The information technology company Capgemini and telecoms company Orange have recently announced a partnership to create “Bleu”, a new cloud company that aims to provide a “Cloud de Confiance” service to meet French sovereignty requirements. The platform also aims to meet the needs of public administrations, and critical infrastructure companies with “unique privacy, security, and resiliency” specifications.
It is hoped that Bleu’s customers will receive an independent, trusted cloud platform equipped with a broad catalog of digital solutions and cutting-edge collaborative tools, with the partnership being described as a “step forward” for France’s digital transformation. Combining the expertise of both Capgemini and Orange working alongside Microsoft, Bleu offers its cloud solutions to Vital Importance Operators (OIVs) and Essential Service Operators (OSEs), in addition to the French State, several public agencies, hospitals, and regional authorities with sensitive data and a workload that requires a “Cloud de Confiance” platform.
Aiman Ezzat, Chief Executive Officer of Capgemini, said: “As a strategic partner to our clients, Capgemini is focused on building the services they need, based on leading technologies and the highest standards. The creation of a ”Cloud de Confiance” for France will provide French State and critical infrastructure organisations with the many benefits of flexible cloud services on a secure platform.
“Now is the right moment to launch this project which benefits from strong political will and very advanced technologies. We are excited to be partnering with Orange on this pioneering project”, said Ezzat.
Adding her thoughts about the project, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange, commented: “This ‘Cloud de Confiance’ meets a growing need in the digital world. The French State recently highlighted this in defining their ‘cloud au centre’ policy and set out the standards required regarding data protection and sovereignty. Orange, as a trusted partner for the digital transformation of businesses, operates, integrates, and manages a range of trusted infrastructure services for its customers, whether they are public or private entities. We are delighted to partner with Capgemini to create a trusted-cloud solution for our existing and future BtoB customers and public organizations that will provide a wide range of services, and in particular Microsoft 365, from within a sovereign infrastructure.”
Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President of Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing, and Operations, also provided a statement. She said: “Establishing a new ‘Cloud de Confiance’ service, which should be recognised by French authorities, through a company founded and led by Capgemini and Orange, will help accelerate France's digital transformation and meet the standards defined by the French government in its national policy.
“This announcement will contribute to France's economic growth, benefit the national technology and services partner ecosystem, and support the country’s long-term success”, she concluded.
Providing Microsoft’s cloud services
Bleu will also intend to provide secure cloud technology courtesy of Microsoft, including the modern collaboration and productivity solutions that come under the Microsoft 365 programme. Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which is delivered using an independent environment will also be included “to ensure customers benefit from the widest range of the latest technology innovations”, Orange said.
To ensure the needs of its French clients are met, Orange and Capgemini claim that the platform will be governed by “ key requirements surrounding sensitive data”. These include providing immunity from all extraterritorial legislation and economic independence with Orange and Capgemini investing the majority of capital in the cloud company. These, however, are reliant on meeting data transfer requirements and ensuring full control is taken of cloud-based applications within an isolated infrastructure that uses data centres located in France.
The integration of future complementary partners and SecNumCloud Label (2)
There is the potential for Bleu to integrate other “complementary partners” in the future, with services offered by the company have received the SecNumCloud Label (2) certification by the National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI), in addition to other legal requirements confirming its status as a “Cloud de Confiance” operator. Bleu also plans to join the Gaia-X initiative, of which Orange and Capgemini are already members. This is to support “the emergence of sovereign solutions” in Europe and “contribute to the development of this ecosystem”.
Guillaume Poupard, Director General of ANSSI, said: “In line with France’s national cloud strategy outlined by the Government on May 17, cloud offers must achieve excellence in both performance and trustworthiness. Security criteria must be satisfied on every level, whether these are technical, operational or legal, and this is what ANSSI is aiming to certify through the SecNumCloud label.
“The overall ambition is to enable users to benefit from the best technologies that are run by trusted players from within an exclusively European legal framework and that these services provide unfailing security. With this in mind, ANSSI enthusiastically welcomes this ambitious project that meets these requirements.”
Further details about the partnership between Orange and Capgemini and the “Bleu Cloud de Confiance” platform will be released once agreements between the two companies have been finalised along with obtaining the relevant authorizations for the project to be fully completed.