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SAS opens SA hosting centre

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SAS South Africa is offering its clients more control over their data through its newly opened local hosting centre.

Until now, South African clients either hosted their solutions in the US, or were required to purchase, install and manage the software themselves, along with the hardware required to do so. Clinton Myburgh, Delivery Manager for Integrated Marketing Management at SAS Southern Africa, says this was costly, not only in terms of capital expenditure, but also because clients would have to hire and train staff members and acquire special resources to manage the systems in-house.

With the opening of the Johannesburg centre, SAS assumes responsibility for the management and maintenance of the systems and software, ensuring higher uptime rates and data security. Clients have virtual access to their services via SAS Solutions OnDemand, from anywhere, at any time.

Among the biggest benefits to clients moving to, or signing up for, SAS Solutions OnDemand through the South African hosting centre is compliance with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, which dictates how businesses may collect, use, store and discard the personal information of their clients, staff and partners.

Any data stored in the local hosting centre is guaranteed POPI compliance. Further, data remains within the country’s borders, so companies do not have the added concern of complying with other countries’ data laws.

This will be welcome news to chief marketing officers (CMOs), who, through the power of analytics, are gathering more data about their clients. This data is used to tailor marketing communications to individual customer preferences through services such as geolocation tagging. Ensuring this information does not end up in the wrong hands is a primary concern of the marketing department. In fact, according to Gartner, marketing is so inextricably linked to technology that by 2017, CMOs are projected to spend more money on information technology and analytics than chief information officers (CIOs) – and they’ll need a secure place to store that data.

When choosing SAS Solutions OnDemand, there is no capex outlay to purchase hardware, which requires constant maintenance and upgrading. Rather, it can be funded through an opex model. SAS absorbs the hardware costs and, because it buys hardware in large quantities, is able to pass the cost saving on to clients, says Myburgh. SAS will also maintain the hosting environment and will train specialist staff members to manage it. The service is scalable, with the ability to add and remove solutions as needed.

Existing SAS South Africa clients, who are already using the US hosting centre, will have the option to port their data to the local site.

Data centres allocate a certain amount of space to clients on a number of servers. Clients store software and services on these servers, which are accessible whenever they are needed. A number of benefits can be realised by outsourcing data centre requirements, says Myburgh. Among these are:

• business continuity Рservice level agreements set acceptable downtime periods, with most SLAs committing to 95% or higher uptime rates:

• lower costs Рoutsourcing a data centres does away with the need to purchase software and hardware to access certain services, as well as the skills and resources needed to run the technology:

• risk mitigation Рthe service provider is responsible for the protection of the network and any data that resides on its servers: and

‚Ä¢ regulatory compliance – data protection, especially of personal information, is coming under increasing regulation worldwide. Data centre service providers ensure customers’ data is compliant with all applicable data protection laws.

“SAS Solutions OnDemand has established a track record of providing organisations with state-of-the-art outsourced applications and the subject matter experts to manage them,” says Myburgh. “It removes internal blockages caused by a lack of adequate infrastructure and specialist skills, leaving clients to focus on what matters most – their business.

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