Healthcare cloud computing market to reach $40 billion by 2026, report

The healthcare cloud computing market is poised to reach $40 billion by 2026, growing at an annual rate of 14 per cent over forecast period 2019 to 2026 according to a report by Acumen Research and Consulting.

Cloud computing in healthcare increases the efficiency of the industry, while decreasing costs. Cloud computing makes medical record-sharing easier and safer, automates backend operations and even facilitates the creation, and maintenance of, telehealth apps.

The growing demand-supply gap in the healthcare industry has led to increased need for IT, boosting the adoption of cloud computing in this industry. Moreover, technologically advanced healthcare infrastructure, especially the hospitals in developed economies, is one of the key factors impelling market demand.

With rising population and volume of patient information, integration of data and having real-time access has become the need of the hour. Increase in investments by several private and public organizations in healthcare IT infrastructure is also one of the factors expected to positively impact growth in the near future.

www.acumenresearchandconsulting.com

[Nigeria] MDXi to unveil first locally available Microsoft Stack Cloud in partnership with Microsoft

MDXi, MainOne’s data center subsidiary, will announce the local offering of Microsoft’s Azure Stack to its customers as part of its ‘Managed Cloud Services’. The Stack platform provided in partnership with Microsoft and HPE will be unveiled at MainOne’s 5th annual gathering of customers, partners and tech professionals, called Nerds Unite.

With the introduction of the local offering of Microsoft’s Azure Stack services, MDXi will be the first data center in Nigeria to offer the Cloud service commercially to customers in Nigeria. This latest Cloud offering by MDXi into the Nigerian market, will reinforce MainOne’s leadership positioning in the Cloud market, enabling the company to offer its customer a broader suite of cloud solutions. Ranging from managed Cloud deployment on public and private Cloud services in the MDXi data center, to management of offshore deployment on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure, in addition to Express Route services that enable secure, reliable communications to cloud services offshore.

Showcasing at the launch will be some of the benefits of MDXi’s Azure Stack in processing in-country data and applications thereby reducing customer latency to under 10ms and resulting in better experiences for end users. The demo will also showcase cost effective data storage solutions that allow businesses meet all their data sovereignty requirements with locally domiciled infrastructure.

The new Cloud services platform will offer enterprises and businesses the choice of a scalable, flexible computing platform to enable them to migrate critical applications from legacy technology to modernized and more efficient technology without having to go offshore.

“MDXi has been in the business of providing Cloud services to its Enterprise customers for over 5 years, with skilled and certified engineers. We are the data center of choice for Enterprise looking to host data locally in the Cloud. With the introduction of the Azure Stack solution, we further demonstrate our commitment to investing in Cloud infrastructure in order to continually meet the changing and growing requirements of our customers in Nigeria, and indeed across West Africa. Our partnership with Microsoft and investment in HPE infrastructure to deploy the Cloud platform continues to position MDXi as the West Africa’s leading communications solution provider, delivering world-class quality services to our local customers.” said Gbenga Adegbiji, General Manager, MDXi.

Nerds Unite, MainOne’s flagship event of the year, brings together IT professionals, influencers, and decision makers in an environment for one full day to connect, discover opportunities, collaborate, and learn new techniques and breakthrough trends in the global IT industry. This year’s edition will feature presentations and panel discussions on Cloud adoption, Cloud migration and all things Cloud with global leaders across West Africa, making it the perfect platform for MDXI to unveil its new Cloud services.

MDXi builds and operates Tier III data center campuses across West Africa to meet the rapidly expanding global demand for certified data centre facilities. It’s Tier III data center in Lekki, Lagos-Nigeria, is the largest purpose-built commercial data center in West Africa, designed with a strong focus on high availability, security, and open access connectivity. Its facilities have operated with 100% uptime since inception.

www.mainone.net

Orange Egypt picks Red Hat to build its horizontal cloud platform

Red Hat, Inc., a global provider of open source solutions, has announced that Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies are providing a horizontal cloud platform for Orange Egypt’s virtual network functions (VNFs), helping the service provider to more quickly deliver new services to customers, optimize its network investments and reduce operational expenditure.

