Standard Bank South Africa migrates SAP cloud platform to Microsoft Azure to boost efficiency

Standard Bank South Africa is moving its core SAP Cloud Platform services to Microsoft Azure to significantly improve the experience customers have with the bank, while enabling it to introduce new solutions to market more efficiently.

This accelerates the digital transformation of SAP customers to S/4HANA by partnering with Microsoft and using jointly developed reference architectures, roadmaps, and industry best practices. Many enterprises are looking to reduce their reliance on their own datacentres and moving more of their core workloads to the cloud.

Sabelo Nkwanyana, Standard Bank’s CIO for Personal and Business Banking SA, says leveraging the computing power of Microsoft and the product innovation capability of SAP demonstrates how Standard Bank is embracing partnerships and ecosystems to develop customized solutions for its clients.

“SAP has a deep understanding of our business requirements and how we want to ensure our customers are happy with our service offering. This partnership continues our focus on innovation by leveraging the respective skills of SAP and Microsoft to transform the digitization and personalization journey for our customers,” says Nkwanyana.

Lillian Barnard, Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa says, “The Project Embrace initiative between Microsoft and SAP announced globally last year is centred around the customer journey to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure. The work that we are doing with Standard Bank is the first local demonstration of this partnership, and another milestone in the journey Microsoft is on with Standard Bank, to bring innovation into every aspect of the bank’s IT system and enable enriched interactions with the bank’s customers.”

The partnership brings together SAP and Microsoft, along with a global network of selected system integrators, to move on-premise SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA customers to the cloud through industry-specific best practices, reference architectures and cloud-delivered services.

Barnard continues, “Enterprises are migrating to cloud providers at an accelerated rate. This makes it critical for our customers to have the right cloud infrastructure in place, enabling them to unlock the power of innovation. Microsoft’s significant investment on the African continent, with our first hyperscale datacentre regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, means many more partners and customers are enjoying the benefits of our intelligent cloud platform.”

Speaking on the SAP partnership specifically, Barnard adds, “Project Embrace has three tenets at its heart: simplify, accelerate and innovate. By accelerating our customers’ digital transformation journey, we are enabling them to become agile, efficient digital enterprises on Microsoft Azure – with a cloud platform optimised for SAP – leveraging best practice and specialist expertise.”

“Today’s announcement is the biggest partnership centred on SAP implementation in Africa. With client experience a key strategic pillar for Standard Bank, Project Embrace reflects the shared commitment of both SAP and Microsoft to accelerate our customers’ journey to the cloud,” says Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa.

This project will deliver a unified approach to how Standard Bank runs SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure. Ultimately, this will help the bank deliver a faster time-to-market on products and services, while ensuring its IT infrastructure is optimised. By moving workloads to the cloud, Standard Bank will be able to access a range of features that it can deploy instantly and scale according to demand. This will result in cost reductions, improved system performance, and access to innovation.

“This will empower the bank to create new business models and deliver more personalised outcomes in today’s dynamic business environment. By providing Standard Bank with consistent engagement and delivery models, SAP and Microsoft bring both industry-specific best practices and deep local insight to deliver a compelling value proposition for their clients,” says Smith.

“Through Project Embrace, we are now able to better identify our business pain points and effectively address them through technologies that deliver a demonstratable return on investment. Having the ability to more accurately predict where customer challenges and dissatisfaction will occur enables a more flexible enterprise environment. We can help our customers transform their businesses and their lives in a secure way. This is much more than SAP and Microsoft supplying us with products. This is about fundamentally enhancing our digital journey for the future,” concludes Nkwanyana of Standard Bank SA.

In addition to the work done with Standard Bank, the Microsoft and SAP initiative is assisting customers around the world, and in a variety of industries, accelerate their journey to becoming digital, intelligent enterprises.

www.standardbank.co.za

www.sap.com

[South Africa] ACS transforms Disaster Recovery with VMware and Routed

ACS, a division of Altron that provides secure data hosting and networking for not only the Altron Group of companies but also external customers across South Africa, has announced the strengthening of its partnership with VMware Cloud Provider partner Routed. The partnership’s aim is to enhance ACS’s current disaster recovery (DR) offering with a more scalable and efficient cloud-based solution.

“We provide the secure hosting of transactional data as well as applications which contain a significant amount of private and critical information. Given the sensitivity of this data, it must always be available. Our previous solution required significant granular manual intervention when we needed to switch customers over to DR. It was therefore essential to implement a more cost-effective solution that could cope with the massive amount of data that needed to be transported across to the DR data centre,” says Mira Andric, ACS Operations and Delivery Manager.

