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Cloud computing – SA in danger of being left behind

Marthinus Strydom - CIO and Marketing Director of McCarthy Motor Group

Cloud computing is a rapidly growing software service trend globally, however South Africa is in danger of being left behind.

According to Marthinus Strydom, CIO and Marketing Director, McCarthy Motor Group, “Government needs to take serious action against the companies that continue to exploit and overcharge South Africans for bandwidth.”

“As cloud computing applications become more sophisticated and utilise streaming capabilities, substantial bandwidth, sustained connectivity and reasonably priced internet is essential to maintaining business function, especially when one considers that 37% of emerging SMEs do not have internet connectivity1.”

Figures from Arthur Goldstuck’s, WorldWideWorx revealed that in 2009 only 10.8% of the South Africa population had access to the internet, and according to The Internet Society of SA (ISOC-ZA) broadband access available from Telkom, is still 286% more expensive than a comparative Egyptian service2.

“While steps in the right direction have been made by Government and the industry which will see internet and bandwidth quality improve in 2011, more needs to be done.”

“Telkom’s upgrade of the SAT3 cable and the launch of Seacom earlier this year have set the ball rolling. However, the Seacom cable is only using a fraction of its capacity because of lack of competition within the South African market and it is estimated that it will be a further 5 years before Seacom operates at capacity3.”

Strydom adds: “I disagree with many local experts who doubt that cloud computing will not become mainstream,” he adds. “The pure convenience of being able to store and access data centrally from anywhere using any device is a strong business driver.”

Cloud computing is a rapidly growing software service trend that has the ability to transfer day to day services such as email, data storage, back-ups and resource sharing onto the web. This offers South African business the opportunity to cut is operations costs significantly while leveraging off the superior infrastructures and security of established cloud computing service providers. I.e. Google, IS, Symantec etc.

“Cloud computing will allow for less pressure on company resources and business will only pay for the services they use,” adds Strydom.

As a result, South African business is hungrily pursuing cloud computing, with 26% having already deployed a software as a service security solution via the cloud/internet. According to Gartner, companies will invest $112bn in cloud computing services over the next 5 years. The move is inevitable despite concerns around safety, security and data integrity4.

“According to Gartner, global revenue from cloud computing is expected to reach $68bn by the end of the year5. Cloud computing will continue to grow and influence hardware development as ‘form follows function’. The hard drive will be replaced by the solid state drive, a superior technology but currently offers less capacity for data storage because leading markets are embracing the services cloud computing offers.”

Marthinus Strydom

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