Estonia mulling new data embassy outside of Europe

Server room. Estonia's data embassies will back up vital information outside the country's borders to guarantee availability. Source: (AFP/Scanpix)

Estonia is mulling opening a new data embassy outside of Europe with which to back up nationally important databases. The country opened the first one in Luxembourg in 2019.

"Luxembourg is located in Europe, similarly to Estonia, and should a pan-European crisis situation occur, a data embassy in another country would provide additional security for the continuity of our digital services," Siim Sikkut, Undersecretary for Digital Development at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, told ERR.

He said currently everything runs smoothly but Estonia is constantly developing its system.

Additionally, there was always the opportunity to establish another data embassy in another country. The hold-ups come from legal issues which mean another embassy will not be developed in the near future.

"In the meantime, we are improving and developing the data embassy in Luxembourg - there are various security developments and we have also considered whether and how in the future, in addition to data backup, the embassy could provide services if the data centers in Estonia are overloaded or something is out of order. However, these are visions for the future," he said.

In October 2017, the two governments signed a five-year lease agreement allowing Estonia to store copies of national data on servers in Luxembourg. The data embassy was completed in June 2018 and the first data was backed up at the beginning of 2019.

The embassy stores data from approximately a dozen of Estonia's most important registers, such as the land register, commercial register and Riigi Teataja.

BNS reported Estonia had to pay €2.2 million for the lease. The majority of the costs - 85 percent - are covered by the European Regional Development Fund and 15 percent by national co-financing.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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