News and Insights
Digital Days 2019
Visit to a Data Center – Are the Swiss the digital bankers of tomorrow?
On Tuesday, September 3, the Digital Days organized by Digital Switzerland took place. Many events and discussions around the digital theme were held throughout Switzerland and BRANDIT had the opportunity to discover a data center.
Like a real highly secure bunker, BrainServe protects what today has more value than banknotes: data. Built in 2011 the data center building, in addition to being “green” (with a hydraulic power source), possesses one of the largest electricity generators in Europe.
Swiss data centers are distinguished by the quality of their service, but also by their high level of security. In terms of risk analysis, according to the Data Center Risk Index established by Cushman & Wakefield in 2016, Switzerland is ranked 3rd in the world after Iceland and Norway. Switzerland thus has a real potential for promotion in this field, explains Fabrice Consenti, Chairman and Co-Founder of Edificom and affirms that “Switzerland is well positioned for the data to become a new economy”.
Indeed, the main weakness of the Swiss system, and not the least, is the lack of a sufficient legal framework to discourage companies from violating the law and the rules in force. In particular, the Federal Data Protection Commissioner cannot levy criminal sanctions, only relatively small fines and recommendations are currently imposed. This system is still considered insufficiently dissuasive and improvements need to be made in this regard.
While the terms and conditions of each e-commerce site are different, Digital Switzerland is working on a new foundation to promote ethical standards in the digital world. Aiming to standardize website practices, this foundation is a way of responding to a still relatively vague online practice of companies that complicates users’ experience. Chaired by Doris Leuthard, the foundation of the “Swiss Digital Initiative” (SDI) will be formally presented at the WEF in 2020. According to the former Federal Councilor, “citizens must be able to trust these new technologies, hence the importance of having clear rules“.
Global warming being also at the heart of the debates, a new issue is also emerging namely “digital pollution”. Thousands of unnecessary files, whether photos or e-mails, are stored on a daily basis and thus have a significant impact on the environment through the electricity consumption required to process them. According to Fabrice Consenti, this “over-consumption” of digital technology is a subject to be monitored and education in this regard will certainly be necessary in the future.
Switzerland therefore offers an interesting place for the physical and digital storage of data but remains pending in terms of enforcement until the implementation of its new Data Protection Act. The new draft of the Act was published by the parliamentary committee on 16 August 2019 and will be submitted to Parliament in the coming months. Even if the final version will soon be finalized, there will be a two-year delay for its implementation, representing another period of uncertainty for data security.
We really look forward to the upcoming Digital Days events in order to closely monitor future digital developments.