AWS Security Blog

How AWS can help you navigate the complexity of digital sovereignty

February 29, 2024: We’ve updated this post to provide more details on AWS KMS.

Customers from around the world often tell me that digital sovereignty is a top priority as they look to meet new compliance and industry regulations. In fact, 82% of global organizations are either currently using, planning to use, or considering sovereign cloud solutions in the next two years, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). However, many leaders face complexity as policies and requirements continue to rapidly evolve, and have concerns on acquiring the right knowledge and skills, at an affordable cost, to simplify efforts in meeting digital sovereignty goals.

At Amazon Web Services (AWS), we understand that protecting your data in a world with changing regulations, technology, and risks takes teamwork. We’re committed to making sure that the AWS Cloud remains sovereign-by-design, as it has been from day one, and providing customers with more choice to help meet their unique sovereignty requirements across our offerings in AWS Regions around the world, dedicated sovereign cloud infrastructure solutions, and the recently announced independent European Sovereign Cloud. In this blog post, I’ll share how the cloud is helping organizations meet their digital sovereignty needs, and ways that we can help you navigate the ever-evolving landscape.

Digital sovereignty needs of customers vary based on multiple factors

Digital sovereignty means different things to different people, and every country or region has their own requirements. Adding to the complexity is the fact that no uniform guidance exists for the types of workloads, industries, and sectors that must adhere to these requirements.

Although digital sovereignty needs vary based on multiple factors, key themes that we’ve identified by listening to customers, partners, and regulators include data residency, operator access restriction, resiliency, and transparency. AWS works closely with customers to understand the digital sovereignty outcomes that they’re focused on to determine the right AWS solutions that can help to meet them.

Meet requirements without compromising the benefits of the cloud

We introduced the AWS Digital Sovereignty Pledge in 2022 as part of our commitment to offer all AWS customers the most advanced set of sovereignty controls and security features available in the cloud. We continue to deeply engage with regulators to help make sure that AWS meets various standards and achieves certifications that our customers directly inherit, allowing them to meet requirements while driving continuous innovation. AWS was recently named a leader in Sovereign Cloud Infrastructure Services (EU) by Information Services Group (ISG), a global technology research and IT advisory firm.

Customers who use our global infrastructure with sovereign-by-design features can optimize for increased scale, agility, speed, and reduced costs while getting the highest levels of security and protection. Our AWS Regions are powered by the AWS Nitro System, which helps ensure the confidentiality and integrity of customer data. Building on our commitment to provide greater transparency and assurances on how AWS services are designed and operated, the security design of our Nitro System was validated in an independent public report by the global cybersecurity consulting firm NCC Group.

Customers have full control of their data on AWS and determine where their data is stored, how it’s stored, and who has access to it. We provide tools to help you automate and monitor your storage location and encrypt your data, including data residency guardrails in AWS Control Tower. We recently announced more than 65 new digital sovereignty controls that you can choose from to help prevent actions, enforce configurations, and detect undesirable changes.

All AWS services support encryption, and most services also support encryption with customer managed keys that AWS can’t access such as AWS Key Management Service (KMS), AWS CloudHSM, and AWS KMS External Key Store (XKS). Both the hardware security modules (HSMs) used in AWS KMS and the firmware used in AWS CloudHSM are continuously being certified under NIST FIPS 140 Security Level 3 validation.

Infrastructure choice to support your unique needs and local regulations

AWS provides hybrid cloud storage and edge computing capabilities so that you can use the same infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools across your environments. We think of our AWS infrastructure and services as a continuum that helps meet your requirements wherever you need it. Having a consistent experience across environments helps to accelerate innovation, increase operational efficiencies and reduce costs by using the same skills and toolsets, and meet specific security standards by adopting cloud security wherever applications and data reside.

We work closely with customers to support infrastructure decisions that meet unique workload needs and local regulations, and continue to invent based on what we hear from customers. To help organizations comply with stringent regulatory requirements, we launched AWS Dedicated Local Zones. This is a type of infrastructure that is fully managed by AWS, built for exclusive use by a customer or community, and placed in a customer-specified location or data center to run sensitive or other regulated industry workloads. At AWS re:Invent 2023, I sat down with Cheow Hoe Chan, Government Chief Digital Technology Officer of Singapore, to discuss how we collaborated with Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Group to define and build this dedicated infrastructure.

We also recently announced our plans to launch the AWS European Sovereign Cloud to provide customers in highly regulated industries with more choice to help meet varying data residency, operational autonomy, and resiliency requirements. This is a new, independent cloud located and operated within the European Union (EU) that will have the same security, availability, and performance that our customers get from existing AWS Regions today, with important features specific to evolving EU regulations.

Build confidently with AWS and our AWS Partners

In addition to our AWS offerings, you can access our global network of more than 100,000 AWS Partners specialized in various competencies and industry verticals to get local guidance and services.

There is a lot of complexity involved with navigating the evolving digital sovereignty landscape—but you don’t have to do it alone. Using the cloud and working with AWS and our partners can help you move faster and more efficiently while keeping costs low. We’re committed to helping you meet necessary requirements while accelerating innovation, and can’t wait to see the kinds of advancements that you’ll continue to drive.

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Max Peterson

Max Peterson

Max is the Vice President of AWS Sovereign Cloud. He leads efforts to ensure that all AWS customers around the world have the most advanced set of sovereignty controls, privacy safeguards, and security features available in the cloud. Before his current role, Max served as the VP of AWS Worldwide Public Sector (WWPS) and created and led the WWPS International Sales division, with a focus on empowering government, education, healthcare, aerospace and satellite, and nonprofit organizations to drive rapid innovation while meeting evolving compliance, security, and policy requirements. Max has over 30 years of public sector experience and served in other technology leadership roles before joining Amazon. Max has earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and Master of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from the University of Maryland.