Nixon Kanalinixon

Andrew Cruise, MD of Routed Hosting who is the first VMware Cloud Verified Partner (VCPP) in Africa, says the previous ACS DR solution was not only difficult to manage, but it was manual-driven for recovery and tied to their storage resulting in an inflexible environment.

“Because ACS runs VMware inside their data centre and they themselves are a VCPP, it made sense to deliver a solution that combines our respective expertise in the VMware ecosystem. They are quite forward-thinking to approach another service provider partner to deliver a best-of-breed offering rather than try do everything themselves,” he says.

 “We were looking for a VCPP partner that could integrate well with what we already had in place. It was not a case of reinventing the wheel but rather implement something that could take the business to the next level.” Andric adds.

ACS implemented VCloud availability and shipped over 30TB of data within two weeks. The entire project took three months to complete with ACS now running a full DR-as-a-service (DRaaS) offering incorporating the reliability, availability, and security needed.

“ACS is providing customers with a self-service portal where they can ensure that the DR systems are available and up and running at a moment’s notice. Our engagement with Routed has been a partnership, and they have been actively involved in setting the systems up with us and our IT teams,” she says.

According to Andric, this has enabled ACS to complete the project on time and within budget.

“The cost savings have already started coming through. What is most important for us is that Routed has demonstrated that the VCloud offering is running the way it should at a price that is affordable to our customers. Furthermore, the IT teams within our customer environment understand the solution and it is incredibly user-friendly,” says Andric.

Running DRaaS is traditionally quite complex as those are the systems that companies do not require daily.

“However, Routed guided us on this complex path and empowered us to deliver a self-service platform to our customers. Now, within five clicks, the DR system is up and running. The VMware system is just a pleasure to run when you need it most. It has provided us and our customers with a good night’s sleep because they know that when they need it, DR will be done as effectively and securely as possible,” she says.

According to Cruise, ACS can deliver this solution to not only Altron Group companies but also external customers.

“ACS can provide a suite of services that speak to the security and compliance requirements of the digital age. And all this is delivered with the availability and reliability of a VMware cloud solution,” he concludes.

www.acs.altech.co.za

[Nigeria] Actis acquires majority stake in Rack Centre, announces plans to build a $250 million African data centre platform

Leading investor of private capital into global emerging markets, Actis has acquired a majority stake in Nigeria’s leading, independent, co-location business, Rack Centre. 

Rack Centre owns and operates a certified Tier III data centre in Lagos. It has the largest installed capacity in West Africa hosting over 80 international, regional and local clients. With over 35 carriers connecting to the facility, as well as hosting Nigeria’s internet exchange, Rack Centre is the most connected facility in the region and links every country on Africa’s Atlantic coast.

The investment into Rack Centre will fund a rapid expansion of the data centre, doubling the existing modular capacity and developing a traditional-build scale data centre on the same premises. This will create the largest data centre outside South Africa with hosting capacity in excess of 10MW over the near term.

Actis is already one of the largest real estate and power generation investors in Africa. The firm has also created a Chinese data centre platform, Chayora Holdings, to develop hyperscale data centre facilities in Tianjin and is exploring other Asian markets.

 “We have been tracking the data centre market in Africa closely, building relationships with key operators and customers. Africa is at an inflection point and we expect to see an explosion in growth of demand for hosting capacity in independently owned data centres across the continent.” David Morley, Head of Real Estate at Actis, said:

“We are excited about this new partnership with Rack Centre and its promoter Jagal Investments.  Together they have built a strong business of international repute, hosting a compelling mix of customers ranging from leading Nigerian corporates to global cloud majors.” he added. 

Ayotunde Coker, Managing Director of Rack Centre said “It has been a great honour to lead the growth of Rack Centre to become one of the most respected carrier neutral data centre brands in West Africa. Rack Centre is now at a key juncture and my team and I are excited with being part of the future growth. With over 750kW of installed capacity, it is now doubling capacity to 1.5MW of IT power at the currently location on a trajectory to 10MW”

 “Jagal is excited with its new partnership with Actis. Rack Centre has developed into a leading and respected African brand and it is now at a critical stage for investment and growth. Actis understands global and emerging markets and will be a fantastic partner for the next phase of the Rack Centre journey” Maher Jarmakani, CEO of Jagal added. 

Actis is the largest private equity GP in Africa having committed US$4.5bn to the region over the last 15 years.

Actis has also announced plans to establish a US$250 million pan-African data centre platform. The buy and build platform according to the company will comprise of independently owned, carrier neutral, data centres across key African markets.

www.act.is

www.rack-centre.com

[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