Building on the foundation of Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage, Orange Egypt is the first Orange affiliate to manage 100% of its live customer traffic over a fully software-based platform spanning several sites across its region.

To maintain its position as Egypt’s leading mobile operator, Orange Egypt wanted to use the latest in hybrid cloud and network functions virtualization (NFV) innovation to be able to respond in real-time to market dynamics and network conditions to best serve its more than 30 million customers.

“We decided to lead the way in digital services innovation and provide outstanding customer experience. Open source is powering the development of next-generation cloud-native platforms and Red Hat augments this with enhanced security, stability and support, enabling us to create solutions that best fit our customers’ unique needs. With our horizontal telco cloud based on Red Hat technologies, we can act more dynamically to address business challenges and opportunities, and make a greater contribution to the digital development of Egyptian society,” said Ayman Amiri, the chief technology officer at Orange Egypt.

As part of this initiative, Orange Egypt looked to virtualize its mobile packet core, which had been running standalone functions on dedicated appliances.

Accordingly, Orange Egypt set out to move strategically from a centralized evolved packet core (EPC) supplier to a software-defined, distributed architecture on standard hardware, using Red Hat OpenStack Platform supported by Red Hat Ceph Storage. Red Hat Consulting provided certified training courses and professional services to support Orange Egypt’s teams derive greater value from open technologies, tools and methodologies.

In less than a year, Orange Egypt launched vEPC in 12 datacenters across six sites in Cairo and Alexandria. Today, 100% of Orange Egypt’s mobile broadband traffic is served by its virtualized packet core platform.

With its Red Hat-based open cloud, Orange Egypt gains access to an ecosystem of thousands of certified providers. The freedom to choose diverse suppliers as well as a reduced reliance on specialized hardware has helped Orange Egypt to lower its capital expenditure and operational expenses.

“Orange Egypt is on a drive towards network transformation, and Red Hat is helping it meet this goal through a multi-vendor, multi-application network that can make full use of the scale and agility offered by cloud computing. Trusting in Red Hat’s open hybrid cloud technologies as the backbone for its horizontal platform approach, Orange Egypt has gained greater flexibility and freedom to optimize its network performance, expenditure and service delivery for the benefit of its customers,” said Darrell Jordan-Smith, global vice president, vertical industries & accounts, Red Hat.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform is massively-scalable infrastructure with unified automated management, enabling Orange Egypt to launch and adapt services to better fulfil customer demand. With Red Hat Ceph Storage, Orange Egypt has a massively scalable storage solution for its workloads. It has been able to roll out software-defined capacity expansions for its telecom packet core to serve summer hotspots in Alexandria and Northern coastal areas. Orange Egypt was able to make 50% capacity upgrades in only two working days per site, which is nearly 10 times quicker than its traditional process.

With this new deployment, Orange Egypt was also able to deliver new cybersecurity services such as parental controls and malware protection to its consumer and business customers faster than previously possible with its traditional system. The third VNF that Orange Egypt has launched on its platform is mobile data optimization (MDO), enabling transmission control protocol (TCP) acceleration aimed at reducing network latency and improving the user experience.

www.orange.eg

www.redhat.com

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Cloud usage drives cybersecurity spending, SANS 2020 report

The rapid migration to cloud-based technologies is the biggest disrupter worldwide of operations and a key driver when organisations plan their spending increases, according to the results of the latest SANS 2020 Cybersecurity Spending Survey.

“The SANS survey showed that rapid movement of corporate services and business applications to cloud-based technology is the biggest factor causing breakage in existing security architectures as well as driving most new security spending,” says John Pescatore, SANS Director of Emerging Security Trends. “Cloud monitoring and cloud security access controls were the top two spending areas, followed by spending to increase security staff skills to deal with new technologies, such as the cloud, and to keep up with changes in regulations as well as new threats.”

Slightly more than 50% of respondents ranked the increased use of public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) implementations as the biggest disrupter to security programs in the next 12 months. Based on that, 71% of respondents reported seeing a need to increase spending on cloud security monitoring, followed by cloud access security broker cloud-specific tools (53%), staff skills training (52%) and strong authentication (46%). 

