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Cloud in the Middle East: Dark skies ahead?

Tom Paye | Sept. 4, 2013
With the controversy surrounding PRISM continuing to rage, coming up with a good cloud strategy just got that much harder.

"Cloud can be seen as the efficiency frontier — one which can add a lot of agility to the organisation's foundation of execution. Cloud will continue to be one of the biggest drivers of IT and business transformation, helping enterprises achieve efficiencies that were not possible earlier. As we go further in this journey, there is no doubt that we will see more and more organisations revamp their strategies to continue to align IT objectives to larger business goals to further drive growth and competitive differentiation," he says.

The numbers are on Muammar's side. In a recent survey conducted by IDC, over 80 percent of high-level IT decision makers in the region's financial sector — a vertical traditionally opposed to cloud computing — acknowledge that cloud computing offers significant benefits. And according to the research house, the UAE cloud market alone is set for a compound annual growth rate of 43.7 percent until 2016.

This might be great news, but what about the privacy risks now associated with cloud? What's more, were the previous issues around security and compliance really ironed out before the NSA leaks? According to Kaspersky, there are still problems that need addressing, but there are solutions, too.

"Service providers don't take the legal responsibilities for client's data in the cloud. But as soon as the clients put their data in the cloud they essentially lose control over the information. It's extremely hard to provide a legal environment for using data in the cloud since service providers give no guarantees that client's data won't leak. Therefore, securing a client's data through insurance companies can be one of the proposed solutions, which still hasn't been implemented so far," she says.

Whether it is worth taking that risk now is up to CIOs themselves. Some have adopted cloud strategies simply because of the benefits it can bring their businesses — and they've done it using big, American tech vendors. Others may want to be more cautious. One thing is for sure, though — with the controversy surrounding PRISM continuing to rage, coming up with a good cloud strategy just got that much harder.


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