Given the revelations about the NSA’s activities, it is clear that data security needs to be rethought. This could not only lead to an export boost for Swiss security products, but also increase the amount of foreign data stored in Switzerland.
Security is as much a part of the Swiss cultural identity as chocolate and quality standards. Everything has its place and must be done properly here. That applies for high quality as much as for the economic and political infrastructure which makes this country a secure investment location. These high standards are reflected at the technical level in the Swiss banks whose IT security systems are among the best worldwide. While Trojans and phishing attacks exist here too, the outflow of funds remains low, according to Melani, the Swiss Reporting and Analysis Center for Information Assurance. Data theft is simply easier elsewhere.
However, these high standards are not always an advantage especially for exports. They are the outcome of Switzerland’s specific economic background and high compliance requirements. Other countries manage with less, as companies like Ergon know from first-hand experience. Some technologies that have been deployed in Swiss companies for a long time are only just beginning to make headway on the German market. And the USA lags even further behind. Even financial hubs like Singapore still have far to go to reach Swiss standards, reports AdNovum which operates there. Interestingly, both these companies do business successfully abroad—even if they often first had to create awareness for the problems they can solve.
unblu a start-up focusing on live collaboration in the field of secure transactions reports similar experiences, even though its technology is already used internationally by leading banks. To some degree that holds true for Nexthink’s desktop monitoring solution which enjoys worldwide uptake. Yet despite these positive examples, many markets remain unaware of security solutions made in Switzerland.
This may well change now in the context of the NSA and GCHQ espionage scandal. Especially once the implications of permanent data monitoring combine with the sustained move into the cloud. Security has always been and remains a key concern for many companies. It has now become clear that American companies cannot be trusted. And that opens a huge market for European and especially Swiss products. This can not only benefit exports, but also creates good opportunities for attracting data from around the world to Switzerland. It is all the more fortunate that attempts were already made before the current revelations to turn Switzerland into a safe haven for cloud data. The rapid expansion of Swiss datacenters could support that development. 20 percent annual growth until 2015, is currently predicted by the Swiss market research institute MSM Research, as reported in its last study on the Swiss datacenter market (“Datacenter Outlook 2012”). And that certainly makes sense because Switzerland’s “data haven” offers perfect conditions: high security standards, political and economic stability and strong data protection laws.
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