Overall, 57% of respondents feel that out of people, process and technology, an increased investment in people would provide the biggest improvement to their overall security posture, followed distantly by process (19%) and technology (18%). 

“Managers see increased and refreshed skills in their existing staff as being significantly more critical than simply increasing headcount,” according to Barbara Filkins, SANS Analyst Program Research Director and author of the report. “The fact that respondents prioritise increasing staff skills significantly over increasing headcount to deal with ‘disruptive technologies,’ especially when faced with escalating privacy regulations—and fines—worldwide, is not surprising. Business use of IaaS and hybrid cloud requires re-architecting security controls and integrating with CI/CD methodologies.”

In a series of follow-up interviews with selected survey respondents, security managers recognise the need for “upskilling” to increase retention rates, which improves both effectiveness and efficiency. Increased skills around new technologies and new security techniques is also required to enable any use of security automation technologies, which were not highly cited for spending increases in 2020.

Strong authentication, the fourth most highly cited area of planned new spending, points to the recognition that the majority of damage from breaches and ransomware attacks in the past year were enabled by the use of reusable passwords that were easily captured via phishing attacks. CEOs and boards of directors are backing security teams in overcoming obstacles to implementing multifactor authentication.

The report can be downloaded from the SANS website

www.sans.org

[Column] Andrew Cruise: Mastering the complexity of multicloud in 2020

As enterprises’ demands look set to continue maturing in 2020, they are better able to distinguish between cloud platforms and identify which ones work best for their applications. “It’s no longer about moving to cloud, it’s about which cloud,” says Andrew Cruise, managing director at Routed, Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider.

“Now that market penetration of cloud, particularly internationally, has hit a critical mass, we see enterprises are much more confident about moving workloads than before when it appeared they would be on the bleeding edge. While there are still some concerns around uptime, performance and security, these are largely being addressed without any need to reinvent the wheel,” he says.

Multicloud is already broadly being achieved through SaaS applications like Salesforce.com and Office365, through utilising an enterprise’s own on-premise infrastructure, and via several other cloud platforms. “True multicloud however, involves IaaS from multiple providers across native hyperscale IaaS (or PaaS) as well as private cloud, both hosted and on-premise.” In order to successfully implement multicloud, Cruise notes that an enterprise would need to replace parts of their overall infrastructure estate, either by re-hosting workloads (lift and shift) into a hosted private cloud, or re-architecting applications in a cloud-native way to suit native hyperscale clouds. Secure connectivity, either through VPN, SD-WAN or private circuit, is also must.

He adds that because the biggest benefit of multicloud is the way in which it lends itself to a best of breed approach. “Not one single cloud can ever be the silver bullet to solve all an enterprise’s problems. Cloud only, hybrid cloud, or on-premise only solutions are already legacy and too restrictive. Utilising a hosted private cloud for traditional applications as an initial ‘lift-and-shift’ can make it easier to digitally transform by alleviating pressures on on-premise resources and allow them time to properly re-architect suitable applications in the native hyperscale cloud.”

While the benefits of multicloud are impossible to overlook, enterprises need to think carefully about the best strategies for managing the complexity of multicloud environments. It is not possible to manage multicloud effectively on-demand, manually, without automation, says Cruise. Similarly, human expertise will always be required.  Any kind of one-size-fits-all thinking is bound to fail. Further, workload migration between on-premise and cloud and between cloud and cloud is non-trivial and the difficulties should not be underestimated. Unless one standardises on a single platform across multiple clouds, for example, VMware ESXi (which is available on local VMware cloud providers and on all the major hyperscalers too), the ideal of frictionless migration between clouds is a pipedream,” he says.

Andrew Cruise is the managing director at Routed.

[South Africa] iOCO joins Google cloud partner programme

South African integrator iOCO has become a Google Cloud Distributor Authorised Reseller (DAR), in partnership with Google Cloud’s distributor in sub-Saharan Africa, Digicloud Africa.

