Europe is concerned about data safety on cloud services

European companies are busy building walls with encryption technology to protect data against outside threats.

According to Bloomberg, the largest provider of drinking water Veolia Environnement (France) is a concrete example. Before switching to office software on Google's cloud platform, Veolia hired network security company Atos to charge its data encryption to go to Google's servers.

Geopolitical tensions and trade wars are making European politicians wary of local companies ceding their data to technology providers from the US or China, fearing that these providers may refuse access to important information about customers or production.

According to Agnes Pannier-Runacher, Secretary of State for Economy and Finance, the fact that businesses are giving up control of their data is a systematic risk to the competitiveness and sovereignty of an economy. For many companies, data is a strategic question. It is still acceptable if there is some data out of reach in a multilateral system, but it becomes a serious problem in a unilateral system where one side can pressure and cut access.

Companies are tending to transfer their data to cloud-based ecosystems – which Gartner estimates to be worth about $ 214 billion by 2019, dominated by US and Chinese giants like Amazon, Microsoft and Alibaba.


The German central bank has recently warned the banking sector that switching to data in the cloud will make it harder to follow this industry.

According to Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act of the United States signed last year, all US cloud vendors may be required to provide data stored on their servers, regardless of where that data is physically stored, to the local government. A similar concept has also been defined in Chinese law since 2017, in which citizen information must be stored in the country and accessible at the request of the government.

As a result, European encryption firms such as Atos and Thales advertised their domestic service history as a unique selling point when competing with US rivals like Salesforce, Amazon... Smaller cloud computing providers developed in Europe such as Gigas Hosting SA (Spain) and OVH Groupe SAS (France) - while are still relatively small compared to their competitors - do not hesitate to say that English is not the first language they aim for.

According to Pascal Dalla-Torre, an Atos' network security officer, Veolia wants to retain control and sovereignty over its data, but secure cloud solutions are still possible. Atos is building a shelter, a safe space. It is a solution to protect its sensitive data.


Atos says it is negotiating a contract worth up to 1 billion euros for the same level of security as the contract signed with Veolia. Atos CEO, Thierry Breton said in an interview that European businesses wanted Google's technology, but with the right protection. It was one of the most common needs they heard from their current customers.

Europe is not the only region seeking to promote local suppliers. Beijing-based cloud service provider PingCAP is winning over local tech giants, startups and financial institutions for its enterprise software.

Meanwhile, US companies have not seen any serious effects. Oracle recently has a remarkably high closing price in the context of a transition to cloud computing, while Salesforce is busy with a $ 15.3 billion transaction to buy Tableau.

According to IDC's cloud analysts, the speed of innovation of hyperscale clouds is so high that European companies must use them to stay in the game. But the global legal environment and security risks are certainly part of the concerns that Europeans are considering.




By: Olivia Mendoza

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