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Multi-cloud will be the new shape of business

In an automated world, organisations must rethink their cloud strategies, embed security into application development and embrace new work practices to stay relevant, says SIMON MCCULLOUGH, Major Channel Account Manage, F5 Networks.

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Shaping the future

Experts agree that, over the next five years, the multi-cloud world will be the playground for innovation, allowing organisations to launch new services and enhance advanced technologies.

A recent Foresight Factory report entitled, The Future of the Multi-Cloud (FOMC) sponsored by F5, reveals how the pace of digital transformation is already dramatically disrupting existing business models. It also details how organisations are forced to reassess their skills, existing infrastructure, and tools to manage the multi-cloud more effectively. The EMEA-focused study captures insightful commentary from eminent cloud experts on how businesses will need to hasten their multi-cloud readiness in order to meet consumer demand for fast, seamless services.

Over the next five years, experts forecast that EMEA cloud-based business models will require substantial changes, if not a complete re-architecture of strategic procedures, policies, systems, and tools. While moving to the cloud can present some security challenges, it also opens new opportunities to safeguard operations while simultaneously scaling and innovating in real-time.

IT departments are under growing pressure to run a well-established security infrastructure and scale to meet customer demands. Moving apps to public and private cloud environments will enable enterprises to be dynamic with data management while also implementing app-centric services with strong security solutions to mitigate against cybercrime. Yet, achieving a consistent security posture, including user authentication and policy controls, is a complex task when amplified across multi-cloud platforms.

“The multi-cloud ramp up is one of the ultimate wake up calls in internal IT,” says Eric Marks, VP of Cloud Consulting at Cloud Spectator. “I think that one of the biggest transformative changes that it brings to an enterprise is the realisation of what a high performing IT organisation is and compares to what they have. Most of them are finding their IT organisations are sadly underperforming.”

Automation changes the game

The attack surface is broadening all the time. Increasing gateway services and application programming interfaces, as well as developments in fields like the Internet of Things, are shaking the status quo to its core. The threat landscape is more sophisticated than ever due to volumetric attacks, malicious bots, and other tools targeting apps and sensitive data. Many traditional practices are no longer effective because they are too labour intensive and time inefficient to protect what really matters. This is where automation comes in to streamline and standardise IT processes, as well as remove human error. It also helps IT staff focus on other priorities, such as analytics and problem solving.

Against this backdrop, experts recognise that is not enough to just move applications to the cloud. It is imperative to address the business objectives in line with market needs and apply integrated tools sets that provide automated workflows, greater visibility, and analytical capabilities. It is also critical to establish new working methodologies for better collaboration and efficiency.

Cloud skills of the future will also look different to those of today. To stay relevant, NetOps teams must embrace automation capabilities to reduce slow, manual traditional processes, whereas DevOps teams must embed security disciplines into the production phase. Siloed working is a thing of the past. Together, the path of optimisation and orchestration will lead to a more prosperous outcome and ensure customer-centricity and data compliance.

“Automation is key, governance is key, third party security systems and identity access management are key. This is going to drive a lot of spending over the next five years,” predicts David Linthicum, Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting, and other prominent FOMC contributors.

In fact, adopting a multi-cloud route does not have to mean compromising security. With advanced security solutions, businesses can safely move their applications to any cloud model that works best for their strategy without geographic or infrastructural constraints. Consumer demands and industry competitiveness continue to make the cloud an essential option. The right deployment strategy makes it a viable and safe one.

Clearly, skills need to swiftly evolve. Cloud architects must be empowered with comprehensive solutions to deliver panoramic visibility and analytics, highly intelligent and contextual awareness, and sophisticated policy controls.

Deal with disruption

With the future in mind, expect the unexpected. New serverless architecture will enable enterprises to cut time-to-market and enable simplification of processes. Intelligent automation and machine learning are already easing the path towards optimal multi-cloud deployments.

EMEA organisations need to be prepared to undergo significant change and boldly face disruption head on. If you are not turning to the multi-cloud for flexibility, innovation, and being data compliant, then your customers will quickly shape your future by turning to some else they can trust.

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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