With hybrid cloud, sky is the limit for businesses

Sunday, January 5th, 2020 18:49 |
IT infrastructure. Photo/Courtesy

Wale Olokodana 

Companies across the Middle East and Africa are discovering hybrid solutions can solve many digital transformation challenges

Moving to the cloud is akin to relocating your business to a prime piece of real estate. The benefits are many, but the transition can be tricky.

As governments and businesses race to take advantage of cloud computing, they are navigating current and future data regulations, as well as how to make the most of existing IT infrastructure. 

Across the two regions, businesses are prioritising cloud adoption. Research shows most organisations in the Middle East are either using cloud computing services or plan to do so in the next two years.

African businesses follow closely, with cloud adoption becoming near-pervasive. With its improved security and cost savings, cloud has become key for businesses looking to compete in the digital era.

But there are sometimes obstacles on the road to digitisation, and this is where hybrid cloud is playing an invaluable role in helping businesses transform digitally. 

Hybrid cloud enables businesses to store and process data in their on-premises private clouds and take advantage of a public cloud provider.

Hybrid cloud computing is a “best of all possible worlds” platform, delivering all the benefits of cloud computing—flexibility, scalability, and cost efficiencies.

One particularly important consideration when it comes to cloud adoption is regulatory compliance, and many of these policies are being created across Africa and Middle East. 

The African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection has also recently made an appeal for countries to start adopting stricter legal frameworks for data protection purposes.  

In Kenya, for example, The Data Protection Bill, 2019 was recently enacted and will regulate the processing of personal data and information governed by General Data Protection Regulation.

Those violating this law face a penalty notice of up to Sh5 million, or in the case of an undertaking, up to two per centum of an organisation’s annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher. 

Hybrid cloud is particularly important for firms such as banks, which have significant existing IT infrastructure investments.

With hybrid cloud computing, banks can maintain their mainframe systems while simultaneously adopting new cloud technologies.

Banks are using Microsoft Azure Stack, a hybrid clod solution, to link their current systems, while building an intelligent layer of digital services on top.

The Azure cloud platform then supports scalable hybrid environments for moving between on-premises and cloud computing environments seamlessly. 

Innovations to cloud computing are also making it easier to manage hybrid cloud environments. Microsoft recently launched Azure Arc, enabling businesses to use Azure cloud tools across different cloud and computing services.

As most organisations have IT infrastructure spread across multiple data centres, clouds and edge locations, the ability to run on-premise and multi-cloud environments from one central space is a game-changer. 

Not surprisingly, hybrid cloud adoption is expected to accelerate at a rapid pace, confirming that the future of cloud computing may well be hybrid.

When deploying from the hybrid cloud, businesses have more control over their IT, improving the latency and reliability of their services. 

As businesses set out on their hybrid cloud journeys, it is important they begin with specific business objectives in mind, considering company needs and priorities. This will help them determine which workloads should be shifted to the cloud.

Achieving the right balance between public and private cloud usage involves several different considerations, such as IT budget, regulatory requirements, as well as the nature of different applications.  —The writer is Business Group Lead for Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft Middle East, Africa

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