The Changing Landscape of European Cloud Computing: Gaia-X, the French National Strategy, and EU Plans
Non-European cloud service providers host the vast majority of European data, which is viewed as an economic as well as a political problem. Gaia-X, European governments and the European Union aim to bolster the European cloud market while responding to data privacy and cybersecurity concerns.
It is estimated that, with the ongoing digital transformation, the global volume of data will be multiplied by five by 2025. Cloud technologies are playing a central role in facilitating this growth.
Today, non-European service providers host 80% of European data. This situation has been called into question over the past few years. For nearly a decade, but especially from 2018 onward, digital sovereignty – in particular, sovereignty over data – has been seen as a necessary response to the privacy and cybersecurity concerns of Europeans, whether individuals, governments, or industry. Europe has sought to build its own governance framework for data and to develop European cloud solutions.
European initiatives in the cloud sector - even if they are not fully coordinated - illustrate in a rather practical fashion what the sometimes-hazy terms of data sovereignty can entail. When it comes to cloud computing, at a minimum it means storing and processing data in Europe, according to European law, and fostering a diverse digital ecosystem that gives customers the choice among various suppliers and data protection regimes.