It's MS data centre go time. Now what?

Only customers that have done their homework and are ready to deploy a workload will be able to make the most of the Microsoft data centres, says Nicolas Blank, Group CEO at NBConsult.

Johannesburg, 11 Apr 2019
Read time 2min 20sec
Nicolas, Group CEO at NBConsult.
Nicolas, Group CEO at NBConsult.

We've waited, we've wondered, and now they're finally here: Microsoft South Africa has officially opened its data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Making the announcement just a few weeks ago, these facilities will give customers access to Microsoft's Azure cloud services, with additional offerings coming later this year. In May 2017, when Microsoft first announced its plans to build two Azure cloud data centres in South Africa, the local tech scene was immediately excited. And now the data centres are live and customers are deploying to them.

Well, at least some customers are doing so, says Nicolas Blank, Group CEO at NBConsult. In fact, only customers that have done their homework and are ready to deploy a workload will be able to make the most of these new facilities. Other customers will only be taking the very first steps on their cloud journey, ideally starting with networking and identity, he suggests.

According to Nicolas, this is such an important starting point because traditional, perimeter-based network defence is a thing of the past. This is because businesses are no longer limited to the confines of their office buildings. As the global workforce embraces mobile, public cloud services gain traction and bring your own device (BYOD) policies become the norm, regular perimeter security controls have become less and less relevant.

Zero Trust networks

As the name suggests, within a Zero Trust network architecture, there is zero trust; every person and every device trying to access resources on a private network must verify their identity. It doesn't matter if the user is sitting inside or outside of the network perimeter. With workloads moving outside of your business, it is important to keep track of user-related information, to keep a device directory of corporate resources and to develop a solid user device policy, notes Nicolas. It is also essential to have a system in place that grants or denies access when the user doesn't meet the necessary criteria.

"Reducing risk should be part of the value of moving your data to the cloud," notes Nicolas. "Without a secure identity and authentication model, and auxiliary disciplines to support those models, customers' attack surfaces may grow instead of shrinking. Without a trusted advisor to safeguard your experience, this may be a disruptive lesson to learn."

Need help on your journey to the cloud? Keen to deploy workloads to the new MS facilities but feeling uncertain about how to start? NBConsult can help. Simply contact us on (021) 914 2348 or e-mail


Established in 2007, NBConsult is a South African consulting company. Keen to help customers achieve their true potential and find the right tools and solutions to enable their businesses, NBConsult specialises in everything from managed infrastructure services and cloud to digital workspace support and outsourced IT services.

The NBConsult Group is made up of four entities: an IT services and solutions company; a connectivity and network provider; a software development company; and its most recent endeavour, a full design agency. Under each of these umbrellas, NBConsult creates unique solutions to help its clients make more strategic decisions and meet their business goals.

Find more information about NBConsult, visit