Geopolitical tensions and cybersecurity worries drive Asia/Pacific govts to shift to sovereign cloud: IDC

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geopolitical tensions drive sovereign cloud adoption

Sovereign cloud, a subset of digital sovereignty, is gaining traction as an architecture that meets countries’ data residency, sovereignty regulatory, and audit requirements. According to a recent report by IDC titled “State of Sovereign and Industry Cloud Investment by Asia/Pacific Governments,” interest among Asia/Pacific governments in sovereign cloud solutions is on the rise. This interest is driven by several factors, including geopolitical tensions, escalating cyber threats, evolving data protection regulations, and shifts in digital trade policies.

Governments perceive sovereign cloud not only as a means of compliance but also as an economic catalyst, attracting investments from hyperscalers into local data centers to enhance the digital economy and industry prospects.

According to IDC’s FERS survey, conducted in 2023, 17% of surveyed Asia/Pacific government agencies already utilize sovereign cloud services. Moreover, nearly a third express intentions to adopt sovereign cloud solutions within the next two years.

Employing sovereign cloud solutions offers several benefits, including enhanced data security, compliance with data residency regulations, sovereign control over infrastructure, improved transparency and accountability, support for local economies through IP protection, reduced reliance on offshore providers, alignment with national security interests, and potential performance enhancements for government applications.

“Asia/Pacific government organizations are assessing sovereign clouds for data control, security, and regulatory benefits while addressing concerns about security, costs, and reliance on vendors. Successful adoption requires prioritizing investments, classifying data, and aligning trust with organizational goals. Vendors must educate thoroughly and offer practical solutions for effective sovereign cloud implementation,” says Ravikant Sharma, Research Director, Government Insights, IDC Asia/Pacific.

Despite the advantages, there are operational challenges associated with sovereign cloud adoption. Major concerns among government organizations include high implementation costs (especially infrastructure building and integration), complexity in integration with existing systems and regulatory roadmaps, security considerations, and potential hindrances to innovation.

In response to these challenges, leading cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Oracle Sovereign Cloud, VMware/Broadcom Sovereign Cloud, and NxtGen Sovereign Cloud, are expanding their offerings tailored to the sovereign cloud market in the Asia/Pacific region. Looking ahead, approximately 20% of government organizations in the region are projected to increase spending on sovereign cloud solutions in the coming years.

To promote wider adoption, sovereign cloud providers should prioritize educating the market, engaging stakeholders in discussions about digital sovereignty, addressing top concerns (such as complexity and costs), and offering hybrid approaches to mitigate inflexibility.

Government organizations adopting sovereign cloud solutions should exercise caution to mitigate security risks and vendor lock-in. They should advocate transparent practices from providers, focus on governance and compliance, and classify data/workloads migrating to the sovereign cloud to ensure successful adoption.

Source: IDC

Read next: Gartner announces the top government technology trends for 2024

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