As covered today in the German, French and international media, European Governments are starting to take digital sovereignty more and more serious, moving away from cloud solutions from large, centralized, foreign firms. Responding to escalating trade tensions including the recent dispute over a digital tax in France, the introduction of the GDPR and legal challenges to the US Cloud Act, the French ministry of Interior, the Dutch ministry of Education and Swedish federal government agencies have joined the German federal government in deploying a European-designed, private cloud solution.
During the last year, the French Ministry of Interior has evaluated building an internal cloud and is now preparing a roll-out of a production-ready Nextcloud to their users, designed to scale to the 300.000 employees of the ministry. These users will have access to easy, secure file exchange with mobile, desktop and web access and real-time collaborative office document editing.
Thierry Markwitz, Sous Directeur des Infrastructures au Ministère de l’Interieur:
The French government cares deeply about the safety of the data of their citizens and employees. With the on-premises content collaboration platform Nextcloud we have opted for a secure, easy to use solution from the leading European vendor.
For FMI, security was clearly very important and this is of course a key advantage of Nextcloud. Like other major organizations using Nextcloud, FMI did an extensive internal security audit and internal certification. We have assisted with those audits, answered many security-related questions and regularly continue to do so as they continuously audit the code base while Nextcloud evolves.
According to the German Federal Government, ITZBund:
Nextcloud provides users with a modern, easy-to-use and productivity-oriented solution that enables efficient online and mobile collaboration and communication. ITZBund now provides an on-premises open source solution from a German provider to keep control over their own data.
After ITZBund started a pilot for about 5000 users, testing the functionality and reliability of the service, it began deployment of Nextcloud for the about 300.000 employees of the entire German Federal Government. Strict security requirements were crucial for choosing Nextcloud as the file sync and share solution. Another important concern was scalability both in terms of large numbers of users and extensibility with additional features, for which Nextcloud offers its powerful Apps concept with over 200 apps available in our app store.
Both the French Ministry of Interior and the German Bundescloud host Nextcloud internally and keep it on their internal network. This means it can not be reached from the outside and any work we do with them has to be done on-premises. Being able to firewall the internal data from the wider internet this way is a key security advantage of a self-hosted solution.
Learn more in our earlier Announcement of German Federal Government deploying Nextcloud
As noted by the Swedish National Procurement Services:
The need for Sweden as a country to have control over its information and the consequences of not having access to the information should be considered from the perspective of national security and sovereignty. In an international crisis or conflict, the willingness and ability of other countries to access, manipulate or deny access to information handled by a service provider should be considered.
Försäkringskassan is working on developing user functionality for such things as file storing internal messaging services, end-to-end encrypted and self hosted.
The uncertainty about how the public sector may use cloud services creates problems
Said Försäkringskassans cto, Mikael Norberg
We see a lot of interest in Nextcloud and private self-hosted productivity solutions from government agencies at all levels all over Europe and we are in discussion with many of them. We are looking forward to helping Europe achieve digital sovereignty!