Understanding the Bleu project, the trusted Cloud from Capgemini and Orange. A look back at an ambitious project!
A little background: what is the Cloud?
The Cloud is a network of remote but connected servers that manage and store computer data that can be accessed from any location. It is not a physical location, but rather a remote storage solution.
The term Cloud takes into account the fact that the server used to provide storage space and remotely executable software is not directly visible to the user, but hidden as if behind a cloud.
There are four types of clouds:
- The public Cloud, which offers publicly accessible services via the Internet,
- The private Cloud, which offers services that are only accessible via an internal network,
- The hybrid Cloud, which mixes public and private clouds according to the objectives being targeted,
- And finally the Community Cloud, which shares resources among specific organizations.
The Cloud has many advantages: computing power that makes it possible to process complex tasks, real-time data sharing, facilitation of remote work, but also the absence of constraints related to the development of an internal IT infrastructure. But it also has its limitations, including a potentially high cost of implementation and dependence on the Internet. Moreover, it is not entirely immune to the risks of cyber attacks, as security flaws are always possible. Nevertheless, a cloud solution is much more secure than an on-premise solution, with teams of experts dedicated to this subject.
📌 To go further, find out how to secure your intranet
So today's cloud, while imperfect, is a reliable, fluid, and highly secure solution that far exceeds other data storage solutions.
The Blue Cloud, or Trusted Cloud: what is it?
The Bleu joint venture, born from the alliance between Capgemini, Orange and Microsoft, has announced the launch in 2024 of its "sovereign" cloud offering, which will provide access to Microsoft Azure and Office 365 solutions.
The idea of this joint venture is to offer Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 cloud computing services, while hosting the data by Orange and Capgemini on French soil. The objective is to prevent American authorities from accessing the hosted data. Indeed, under the CLOUD Act enacted in 2018, under certain conditions, these authorities can require the disclosure of information that passes through the servers of a U.S. company, regardless of their location in the world.
During a presentation of Bleu, Guillaume Poupard, Director General of the French National Agency for Information Systems Security (Anssi), stated: " The ambition is to benefit from the best technologies operated by trusted players exclusively subject to European law, without concessions in terms of security.
Anssi will be responsible for issuing the "Trusted Cloud" label. This label will have to meet the requirements of the SecNumCloud security framework, which includes provisions on data protection. Currently, three cloud providers are SecNumCloud certified: OVHcloud, 3DS Outscale and Oodrive.
With this new offer, Microsoft, Orange and Capgemini wish to address in particular public and private organizations that manage sensitive data that they cannot store on foreign servers: the army, hospitals, certain state institutions, etc.
As an independent French company, fully owned by French shareholders, Bleu will be able to ensure total independence from US extraterritorial laws.
An innovative service... but not totally!
This is not the first time this type of innovation has been proposed. In 2015, Numergy, the sovereign cloud company founded by SFR, went into receivership. The other sovereign cloud, Cloudwatt, had also been placed under safeguard procedure, before being taken over by its majority shareholder, Orange.
Numergy and Cloudwatt had suffered from a mismatch between the reality of their business and the forecasts made at the time of the project's launch. The forecasted revenue was not reached. Had their sovereign cloud service been launched too early? Should the project have been matured (and refined) longer? It's hard to say.
Since then, Dassault Systèmes has also launched its Outscale Cloud, aimed at public institutions and private organizations that want to protect their sensitive data. Dassault Systèmes views the arrival of Bleu with a critical eye, since it is a new competitor in the sovereign cloud market.
What are the opportunities of such services for companies and users of the sovereign cloud?
All computer data, whether private or public, can be captured. The presence of a sovereign cloud makes it possible to overcome this flaw by ensuring the security and confidentiality of this data. This is made possible by hosting the data in France, in a 100% secure storage space.
In concrete terms, the sovereign cloud works in the same way as a foreign-based cloud. Its advantages are the same as those of a traditional cloud (see the first part of the article), but they are enhanced: reinforced security, increased stability, higher execution speed, etc. One of the reasons for this is the greater proximity to the IT facilities.
But the greatest advantage of the Sovereign Cloud lies in the transparency and security of the data. The data is stored on servers based in France, which are therefore subject to French law. This data cannot be consulted without prior authorization, unlike data that is located on American soil and subject to the CLOUD Act. For companies and public organizations, this is the assurance of securing their data and knowing where it is at any time. In other words, the Sovereign Cloud establishes true data sovereignty.
💡 To take it a step further, find out 5 mistakes you shouldn't make during your digital transformation
Will Bleu succeed in making us forget the previous failures of trusted clouds in France? Is it coming at the right time? That's what we'll see in the future. In any case, the project has a lot going for it, since it puts in place a data sovereignty model, which is highly prized at a time when security is a top priority for private and public companies. Guess we'll find out in a few years...