Cloud security accelerates disruptive digital transformation in Africa and beyond

Leaders must look for advanced, purpose-built cloud security platforms, while moving away from traditional server security landscapes, says Stuart Hardy, director at OneSecure, distributor for Zscaler in Africa.

Johannesburg, 24 Jun 2019
Stuart Hardy, Director at OneSecure.
Stuart Hardy, Director at OneSecure.

Throughout Africa, businesses are embracing cloud computing to accelerate digital transformation and achieve key operational efficiencies, says Stuart Hardy, Director at OneSecure – distributor for Zscaler in Africa.

According to a recent research project conducted by World Wide Worx*, cloud computing has taken off across Africa’s major markets. Notably, over the five years since World Wide Worx conducted equivalent research, use of the cloud among medium and large organisations has more than doubled, from less than 50% using it in 2013 to widespread use in 2018. Tellingly, a quarter of South African respondents see the cloud as a platform for international expansion, with 66% reporting a positive impact on market share due to cloud migration.

Yet, for companies looking to migrate to the cloud, the move is not without its perils. In fact, for corporations moving data centres to the cloud, and particularly companies involved in complex mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, cloud migration can present risks to data security and business continuity.

Often, as businesses are moving applications to the cloud – such as Salesforce, Office 365, AWS, and Azure – their security appliances are still sitting on-premises protecting the corporate network. Put simply, this type of legacy IT security, which is focused on protecting the perimeter, is inadequate in a cloud-first business world.

Legacy IT security is not enough

Companies have to embrace advanced IT solutions that ensure cloud security – and also support and protect organisational transition into the cloud environment. This is critical for businesses that are looking to embrace disruptive digital transformation and achieve both global relevance and scale.

Today, cloud security has been designed with these challenges in mind. Importantly, cloud security helps customers move from legacy network designs into more agile, flexible and scalable cloud-centric network designs – without changing security architecture. This includes moving from MPLS to hybrid to Internet to no WAN.

Given the always-on nature of business today, cloud security helps enterprises migrate internal applications to the cloud without disrupting application access or user experience; and because cloud security supports branch and mobile users’ access to private applications (without going through the enterprise network), application performance increases. Simultaneously, organisational costs decrease while the time to adopt and deploy business applications is reduced.

Secure and streamlined

For African businesses turning to the cloud to achieve key efficiencies, cloud security improves management overhead, cost and complexity by collapsing multiple layers of security and network point solutions. These include DLP, IPS, IDS, URL filtering, firewalling, sandboxing remote VPN concentrators, and VPNs.

To combat the high cyber risk environment, cloud security provides a fully orchestrated view of the security landscape – from application security to mobile user policy enforcement. Critically, cloud security overcomes serious network challenges and the significant related costs – and time – associated with enabling secure third-party access when handling mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

As organisations shift into a new world of work characterised by ongoing digital disruption, IT environments must reflect this shift by becoming cloud-centric, streamlined and secure. Naturally, this means that leaders have to look for advanced and purpose-built cloud security platforms, while moving away from traditional server security landscapes.

In this way, companies can truly embrace digital transformation, and provide customers with the agile, responsive and always-on service that is now demanded across markets and sectors.

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