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Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, a vendor neutral cloud hosting platform provider, says that almost all South African businesses now have a cloud strategy. While the adoption curve remains at the beginning stages, especially for internal apps, he says that South Africa’s late adoption has led to a leapfrogging of sorts.

“While websites have always been ‘hosted’ – in data centres – most businesses internationally have started with cloud for back up, development and disaster recovery purposes, for internal workloads. Interestingly, South Africa’s late adoption has seen us bypass cloud entry points and go straight to Infrastructure-as-a-service, specifically Virtual Private Cloud. The technologies and product sets around this are now globally quite mature, and where international businesses initially resisted embracing virtual private clouds in their infancy, local businesses are quite comfortable migrating production data centres into the Cloud or even starting there instead of buying servers internally,” says Cruise.

With all this opportunity, however, cloud providers are now plentiful. Cruise says there is a lot of what he calls ‘cloud washing’ taking place and businesses need to be careful when making the decision about a cloud partner: “We are seeing consultants who typically focus on areas such as IT services trying to profit off the burgeoning cloud market. The problem is that they are often not sufficiently funded and resourced, and can’t do the job that is required to make a cloud strategy a successful one. You also get the ‘one stop shop’ brands who try to sell an integrated service, which is most often not what it seems.”

The key to finding the right partner, according to Cruise, is to look for a company that has solid partnerships with cloud specialist providers. A reseller or partner to leading IT brands within the cloud space will always ensure you choose the right partner to achieve an effective cloud implementation.

Naturally, Cruise says that another concern is security, performance and availability: “By far the most important is security. This involves not only the service provider securing the network and infrastructure, but also the customer securing their own environment. Critically, businesses need to acknowledge that security is a shared responsibility and ensure they have internal assistance in getting this right.”

He says that data security also requires reliable backup, archiving and DR to counter ransomware (recent examples WannaCry, Petya, NotPetya), and internal or external sabotage.

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