South Africa’s cloud services space has reached a new level. A reduction in the cost of data and reliability of data on fixed line and wireless media has driven more widespread utilisation of cloud services. Technology experts now believe the market has arrived at a critical juncture: the need to address overarching corporate and national legislation governing data security and ownership.
“It is this facet of cloud services that has to be overcome in order to facilitate a long-term commitment to leveraging off this resource,” says Dr Liam Terblanche, CIO at Accsys.
Looking closer at the dynamics of the issue, Dr Terblanche says many companies struggle with a concrete definition of data storage and how data ownership fits into the picture.
“This leaves the company in a position where their contractual agreements with their clients may state that the company is the custodian of the client’s data. Does this mean that they will take responsibility for the data, but may source the storage of said data to a 3rd-party cloud service provider? Or does the definition of data ownership imply that the data storage should reside with the original service provider and may not be moved to a hosted third-party?” he says.
“Similarly, on a macro scale, how many corporates and government departments have contractual agreements to state that their data may not leave the country from which the data originates? Our very own POPI act clearly stipulates that the collector/compiler of the information is responsible for the containment of accessibility to said data,” Dr Terblanche continues.
Accsys believes despite the challenges that do exist in expanding the cloud services frontier, there are positives to take out of this phase of development.
According to executive leadership at the Company, the concept of cloud computing has evolved from simply hosting software and services for clients to reduce infrastructure costs and maintenance issues. “Today, the concept is understood to be a consolidation of services across multiple vendors through the realisation of Services Orientated Architecture,” adds Dr Terblanche.
He refers to the rise in importance of the Quantified Self movement and collaboration through the Internet as evidence of a fast-growing and rapidly maturing area of ICT. This aspect of the cloud services and data management space is fuelled by the ability to consolidate personal data from a range of sources and offering something timely and contextually appropriate to people as- and when it is required.
“With Web services being offered by most cloud service providers (in a product-centric view), we are seeing applications like Google Now being able to organise your day without you having to provide it with any concrete input. Everything it does is derived from existing services you’re using,” Dr Terblanche says.
A future under the cloud
As a specialist in innovative technology solution development, integration and support in application Accsys has a vested interest in the growth of cloud computing. The Company’s CEO, Teryl Schroenn, echoes Dr Terblanche’s belief that the real future of cloud computing lies in the application of service Orientated Architecture over a diverse set of services (including SaaS, PaaS, WiFi devices and other smart mobile devices) to create a holistic view of individuals.
“There has been a significant shift in the paradigm governing individual and corporate data management, and cloud computing represents the front line of this increasingly significant trend. We have moved away from traditional mechanisms to source and apply this information and have now embraced a new level of control defined by a collaborative view of the business and the ability to instantly tap into- and analyse critical data.
“This control and management is now available on-premise, entirely off-site or as a hybrid version of both,” Schroenn explains.
Dr Terblanche suggests that the adoption of cloud computing, in the traditional sense, will reach a plateau – the scale of which will be determined by the legal compliance of individual service providers with that of the companies they serve.
“Private clouds and the pervasive adoption of the Quantified Self is where the real growth – and possibly best return on investment for internet entrepreneurs lie,” he concludes.