By Barry Kemp, Head of Managed IT at Vox

With the demand for cloud-based services growing as South African companies look to enable seamless remote or hybrid working and mitigate against power outages, local providers have been continually improving their offerings in order to provide customers with solutions that compare with those of international peers, but are more cost-effective.

Changes in business and society in response to the multiple levels of lockdowns over the past year has however seen these organisations taking a new view toward the continued use of on-premise infrastructure. The first headache is floorspace: at a time when many offices are downsizing as they adjust to a hybrid working model where everyone is not in at the same time, the area dedicated to a company’s on-premise infrastructure remains the same.

Beyond worrying about office leases, they need to worry about cooling for their server room, that connectivity remains uninterrupted and perhaps even the increased physical security risk from having your equipment in a sparsely occupied building. Not to mention ensuring that your generators are topped up with fuel, serviced as required and is regularly tested; there have been many instances where companies have been left in the dark after a power outage because their generator has failed to kick in.

This is a growing distraction for businesses at a time when many are looking to cut costs and recover from a tough economic environment. For organisations that already have their own infrastructure, and are looking to maximise their investments, co-location gives them the ability to place their infrastructure at data centres, which offers peace of mind when it comes to physical security, and reliability of power supply and access to connectivity.

Co-location isn’t the final solution however; while it keeps companies from having to worry about many of the external challenges traditional office environments would face, it still leaves them responsible for maintaining their servers that will now be located inside a vendor-neutral data centre.

Breaking free of IT maintenance

Fully freeing themselves from having to worry about IT infrastructure requires them to take the next step, and instead migrate to a virtual data centre, such as that offered by Vox, which provides them with remote compute and storage capabilities, as well as a range of connectivity solutions including direct point to point, VPN, MPLS or dedicated Internet breakout, all connected through a secure edge gateway.

Continuous developments by Vox over the past few years have ensured competitiveness with solutions offered by international providers, with new innovations being rolled out to cater to growing business requirements and the latest trends, such as the growing preference for multi-cloud.

Through offerings such as CrossConnect, customers have access to up to a 1Gbps dedicated link that provides a secure direct connection between Vox’s Virtual Data Centre and other providers, be it another co-location facility, or to a public cloud such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.

Making cloud more cost-effective

Based at data centre facilities that adhere to the latest ISO 27001 and ISO 9000 standards, turning to a virtual data centre takes away the headache of companies having to manage large IT infrastructure anymore – safe in the knowledge that there are highly skilled specialists to assist with managed cloud or migration services if needed.

Being a local company, Vox can work closer with customers in order to design and implement unique network requirements that they might have. In fact, Vox uses its own virtual data centre to run its connectivity and voice business.

Leaving companies with fewer things to manage – their operating system, applications and data – not only means that IT staff have more time to carry out more strategic tasks that add real value, but businesses stand to benefit overall from the agility and flexibility of moving from capital expenditure to a consumption based model.

In Vox’s instance, this also means being able to provide local support for customers, as well as to bill in Rands and not Dollars, making it more cost effective and ensuring that customers are not subject to billing increases resulting not from increased consumption, but as a result of currency depreciation. With a return to loadshedding, a trend toward hybrid working, and availability of quality local solutions, can your company afford not being in the cloud?