Google and Thales unveil their S3NS sovereign cloud project


Pending sovereign cloud launch in H2 2024, Google Cloud customers have the option of local storage, EU staff support, and encryption with managed keys by Thales.

On the occasion of the opening of the French region of Google Cloud, Anthony Cirot, France director of Google Cloud, slipped to the JDN some information on the future sovereign cloud that the Mountain View group intends to open in France in partnership with Thales . A cloud that will allow access to its offer by avoiding dependence on the Cloud Act. It will be hosted by a joint venture under French law, called S3NS, majority owned by the French cybersecurity flagship (Google Cloud is a shareholder with less than 24%). Remember that the Cloud Act allows US authorities to access any data hosted by a US company, including if it is stored abroad. Like the partnership signed by Microsoft with Capgemini and Orange (read the article: Capgemini and Orange create a sovereign cloud Azure and Microsoft 365), the objective is to delegate marketing and IT operations to a company under French law. in order to neutralize this legal dependence.

“The ultimate goal is to comply with ANSSI’s SecNumCloud qualification”

In terms of data centers, the sovereign cloud co-founded by Google and Thales will be geographically located in the same place as the French cloud region of the American group. Translation: it will be deployed in the same buildings located in Ile-de-France, in three data centers. The infrastructure will nevertheless be installed in different rooms to ensure isolation between the two environments, both at the system and network level. “This proximity will allow Google personnel to intervene quickly in very advanced level 3 support situations, while being escorted by Thales personnel. The ultimate objective being to comply with the SecNumCloud qualification of the ‘ANSSI (for National Information Systems Security Agency, editor’s note)” explains to the JDN Anthony Cirot. A qualification which evolved with the release in March 2022 of its version 3.2. Its objective? To introduce the concept of cloud of trust by specifying the criteria of protection vis-√†-vis extra-European laws .

Deadline: 2024

In terms of functional scope, we can assume that the sovereign cloud launched jointly by Google and Thales will take over the thirty cloud services marketed in the French region of the American group, which is now open. Could it host Google Analytics 4? Probably not. The agreement signed between the two protagonists is piloted, on the Google side, by the cloud activity (GCP) of Mountain View, whose offer does not cover Google Analytics (GA) even if it can integrate the data.

The joint venture will implement “security services, including identity management, data encryption, administration and supervision, with updates received continuously but received, evaluated and validated within an airlock. managed by Thales”, the two partners specified when announcing this initiative in October 2021. Thales will also provide “encryption key management and cyber supervision thanks to the support of its cybersecurity operational center”.

Will the new offering launch in 2023 like Microsoft’s Project Blue? “For obtaining SecNumCloud, we are on similar deadlines. Knowing that we have an early adopter program with a dozen customers who will start during the summer”, confides Anthony Cirot. Called “Local controls with S3NS”, this first offer, qualified as an intermediate solution, makes it possible to benefit from Google Cloud services with the same levels of performance as the public offer with the guarantee of data storage in France or Europe. . “It limits access to customer data for staff from the European Union for their administration and technical support”, adds one at Thales. Finally, it offers an encryption service whose encryption keys are managed by S3NS. “It brings the benefits of additional automation to simplify operations, additional auditability and transparency.”

As for the sovereign cloud of S3NSit will be launched in the second half of 2024. Alongside GCP services, S3NS intends to build an ecosystem of integrator partners and application publishers, particularly French.

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