Sunday, July 21, 2024

Google, AWS, Microsoft invest in sovereign cloud in Asia-Pac

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  • Google and Gulf Edge to provide sovereign cloud services in Thailand

  • Hyperscalers and major cloud service providers are investing heavily in the Asia Pacific region

  • Apart from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and India are also making efforts to boost their cloud sovereignty

Tech giant Google Cloud and Gulf Edge, a subsidiary of Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited, formed a multi-year agreement to provide sovereign cloud services in accordance with Thailand’s strict data residency, security and privacy requirements.

As per the terms of the agreement, Google Cloud will authorize Gulf Edge to operate Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) as a Managed GDC Provider (MGP), focusing on air-gapped configurations for organizations in Thailand. Gulf Edge will provide deployment options for GDC air-gapped on-premises or within a Gulf Group data center, with hardware options to address organizations’ specific workload requirements.

This part of the agreement ensures adherence to Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act, which demands that the data, operations and software remain under the customer’s control and within Thailand’s borders.

GDC allows organizations to adhere to the data residency and security requirements because it does not demand connectivity to Google Cloud to manage infrastructure.

Air-gapped refers to a secure environment that is completely isolated and cut off from the internet and other external networks.

“This next-generation, AI-enabled sovereign cloud solution will enable the public sector and other regulated industries to accelerate digital transformation on their own terms, even when faced with stringent digital sovereignty requirements,” said Karan Bajwa, VP for Asia Pacific at Google Cloud, in a press release about the deal. “GDC empowers organizations to unlock new ways to analyze data, uncover insights, boost productivity, and build modern applications while ensuring they have complete control and protection of their sensitive data.”

Sovereign cloud solutions expand in Southeast Asia

Google partnered with the Thai Government last year to boost the country’s digital economy and AI ecosystem. Google Cloud is also coming up with Thailand Cloud region in Bangkok. Apart from Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft are also investing in Thailand.

Several countries are opting for sovereign clouds as cyber threats increase and geopolitical reasons threaten disruptions. Prominent hyperscalers and major cloud service providers are investing heavily in the Asia Pacific region and are driving the adoption of sovereign clouds by changing their offerings according to the compliance and regulations of different countries. For instance, VMware added 19 cloud providers in the APJ region last year to “offer cloud sovereign capabilities” to its customers.

Apart from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and India are also making efforts to boost their cloud sovereignty. Singapore’s Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) signed an agreement with Microsoft to address emerging technology needs across its Home Team Departments. In addition, Singapore’s Center for Strategic Infocomm Technologies (CSIT) recently partnered with GDC to pilot a sovereign cloud solution to use AI to address its defense requirements.

In India, the Government recently passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2023 which requires organizations to store and process data locally. On the other hand, Malaysia doesn’t require data localization under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) but it prevents the cross-border transfer of personal data barring some exceptions. Apart from that, the country also came up with the Digital Economy Blueprint in 2018, which encourages the use of in-country data centers.

The growing stress on sovereign cloud in the region means that organizations need to analyze their cloud strategies closely to ensure compliance with local laws.

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