[Kenya] Safaricom to accelerate cloud adoption in with Amazon Web Services

Safaricom has announced a strategic agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which will see the Telco become a reseller of AWS services.

Safaricom has announced a strategic agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which will see the Telco become a reseller of AWS services.

The agreement is designed to accelerate Safaricom’s internal IT transformation, lower costs and provide it with a blueprint and skilled resources to assist customers with their journey to the cloud.

“We chose to partner with AWS because it offers customers the broadest and deepest cloud platform, overall commitment to security excellence, and a strong culture of customer obsession. This agreement will allow us to accelerate our efforts to enable digital transformation in Kenya,” said Michael Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom.

In addition, Safaricom will be able to offer AWS services to East-African customers, allowing businesses of all sizes to quickly get started on AWS cloud and accelerate innovation.

Safaricom also announced the attainment of Advanced Consulting Partner status in the AWS Partner Network (APN), becoming one of the first APN members in East Africa. The APN is the global partner program for technology and consulting businesses who leverage AWS to build solutions and services for customers.

The APN helps companies build, market, and sell their AWS offerings by providing valuable business, technical, and marketing support. This achievement recognizes the skills, knowledge and experience in AWS cloud services that the Safaricom PLC team has gained.

Safaricom’s announcement to work with AWS has been met with interest by customers, with enterprises, startups, and government agencies expressing a desire to use the partnership to build their cloud strategy.

www.safaricom.co.ke

[South Africa] Cloud market moving from supply-driven to demand-driven, says Routed

Vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed, says that four years ago the development of the local cloud landscape was still in its infancy. Managing Director, Andrew Cruise, says that in the time since launching Routed, cloud demand has increased: “The market is moving from supply-driven to demand-driven. While the enterprise sector has taken time to embrace the cloud-concept, we have noted an increase in demand from these organisations.”

He says that the enterprise sector has moved into the driving seat, demanding cloud solutions. This about-turn was predicted according to Cruise: “We knew that the industry needed time to mature and better understand what digitilisation would mean to the success and longevity of their businesses. Where four years ago, owned equipment (either on-premise or collocated) was the outright preference as opposed to public or private cloud, we are now seeing a shift.”

While this shift may imply significant movement, Cruise cautions that cloud growth locally remains small. In particular, private cloud uptake is low and in fact, he says it has never really taken off: “The issue with private cloud is that the definitions tend to vary, which makes it difficult to understand or obtain a firm view of the uptake. Bear in mind that having dedicated equipment that is virtualised does not mean that it is a private cloud.

“When considering public cloud, the local sector seems to have a mixed bag of hosting implementations, but very few that are comparable to a true cloud experience, similar to that provided by the hyperscalers.”

Cloud platform providers have launched some compelling products that will assist in the migration to, and provide easy management of applications in, a legitimate public cloud, but still offer it in a secure and private way: VMWare’s vCloud Director is the standout example.

Lack of cloud skills remains another issue the industry has to address. Cruise says that the channel needs to address their ability to implement bona fide cloud strategies: “It is very important to ensure that you select the correct cloud partner. They need to focus on cloud as their primary business and have the skills to architect, deploy, secure, manage and support cloud infrastructure.”

www.routed.co.za

[Startup Interview] Freeman Addico, CEO, Addicnet, Ghana

With customers spread across 10 countries, Pan-African cloud computing and ecommerce solutions provider Addicnet is redefining cloud computing landscape in the continent through its unique offerings. The CEO Freeman Addico explains.

Tell us abit about Addicnet and your role in it

Addicnet is a Pan-African Cloud computing and ecommerce solutions provider aiding African companies to deploy their operations on the cloud with stability, scalability, security, and efficiency.

Our solutions span from multi-public cloud managed service, encrypted cloud, enterprise file sync and share on- premise, white label cloud backup and sync and bespoke ecommerce development and management services.

I lead the overall Technical Development of our Company’s products and services and the Company’s long-term vision strategy of becoming a top Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) in Africa.

Why was it formed and to what extent has it achieved its purpose?

It was formed to serve the cloud computing and encryption niche markets in transforming the African Enterprises Technology Landscape. Here is how we are helping businesses in Africa.

