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Portugal recognized in report for “Embracing the Challenges of Digital Transformation”

Report says Portugal offers a unique location for data centers striking a balance between best practices in data protection regulatory environment and ranking as a top business-friendly country

  • Portugal is ranked as one of the most stable, open and innovative countries in the EU;
  • The regulatory framework and enforcement regime in data protection is notably attractive to hyperscalers, maintaining a collaborative, confidential and supportive approach;
  • Portugal’s ranking in cybersecurity has increased exponentially under international scoreboards since 2018;
  • Portugal is committed to the concept of “data mobility” resisting the trend of imposing additional data location requirements while respecting individual personal data.

Lisbon, Portugal – June 23, 2022 – Portugal offers an unparalleled location for data centers committing to best practices in data protection rules and ranking as one of the most business-friendly, stable and open countries in the EU in terms of innovation, digitalization and technical expertise. A recent report prepared by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, an international law firm, and PLMJ, a law firm based in Portugal, says.

The report, “Embracing the Challenges of Digital Transformation,” describes Portugal as a welcoming hub for large international technology companies and hyperscalers. The paper explores how Portugal specifically addresses data protection and cybersecurity challenges that arise when facing heightened digital demands.

The digital infrastructure industry has witnessed rapid change, with global internet traffic reportedly surging by over 40% in 2020 alone. As global digital transformation continues to gather pace, European countries are placing increasing emphasis on personal data protection through the adoption of new laws and regulations. Other European countries are embracing concepts akin to “data sovereignty”, meaning to keep data within a state’s own borders.

According to statistics portal and industry ranking provider Statista, the amount of data created, consumed and stored has been growing exponentially over the last decade, growing from 2 zettabytes in 2010 to more than 180 zettabytes in 2025. As a country eager to play a key role in the future of global connectivity, Portugal is reportedly planning to allocate 22% of the grants and loans it receives following the COVID-19 pandemic from the EU particularly to measures that support the digital transition (c. €xx billion). Portugal already benefits from other geographical and technological advantages such as an ever-expanding network of fiber optic cables which positions it as the “European gateway” country to Africa, the Americas, and beyond. At the same time, the country has been publicly recognized for fostering innovation and has taken concrete steps to embrace the digital transformation and encourage technological investment.

According to the paper, Portugal adheres to best practices in data protection and cybersecurity and aligns its cybersecurity framework with industry-leading international standards and certifications. Likewise, it is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative and business-friendly countries in the EU.  For example, in contrast to other European countries, Portugal is committed to the concept of “data mobility,” meaning that it has not enacted any additional laws prohibiting the transfer of data outside of its territory or restricting the processing of such data (sometimes known as “data sovereignty laws”).

Similarly, Portugal does not impose any additional restrictions on the use of cookies and e-marketing in addition to those set out at EU level under the e-Privacy Directive. Also, the Portuguese data protection and cybersecurity regulators have been supportive and collaborative with private stakeholders, including hyperscalers.

The paper argues that Portugal is well-positioned not only to keep pace with the digital transformation but also to continue its journey as one of the European frontrunners for technological innovation. Portugal is a highly desirable market in which to establish and operate a data center, and it is likely to further its position as a trailblazer for innovation, cybersecurity standards, and data protection for the foreseeable future.

In April 2022, Start Campus announced beginning of construction of its groundbreaking 495MW SINES 4.0© data center campus project in Sines, Portugal, designed to address the rapid digital transformation on a global scale with sustainability at the forefront. The SINES 4.0© project is one of the largest data center projects in Europe and will be 100% green. When completed in 2027, the campus will comprise of nine buildings and its first building is expected to be ready for service in the first quarter of 2023.

The paper “Embracing the Challenges of Digital Transformation” was prepared by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and PLMJ. Read Full paper here.

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