DARs demonstrate deep cloud solution development and delivery expertise, and have extensive certifications confirming their skills and knowledge of Google Cloud.

IOCO passed all formal requirements set out by Google Distribution for entry into the programme, and Digicloud Africa has verified its capabilities. iOCO has invested in further certifying and training its Google Cloud team.

Layer3 partners with Loriot to introduce IoT solutions in Nigeria

Nigeria-based company Layer3 and the global IoT company LORIOT have announced their partnership aimed at introducing new Internet of Things solutions in Nigeria, with market size estimated to reach $1 Billion by 2025. 

Layer3, as network provider and system integrator, will focus especially in the smartcity and smart building sectors providing innovative solutions to a growing market.  Layer3’s cloud infrastructure will allow private and public sector organizations to access and maintain control of the data generated by their IoT networks.

“This collaboration will bring the dream of smart offices and cities to life, by allowing devices, machines, and whole buildings to link into extensive data networks. Loriot, through its LoRaWAN technology, together with our cloud infrastructure and expertise will make this happen. We see enormous potential in Nigeria waiting for this change to happen.”  Shatse Kakwagh, Executive Director at Layer3.

LORIOT provides the operation and management software for a LoRaWAN® (Long Range Wide Area Network) network, ensuring peak performance, flexibility, high-security standards and compliance with local regulations.

The infrastructure enables IoT sensors to collect and transmit data, through LoRaWAN® gateways, to the application servers enabling IoT solutions across a wide range of sectors.

“Over the last months, we have been observing a growing interest in LoRaWAN technology in Africa.  For this reason, last year we upgraded our public infrastructure on the continent to offer better performance to our users. Starting a partnership with a local player, such as Layer3, allows us to support the next phase of this growth process and we expect to see new projects emerge and grow on a large scale in the coming months.” Added, Julian Studer, COO at LORIOT.

The ultimate aim of this partnership is to make IoT accessible to everyone, and create a truly interconnected future, powered by smart, cloud-enabled technologies.

www.loriot.io

www.layer3.ng

[Column] Johan Scheeper: Be data ready in 2020 by tackling key data issues

Data is an intrinsic part of business processes and also a source of competitive differentiation thanks to the potential of data analytics

Data is an intrinsic part of business processes and also a source of competitive differentiation thanks to the potential of data analytics. Data has become a mission critical business asset, which means that organisations need to be able to discover, protect and use it effectively and in a timely manner.

This concept is known as being ‘data ready’. While there are many factors affecting an organisation’s data readiness, three key issues will be prevalent in 2020: ransomware, multi-cloud environments and data compliance regulations. Tackling these key data issues can help organisations to be data ready in 2020.

Ransomware is rampant

Ransomware is a threat to each and every business today. In fact, it is so prevalent that an attack has become a matter of ‘when’ and no longer ‘if’. High-profile data breaches were a common theme in 2019, and many attacks caused several days of service outages.

A new malware threat called ‘wiper’ is also becoming increasingly prevalent. This malicious software does exactly as the name suggests – rather than holding data to ransom by encrypting it, it actually erases it from its storage media. This changes the game completely.

A data wipe is not about money, it is completely malicious and an outright hostile attack. Paying the ransom or de-encrypting ransomed data by other means is not an option. If you do not have an effective backup and recovery solution in place, and you are ‘hit’ by a successful wiper attack, your data is gone.

The ability to recover from a malware attack involves more than Disaster Recovery (DR). Manual backups and attached storage can also be infected, which means that having multiple backups is no longer enough. Being data ready in the case of malware means we have to think differently about business continuity.

It is imperative to have strategies in place to detect anomalous behaviour within data storage as well as backups and archived, so that attacks can be identified quickly and suspicious behaviour can trigger alerts to notify the correct people.

The key to a data ready recovery system is rapid, frequent and separated backups that allow you to bring key systems back online immediately while you ascertain where an attack came from, isolate it and remove it.

