouds. There are three main reasons for this.

Digital sovereignty

Companies are becoming increasingly aware that they have lost their digital sovereignty by availing the services of the American public clouds. They cannot control who accesses their data and are therefore unable to guarantee compliance with data protection regulations.

The fact that this risk is not only theoretical is shown by the determination of the Federal and State Data Protection Conference (DSK) of November 24, 2022, in which the DSK declares the use of the popular public cloud service Microsoft 365 to be incompatible with the GDPR. There is a lack of the necessary transparency as to which personal data Microsoft processes for its own purposes and also a lack of proof of the lawfulness of this processing.

2023 will be the year of Digital Sovereignty: Holger Dyroff

Holger Dyroff, COO and Co-Founder, ownCloud

Holger Dyroff: “When companies use software from clouds of European providers, they get their digital sovereignty back. Since these providers are subject to European legislation, data protection, legal security and DSGVO compliance are guaranteed.”

Sustainable data strategy

The pressure on companies to digitize continues to increase, not least as a result of the Corona pandemic. The growing demands of customers and increasingly fierce competition require companies to come up with new products, great innovative power and smooth processes. That’s why they need a sustainable data strategy: sustainable in the sense that they have every option open to them for integrations with partner or customer systems or for renewing their own systems in the future. American public cloud services, however, often use proprietary technologies that hinder interoperability and make it difficult to migrate data to other systems.

Green IT

Green IT is becoming increasingly important to businesses. Customers want green, sustainable products and employees want green employers. When the capital market evaluates companies, it increasingly uses sustainability criteria, and the EU is currently drawing up legal requirements for corporate sustainability reporting in the form of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSDR), which is to come into force successively from January 1, 2024.

However, many companies also feel a strong motivation for climate protection on their own initiative, irrespective of external constraints. With American public cloud services, they cannot influence energy efficiency of the IT systems themselves and are forced to more or less blindly trust the providers’ environmental certificates.

DSGVO compliance is guaranteed

If companies take a different route and use software from clouds of European providers, they regain their Digital Sovereignty. As these providers are subject to European legislation, data protection, legal security and DSGVO compliance are guaranteed.

In this respect, the growing range of European cloud solutions suits them. For example, there are now numerous alternatives for digital workplaces available to companies that can easily compete with American services in terms of user-friendliness and functionality. These include cloud solutions that are based on open source software and support open standards. They offer companies maximum transparency and enable them to pursue a sustainable data strategy.

More design freedom for green IT

In addition, companies have greater design freedom for Green IT with European clouds. Since European providers are generally much more technology-free than the big American players, companies can host any application they want with them.

This gives them the opportunity to select applications specifically according to energy efficiency. For example, there are now file management solutions that store metadata directly with the files. This means they no longer need a database and save on a database server. If a software supports modern deployment methods such as microservices, it also makes optimal use of hardware resources.

Based on article published in Trend Report on 6 January 2023 (Text in German)

Holger Dyroff

January 16, 2023

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