How to See Success with Public Cloud Adoption in EMEA
Cloud adoption has accelerated rapidly in recent years, with more businesses moving more of their IT infrastructure to the cloud. Businesses in the United States tended to be early adopters of cloud technology compared to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). While historically cloud adoption has lagged significantly in these countries, they are catching up in terms of cloud spend, available resources, and support from cloud vendors and cloud solutions providers alike.
Current EMEA public cloud trends for spending and usage include:
Europe: Research from Eurostat found that cloud computing increased by 12% between 2018 and 2020 across the European Union. A total of 36% of EU enterprises used cloud computing in 2020. Of those in the cloud, 55% used advanced cloud services to host their email systems, store electronic files, and power other business applications.
Middle East: Cloud adoption in the Middle East is accelerating, according to CIO, due to the pandemic, smart city and public administration projects, and more data center and managed service options. Public cloud spend is expected to grow 26.7% this year to about US$3.7 billion. Spending on professional cloud services for the region is also expected to top US$1.6 billion in 2021.
Africa: Overall, Africa’s cloud use is largely hybrid. While top-line annual cloud services revenue is expected to double between 2018 and 2023, hitting US$3.8 billion, only about 30% of current revenue comes from public cloud spend. Cloud use varies across the continent due in part to issues like connectivity, data hosting regulations, and the size of the enterprise market.
Cloud spend is increasing across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, meaning that more people than ever are launching Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud instances for their organizations. If you’re looking into public cloud as well, you’ll need a clear understanding of what the cloud can do for you and which service providers have the right resources for your region.
Below are three key areas that firms based in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa should pay attention to and how CloudCheckr can support you in that journey:
Regions, Availability Zones, and Edge Locations
Public cloud providers operate in different Regions around the globe, typically located in places with large amounts of business traffic. Each Region contains several data centers, which operate as fully isolated partitions known as Availability Zones (AZs). Many public clouds also operate edge locations and content delivery services that may be further from the AZs but closer to the users who need access to that data.
Europe has several Regions located closely together across the big three public cloud providers: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Parts of the Middle East and Africa, however, have fewer of these. It’s crucial that EMEA enterprises understand where the cloud provider’s Regions, AZs, and edge locations are so that they can effectively manage cloud costs, reduce latency, and maintain regulatory compliance.
Cloud services also vary across Regions. Quantum computing platform AWS Braket, for example, is only available in certain Regions. Therefore, it’s important that companies know what services are and are not available to them—or may present logistical challenges—before signing any contracts.
The major public cloud platforms publish maps of their current and planned infrastructure (each linked above). CloudCheckr also maintains ZoneCheckr, which enables users to compare and contrast availability across major cloud platforms.
Cost and Billing Management for AWS EMEA and Other Services
Cloud vendors tend to have specific billing and taxation policies for customers based in EMEA countries. Therefore, EMEA enterprises should obtain billing information specific to their region.
For example, in July 2018, Amazon began invoicing accounts based in EMEA countries from their subsidiary, AWS Europe, which appears on bills as AWS EMEA SARL. Amazon determines which customers receive bills under AWS EMEA SARL based on the addresses and tax information listed in each linked account, not the Regions of the account’s AWS resources. Customers should review the addresses in their accounts to ensure that they have correctly set up their linked accounts. In most cases, the linked account address should be the same as the payer account address.
As a result of this, value-added tax (VAT) is not optional for companies based in AWS EMEA countries. Until 2018, companies could choose to have Amazon calculate their VAT for them or could choose to work directly with their country (self-managing). AWS EMEA SARL now automatically calculates and reports the relevant VAT. Customers receive a report attached to the PDF invoice with VAT breakout by country, if applicable.
With Amazon, most customers only receive one invoice. Very few customers truly have linked accounts that will cross “seller of record.” Regardless of how many countries they are in, the most invoices a customer can receive is two. AWS uses unblended rates to calculate the invoice amounts as well as any applicable VATs. The only field being added to the CUR is “Seller of Record,” which determines the Amazon company (e.g., AWS Europe) invoicing.
Cloud billing is complex, no matter where customers are located. A cloud management platform like CloudCheckr can simplify the process with consolidated billing, spend alerts, advanced cost allocation, and other tools to optimize cloud spending.
Data Security and Compliance for EMEA Businesses
Maintaining regulatory compliance is essential for businesses that collect, store, and analyze data, especially personal information about employees and customers. All organizations should be aware of laws and best practices surrounding data privacy and cybersecurity.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a good example of a standard that pertains to a specific geographic location—in this case, the European Union. GDPR protects the personal data of EU citizens. Businesses operating anywhere in the world must maintain compliance if they have any personal data of EU citizens.
Storing that data in the cloud comes with its own complexities. As the data controller, organizations should review their shared responsibility with cloud providers. While the cloud platform protects the security of the cloud (e.g., maintaining data centers), the customer is responsible for the data they keep in the cloud. That means paying attention to encryption, permission settings, data monitoring, and other security settings. Therefore, it’s essential that customers understand their roles complying with GDPR and other regulations that affect EMEA organizations.
To help protect your data and maintain security standards within your cloud environments, CloudCheckr offers hundreds of Best Practice Checks. Examples include giving better visibility of encryption use within a given public cloud environment, or validating permission settings of data stores.
EMEA Public Cloud Management
CloudCheckr supports enterprises and managed service providers (MSPs) that use AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud in EMEA countries. With CloudCheckr, organizations take the guesswork out of managing cloud costs, tracking cloud spend and utilization, and maintaining security and compliance.
Here are just two EMEA public cloud adopters that have used CloudCheckr to manage their environments:
Improving cloud resource utilization across multiple EMEA countries
A large customer with offices throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia approached South Africa-based Altron Karabina with security concerns. Corne Du Preez, Technical Solution Professional for Cloud Infrastructure at Altron Karabina, walked the customer through the process of monitoring their cloud with a white-labeled version of CloudCheckr. Although the customer insisted that his company didn’t use SQL, CloudCheckr’s Best Practice Checks found three SQL servers with 118 inactive SQL instances.
Du Preez explains that without CloudCheckr, “these kind of things would have slipped by and nobody would have been the wiser. At the end of the month, they would just get their nice little bill and experience the cloud services shock.” With those Best Practice Checks in place, Du Preez says, CloudCheckr helped the managed services provider land more business.
Driving cloud governance and security for Europe’s transportation
Siemens Mobility Services needed a security solution for their AWS environment, but they didn’t have a team of developers to create one. Friedrich Glöckner, Systems Architect at Siemens Mobility, says that CloudCheckr was the out-of-the-box solution that the German company had been searching for.
“As soon as it’s set up, you have immediately all the CloudCheckr security recommendations,” Glöckner explains. “The cool thing is it gives you a checklist, and this is combined with reporting functionality, and you can prioritize security problems and say yes, we definitely need to work on this problem first. This is exactly what we did, and that helped us to improve the overall security of our ecosystem.”