De world is one big Cloud
Today, the Cloud can no longer be ignored in our lives. Whether it concerns online services to arrange your banking affairs, online shopping, email, file storage or social media, almost everything goes via the Cloud. And thanks to that Cloud, it was also possible that we all could work from home during the lock-down. Companies have embraced wholeheartedly tools and have started managing projects online, meeting online and sharing or storing files online. Thanks to IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and Saas (Software as a Service), it is also not difficult to arrange for organizations. Users log in to their computer, tablet or mobile and end up in their work environment where all the necessary software and files are available. Regardless of whether you want to work at the office, from home or from the holiday location. Well organized it is. The Cloud is therefore very useful and can no longer be ignored in the digital world in which we live today. Whether it concerns working online or looking for an online connection with each other via the various social media platforms, our lives are intimately connected with the Cloud.
The largest providers of those Cloud environments are located in America and China. Of course there are also smaller providers, but it is estimated that about 75% of the Cloud services are in control of a few large parties. Chances are that you use those big boys, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM and Alibaba Cloud. There is nothing wrong with that. Basically they do their job properly. They ensure that you can communicate with each other, you can do your digital stuff, store and share files and everything else you do online. They transport and manage your data neatly. But according to the laws that apply in the country where the Cloud is located. Those big names (headquarters) are not located in Europe and therefore they are not coverd by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the European privacy legislation. Other rules apply regarding security, data protection, quality standards and much more. For example, America has the CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) that makes it possible for the American government to access data, even if it is on a European server.
At the initiative of France and Germany, the GAIA-X project was started in Europe in 2019. With the intention of establishing a European Digital Ecosystem in which European laws and regulations apply. Within this ecosystem, not only will the cloud providers connect, but it should also be possible for companies and organizations from different industries to share and exchange data with each other.
Naturally, according to a series of principles and guiding policy, so that participating parties can comply with the rules and laws in their own country. These principles can be divided into:
- European data protection Consider, among other things, the GDPR, the Free Flow of Non-Personal Data Regulation, the Cybersecurity Act and the application of different levels of protection.
- Openness and transparency Open source and data infrastructure with standard contracts and procedures, so less complex and more cost-effective.
- Authenticity and trust Standards and rules for IT security, data sovereignty, service levels and frameworks. But also standards and conditions for collaboration, authentication between companies and access management.
- Digital sovereignty and self-determination Each participating organization or provider decides for itself on the important questions about data storage. This includes where it is stored, who has access to the data and for what purpose or foundation.
- Free market access and European value creation By connecting all technical components and partners in the value chain, new collaborations and business models can emerge without unnecessary complex agreements. Linking Cloud providers so that people can scale up quickly is a concrete example of this.
- Modularity and interoperability Linking and integrating the data via the GAIA standards will make it easier to compete as a small specialized cloud service.
- Usability Within GAIA-X familiar interfaces and centralized services will be used. This makes it possible to use it without a lot of technical knowledge.
In summary, we can say that with the digitization of the world, the necessity and need for efficient and secure digital infrastructures has grown. Via GAIA-X it should soon be possible to combine cloud and edge services from European providers into an own ecosystem. Within this system, the overarching common rules, standards and technologies apply, covered in their turn by the European legislation. GAIA’s goal is to allow Europe and all countries, authorities, companies, organizations and citizens to maintain control and sovereignty over their data. But just as important are the many new opportunities for collaboration and opportunities for innovation that will come alongside this all. Not because GAIA will fade away the current cloud giants from the globe, but united we will be able to provide a bit more counterweight and reduce the technical and economic lead.
To give the Netherlands more weight within the GAIA-X project, ten Dutch cloud providers have started an initiative. The Dutch Cloud Infrastructure Coalition, or CiC in short, wants to bring in the Dutch cloud expertise. Participants in the CiC include research institute TNO and SURF, the IT organization institute of the universities in the Netherlands, and also sector organizations DHPA and DINL. Fuga Cloud, the cloud service provider from the Cyso Group, is also part of this collaboration.
Joining the Cloud Infrastructure Coalition fits excellent within the European expansion strategy of the Fuga Core, Fuga Edge and Fuga Private Cloud platforms. With all expertise from Cyso Group, we will support the Cloud Infrastructure initiative with advice and technical collaboration.
Paul Bankert, founder and director of Fuga Cloud and Cyso Group
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