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Sunday, 23 July 2017 ehdf

Managed Cloud Services Market Gaining Traction in the Middle East

Cloud adoption in the Middle East is definitely seeing significant growth. Cisco Global Cloud Index (2013-2018) whitepaper estimates the highest cloud traffic growth rate (54 percent CAGR) for the Middle East and Africa, followed by Central and Eastern Europe (39 percent CAGR) and Asia Pacific (37 percent CAGR). Unlike the early years when cloud was nothing more than a buzzword in the region’s markets, today it is for real. The proportion of revenues being allocated to cloud computing is gradually increasing across different organizations as well.

Though most public sector organizations are still skeptical about public cloud, private cloud is definitely garnering a lot of interest from enterprises across the region. Cloud infrastructure is more cost effective than having your own on-premises IT infrastructure. Though the pace might not actually compete with the speed of light, enterprises are surely moving more of their business operations to the cloud in order to gain more returns on investment, save time and make the best utilization of the available resources to grow their business faster.

The SMB segment is also slowly following the trend. So in five years’ time, one word which might aptly describe cloud infrastructure services is “everywhere”. Crucial business applications may or may not move entirely onto cloud depending on the technological breakthroughs in cloud based security systems. Nevertheless, the uptake of private and hybrid clouds will definitely be higher and provide businesses umpteen reasons to invest in cloud in order to get more for less.

In the region, managed cloud is a differentiator from the public cloud services that global players offer. Managed cloud offers additional benefits to customers, wherein they can offload mundane IT operations and focus on growth and innovation.

Key drivers

Digital Transformation has become a major focus for many organizations in the Middle East. Today, businesses need to focus on newer technologies which can help them transform into a ‘digital business’. In fact, in an era which we are calling the Internet of Things (IoT), organisations will need to rethink how they approach rapid digitization.

Faced with mounting costs and an increasingly complex IT environment to manage, organizations are now more than ever looking at managed IT Services and cloud as an alternative to in-house IT infrastructure management.

Cloud computing delivers significant benefits in terms of tangible business metrics such as simplified and flexible IT environment, right sizing of IT requirements, and pay per use consumption model. These benefits are applicable whether the use case is a large enterprise with thousands of employees accessing common business applications or a smaller business accessing office type applications.

In the era of digital transformation, technology is a great enabler and cloud and managed IT services are helping organizations in the Middle East become agile by providing them stability, scalability and most importantly – security.

Challenges and resistance faced by Managed Cloud Services Providers

While lower costs and scalability are the reasons for the increased uptake of the cloud, the major challenges for cloud adoption include security concerns for the data on cloud, compliance complications not allowing data to be hosted at data centers located outside the region and lack of adequate skill sets.

Security is one of the biggest concerns because of which companies show resistance to managed cloud services providers (MCSP). To overcome this, the MCSP should ensure that they have the best and latest security systems and practices in place, offer round-the-clock monitoring and management of the IT infrastructure and comprehensive customized managed services – all with a guaranteed service level agreement that meets international industry standards.

Contrary to popular belief, partnering with a reliable cloud services provider is far more secure than in-house server hosting. Cloud service providers have a team of experts across technology domains including data security. They normally adopt state-of-the-art technology and solutions in all areas including security, which may not necessarily be the case with Enterprise IT. Also, cloud service providers constantly invest in and upgrade their technology, knowledge, skills and expertise in order to offer the latest hosting services to their customers. A reputed services provider is also certified for various quality and security certifications and conduct regular security system audits. Owing to the fact that they run and manage systems for multiple customers, they continuously keep themselves updated about the changing security threat landscape across verticals.

Recently the Industry has seen the CSA Star certification becoming the de facto standard for Cloud Security Services. eHosting DataFort is the first company in the Middle East to achieve the CSA STAR Certification, with a Gold rating, which is the highest rating that can be awarded to any cloud services provider (CSP).

It is very important to choose the right CSP and one of the determining factors should be the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that the cloud services provider can offer.

Evolving Market

Cloud services in the Middle East are growing significantly as businesses are seeing tremendous value in having a scalable and flexible pool of resources at their fingertips. The assurance of lower IT costs and scalability has drawn IT decision makers to move their business-critical data and applications to the cloud. Also, the popularity of the pay-as-you-go model and having clearly measureable predictable IT costs is another driver towards cloud adoption in the Middle East. In fact, many organizations are considering to move to a hosted private or hybrid cloud model. Having said that, Public Cloud is not far behind!

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