Cloud computing is an important technological breakthrough that has redefined the computing landscape. From the point of view of IT vendors, cloud computing has created exciting new possibilities to synergize and grow their business, benefiting largely from economies of scale. On the other hand, some of the most complex and even costly applications are now suddenly within reach of consumers, who only need to log on to the internet to launch many of the basic and even advanced computer applications they use each day with a simple click of the mouse. No more intricate installations, costly maintenance charges or backup concerns.
Cloud computing essentially delivers software applications over the internet, which users can easily access through a web browser.
The Middle East has long been recognized as a fertile market for cloud computing. The GCC region, in particular, is fast gaining traction due to the aggressive government-led infrastructure development, which is part of its efforts to diversify the regional economy away from oil-dependent industries. Moreover, the region's technology-savvy population is likewise greatly contributing to the rapid adoption of cloud computing applications. In the UAE for instance, a steadily increasing number of organisations are exploring the viability of using cloud services. Market research and advisory company IDC in fact, has forecast spending on cloud in the UAE to grow at a rate of over 40% through to 2016.
The aggressive adoption of cloud computing technology in the Middle East is a very positive indicator of the growing appreciation of the powerful capabilities of the cloud and its role in the long-term, sustainable growth of the regional IT sector.
The UAE has been a leader in the adoption of cloud computing technology in the GCC and across the Middle East. Several factors have helped established the UAE at the forefront of the cloud computing movement, and these include its super-fast internet connection speeds and reliable networks; and the relatively low internet costs compared to other parts of the region. Moreover, Dubai is a central economic hub, which further emphasizes the need to introduce more sophisticated technology solutions through the cloud platform.
While cloud computing helps unlock unprecedented growth opportunities, it is equally important to remember that there are certain security and privacy risks to watch out for. This is particularly true when users are required to transfer data over the internet. It is therefore crucially important to carefully study how cloud computing can benefit one's business and assess the risks involved when adopting this revolutionary technology.
By Paul Hammond, Regional Vice President, Epicor for Middle East, Africa, India and Turkey
Phil Muncaster reports on China and beyond