Categories: CloudCloud Management

OpenText Forges ‘Safe Harbour’ European Data Zone For EU Customers

Canada’s OpenText plans to create a ‘European Data Zone’ made up of its EU data centres that promises to keep European customer data within Europe.

With the Safe Harbour 2.0 ruling still ongoing, and data sovereignty a hot topic for European customers, OpenText is hoping the move will secure future business in Europe for its enterprise information management users using the firm’s cloud services.

OpenText’s existing European data centres in the Netherlands, UK, and Germany will form the European data zone, not letting slip any data to travel across the Atlantic.


OpenText’s cloud VP Gary Weiss said that he understands compliance with European data privacy requirements is “paramount” to OpenText’s customers.

“Secure, global information management with regional data centres is a cornerstone of our cloud strategy, and with the OpenText Cloud European Data Zone we are able to realise that strategy and further support our customers’ evolving needs,” said Weiss.

OpenText’s data centres are located in the cities of Amstelveen, Woking, and Frankfurt, and will make up the data-buffer with complete IT operations, disaster recovery, and managed cloud services support from within the European economic area. The service will not cost European customers any extra.

Each OpenText Cloud data centre will run in its respective region and together they will form the dedicated European Data Zone, which OpenText said will be up and running by the end of March this year.

“This announcement guarantees that only European resources will manage the European data centres, thus guaranteeing that data will be sovereign to the European Economic Area for our Enterprise customers,” an OpenText spokesperson told TechWeekEurope.

Our aim with the European Data Zone is that customers in Europe will look at the OpenText Cloud as a deployment preference for their EIM (Enterprise Information Management) applications, knowing we take issues concerning data privacy and compliance as seriously as our customers do.”

Safe Harbour 2.0

EU officials will meet with their US counterparts in February to agree new Safe Harbour data transfer deal.

Dubbed Safe Harbour 2.0, the new agreement comes after the European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled last October that the Safe Harbour data-sharing agreement between the United States and Europe that had been in existence for 15 years was invalid.

The European officials will seek to thrash out the final details of the new data sharing deal with the United States.

The ruling is becoming increasingly important for cloud customers in Europe. One of OpenText’s customers, ENGIE Exploration, said that it is “constantly aware” of the need to protect its data, especially when moving to the cloud.

“As we moved to the cloud, that concern was even more top of mind,” said Hélène Verbockhaven, CIO at ENGIE Exploration & Production International.

“In particular, with new regulations, we need a partner that is up-to-date on new requirements such as data sovereignty. OpenText helps ensure that our information is compliant with the latest regulations.”

The EU and the US have been negotiating this for the past two years, after European privacy concerns mounted when the scale of the NSA spying activities were revealed by Edward Snowden.

The meeting next month will seek to find a common position on which legal channels companies can use to transfer data across the Atlantic, Reuters reported. European data regulators have previously confirmed that those transfers can no longer legally be carried out under the current Safe Harbour rules.

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Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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