Global public cloud market poised to reach $596 billion by 2020, report

The global public cloud market size is expected to reach $596 billion by 2027, expanding at a compounded growth rate of 14.6 per cent from 2020 to 2027, according to a new study conducted by Grand View Research, Inc.

Owing to the high scalability and reduced operational costs offered by cloud services in the wake of digital transformation of industries, the market is witnessing rapid growth. Moreover, enterprises across the globe are gradually adopting public cloud technology to rapidly build, test, and release quality software products.

The public cloud is a multi-tenant environment, which offers rapid elasticity and high scalability with capability to consume resources on a pay-per-use basis. Governments and institutions are planning gradually to completely integrate its conventional systems with these computing technologies.

As a part of the IT Modernization effort, U.S Federal Government had initiated Cloud Smart Strategy in October 2018 to improve citizen-centric services, accessibility, and maintain cybersecurity.

Moreover, adoption of the technology is rapidly gaining importance among Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) sector due to the cost competitiveness offered in the market.

Currently, most of the enterprises of varying sizes, are revamping from traditional to digital mode of business.

 The transformation is likely to create potential market for public cloud owing to its benefits such as reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), agility, and flexibility. IBM Corporation states that around 89% of IT professionals expect to move business-critical workloads to cloud, which are driven by the growth in digitization.

Government organizations are also this technology services for storage, disaster recovery, risk compliance management, and identity access management applications.

 In October 2019, amidst corporate hostility, Microsoft Corporation was awarded the U.S Department of Defense contract, Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) worth $10 billion.

www.grandviewresearch.com

Africa debate whether to remain on-premise or move to the cloud

Security, risk, data loss, and legislation. These are the primary concerns listed by organizations and government institutions when asked why they are reluctant to move to the cloud.

 It is the perennial debate – will cloud put the data at risk? Isn’t on-premise more secure? How can the organization ensure it is compliant in light of growing regulatory control over how data is accessed, protected and used?

For many, the answer lies in the tried and trusted foundations of on-premise solutions that have weathered the storms so far. The problem is that this isn’t necessarily the right answer…

Some organizations remain convinced that on-premise is more reliable than the cloud. In Kenya, government guidelines recently approved by President Uhuru Kenyatta – safeguards that are considered to be on a par with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – have put immense pressure on organizations when it comes to data handling and sharing.

When a company faces either a prison sentence or a hefty fine for violating the act, it makes sense for them to panic about security and be more prudent about with which provider to share their personal information with.

This trend is reflected in Nigeria, Ghana and Rwanda where legislation is influencing decision making when it comes to the cloud. In Nigeria, government industries have been advised to stay with their on-premise platforms. Rwanda has clamped down on its personal data protection with regulations around consent from individuals.

South Africa is still toying with its Protection of Personal Information Act, but this is very likely to be signed into law fairly soon. These regulations are all essential in a time when data privacy and security are under scrutiny and the cyber-threat has never been more present. And it makes sense that companies are forming a protective circle around their information and question where and how a provider stores their data before investing into the cloud.

Due to the far-reaching hands of governments, data sovereignty is a primary concern of institutions moving to the cloud. Data sovereignty refers to the fact that information which is stored in the cloud is subject to the laws of the country in which it is physically stored. For some organisations this concern may be warranted, such as highly regulated government organisations storing highly confidential information.

However, even highly regulated organisations are taking advantage of what the cloud has to offer by taking a hybrid approach.

For more sensitive confidential information, the data is stored on-premise, and other processes that are less sensitive, are outsourced to third party cloud providers. This is a reasonable approach. However, most companies don’t have the skilled manpower or budget to build a secure hybrid approach, or even an on-premise solution, which is why not moving to the cloud becomes a business risk.

At the same time the truth is that while many organisations cling to on-premise as the solution, it can be the most dangerous of the two.

Using or not using a cloud provider has no bearing on complying with privacy regulations, as long as adequate safeguards around personal information can be guaranteed. Privacy regulations stipulate organisations take into account the state of the art and industry prior to implementing new solutions. When looking into the information technology landscape today, we can see the moving to the cloud is the most secure, scalable, and reliable way to protect data.

“Professional cloud infrastructures are usually safer and more reliable than many on-premise platforms,” explains Anna Collard at KnowBe4. “One of the most common reasons for this is the lack of security resources organisation can employ. Security skills are hard to come by even globally, and in Africa we only have about 10 000 security professionals across the entire continent. Large companies such as Oracle have employed a security team that is bigger than all the African security professionals together.”

Cloud service providers are in the business of looking after their infrastructure and their client’s data, providing a level of assurance via ISO 27000, PCI DSS, Cloud Security Alliance and other security certifications.  Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) list of security certs is mind bogglingly long –a feat that is difficult to accomplish unless security or IT infrastructure management is your core business.

