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Sovereign clouds are becoming a big deal again

Industries that use the cloud, such as banking, insurance, healthcare, and the public sector, face additional challenges in complying with laws and requirements within specific regions. This has increased the demand for sovereign clouds. This approach to cloud architecture seems to go unnoticed by everyone; therefore, I am mentioning it.

Sovereign clouds are semi-public cloud services that are owned, controlled, and operated by a particular country or region, or sometimes a region-serving cloud provider. They may be wholly owned by the local government or by a consortium of public and private organizations.

In some cases, they are owned by private companies that work closely with the government. The goal is to provide a computing infrastructure that can support specific government services, especially the protection of sensitive data and compliance with laws and regulations specific to a country or region.

When we were first formulating the idea of ​​cloud computing and how to define it, some of us tossed around the term. sovereign cloud. However, the concept never took off and the industry focused on mega cloud providers that served every country. That is where we are now.

Even those moving to sovereign clouds will likely still need hyperscalers for some systems that are less cost-effective to run on sovereign clouds. In fact, we are finding that sovereign clouds are becoming a part of multi-cloud deployments. The acceptance of multiclouds and their flexibilities also seems to generate a new interest in sovereign clouds today.

The benefits of sovereign clouds

Sovereign clouds provide greater control and ownership of data, ensuring that data is stored and managed in accordance with local laws and regulations, including maintaining data in specific countries or regions. With public clouds, you could risk having your data moved out of the country for innocent reasons, such as backup and recovery operations. Sovereign clouds avoid this risk as they physically exist in the country they support.

sovereign clouds offer enhanced security measures, including encryption, access controls, and network slicing that can also be tailored to specific countries or regions. Of course, larger public clouds can provide the same or better services, but the fact that sovereign cloud security systems are designed specifically for the laws and regulations of a specific country means that they should be better at supporting security measures. data security for that country.

Sovereign cloud supply higher levels of service availability and reliability than commercial cloud providers, or so they say. Since your systems are physically closer to users and connected applications, that may be the case.

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Sovereign clouds can be customized to meet the specific needs of a country or organization, including compliance requirements, data storage, and processing capabilities. Additionally, sovereign clouds can create jobs and contribute to local economic development as governments and organizations invest in building and maintaining the necessary infrastructure.

By providing a transparent and accountable data management framework, sovereign clouds can help build trust among citizens and customers who may be concerned about data privacy and security. In addition, they can offer increased independence from commercial cloud providersreducing dependence on foreign technology and infrastructure.

Again, some of this is perception versus reality. The best analogy is someone who thinks that the products are better at a small neighborhood grocery store than a big box store, but both stores buy their products from the same farms.

The drawbacks of sovereign clouds

So why don’t companies turn to their specific sovereign cloud providers? Here are some reasons. sovereign clouds may be incompatible with other cloud infrastructureswhich can lead to interoperability and data sharing issues.

Although sovereign clouds aim to increase privacy and data sovereignty, there are concerns that governments could use them to collect and monitor citizen data, potentially violating privacy rights. Many companies prefer to use global public cloud providers if they believe their local sovereign cloud could be compromised by the government. Note that in many cases local governments own the sovereign clouds.

sovereign clouds May be slower to adopt new technologies and services compared to global cloud providers, which could limit their ability to innovate and remain competitive. Consider the current rise of artificial intelligence. Sovereign clouds may not be able to offer the same types of services, considering they don’t have billions to spend on R&D like the largest providers.

Organizations that rely on a sovereign cloud can become overly dependent on government or consortium that operates it, limiting its flexibility and autonomy.

As multicloud becomes a more popular architecture, I suspect the use of sovereign clouds will become more common. Some companies serving a specific country will move to sovereign clouds to better align with local laws and regulations. This is a valid option for many companies and should always be considered as part of a cloud computing portfolio.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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