Transforming datacentres and safeguarding smart cities

By Arun Shankar   4 January, 2018
Transforming datacentres and safeguarding smart cities

Savitha Bhaskar is COO at Condo Protego.

When many UAE business leaders think of their datacentres, the first thing that may come to mind is a major cost and hurdle to innovation. But in the rapidly-growing digital economy, modernised datacentres can be the key business differentiator.

In the UAE, which has among the strongest mobile device penetration and growth rates regionally and globally, customers and consumers expect all aspects of their daily lives to be mobile-enabled – banking, shopping, transport, and messaging.

This is not an abstract concept, more than half of global business leaders say they are experiencing digital disruption, or a complete industry digital transformation.

All of these mobile devices, mobile apps, sensors, and social media are creating a tsunami of data for which many UAE organisations are unprepared. Outdated datacentre infrastructure cannot handle this increase in the amount and types of data – and organisations are at risk of losing their competitive edge in the Digital Economy.

These topics are top of mind at major technology events, where channel partners and organisations were buzzing about how to maintain current business applications and support next-generation business applications.

Converged and hyper-converged datacentre infrastructure, assembled in a factory, and wrapped, stacked, and packed in a box that can be easily scaled up, are key for driving datacentre innovation. All-flash in particular is seeing strong take-up, with Middle East and Africa shipments growing significantly.

With modern datacentres, organisations gain stronger core business, new digital revenue sources, and in-depth customer insights. Demonstrating the potential, analysts say the Middle East’s datacentre market could top $5 billion by 2019.

Still, not every UAE organisations is ready for this datacentre leap of faith. Channel partners need to guide customers in their digital transformation, modern datacentre needs, and upskilling staff – and be set to drive success in the digital economy.

“What often gets lost in the shuffle are cybersecurity and identity management solutions, absolutely vital to securing government services and protecting citizen data”

Smart cities

When we talk about Smart Cities, we often focus on the government services – paying utilities bills using your smartphone, having smart traffic apps that allow you to see the nearest parking space and pay for it via an app, and airport e-gates.

The UAE is already one of the Middle East’s leading smart city innovators – with smart cities a key part of UAE Vision 2021, and Dubai aiming to be one of the world’s smartest cities this year.

But what often gets lost in the shuffle are the robust cybersecurity and identity management solutions that are absolutely vital to securing these government services applications and protecting citizen data. As cyber-attacks increase in both scale and complexity, more than ever the UAE government must prioritise securing citizen services.

Fortunately, the UAE is well ahead of the curve – already ranking 17th in a recent nationwide cybersecurity preparedness survey of 105 countries by the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union.

With predictions that the global number of connected devices will more than double to 2020, now is the time for UAE public and private sector organisations to adopt the game-changing cybersecurity solutions that protect citizen services.

While we can never completely eliminate cyber-risk, citizen trust is one of the most important factors in smart city services. Both public and private sector organisations need the real-time solutions to proactively predict, prevent, and stop cyberattacks as they happen, and protect government services and citizen data.

Savitha Bhaskar at Condo Protego reflects on the challenges of transforming datacentres and securing smart cities.

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