BY JOHANN PRETORIUS – OUR SD-WAN THOUGHT LEADER IN AFRICA
With myself and our CEO being native South Africans we at SDWAN Solutions have a deep understanding of the unique issues that Africa faces as it digitally transforms at a breath-taking pace. We relish seeing the benefits and betterment that technological innovation is bringing to all African countries as the global technological field is finally being levelled. And it is with this in mind that we have created SD-WAN and SASE solutions with African business in mind. In the process of designing these Africa-centric network solutions we undertook in-depth research, and it is from this research that I have created my AFRICAN TECHNOLOGY, CONNECTIVITY, SECURITY AND NETWORK TRENDS REPORT 2022.
With over 100 trends, insights and thought leader quotes, gathered from over 80 independent sources my report is also available to read without any registration, and readers are encouraged to share the document with whomever they believe would benefit from its content. But we know you’re busy, and so here I’ve condensed some of the key findings as a bite-size ‘report taster’ before reading the entire document.
So, what is driving cloud adoption strategy trends in Africa? Why are trend predictors saying that 2022 will be the Year of SD-WAN? How will SASE stem the alarming trend for cyber-attacks that annually strip 10% of African GDP? How is hugely increased African connectivity impacting on this unprecedented digitisation of an entire continent?
Cloud Adoption Trends Across Africa
Many nations across the entire African continent are rapidly adopting cloud computing, with hybrid and multi-cloud strategies taking precedence already. 84% of South African C-suites are pursuing or planning hybrid cloud strategies, according to recent IDC research. It’s too simplistic to take a view that this leap is due solely to the pandemic; vastly improved connectivity across Africa is by large measure, driving this trend, with big name hyperscalers seeing African nations as not only ripe for embracing greater connectivity; they also take a well-measured view that Africa is a prime region for their own investment. Consequently, infrastructures are being put in place to enable this.
The Rise of the African Cloud Report of 2021 stated, “Cloud services are transforming Africa’s productive capacity, accelerating innovation and emerging as one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s digital transformation.” A statement seemingly proven by the statistics, with 82% of South African businesses increased Cloud spend in 2021, Zimbabwe was next at 59%, then both Nigeria and Botswana at 50%. 2022 will see this percentage continue to grow across many African nations.
We predict that SDWAN Cloud will gather traction through 2022 with more and more companies taking a cloud first approach. As pioneers in this technology, having launched the first ever SDWAN Cloud back in 2020 Beating Google, Juniper and Cisco to market we believe that Cloud SD-WAN will be big news in Africa.
2022’s Largest African Technology Trend – SD-WAN
That 2022 is being hailed as ‘the year of SD-WAN’ Africa-wide comes as no surprise to us. As the rapid digitisation of the entire continent continues to gather pace, there is a widespread understanding in business and technology leaders in the region that their businesses need a strong, secure and fast network as the base for their technology. It will also greatly level the global playing field, as African businesses seek to adopt the very latest network technology that SD-WAN offers and can circumvent out-dated networks, such as MPLS. African business leaders are also fully aware of the potential cost savings SD-WAN delivers – for proven examples of these cost savings see our MPLS versus SD-WAN cost comparison case study.
Biztechafrica.com says, “Legacy networks can lead to exorbitant transport costs, poor end-user experience, security vulnerabilities and unsuitable management capabilities with limited visibility and control over network access. With data traffic sure to increase exponentially over time, having a future-ready network solution has become a business imperative. SD-WAN is an adaptable network solution that solves these problems and meets modern network requirements.” With Gartner predicting “by 2023, more than 90% of all WAN edge infrastructure refresh initiatives will be based on uCPE platforms or SD-WAN software/appliances.” And Forbes Technology Council firmly stating SD-WAN is both “inevitable and unavoidable” and that “MLPS can’t, whilst SD-WAN can” it becomes evident that by placing SD-WAN at the foundation of African businesses rapid digital transformation, they will indeed greatly level the global playing field.
