Digital Sovereignty

Europe on the way to greater technological competence.
Digital sovereignty: status quo and tips.

What is digital sovereignty and how do you gain it?

When looking for a definition of the term “digital sovereignty”, the related terms digital autonomy, digital independence, and digital competence usually also come up. These terms refer to both mental and physical abilities, as well as external prerequisites for being able to act independently, enlightened, and confidently in the digital world.

Digital sovereignty can therefore be defined as digital empowerment: Individuals, companies, and institutions are enabled to operate independently and securely in the digital world and the associated technological landscape.

On the one hand, this requires a powerful, resilient, and trustworthy IT infrastructure, the control and functionality of which is in the hands of the companies themselves wherever possible. On the other hand, users need sufficient decision-making and action competence as well as the ability to assess the risk of dependencies and avoid them if necessary.

Digital sovereignty is only possible if freely selectable alternatives exist and are known when choosing network technology. This gives users the proficiency and ability to participate in digitalization in a self-determined and protected manner at all times.

Infographic on the topic 'What is Digital Sovereignty?' with a brief definition, key factors, and areas of action for digital sovereignty: Temple-like building with a roof, columns, and steps, whose levels represent three different areas of digital sovereignty; the roof of the temple is marked with a light green arrow on the top left as 'Goal' and contains an icon of an upward-stretched fist surrounded by the stars of the European flag and a definition of 'Digital Sovereignty' as 'The ability and possibility to act independently, informed, and securely in the digital world'; In the middle, the five columns of the temple are marked by a blue arrow on the left as 'Key Factors' and are labeled from left to right as 'Resilience', 'Network security', 'Autonomy', 'Integrity', and 'Future viability'; Below, the four steps of the temple are labeled by a dark blue arrow as 'Areas of Action' and include from top to bottom 'Data', 'IT Security', 'Software & Applications', and 'Hardware & IT Infrastructure'
To achieve digital sovereignty, resilience, network security, autonomy, future viability, and integrity are key factors. If they are considered in all four fields of action (data, IT security, software & applications, and hardware & IT infrastructure), companies can operate independently in the digital world.

Promoting digital sovereignty – an interview with Ralf Koenzen

We want to strengthen digital sovereignty in Europe together!

As CEO of the only German IT network manufacturer, I would like to emphasize the importance of a digital ecosystem that can be operated securely and autonomously. The past few years in particular have been characterized by uncertainty and disruption, and have made many companies aware of how dependent our economy is on global supply and value chains. That is why we must see it as our task to work on a more sovereign Europe, especially in the field of key technological sectors.

Ralf Koenzen
Managing Director LANCOM Systems

Why digital sovereignty?

Digital sovereignty as a strategic-political task to strengthen competencies

In recent years, many companies have become increasingly aware of just how desirable digital sovereignty really is. Component shortages, supply bottlenecks, and geopolitical circumstances have shown that excessive dependence on non-European manufacturers can be very restrictive and economically damaging.

For this reason, LANCOM sees the promotion and safeguarding of digital sovereignty not only as a strategic and political task, but also as a duty of the technology industry. German and European technical expertise and cooperation must be strengthened. This is the only way we can consolidate our position in technological areas and act responsibly.

There is a particular need for action in key digital technologies such as network technologies, microelectronics, security technologies, quantum technologies, etc.

For LANCOM Systems, digital sovereignty is therefore both an important obligation and personal mission. As a German manufacturer of network technology with production and development engineered in Germany and a special focus on backdoor freedom and data protection, we want to promote digital sovereignty in Europe with secure, self-empowering products, and social commitment.

Icon: Municipal administration building with European flag on it

Digital compass 2030

Digital Sovereignty helps us to maintain and develop our business in a self-determined, secure, and independent manner. It is a general approach covering the areas of hardware, software, data, security, digital platforms, and artificial intelligence. In general, we all should put an emphasis to strengthen our independence from (non-European) countries in terms of supply chains, resources, software, hardware, and IT-security.

The EU Commission’s communication 'Digital compass 2030: a European way forward for the digital decade' of 9 March 2021 presented the vision for a digitally transformed Europe by 2030 in line with European values. The EU’s ambition is to be digitally sovereign in an open and interconnected world embracing empowered citizens and innovative businesses in a human-centred, inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable digital society.

Even more the EU Council adopted legislation for a high common level of cybersecurity across the Union, to further improve the resilience and incident response capacities of both the public and private sector and the EU as a whole. NIS2 will set the baseline for cybersecurity risk management measures and reporting obligations across all sectors that are covered by the directive, such as energy, transport, health, and digital infrastructure.

Source: Consilium

Handelsblatt study digital sovereignty

In spring 2023, we completed a joint study with Handelsblatt. A total of 1,000 IT managers were surveyed across the four areas – hardware, software, data and IT security. The result: across all four areas, dependence on non-EU manufacturers predominates – e. g., on the topic of hardware, 24% see a "strong dependence" and 41% a "medium dependence". This is a clear signal for all of us to set more priorities here. After all, 70% of the IT professionals surveyed in our current study rate the importance of digital sovereignty as "very high" or "rather high".

Get the complete study for free

Notice: The study language is German only.

How to ensure greater digital sovereignty

Digital sovereignty is not a quality that can be achieved overnight – but even small measures can have a positive effect on your independence and freedom.

It is therefore worth reviewing certain aspects of your IT landscape immediately and optimizing them if necessary. Our infographic provides a few suggestions and recommendations for strengthening your resilience, network security, autonomy, integrity, and future viability:

For more details and specific implementation ideas, please contact us. We will be happy to advise you on optimization options for your digital sovereignty:

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Inside Sales International Team
+49 (0)2405 49936 122