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Microsoft Azure to unlock potential for Africa’s businesses

By Tracy Burrows, ITWeb contributor.
Johannesburg, 14 Jun 2024
Preegan Chetty, Microsoft Azure product manager at First Distribution.
Preegan Chetty, Microsoft Azure product manager at First Distribution.

Microsoft Azure can help businesses in Africa unlock their organisations’ potential and modernise, secure and transform workplaces, said speakers at a webinar hosted by First Distribution and Microsoft.

The event, for IT and business decision makers in Nigeria, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Tanzania and Zambia, outlined the benefits of Microsoft Azure.

Preegan Chetty, Microsoft Azure product manager at First Distribution, said: “Cloud computing offers scalability, flexibility and affordability, giving access to advanced technologies and services without the need for upfront investment. Microsoft Azure is the second largest cloud service provider globally, and it continues to gain market share due to advantages like its advanced ecosystem.”

He explained: “Azure is a comprehensive cloud computing platform offering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) for all types of businesses. It’s been designed to support a wide range of programming languages, frameworks and operating systems, and allows companies to build a virtual infrastructure or replication of their on-premise environment, securely. Its integration capabilities are a key advantage. It is an ideal choice for customers looking to transform and modernise their businesses.”

Chetty noted that Azure supports hybrid environments, and offers high availability, reliability and performance, with cutting edge solutions and commitment to innovation and security. The business benefits of Azure include cost efficiency, scalability, flexibility, global reach and integration with Microsoft products, he said.

He outlined the key Azure technologies businesses use daily: Azure Virtual Machines, Azure App Services, Azure SQL Database, and Azure Active Directory.

With security a top business priority, he highlighted Microsoft’s security credentials. “Azure’s security benefits include advanced threat protection with defence against a wide range of threats and the ability to proactively detect patterns and anomalies. It integrates seamlessly with solutions such as Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Defender for Identity and Sentinel,” he said.

“Azure has a commitment to compliance and Microsoft has invested heavily in ensuring that it supports compliance with over 90 key standards for data privacy and security. Azure’s Compliance Manager dashboard helps track compliance status with insights and recommendations. Azure also provides region-specific compliance offerings, which is particularly important for multinationals.”

Chetty also highlighted the fact that Azure data encryption protects data at rest and in transit, while Azure solutions include comprehensive identity and access management tools, and multi factor authentication. “There are so many unknowns and variables that can make security in the cloud a scary journey. Microsoft has all the robust security controls, standards, tools and benchmarks to better protect data, with controllability to enforce policies,” he said.

Kejendree Pillay, Microsoft portfolio manager at First Distribution, said top security challenges facing organisations include data breaches, malicious insiders and a fragmented security solution landscape. 

 “Breaches could happen outside-in and inside-out, so your organisation needs visibility of everything and the ability to protect data everywhere. Generative AI brings new risks, such as a lack of controls to protect data shared in Generative AI. Microsoft Purview has comprehensive solutions to help secure and govern your entire data estate, with data mapping and audit logging capabilities,” said Pillay.