Cyber Attacks, Security and SASE Trends for 2022
Covid-19 has seen a huge increase in all forms of cybercrime globally, with African GDP in 2021 reduced collectively by more than 10%, costing around $4.12 billion USD. Research shows that 61% of African businesses were affected by ransomware in 2020 alone. From January 2020 to February 2021 an INTERPOL partner, Trend Micro, recorded 679 million email threat detections, 8.2 million file threat detections and 14.3 million web threat detections.
Accenture identified South Africa as having the third highest numbers of cybercrime victims worldwide which cost the nation R2.2 billion. They further reported a 100% increase in fraudulent mobile banking applications and estimate the country receives 577 malware attacks EVERY HOUR.
SASE protects against even generation 5 and 6 attacks and 2022 will prove as much the year of SASE as SD-WAN – together they for a formidable barrier against booming cybercrime and attacks, but it is essential that CISOs, CTOs and Network Managers understand BOTH technologies, if they are to protect their businesses to the utmost. I have been dismayed in recent weeks to still see articles claiming that SD-WAN has been supplanted by SASE, this is simply not the case and anyone reading (let alone authoring) such a misinformation needs to understand the following: SD-WAN is a network technology, SASE is a framework. (Full explanation within the main trends document)
We have virtually unsurpassed understanding of both SD-WAN and SASE being early pioneers and long-respected though leaders in both technologies. Our expertise is sought across the globe, not least due to SDWAN Solutions being the ONLY company on the entire planet with 2 MEF accredited SD-WAN Subject Matter Experts (of originally only 12 such experts being identified globally). Read our SASE Security page for more details about how SD-WAN and SASE work together.
Increased Connectivity Across Africa Driving Tech Adoption Trends
The appetite and speed of the digitisation of an entire continent is driving the connectivity expansion, with reach broadening weekly. Other essentials such as reliable electricity provisions too are being provisioned, but not at the speed of the want and the need. Thinking outside of the box is required and mobile solutions will be key. Africa has around half a BILLION Internet users, representing less than 40% of the population, leaving huge room for growth. But, Africa’s telephone and Internet networks are the fastest growing globally with Africans using mobile banking services the most.
Organisations must seek tech provider partnerships with companies who have the prerequisite skills and appropriate tools to process, migrate and manage hybrid infrastructures upon which essential business applications sit. This must include all current and future security issues. Forging these partnerships now for consultations on need and ongoing support provision for their in-house teams will not only ensure smooth transition, best-fit-technologies and enable future re-tech as standard to maximise investments – one of 2022’s major technology trends in Africa will be that businesses will seek smaller niche companies who often not only have more skills than the corporates, but more time to offer initial consultations and closer on-going supportive relationships.
We have mobile and working from home SD-WAN options such as SDWAN REMOTE which will keep your WFH staff productive and secure.
African Smart Cities & the Land of Opportunity – Africa’s Technology Trend Beyond 2022
It’s clear that South Africa will lead the smart city trend through-out 2022, but other nations are watching closely and have plans of their own being forged already. But it is also equally apparent that this is not a trend that can be achieved in the space of 12 months. Entire infrastructures need to be in place, and not just in the area of technology. These essential infrastructures have far-reaching benefits for many Africans [if green, sustainable and egalitarian methodologies are applied] and already huge undersea cabling and connectivity initiatives are being deployed, such as Google’s undersea link connecting Africa and Europe [expected to come into service in Q3 of 2022], which is expected to increase internet speeds by five times and lower data costs by around 21% in countries such as South Africa and Nigeria.
Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban are taking the lead when it comes to Smart Cities, with these 3 major SA cities forging ahead, with some solutions already operational. South Africa’s Local Government Association (SALGA) are also exploring innovative technologies and best practices already in place in first world countries, which will enable fast learning and adoption, when ready.
This connectivity boom coupled with unprecedented technological advancement sees Africa as potential centre of investment. SDWAN Solutions has long seen this potential and holds strong beliefs that WE must work in partnership with local African-run businesses to ensure the benefits for them are equal to our own. We have forged strong working relationships with many channel businesses in many African nations, but there is always room for more collaborations – join our channel and sales partner programmes where your business can use our unique online SD-WAN scoping tool and brand your very own SD-WAN and SASE offer to your customers, and attract new ones.