The door to cloud services in South Africa is now wide open

16 Jul 2019

The journey of Cloud Services adoption in South Africa has been notably challenging over the years. Several factors have impeded local businesses from embracing the online tools regarded as key to competitive advantage in the Digital Era. With some of the major Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) initially located outside of Africa, let alone South Africa, cost was one of the major limiting factors to Cloud Services adoption. This coupled with exchange rate fluctuations and market concerns about data security and compliance, adoption was further hindered. Arguably though, the biggest barrier to cloud adoption has been the lack of reliable and affordable connectivity. This is now changing with the arrival of cloud connectivity options that have the scalability, flexibility and high-level capability to connect more South African companies to CSPs, at ever more-affordable pricing.

Whether accessed via private connections or over the public Internet, cloud-based services have always demanded connectivity that is ultra-fast, reliable, minimises latency and can cope with large amounts of data transfer. As cloud solutions started to gain popularity in the second half of the Noughties (the period between 2000 and 2009) it became apparent that ADSL and other traditional connectivity options, commonly used by South African businesses, were not optimal for moving applications to the cloud environment, particularly if the CSP was operating from data centres overseas.

Fast-forward a decade and Internet access for businesses has radically transformed in the country. Private players like SEACOM have emerged to drive competition not only in the wholesale segment but successfully in the enterprise and corporate segment as well. Meanwhile, fibre – especially premium uncapped, unshaped and fully symmetrical access – is now the standard for seamless, reliable connectivity to the cloud.

With this capability, combined with increased affordability, more South African companies of all sizes are showing a greater interest in cloud migration. In MyBroadband’s 2019 Cloud Survey, over 77% of local companies were found to be already using cloud-based business solutions, particularly backup functionality and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Cloud adoption rates have also been helped by the fact that global cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have increased their local presence, going so far as to physically “set up shop” in South Africa. In a first for the continent, Azure data centres opened in Cape Town and Johannesburg in March this year, and AWS, while having local infrastructure present, will follow suit in formally establishing an AWS Region by 2020.

Of course, many companies, particularly at an enterprise level – and particularly in certain industries, have heightened security, compliance and reliability concerns around cloud access e.g. within the Finance and Banking sector. This is true whether accessing cloud servers in South Africa or those located internationally, such as Google and Oracle, who’s services may be based in data centres across Europe.

For organisations with such Cloud Connectivity needs, SEACOM has just upgraded and expanded its existing CloudWorx solution offerings. Available to both new and existing customers, CloudWorx bypasses the public Internet and connects companies’ WANs directly to leading cloud service providers be it local or international. These dedicated solution offerings ensure greater security and speed, in addition to lower latency, when compared to using the public Internet for cloud access or when using other providers who may be utilizing 3rd party international connectivity that they don’t own or manage.

By utilising SEACOM’s carrier-grade fibre infrastructure, CloudWorx ensures high-level capability and end-to-end scalability therefore, helping organisations access the exact solutions they need to grow their business.

Get in touch to learn more about SEACOM’s flexible range of cloud connectivity solutions – from the dedicated private access of CloudWorx to Internet-based connectivity more suited to the needs and budgets of Corporates, SMEs and everything in-between.