Office building with green window facade against blue sky

More sustainability with cloud and digital sovereignty

Sustainable action is the order of the day for everyone – the sovereign cloud helps reduce the carbon footprint

August 21 2023Moritz Nowitzki

Changing world

Dried-up lakes, shrinking glaciers, polar bears left stranded: global climate change is increasingly threatening the future. Impressive but also frightening images are provided by Google Time Lapse, which shows in fast motion how landscapes have changed over the last 40 years. The mission is clear: take action as quickly as possible to reduce our environmental footprint.

Europe’s future: green and digital

Society, politics, and, above all, the economy are therefore challenged. The EU’s Fit for 55 package lends weight to this issue. It includes directives aimed at reducing the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) reporting, which imposes dedicated sustainability reporting on companies, underscores the urgency.

Digitalization can contribute to this ambition in many ways. It enables companies to adopt climate-friendly technologies – such as climate-neutral data centers for modern cloud solutions. Moreover,  it offers numerous tools and green IT that indirectly help to reduce CO2 emissions. For example, innovative apps can help users make office environments more sustainable by using fewer resources. Or – as implemented by Google1 – search engines can highlight environmentally friendly products, making it easier for people to find them.

The cloud is key to sustainability

As environmental concerns grow, customers and employees2 are demanding more climate- and eco-friendly products and services from “their” companies. The pressure for action from various stakeholder groups is growing, which is why digital solutions that deliver results in the short term are increasingly in demand.

Energy supply is an important factor in reducing CO2 emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it accounted for 34 percent2 of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Savings in this area, therefore, make a rapid impact. Cloud computing and data centers play a special role here. However, many companies still operate on-premises data centers; inefficient IT components and costly air conditioning require considerable energy. Public cloud solutions are one step ahead: providers such as Google pay close attention to the energy-efficient operation of their cloud data centers.

Climate protection is a driver of innovation

Businesswoman thinks about the future

According to a recent Gartner study3, public cloud providers are working hard to implement a transparent climate strategy over the next three years. Cloud services are especially environmentally friendly thanks to the consolidation of data centers, the use of renewable energies, energy-efficient hardware, and improved cooling systems – the key words here are Green IT.

Flexible scalability also ensures an optimal use of resources, which reduces energy consumption compared to conventional systems. Cloud hyperscalers, particularly, are investing in intelligent automation and AI to analyze and minimize environmental impacts further. The multi-tenancy architecture of the cloud allows hardware to be shared – this way, servers are optimally utilized, and energy is used more sparingly.

Safe and sustainable: The sovereign cloud

However, many companies still hesitate to put their data into public clouds because of data security concerns. This hesitation is where the sovereign cloud comes in. It enables high data security by allowing companies to maintain control of their sensitive data and minimize potential security risks. It also better meets specific regulations and compliance requirements, which are critical in highly regulated industries such as health or finance. In the sovereign cloud, data is stored locally, which accommodates data protection aspects and latency-sensitive applications. This control, in turn, leads to greater customer confidence and transparency. All these benefits make the T-Systems Sovereign Cloud powered by Google Cloud an attractive and green option for companies wanting the sustainability benefits of the cloud, increased control over their data, and better compliance.

Cornerstones of digital sovereignty

Our sovereign cloud ensures companies can protect their data and infrastructure and meet regulatory requirements. Digital sovereignty is based on three pillars:

  • Data sovereignty: Organizations have complete control over their data in the cloud, including location, access, security, and privacy.
  • Software sovereignty: Companies can customize the software they use and develop their own applications and services to meet their specific business needs.
  • Operational sovereignty: Businesses can self-manage and control cloud infrastructure and operations to operate more efficiently and maintain control over business-critical processes.

It’s only by combining these three pillars that enables companies to independently manage and control their data, software, and operations. This combination strengthens their ability to act autonomously in the cloud and consciously rely on environmentally friendly structures. And so, they reach the fourth pillar: sustainable sovereignty.

1  Google 2023, sustainability.google
2  Insights: Climate change: the CFO’s perspective, Deloitte, 2023, deloitte.com
3  Drei Nachhaltigkeitstechnologien für die Zukunft, Gartner, 2022, datacenter-insider.de

About the author
Moritz Nowitzki

Moritz Nowitzki

Head of Portfoliomanagement & Strategy, T-Systems International GmbH

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