Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 32 | Page 37

+ EDITOR’S QUESTION ///////////////// YOLANDA SMIT, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, PBT GROUP C loud remains a topic which is continually debated among business. While it can be complex to move or integrate completely into the cloud, the possibilities that the cloud can open for a business means it is definitely worth the investment. Of course, cost efficiency alone can be viewed as a massive benefit for large or even smaller businesses operating across the continent. What the cloud offers is a more cost-conscious approach for maintaining servers, meaning these businesses can then invest in IT resources that they may not have been previously able to do due to the expense. Any cloud adoption strategy must therefore place data security at the front and centre of the approach and follow guidelines to not only ensure data is effectively protected in the cloud, but that data compliance is met and data regulations are not violated. As a result, it is important for a business to consider what the minimum international regulation requirements are, both locally and Following a cloud strategy that does not take this into consideration is a risk that a business should not be willing to take. “ Over and above this, the cloud also offers agility which means utilising infrastructure as a service. Furthermore, by investing in cloud services, the mundane task of server maintenance and clean ups is removed. This, in turn, can free up much needed staff time to place a focus on business innovation and future growth. Considering this, it comes as no surprise that Gartner predicts that the public cloud market is set to surpass US$300 billion by 2021. However, as cloud adoption grows, so does the growth in cybercriminal interest, which is now targeting this service offering and the data that passes through the cloud. In fact, one of the biggest reasons why companies are hesitant to fully invest in the cloud, is security. internationally, with regards to privacy and data security as this can limit what data can be stored in the cloud, or what data can be ‘held’ in certain countries. AS CLOUD ADOPTION GROWS, SO DOES THE GROWTH IN CYBERCRIMINAL INTEREST, WHICH IS NOW TARGETING THIS SERVICE OFFERING AND THE DATA THAT PASSES THROUGH THE CLOUD. There are other aspects to consider when implementing a cloud strategy, a reliable Internet connection for example, needs to be clearly defined as a lack of access can impact the cloud solution and the business operations. Additionally, considerations around data transfer rates and defining what is an acceptable speed at which data needs to be uploaded or downloaded in the cloud as a business must ensure that it can manage end-user requirements. Lastly, data transfer volumes and frequencies should also be addressed, to allow for existing bandwidth capabilities to meet these requirements. With 2018 expected to see solid increases in cloud adoption and transformation strategies, there are elements that a business’ cloud strategy needs to address to get this right. But no matter what, businesses should be placing a strong focus on security, as this is one area that can see a business succeed in cloud adoption and potentially leapfrog ahead of competitors. n INTELLIGENTCIO 37