Study: Digital Sovereignty in the Cloud Important to 82% of German SMEs

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DateMay 8, 2024

A new study conducted by Böcker Ziemen Management Consultants on behalf of Leaseweb Germany reveals significant insights into the perspectives of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany regarding digital sovereignty in the cloud. Engaging 204 managers and specialists from German SMEs, the online survey highlights a strong emphasis on the importance of digital sovereignty, with 82% of participants rating it as important or very important.

In addition, 66% of the respondents anticipate that the importance of digital sovereignty will increase in the near future.

In the context of this research commissioned by Leaseweb Germany, ‘digital sovereignty’ refers to an organization’s autonomy over the management, control, and security of its digital infrastructures and data in cloud environments. With cloud computing becoming an increasingly important part of corporate operations, control over these digital assets would be turning into a strategic priority.   When thinking about cloud services, respondents to the survey gave the highest priority to security and data protection. Information management and certified quality were found to be the most important criteria for evaluating a cloud provider’s capacity to maintain digital sovereignty. Another important factor for the German SMEs questioned was their preference for building local cloud architectures and keeping data on local networks. 

Looking ahead, the participants expressed a desire for enhanced data protection technologies and broader implementation of standards and certifications. These factors are seen as essential for advancing digital sovereignty in the cloud. However, the complexity of IT infrastructure and the maze of legal and regulatory requirements pose significant challenges, according to the survey results. About 47% of the companies surveyed believe they can achieve digital sovereignty on their own, whereas the remaining 53% acknowledge the need for support from external partners such as system houses and Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

European Alternative to Global Hyperscalers

Professor Dr. Jens Böcker, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board and partner at Böcker Ziemen Management Consultants, emphasized the importance of this study in informing public debate: “This study aims to provide a substantive basis for how companies can systematically prepare for a digital future,” he stated. “It also highlights that securing European digital sovereignty is an ongoing endeavor that businesses need to actively engage with.”

Marcus Busch, Managing Director of Leaseweb Germany, commented on the findings, noting the high level of awareness and the strategic importance of digital sovereignty recognized by SMEs. He also shed light on Leaseweb’s involvement with the European Cloud Campus, a project co-funded by the European Union, aimed at establishing a European alternative to global hyperscale cloud providers. This initiative focuses on ensuring data sovereignty with a scalable and automated infrastructure that offers clear data residency rules.

“The European Cloud Campus stands as a sovereign alternative to the global hyperscalers, aiming to secure the digitalization of companies while offering high flexibility and scalability,” said Mr. Busch. He expressed enthusiasm about leading this significant initiative alongside other leading European entities, driving forward the continent’s cloud sovereignty with “cutting-edge” technology from Leaseweb.

In light of the growing scrutiny around global data flows and control, Europe’s efforts to strengthen digital autonomy would be reflected in this emphasis on building a resilient, sovereign cloud infrastructure.

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