Managing data in multiple clouds

Most organisations already exist in a multi-cloud environment, even if they are unaware of this fact. Whether it is a hosted Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, Office 365 or some form of cloud storage like Google Drive or iCloud, these solutions are frequently found in the makeup of businesses. On the other side of the coin, there is also no organisation that is completely 100% in the cloud.

This multi-cloud hybrid scenario creates the need to be able to move data between systems. There are many reasons why data may need to be moved, either between clouds or between the cloud and the premises. The underlying common factor is that business models need change, so data architecture needs to be able to adapt. This is part of data readiness – the ability to drive economies between cloud and on-premises solutions to maximise cost and benefit while minimising risk.

This, in turn, requires central visibility into all data across all of the various areas of storage. It is critical to data readiness to have a central management layer or platform in place to consolidate the view of data across the organisation. Without this visibility, it is impossible to migrate data to leverage the best provider or location to meet changing business needs.

Meeting compliance requirements

Data is becoming increasingly regulated and it is not enough to know that you have the data, you also need to understand the purpose for which it was collected. Companies must have a record of the consent from the consumer to use the data for its intended purpose and the ability to comply with the ‘right to forget’ should the consumer request this. This is an imperative of all data privacy regulations.

Data readiness means having a way of consistently knowing where data is, what type of data it is and the sensitivity of the information. This requires specific tools, as manually identifying sensitive data is simply not possible given the volumes of data in business today. It is also important to enable search and discovery to enable the ‘right to forget’ and then prove that the data has been removed, including from backups.

Be data ready in 2020

It is absolutely essential today to know what data you have, the purpose for which it was collected, and that it is adequately protected and can be recovered in the event of a data loss event. It is also critical to ensure that backups are protected and that they are tested to ensure that data recovery is possible.

Data readiness enables business agility by ensuring that data is available at all times in the right location to the right people. This means that your data can be leveraged to create business value. However, it is impossible to manage what you do not know exists.

Essentially, the ability to deal with pressing issues such as ransomware, the multi-cloud and compliance boils down to data governance and effective data management, which lie at the heart of data readiness.

Johan Scheepers is the Country Head at Commvault in South Africa. 

Microsoft and Genesys partner to provide enterprises with new cloud services

Microsoft is teaming up with Genesys to provide organisations around the globe with new cloud services for contact centres that will enable them to deliver superior interactions for customers. 

With the omnichannel customer experience solution, Genesys Engage™, running on Microsoft Azure, enterprises have the security and scalability they need to manage the complexities involved with connecting every touchpoint throughout the customer journey.

Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will be available in late 2020. To accelerate adoption, the companies are providing Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure through a joint co-selling and go-to-market strategy. Customers will benefit from a streamlined buying process that puts them on a clear path to the cloud.

With its multi-tenant architecture, Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will give customers the ability to innovate faster and improve their business agility. In addition, by running the Genesys customer experience solution on this dependable cloud environment, enterprises will be able to maximise their investment in Microsoft Azure through simplified management and maintenance requirements, centralised IT expertise, reduced costs and more. These solutions make it easier for enterprises to leverage cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies so they can gain deeper insights and provide tailor-made experiences for their customers.

Nemo Verbist, senior vice president of Intelligent Business and Intelligent Workplace at NTT Ltd one of the top five global technology and services providers for the world’s largest enterprises and a partner of both Microsoft and Genesys said, “Many of our customers have standardised on Microsoft solutions, and Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure gives them an additional opportunity to take advantage of their investment. Together, these solutions provide enterprises a secure and powerful foundation to communicate with their customers in creative and meaningful ways.”

“Large contact centres receive an exceptionally high volume of inquiries across a growing list of channels and platforms. One of the biggest challenges is connecting the details of every interaction across all channels to ensure each customer has a seamless experience,” said Kate Johnson, president, Microsoft U.S. “By leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud and AI technologies, Genesys is helping enterprises create a seamless customer journey with Microsoft’s trusted, secure, and scalable platform.”

“We are thrilled to give large enterprises the opportunity to run their mission-critical customer experience platform in the cloud environment they already know and trust — Microsoft Azure,” said Peter Graf, chief strategy officer of Genesys. “Together, we’re making it simpler for even the most complex organizations to transition to the cloud, enabling them to unlock efficiencies and accelerate innovation so they can build deeper connections with customers.”

