For the longest time, adoption of cloud services in Africa has been fraught with myths and skepticism mostly about security of data. This has occasioned a slow uptake over the years. But that is changing and more and more people are coming round to taking advantage of the immense benefits that cloud offers. For example, in 2015, Africa had the largest number of businesses taking advantage of public cloud. We’re not yet at a point of calling it rapid growth but the curve is certainly upwards.

Why the increased uptake of cloud in Africa?

There is increased innovation in Africa. Infrastructure is growing and businesses are investing more in better digital assets. People are realizing that they can do so much more with cloud than they previously thought. After all, cloud is quite a catalyst for broader growth in the ICT sector – manufacturing, banking logistics, healthcare etc.  By adopting cloud services, businesses are stepping into a massively invested service that is way more advanced even in terms of security than they have the ability to invest in. They get to use all the infrastructure that Microsoft has already invested in.

As far as security as a major concern goes, some companies are realizing that public cloud is more secure than the data centers they have and site recovery is much better covered with the use of cloud.

In terms of use, here are 5 things you didn’t know you can do with cloud:

Create and host website and mobile applications

Cloud computing servers allow you to set up custom-made applications that can track your business’s enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and revenue per customer. By tapping in to data stored on the cloud server, these applications can perform predictive analytics to help you make forward-looking decisions.

In addition, with cloud you can design mobile apps that link to your website. These provide you with real-time data and analytics into users’ behaviours, enabling you to create more targeted, personalised campaigns and notifications.

Become part of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is about more than simply connecting your computer or smart phone to your activity tracker, alarm system or house lights. IoT’s ability to collect big data through the power of the cloud can help you change the way you do business. In simple terms, this system works by installing sensors into anything from a yogurt cup to a bridge, or whatever product your business offers, and then using these sensors to record and send data back into the cloud. That data allows you to collect specific feedback on consumer behaviour and even what they might want in the future.

Virtualise your machines

More businesses are using the cloud to run virtual machines that can help them save money and increase productivity. Virtualisation is simply creating or moving to a virtual version of computer hardware, operating system, storage device or computer network resource. This is a great option if you need additional computer capacity, but don’t want to spend more money to add physical infrastructure.

By deploying virtual servers, you can reduce the operational costs of your business, increase application availability and gain flexibility. Virtualisation also enables you to respond to IT challenges quicker, with the option to scale additional resources as you need them.

Create, manage and distribute media

One of the greatest challenges many businesses face is how to be heard in a world saturated by messages and media. With the cloud, you can create, manage and distribute media more effectively.

Keep your information and environment secure

Along with reputation and customer experience, security is likely at the top of your list of priorities. A trusted cloud allows automatic security updates of all servers and virtual machines based on policies that you set and control. It also enables you to control password management from a single source.

In addition, a site recovery plan can also protect physical servers by automating the replication of virtual machines and workloads, so that you can use the cloud as your recovery site. You can also automate the recovery of services should there be a site outage at your primary data center, as well as run a secondary data center as a back-up and recovery site.

Making use of cloud services like these can be a game changer for your business.

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