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Sovereign Strategy: Hosting

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In a previous article, I talked about the sovereign strategy. To build its digital sovereignty strategy, one of the pillars is hosting.

This is a key element that now needs to be reviewed in light of the invalidation of the Privacy Shield.. In this article I will try to outline two possible strategies, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

 

Non-sovereign Hosting

 

From a purely legal point of view, linked to the invalidation of the Privacy Shield, and the recommendations of the CNIL (Le monde Informatique), in order to protect oneself from American laws, it is advisable to store one’s data with several providers by encrypting them. The encryption keys must be stored in the European Union. It is even recommended that none of the providers be able to reconstruct the complete data.

As we can see, this approach can quickly become complex and costly to implement. I would be surprised, even if I don’t have any figures, if this approach is favored. One can even imagine that many players have not yet taken the right measure of the legal risk and are rather taking a wait-and-see attitude. Fortunately, there are other possibilities.

 

Sovereign Hosting

 

The second option is to favor French or European hosting companies. I will focus on French solutions, and here again I will not pretend to be exhaustive.

As we will see, there are a large number of players of varying sizes offering a variety of solutions.

The range goes from small players, even start-ups with innovative concepts, to well-known and recognized players.

Among the established international players, we find companies such as OVH Cloud, Scaleway (Iliad Group), Outscale (3DS) and Orange Cloud.

Each of these players has serious assets to be an alternative to the use of American cloud services (Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS) or even Chinese.

  • Whatever the choice of the solution, a set of parameters must be taken into account:
  • The cost: I put it first, because unfortunately it is often the main or even the only driver of the decision…
  • Reversibility: indeed, whatever the actor you choose, will it be easy for you to get out of it and go to another one or to reinternalize?
  • Functionalities: what are the functionalities offered? Are they all at the same level, do you really need optional features “offered”? Avoid being lured by “sexy” features that you will never use!
  • Your legal exposure: what law does your decision subject you to?
  • What is the currency of the contract? We often forget this but drawing up contracts in dollars exposes you to the extraterritoriality of American laws. For large European groups, it is time to impose contracts in euros…
  • Availability / proximity of support and ease of communication with your supplier.
  • The geographical location of the Data Centers

Here again, the list is not exhaustive, but it can help you realize that the right solution is not necessarily the one that is presented to you in a sexy way on a set of PowerPoint slides…

Here is a cartography of the main French hosting actors, this cartography is probably not complete, but already gives a vision of the richness of our ecosystem.

Mapping of hosting companies

Why choose a sovereign hosting?

 

This is a naive question that few French companies, regardless of their sector of activity, ask themselves. It is even regrettable that many of our digital nuggets have not asked themselves the question in these terms, and this can have different consequences more or less unfortunate in the long term …

We can cite the example of Amazon which is launching a teleconsultation and appointment booking service, which certainly for the moment has little chance of establishing itself in Europe, but becomes a competitor of #Doctolib which is hosted by AWS (Amazon). We can ask ourselves the question of the judiciousness of this choice in the end?

The other angle from which we could start to look at these choices is the angle of the policy of Social and Environmental Responsibility (SER) that a certain number of large groups claim. Isn’t it the social responsibility of large groups to allow the French ecosystem to develop and mature with them? It seems that the Germans have an economic fabric that is more used to working in synergy…

The last point, which is important once again, is that working with a French hosting company means that you are under the French legal system, which is certainly more restrictive, but much more protective, particularly in terms of data protection with the RGPD. This is also a commercial argument that can reassure your customers.

 

Conclusion

 

You won’t be surprised if I favor hosting with a sovereign player. The arguments are rather solid, and I refuse the short-term accounting approach which does not necessarily allow to judge the real cost of the #gafam solutions, too many parameters not being taken into account… Moreover, the economic parameters alone should not direct the decision.

It is the responsibility of all French economic actors, public or private, to favor national actors, in particular to create and maintain a pool of skills that are essential to tomorrow’s economy, but also of consumers with the purchasing power to consume the proposed products and services…

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