The companies are also exploring and developing new integrations for Genesys and Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure Cognitive Services to streamline collaboration and communications for employees and customers.

www.microsoft.com

www.genesys.com

[Column] Stephane Duproz: The rise of data centres in Africa

Data centre market in Africa is poised on the brink of hugely accelerated growth, driven by several factors, including a soaring demand for cloud services.

Now and again, a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution sees a combination of factors unite to create a ‘perfect storm’ of demand – one that is exacerbated by the various vendors’ inability to keep pace with it. One such industry is the multi-tenant colocation data centre market in Africa, which is poised on the brink of hugely accelerated growth, driven by several factors, including a soaring demand for cloud services, pressure by regulators to bring African content back to Africa, a surge in media content markets and improved broadband around the continent.

“Data centres are at the heart of economic growth in Africa and without them, developing rich and self-sufficient ICT ecosystems cannot happen,” says Stephane Duproz, the CEO of Africa Data Centres. “These facilities are the lifeblood of every business and the foundation of the internet itself, with thousands of networks and connections meeting there.”

He says the continued and sustained investment in connectivity and broadband in Africa are putting foundations in place for true African digital transformation. “For example 2018 saw mobile penetration reach 44% in Sub-Saharan Africa, which in turn, saw the demand for data for personal and business use reach all-time highs. Add to this the ready availability of affordable smartphones and more reasonable data plans and you’ll see why Africa is hungry for all things digital.”

Building data centres is the one way that Africa can meet the growing requirements for storage and networking that are key to fulfilling Africa’s digital transformation dreams, adds Duproz. “Keep in mind that a slew of new technologies including analytics, IoT, artificial intelligence and cloud are fueling the demand for rapid, high-availability services, and infrastructure that is local, not situated in Europe or the United States.”

Despite the clear need for more data centres, he says Africa remains the greatest untapped market for data centre providers and considering the continent is made up of more than 50 countries and a population of over a billion, this needs to change. “Most of Africa’ citizens are of the age where they want to go online, learn, communicate and consume digital services.”

Durpoz says data centres have to deliver IT services and provide storage and networking to a skyrocketing number of networked devices, users, as well as business processes. “It’s no surprise then that demand for data centre colocation services in Africa has been unprecedented, driven by the factors I mentioned above, as well as the need for digitisation in Africa. Africa wants to go digital and it wants to do it now. The continent needs servers, power, broadband – and as much of it as possible.”

At the moment, Duproz says the demand for co-location data centres in Africa is rising more rapidly than supply. “More modern colocation facilities in Africa will not only help meet the continent’s needs but will help to connect the various regions to the broader global data economy, which in turn will drive economic and social development.”

During the past couple of years, he says several cloud infrastructure and data centres have been built in many growing African markets. “However, this is just a start. The desire for more data centres for Africans is skyrocketing, and concurrently, many global companies are looking to the region for data centre development and support.”

According to him, this is important, because the data centre market on the continent is crucial to the integration of Africa into worldwide networks. Look at the hyper-scale cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Azure, Huawei and Google. They all have global cloud services built upon a wide network of self-built data centres, but the lack of Africa-based data centres is creating latency issues and inhibiting the growth of their hyper-scale offerings on the continent.

Another reason the continent can benefit from interconnected, carrier and cloud-neutral data centre facilities, is because they enable public sector entities in Africa to harness the benefits of information and communication technologies, as well as the economies of scale that the cloud provides.

Ultimately, Duproz says, what the continent needs is a vision of a pan-African network of carrier-neutral data centres, and that is precisely what Africa Data Centres is doing and is currently the largest operator in this space. “I believe this is the way of the future because we can offer services in all the countries in which we are present to any international customer who wants to come to Africa. We have one aim, and one aim only and that is it to digitalise Africa and interconnect our data centres all over the continent to drive true digital transformation.”

Stephane Duproz is the CEO of Africa Data Centres.