Develop Cloud strategy, deployment and managing their cloud resources so companies can focus on their core business and innovation

 We help companies with Data protection through secure hosting, end-end cloud encryption, with our partner Datacentre based in Switzerland and protected by Swiss Law.

Help companies to have their own secure File sync and Share on- premise with encryption and Data governance instead of using public file sharing platforms like dropbox, OneDrive, Sharefile etc. that have failed to protect their customers’ data. With us, clients can easily collaborate with teams and with business partners by providing them remote access to a limited set of internal files or folders. Share files while maintaining administrative controls. Simplify multi-site collaboration with automatic version controls and file locking.

We help telecom and ISP companies with white label backup and sync and share solution, AI cloud backup to rebrand and give to their customers as a VAS.

We provide end-to end ecommerce development and management solutions

How big is your reach?

Currently we are serving customers in 10 countries and have regal presence in 4 countries in Africa, but our solutions are open to all across the world with special focus to business in the African continent. All businesses out there, who want to benefit from utilization of cloud computing solutions, encrypted cloud and data protection.

What is Addicnet bringing to the market that isn’t present at the moment?

Addicnet provides premium services to businesses of all sizes, enterprises and small business alike with niche products in cloud and ecommerce coupled with a business model that’s quite different from other companies out there ie. Multi-public cloud managed service, encrypted cloud solutions, enterprise file sync and share on-premise and white label cloud backup on-premise, as well as managed bespoke ecommerce solutions on single platform.

These are 3 different models that also differentiate us from others.

  • Onboarding of end users on our own and provide them with custom solutions that meets their needs. We don’t provide “one solution fit all” kind of services.
  • Service providers also depend on us to manage their infrastructures so they can focus on their core business to their respective clients
  • We provide white label solutions to businesses of all sizes with their brands to resell or provide a value added service to their end user on a revenue sharing business model.

What do you consider the biggest threat to your business?

The biggest threat to my business has been the fragmentations of the African markets. We provide premium custom solutions that are needed on the continent and we get referrals across the continent; however, doing business in most of these countries is quite difficult to deal with, the processes and legal issues are in most cases not pleasant in my experience. But then, there is hope with the African free trade agreement and I look forward to when it will be fully implemented so as to have integrated market to work in.

What kind of collaborations do you expect and need for Addicnet to succeed?

We need collaborations from all service providers, ISP’s, Telecoms, IaaS, Device manufacturers, Device distributors etc. who are looking at giving their customers a VAS (Value added service), our white-label solutions hosted on-premise is the right solution for them and best of all, we give that solution on revenue sharing business model. It is a secure cloud file sync and share solution that enables clients to relish a complete on-the-go experience with automatic backup, advanced tasks scheduling, selective restore, and file versioning features.

Where are your plans for Addicnet in 2020 and going forward?

We have already won an award as one of the 20 most promising tech companies in Africa in 2020 by CIO review magazine. In the coming years, we wish to surge ahead of the competition to be the biggest provider of cloud computing technology in the region. With clients in more than ten countries, the company is currently looking to cross-over into other promising territories and create an extensive customer base. We want to have footprints as a company that provides capable cloud services, cloud encryption and e-commerce solutions.

What is the latest news from Addicnet?

We have succeeded in forming two major partnership arrangements with Artmotion a datacenter in Switzerland for our encryption and data protection solutions, protected by SWISS privacy laws for clients, this means we give you SWISS privacy. And also, KnowIT Cloud (IaaS) in Israel with datacenter across Europe as our infrastructure platform. With those partnerships, plans are far advanced to setup datacenters in 3 countries in Africa in coming years.

Who should contact your company, and why?

All companies who are interested in secure cloud hosting, cloud encryption, data protection, enterprise file sync and share on-premise for data governance, those who are interested in providing a secure cloud backup and sync solution as added value service, as well those who want to create bespoke ecommerce for B2B, B2C Omni-channel platforms. We are known as Africa’s premium cloud solution provider that delight clients with many user case studies. With us you truly have a premium partner.

www.addicnet.com

www.twitter.com/addicnet  

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

[[$links]]

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