Another issue is that people often ask if the security on offer by the cloud service provider is the absolute best on the market. The real question should be whether the security is appropriate for the level of data and services being provided and where the data centre is located to ensure adequate data protection alignment.

“Cloud service providers consider all the angles from auditing to phishing to updates to patches and intrusion detection,” concludes Collard. “Their solutions are designed to not just meet industry standards, but to exceed them. This is not only to ensure the safety and security of the customer, but because their own reputation is on the line if they don’t deliver.”

According to ESG research in January 2020 67% of enterprises use public cloud infrastructure services to support their IT operations. That number is most likely going to increase even more so over the next few months with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing many organisations to set up work from home.

 There is no guaranteed road to risk-free business. Cybercrime is on the rise and it is exceptional sophisticated, leveraging human error and system vulnerability to gain access to systems and damage reputations. Ultimately the cloud is just a third-party provider, the responsibility over the data remains with the data owner, which is the business or organisation processing the data.

Performing a third-party risk assessment and reviewing the cloud provider’s security certifications should be standard practice to ensure adequate security will be applied, regardless of where the data is stored and should help greatly in the decision-making process.

While it’s perfectly understandable for the business to hold onto what it knows – the on-prem solution – cloud has become a powerful and reliable ally that can not only surpass most on-prem solutions, but can do so at a lower cost and with better security.

www.knowbe4.com

[Uganda] Mukwano Industries moves business systems to the cloud to boost efficiency, visibility

Mukwano Industries is one of the great success stories of the Ugandan business world.

From humble beginnings as a general dealer in Kampala in the 1980s, the company has grown into one of the leading FMCG conglomerates in East Africa, with interests that include manufacturing, agriculture and property development.

Its products, ranging from petroleum jelly and detergents to cooking oil and soap; from drinking water to household and commercial plastics; can be found in every home across Uganda.

The major challenge for the company was that its technology infrastructure had not kept pace with its growth. It had implemented SAP ECC 6.0 back in 2008, and the now dated platform was creating a host of issues: numerous custom developments, plant maintenance and operations not implemented, and an enduring dependency on paper-based systems and Excel spreadsheets.

“We had data everywhere, but information nowhere,” says Mukwano CEO Tony Gadhoke. “This meant we had low cost insights and a growing need for operational efficiencies. Something had to give. So we decided to shed our legacy systems and move our core business processes to the Cloud using the SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud platform. In doing so, we aimed to leverage Cloud capabilities to improve technical and operational agility, enhance real-time visibility across the business, harmonise data, improve reporting, and enable future growth and innovation.”

There was just one catch: the business insisted on a rapid implementation strategy to reduce the amount of time and resources needed, by around 35%, to implement the project. In effect, this meant replacing Mukwano’s core systems and training the necessary people to be able to go live, within five and a half months.

There were a couple of factors working in Mukwano’s favour: the company wanted a “best practices” SAP system, which meant minimal customisation time.

And partner iMark Technologies’ ‘zero fat’ approach to getting projects done, combined with Mukwano’s highly structured project management approach, ensured the implementation never deviated from its time scale for a moment.

“Apart from the incredibly tight timeframe for the implementation, our biggest challenge was that we were changing the organizational structure completely to align to the SAP system. This meant we had to ensure the right people were in the right positions. To ensure immediate buy-in and adoption of the new system by its users, we ran extensive training sessions every day, with ongoing monitoring of skill absorption, to ensure as high a level of ownership as possible,” said Gadhoke.

This meant cancelling all leave for the duration of the project – including over Christmas and New Year – to ensure every individual was onboard and the project didn’t deviate from the timeline. “It was tough, but we had no choice. There was no room for a redo, and we had to make sure we got it right first time,” said Gadhoke.

Ultimately, the effort was worth it, with the results of the implementation exceeding Mukwano’s already high expectations. In a first for Uganda, the business put its core business systems into the Cloud by the agreed deadline, with minimal disruption to the business.

The company has already seen significant gains in productivity and faster time to market. It has greater visibility into its operations than ever before, through an intuitive, unified platform from which it can oversee its business operations from end-to-end. It has also seen a ‘huge’ reduction in capex on its server infrastructure and IT resources.

Gadhoke said partner iMark Technologies’ experience in the digital transformation of organisations in the East African region was critical to the success of the project. S Iyer, the managing director of iMark, said: “It has been very exciting for us to see how organisations like Mukwano are realising the promise of digital transformation by leveraging SAP technologies and solutions to effect transformational change.

Mukwano has already been able to achieve significant progress in its operational excellence with S/4 HANA, thanks to the incredible analytics functionality that has been unlocked. “The next steps in our journey will be to focus on people performance and excellence. But we’re confident that we have the right platform in place to take the business to the next level,” said Gadhoke.

www.sap.com