The cover story explores the broad spectrum of cloud computing and its business prospects in the Middle East.
Cloud computing occupies a significant position among emerging technologies for over a couple of years. To improve efficiency, reduce cost, and mitigate data security risks, businesses have started moving to the cloud. Simultaneously, solutions providers developed cloud-based software solutions for their enterprise customers and facilitate digital transformation, backup, recovery, and restoration. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba, and SAP have established their name in the market as hyperscale providers in tandem with the growth of cloud business.
Even though cloud vertical has portrayed stunning growth naturally, the pandemic has redefined its popularity and potential further ahead. Both, cloud service and solution providers, found business scopes leveraging the increased demand for featuring business continuity during and after the pandemic.
The large enterprises and traditional businesses weren’t cloud agnostic in the pre-pandemic era as they trusted in-site data security with local data centers and private cloud. When their workforce had shifted to home and (or) remote locations due to lockdowns, these enterprises had to choose multiple applications and software agents to safeguard their data from cyberattacks or infiltrations and run the business. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) had faced tougher times because of their conservative approach towards digital transformation and modern technologies. The period was challenging for businesses that have heavily invested in infrastructure.
The Spectrum of Cloud Services
Microsoft claims, “cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters – the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, and the IT experts for managing the infrastructure.” Besides these merits, enterprises seemingly kept the agility, accessibility, pricing, and security features as key determiners to choose appropriate cloud services.
Most cloud service providers – including hyperscale and regional providers, kept themselves intact to those qualities and are offering service to SMEs and large enterprises either directly or via partner networks. Cloud-based software solution providers also play a vital role to bring enterprises into the cloud landscape. Most of their solutions help companies migrate to the cloud and they support multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud approaches.
Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud
The shared public cloud has been offered to enterprise customers by Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Oracle, Alibaba, IBM, and others. Although the cloud has been shared across organizations, they claim to be offering utmost data security and flexibility. The public cloud services provide enterprises with high elasticity to scale with flexible pricing options. Plus, enterprises don’t need to bear the maintenance cost of infrastructure if they choose the public cloud. Considering cost and efficiency, public cloud services are suitable for small and medium-sized businesses as they don’t have to invest in on-premise infrastructure.
The enterprises that need to follow strong local data regulations and compliance choose to go for on-premise data centers or local third-party data centers and private cloud. The private cloud also has the elasticity to scale besides dedicated and secure space for data.
Hybrid options relatively hold neutral standards in the cloud space. The organizations that have to follow local regulations, in terms of data security and privacy laws, would likely choose hybrid cloud services. So, they get to store data and apps in a local cloud and use the public cloud for data backup. In case of any compromise reported, they can protect and avoid potential loss if the backup has been taken to a public cloud.
Encryption, Backup, Recovery, and Restoration Services
Cyberattacks are observed with ultimate importance as much as physical attacks across the world as the trend of these offensive maneuvers to computer systems of enterprises started to impact the economic and political stability of nations. Financial, legal, healthcare, mission-critical, and personally identifiable information and government records have to be protected with superior importance. Unfortunately, computer systems that protect these are the primary targets in cyberattacks e.g., ransomware attacks.
Computer and networking systems can be vulnerable due to programming mistakes, excess usage of software or networking agents, lack of updates, and so on. If cybercriminals exploit such compromises, an enterprise will have to pay for a huge loss. The crucial role of cloud service providers comes in monitoring and maintaining these systems – including backup, encryption, recovery, and restore.
Backup as a Service (BaaS) is one of the business opportunities utilized by solution providers, today. Whichever enterprises need a routine inspection on their software ecosystem would seek help from these solution providers. Typically, these solution providers introduce a cloud-based software agent for enterprises that gives end-to-end support including backup, encryption, security, and recovery.
Middle East’s Big Cloud Tech Opportunity
The post-pandemic era seeds a big opportunity for all modern technologies across the Middle East region. Cloud adoption is widespread as companies desire to enhance options of business continuity, work flexibility, customer engagement, and profitability. Policy and regulatory support from various governments enlarge the operational space for both hyperscale and regional providers. SMEs and large enterprises alike are rushing towards modern computing and investing time and resources to train their workforce to adopt the latest solutions. The hybrid model will continue to stay and emerging technologies, which facilitate business success beyond challenges would attain further credibility; cloud computing is certainly one of them!