French Thales creates cloud services company powered by Google

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PARIS, June 30 (Reuters) – French defense firm Thales (TCFP.PA) said on Thursday it has set up a new company, dubbed S3NS, to partner with Google to offer state-approved cloud computing services for storage of some of the most sensitive data.

The new company is the result of an alliance sealed last year between Thales, Europe’s largest defense electronics supplier, and Google’s Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit, following a government plan under which France recognized the technological superiority of the United States. Read more

Google and Microsoft, as well as market leader Amazon.com’s Amazon web services (AMZN.O), dominate cloud computing globally, raising concerns in Europe about the risk of US surveillance.

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The French government has said that cloud computing services developed by Google and Microsoft (MSFT.O) could be used to store France’s most sensitive state and corporate data, provided the data centers are located in the country and that the services are licensed to French companies.

S3NS is majority owned by Thales, which fully controls the marketing of services developed by Google, he said. Google’s involvement was not disclosed.

Some of France’s biggest banks and healthcare organizations are among the 40 potential customers of the new company, said Marc Darmon, head of secure communications and information systems at Thales.

S3NS’s cloud services will be available from the second half of 2024, after having received approval from the French cybersecurity agency ANSSI via a label called “trusted cloud”, Thales said.

The company will operate three France-based data centers on which Google’s controlled and secure cloud services will run, Thales said.

S3NS will compete with Bleu, a joint venture to be created by the end of the year by IT consultancy Capgemini (CAPP.PA) and telecoms group Orange (ORAN.PA) which aims to use Microsoft cloud technology.

Several French cloud services companies have already received the ANSSI label, baptized SecNumCloud, such as OVHcloud (OVH.PA), Outscale from Dassault Systèmes (DAST.PA) and Oodrive.

Several companies have criticized the cloud computing offers developed by Thales and Orange in collaboration with larger American rivals, questioning their ability to provide fully secure services to strategic companies.

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Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; edited by Elaine Hardcastle and Jason Neely

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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