Adoption of Cloud Computing in the Arab World
By: Alana Rehman/ Arab America Contributing Writer
Cloud computing refers to using the internet for data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software. Data and files in this system can be saved in a remote database rather than a file or conventional hard drive. Cloud computing can save money, increase productivity, and provide security.
Cloud adoption has increased in Arab countries in past years as more organizations move their data to the cloud. The region is economically transitioning as many countries implement smart city initiatives, modernize national visions, and grow digital economies. National dreams in countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait push governments to embrace cutting-edge technologies to achieve transformational goals. For example, the digital transformation of government operations is a critical component of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. A cloud-first strategy assists businesses in lowering the total cost of ownership and improving cybersecurity.
Cloud Providers in Arab Countries
The Covid-lockdown created a need for technology, work from home accelerated cloud adoption. During the pandemic, the largest cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure, and GCP, provided their services worldwide. They did not overlook Arab countries and opened data centers and headquarters in the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other Arab countries.
Since the pandemic, Oracle has been making rapid progress toward moving all 4,000 on-premises MENA customers to the cloud within two years. Last July, Oracle opened its first regional hub for its cloud data center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In June 2019, Microsoft opened the first data centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. According to Microsoft, the initiative was a “recognition of the enormous opportunity for digital transformation in the region.”
Amazon Web Services(AWS) opened the first AWS Middle East Region in Bahrain in 2019. “The cloud has the chance to unlock digital transformation in the Middle East, and We are excited to see how our cloud technology will provide new ways for governments to better engage with citizens, for enterprises to innovate for their next phase of growth, and for entrepreneurs to build businesses and compete on a global scale,” said Andy Jossy, CEO of Amazon.
In 2020, Google, with Qatar Free Zone Authority, launched its first Middle East Region in Doha. Google opened a second office in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2020. Now Google Cloud customers can confidently expand and scale their offerings in the market, which will also assist businesses like Noon in delivering their goods and services to customers.
Improving Efficiency and Enhancing Business through Cloud Computing
In Arab Countries, cloud technology is leading the digital transformation. The cloud can provide a low-cost means of accessing unrivaled processing and analysis capabilities, enabling more effective analysis, insights, and decision-making.
Cloud computing services are being rapidly adopted by businesses across the board, from BFSI and IT to the energy and utility industries. The benefits of using the cloud range from increased efficiency and flexibility to significant cost savings and scalability. While no business is immune to this trend, governments in the Arab Countries are finally catching up. As a result, we now have cloud-based government data, app-driven government services, cloud-hosted online services, web interactions, and other innovations.
Data storage that is easily accessible and has multiple access and communication routes is critical for providing authorities and the general public with a modern, uniform, and seamless experience. This strategy encourages cooperative governance and public participation through inter-departmental collaboration, increasing social inclusion.
Cloud computing has proven highly beneficial for the banking industry in storing and managing confidential information such as credit card details, transactions, and personal information.
In 2019, the BFSI sector obtained 16.1% of the cloud computing market share, owing to the government’s increasing initiatives to support data safety and integrity, because of the increased usage of these services, which aid in the management and storage of vast amounts of data in the industry, cloud adoption in the IT & telecommunications segment is expected to remain dominant in 2022.
As per Gartner, Chief Data Officials in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) spent the most cash in 2022 on cloud application administrations, for example, store network executives, email and writing, business knowledge applications, and email and content administrations. This market will invest $2.3 billion, an increase of 16% from 2021, accounting for 40% of all investments in public cloud services.
Despite several obstacles to cloud adoption, such as data sovereignty regulations, skill gaps, and security, digital technologies are advancing. With the Middle East serving as a hub for innovation and technology, governments in the region are encouraging businesses to embrace the benefits of cloud-based solutions to accelerate the adoption of cloud-based solutions in the coming years.
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