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Improved security ‘leaps out’ as main benefit of cloud

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 26 Jan 2023

Improved security tops the list of benefits cloud offers organisations, World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck revealed yesterday.

Goldstuck presented the preliminary headline findings of the “Cloud in Africa 2023” research study, where over 1 000 employees, across Africa’s small, medium and large enterprises, were interviewed.

The study, released every two years, was conducted by World Wide Worx, in partnership with Dell Technologies, VMware, Intel, F5 and Red Hat. It examines the cloud market across eight African countries, including key regions like SA, Nigeria and Kenya.

Goldstuck told the virtual gathering that improved security leaps out as the main benefit, with 56.6% of the respondents listing it.

It is followed by the big three of the cloud: customer service, business efficiency and scalability, he noted.

“[For example], the company registration portal that was re-launched and crashed as it was re-launched was intended to provide better customer service and business efficiency, but it seems they didn’t build scalability into it.”

He noted that other areas not taken into consideration include agility and operational flexibility. “We see again and again examples of companies not embracing the benefits of the cloud and suffering as a result of that.”

According to Goldstuck, security being a major benefit of the cloud explains why it was not a concern for the respondents.

The study found a low level of security concerns, revealing only a small proportion of the respondents had security worries when it comes to the cloud.

In 2020, 68% of the respondents cited security as the single biggest concern of being in the cloud because of the ongoing data breaches, while this figure was only at 26% this year.

He explained: “You might think this is counterintuitive because we’re used to the idea that the cloud scares companies, but what companies have found is that due to the extent of protection and cyber security services available in the cloud, they’re actually safer in the cloud than in their own network.

“One in 10 companies are still concerned about the potential of a data breach or data security lapse, and we do see that happening in the cloud. We don’t yet have bulletproof cloud computing at the moment, but it almost feels like it is on its way.”

Other security concerns that came up include compliance, data integrity, security threats, data privacy issues, data governance/compliance,DDOS attacks and consistency of policy.

“Security concerns have largely been addressed by the cloud providers,” he stated.

Turning to the protection of applications in the cloud, the principal researcher said over half of the respondents are using native security tools already provided by their cloud providers. Another 32% are using third-party security.

“Well over 80% are using security that’s being provided through the cloud…the cloud becomes the environment that protects them.”

In terms of the impact of regulations on moving to their applications to the cloud, Goldstuck said only 13% of the respondents cited local regulations as being restrictive.

“Here we’re talking about things like data sovereignty, in particular, and data privacy as well. For example, the POPI Act in South Africa, the GDPR in Nigeria and similar laws in Kenya that would restrict some companies from moving certain apps into the public cloud.

“Most cloud providers and cloud services…allow for managing data sovereignty quite effectively and that’s part of the reason why we’re not seeing this being a major issue,” he concluded.