A small country in the cloud – Estonia

Michalina Staszewska Michalina Staszewska

Despite the passage of years and significant technological developments, the topic of cloud computing still stirs up a lot of controversy. In discussions, the use of cloud computing is often discussed in the context of the continuous development and inevitable digitization of many aspects of our daily lives. However, despite the visible changes in the market, there is still a group of opponents who openly deny moving systems and solutions developed over the years to the cloud. These people point out the inefficiencies of operations, as well as the risks that may arise from modern solutions – “not everything can be achieved with the cloud,” or “the issue of cloud computing security is contentious.” There are also those who additionally argue that the use of the cloud reinforces Internet dependence by the lack of other options to connect to the cloud.

Having your own opinion these days is extremely important, but not everyone has to agree with it. So far, it can be seen that cloud computing has gained the trust of a large part of society. Technology is being used not only by large companies, but increasingly by hospitals, local government units and even States. The public sector appreciates its many applications and the opportunities it creates. Security, flexibility, scalability, cost savings, and on-demand access to platforms, servers or infrastructure are a few features that draw the attention of many companies or customers.

The deployment of automated, new technologies to government institutions is always associated with anxiety and many questions. Why did the authorities decide to take such an uncertain course of action, will it improve data processing, will it bring benefits, or perhaps problems themselves? One country in northern Europe, after careful analysis, has decided to take this step. Determined and convinced that the new technology would bring benefits of its own, he began his journey toward the digital revolution. Meet Estonia – the country of globalized informatization.

“A technological miracle.”

This is what Estonia is called today. The complicated country, with a population of barely more than 1.3 million people, has swept the technology world. However, the interest in technological innovations did not start over the last few years, it had its beginning as early as the 1990s.

They were among the first to take a quick interest in blockchain technology, which in simple terms can be described as a digital ledger. It is a community-used, immutable registry that is responsible for recording the transactions that have taken place on the Internet and allows them to be tracked. It includes both tangible and intangible resources, including all intellectual assets. In Estonia, the use of IT tools has taken on a huge scale, so now we can talk about many digital facilities. The government decided to introduce the e-Tax Board and m-parking, among others, in 2000. In 2002, the decision was made to use digital signature, or ID card paperwork online. This was followed by Poland’s controversial i-Voting and e-Police System, and in subsequent years, for example, e-Notary, e-Justice, company registration portal, e-Health System, e-Prescriptions and many others.

One trait that certainly reflects Estonia is courage. It is probably the only country in the world that has moved all of its government data to the cloud and so heavily distributed its e-services system. Estonians have gained the ability to deal with public services 24/7 without leaving their homes. In practice, only three issues force them out of the house – marriage, divorce and real estate transaction issues ;). In addition, Estonians can use e-registers for health care, vote in parliamentary elections online, and other numerous services that are constantly being developed.

A factor that had an even more significant impact on accelerating data migration to the cloud and securing network security was a cyberattack in April 2007. It targeted all Estonian government organizations, banks, and newspapers, but also over time the private sector fell victim to the attack. The network assault was repulsed only after 3 weeks. Residents were most concerned about the attack. The shutdown of banking services and the lack of access to websites caused a lot of chaos and misinformation, which is exactly the effect the attackers expected. In addition, the blocking of all online services did not promote communication between citizens and the authorities. Despite his attempt to keep his cool, the lack of new news about the course of the attack was causing growing concern. Since then, the State’s main goal has been to prevent history from repeating itself in 2007.


Taking a big step toward digital evolution has brought its own benefits. The creation of a government cloud has provided flexible solutions for its citizens. Adequate modernization of information systems has introduced well correlated e-services. The Estonian authorities ensure the highest possible level of security. The transition from old infrastructures to the government cloud guarantees the highest possible quality of services offered. Cloud computing is created in compliance with all IT standards. Confidential information becomes encrypted, and access to it is made decidedly difficult. In addition, Estonia has the lowest cost of maintaining public administration.

Knowing how cloud computing works, we know that not only the internal parameters must be met, but also the external ones. Therefore, the government’s cloud computing is located in two places. One center is located within the country, the other outside its borders. The main goal is to be able to disperse information systems and data management. There are also plans to set up e-ambasand outside Estonia in countries with which it has good relations. Many trusted partners are involved throughout the process. If you’re curious about the details, we refer you to the government’s official cloud site for more information.

Are Estonians satisfied with the country’s technical progress?

Looking at statistics published by the government, the public has no problem with a modern approach in dealing with public issues. The Internet not only speeds up the process of filing and filling out formal applications, but also enables businesses to be set up and developed efficiently. All with the help of an electronic proof. About 98% of Estonia’s population has it. The introduction of online voting in elections has helped increase the percentage of people engaging in state affairs. Although e-systems do not exclude the possibility of dealing with official matters in the traditional way. This form is still available and Estonia has no intention of eliminating it in the near future, despite the constant development of new ideas related to technology.

Not everyone is ready for change

To this day, many companies avoid introducing automated technologies, let alone entire countries. The main factor, first of all, is the fear of change. We cannot predict the future by checking whether our decisions will have only good consequences. Estonia took a risk and, as you can see, it definitely paid off. Therefore, without a doubt, we can call it e-Estonia – a leader in electronic technology.


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