Why Middle East startups are choosing the cloud

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Startups are ambitious, tenacious and hungry to expand.

Startups approach cloud and, more importantly, security, with a different viewpoint when compared to larger established organisations.

The cloud has revolutionised the way businesses operate, especially startups. It's uncommon now to find a startup that isn't cloud native; most chose to adopt a cloud infrastructure from the beginning. Businesses across the Middle East such as Careem, Anghami, Boutiqaat, Mrsool and many more, have been able to grow and innovate quickly, seamlessly underpinned by their highly secure, agile and flexible cloud infrastructure. Startups approach cloud and, more importantly, security, with a different viewpoint when compared to larger established organisations who are still struggling to marry together new capabilities with legacy systems.

Smart investments
When starting a business, managing costs is critical, therefore investments that deliver the highest possible value and return on investment are a must, so startups only pay for the services they use. This approach enables them to avoid the large upfront expense of owned infrastructure, and manage their IT at a lower cost than an on-premises environment. However, low cost does not mean low functionality. On the contrary, a startup operating on cloud infrastructure has access to the same services and capabilities as the largest enterprise or government customers. This investment includes entire teams dedicated to security that satisfy the security and compliance needs of the most risk-sensitive organisations. This allows them to compete on an even playing field, innovate quickly and bringing products to the market, all with the knowledge that they have world-class security in place to protect against the most prevalent threats.

Scalability
Startups are ambitious, tenacious and hungry to expand, so choosing to build and scale their business on the cloud is a natural choice. Simply by embracing the cloud, they can scale rapidly, giving them the ability to add or remove resources to meet evolving business demands as required. Instead of investing in data centres, servers and service level agreements, cloud technology allows startups to react faster and more flexibly, to experiment, innovate and better serve customers.

Speed and agility
The cloud provides an opportunity for startups to optimise existing IT systems and to increase operational efficiencies, while driving business agility and growth. This is achieved by allowing companies to significantly decrease the time it takes to provision and de-provision IT infrastructure. While a physical server could take months or weeks to procure and provision, a cloud server takes minutes.

Security
Startups must make security a top priority, regardless of size. A security breach can impact start-ups by hurting their reputation and customer base, and can have repercussions on the larger organisations these businesses do business with. Start-ups need to bake-in security from the ground up to make sure they are not the weak link in a supply chain.

Security automation
Time is precious for startups and automating security tasks enables startups to be more secure by reducing human configuration errors and giving teams more time to work on other tasks critical to the business. Automation can also offer a smarter approach to detecting potential threats through its ability to monitor patterns of behaviour. Being able to identify changes in behavior means potential attacks can be identified and dealt with immediately.

Vinod Krishnan is head of the Mena at Amazon Web Services. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.

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