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SaaS-based solutions can address African businesses’ data management and storage challenges head on

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African countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana face a number of key Information Technology (IT) and business challenges, including exploding cost of managing data, a dearth of skills and increasing growth of cyber-attacks on organisations.

Data storage, management and protection play a central role in this as data volumes increase exponentially every day, driving a growing need to invest in more storage hardware and software.

At the same time, the ever-evolving cybersecurity and data management landscape means that a gap exists between emerging threats and skills available to mitigate them.

This trend is confirmed by the 2021 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, which states that the global cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 65% to effectively defend organisations’ critical assets.

In addition to the high cost of new technologies, the fact that most businesses’ data resides across various on-premises and cloud platforms is also hindering organisations’ ability to effectively store and manage their data.

While traditional data storage and management tools are sufficient for on-premises data centres, they are typically not ideal to manage data that resides in the cloud.

Modern approach

Considering these challenges, businesses across the African continent should start looking at a modern approach to data management. Ideally, this would be Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions that allows them to meet their service level agreements and retention requirements, while at the same time safeguarding their data from deletion and attacks.

SaaS-based data management solutions – or Data Management-as-a-Service (DMaaS) – overcome the challenges of traditional tools in that they are well suited to managing and protecting data across various platforms, including data that resides in the cloud.

As businesses in Africa increasingly move to the cloud and more and more cloud-first enterprises begin to emerge, SaaS-based solutions are beginning to gain traction. A major advantage is that DSaaS-based data management tools are quick and easy to deploy, allowing customers to sign up for a service and be up and running within a very short period of time.

Another constraint of traditional onsite data management solutions is the high cost associated with deploying them, typically requiring upfront expenditure on hardware, software and inhouse skills to maintain the system.

DSaaS-based data management and storage solutions, on the other hand, can significantly reduce overhead costs, requiring little upfront capital expenditure, while also being able to scale up or down, depending on the customer’s requirements.

Save on skills

With DSaaS-based solutions, businesses can also save money on deploying scarce and expensive internal skills, instead relying on teams of the SaaS solution provider to ensure that the solution remains up and running or recover their data in case of a security breach.

Organisations can also rely on the solution providers’ expertise to protect their data, as even in cloud-hosted environments with shared responsibility agreements, the management and the security of data remains that of the customer.

Ideally, enterprises across the African region should engage the service of DSaaS solutions that have a local point of presence, as this is an important aspect of ensuring data sovereignty.

Additionally, the right vendor will enable  an organisation to store and manage a copy of its data locally or on-premises, without incurring data egress costs.

High egress costs are typically a huge concern for businesses that move their data to the cloud.

In countries such as Kenya, more and more enterprises and even public sector organisations are seeing the need to move away from hosting their own data, as cybersecurity risks and a shortage of hardware capacity and skills are making this increasingly difficult.

Outsourcing this function to a SaaS data management solution provider can give businesses the competitive advantage.

By David Mugo, Senior Solution Engineer at Commvault

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