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South Africa overtakes other nations in leapfrog up cloud curve

20 Sep 17

South Africa may have been late to the party when it came to cloud strategies, but Routed managing director, Andrew Cruise says this has actually had some positives.

Cruise says almost all businesses in the country now have a cloud strategy. Despite the adoption curve still being in its early stages (particularly for internal apps), he asserts South Africa’s late adoption has led to a leapfrogging of sorts.

“While websites have always been ‘hosted’ – in data centres – most businesses internationally have started with cloud for back up, development and disaster recovery purposes, for internal workloads. Interestingly, South Africa’s late adoption has seen us bypass cloud entry points and go straight to Infrastructure-as-a-service, specifically virtual private cloud,” Cruise says.

“The technologies and product sets around this are now globally quite mature, and where international businesses initially resisted embracing virtual private clouds in their infancy, local businesses are quite comfortable migrating production data centres into the Cloud or even starting there instead of buying servers internally.”

In line with these tremendous opportunities, cloud providers in South Africa are now plentiful. Cruise says this has resulted in the prominence of something he calls ‘cloud washing’, meaning businesses need to be careful when making the decision about a cloud partner.

“We are seeing consultants who typically focus on areas such as IT services trying to profit off the burgeoning cloud market,” says Cruise.

“The problem is that they are often not sufficiently funded and resourced, and can’t do the job that is required to make a cloud strategy a successful one. You also get the ‘one stop shop’ brands who try to sell an integrated service, which is most often not what it seems.”

Companies that have established solid partnerships with cloud specialist providers are the ones to go for, according to Cruise, as a reseller or partner to leading IT brands within the cloud space will always ensure businesses choose the right partner for their needs.

On top of this are the concerns of security, performance and availability.

“By far the most important is security. This involves not only the service provider securing the network and infrastructure, but also the customer securing their own environment,” says Cruise.

“Critically, businesses need to acknowledge that security is a shared responsibility and ensure they have internal assistance in getting this right.”

It’s also important not to forget effective backup, archiving and disaster recovery solutions as the impact of ransomware or even internal sabotage can be crippling – recent examples include WannaCry, Petya, and NotPetya.

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