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The Key to Business Agility in 2023: Cloud-native

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South African companies who adopted the cloud in the past few years have been better able to react quickly to changing market conditions, adapt their services, or create new ones. Not only does the cloud provide a platform that helps to unlock innovation, but more businesses are also turning to it for data protection. The Veeam Cloud Protection Trends Report 2023 reveals that 98% of organisations use a cloud-hosted infrastructure as part of their Modern Data Protection strategy.

Even so, there has not been one way traffic to the cloud. The report found that even though new IT workloads are launching in the cloud faster than old ones are being decommissioned, 88% of organisations brought workloads from the cloud back to their data centre. The reasons for this include development, cost/performance optimisation, and disaster recovery.

However, the cloud still provides an attractive alternative to the many challenges digital organisations are facing. These range from a shortage of IT components – thanks to the continuing semiconductor shortage, and dearth of talent due to a lack of experienced, technical skills, compounded by the ‘brain-drain’ in South Africa. In the cloud, regardless of the deployment model used, businesses can benefit from more storage and power, and additional skills they might not have access to when limited to purely on-premises-based solutions. Freed from these constraints, decision-makers can now introduce more agility into their operations. The modernisation of apps using the cloud as a foundation can result in significant flexibility to meet evolving customer demand in the coming year.

Complete cloud adoption

The next step in the journey to adapt to today’s digital needs is for companies to go cloud-native. While sceptics argue that migrating to the cloud can result in vendor lock-in, multi and hybrid-cloud approaches mitigate against this from happening. Furthermore, local businesses can transform existing applications into cloud-ready ones through ‘breaking up’ legacy solutions into smaller, more agile ones better suited to the cloud.

Thanks to the emergence of low-code/no-code development tools, the APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) required to do this are more accessible to a broader employee base. These APIs can do the heavy lifting when it comes to the translation, exchange, and integration required between the smaller, lighter applications.

Beyond going the low-code route, more agile DevOps methods can be employed to transform applications to adapt better to the way the cloud works. This forms the basis of containerisation which is gaining significant momentum in the country. According to the Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2022, 46% of South African businesses are already running containers in production, while 44% plan to do so in the next 12 months. This provides enormous opportunities for the channel, as cloud-native and containerisation requires an equally robust Modern Data Protection strategy. Vendor initiatives such as ‘partnering with partner’, engineering and architecture certifications, technical programs and customer-centric approaches all help the channel deliver optimal cloud or cloud-native data protection solutions tailored to end-users’ specific needs.

Keeping data and application protection top of mind

For all the benefits that going into the cloud enables, decision-makers must not forget the increased risk of cyber incidents that can impact on their data and applications as the attack surface significantly increases . For example, it’s no longer a question of if or when a company will fall victim to a ransomware attack, but how often. The Veeam Data Protection Trends Report 2022 highlights how 86% of South African companies suffered ransomware attacks in the past 12 months, making this one of the single biggest causes of downtime.

Ultimately, the responsibility of protecting data is not up to the cloud provider. Instead, the data owner (the company itself) must take ownership of this. This makes it critical for companies to use technology partners who have experience in safeguarding data across all environments, whether on-premises, or multi and hybrid-clouds. Being able to leverage Modern Data Protection can ensure the backup, recovery, and management of data and applications in the event of an incident, whether malicious or due to human error.


Thinking ahead

Decision-makers are realising the importance of having a Modern Data Protection strategy in place. Almost a quarter of local companies rated the ability to protect cloud-hosted workloads as the most important buying factor for enterprise data protection. Additionally, IT leaders are motivated to invest in Modern Data Protection solutions to reduce downtime and data loss while improving the economics of their solution.

Given how much of the competitive advantage of a business lies in how its teams can innovate and launch new services, the cloud provides the means to harness the greatest technology gains for organisational success. Heading into 2023, IT investments will be focused on harnessing cloud-native solutions to optimise the digital transformation efforts already put in place. All of this is made possible by ensuring that flexible, reliable, and powerful Modern Data Protection remains at the core, and vendors in the channel should be ready to leverage the benefits of cloud-native technology and containerisation by providing the support required to keep customers agile in 2023.

By Lisa Strydom, Senior Manager: Channel and Alliances for Africa at Veeam Africa

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