As-a-Service solutions bolster information security
The emerging concept of ‘Everything as a Service’ (XaaS) is set to revolutionise IT offerings in South Africa. Implentation of XaaS makes advanced technologies and solutions more cost effective and available to a broader spectrum of business. While concerns around the security of data within service-based solutions remain, an effectively implemented service model can be in most instances more secure than traditional IT. Organisations simply need to ensure they obtain the right ‘as-a-service’ offering from the right provider and maintain adequate control over their technology portfolio.
The most significant benefit of the XaaS model is the fact that it enables businesses to access the most advanced technologies available worldwide. In South and Southern Africa in particular, many businesses fall into the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) category and are extremely budget-conscious. Obtaining the latest hardware and software in-house, as well as sourcing and retaining the skills required to maintain it is simply not viable for the vast majority of the market. With a service model, however, it is possible to immediately access leading technologies in an affordable manner. Other benefits include greater agility and flexibility as well as a more cost-effective pay-per-use fee structure.
Another advantage of the XaaS model in the African context is the fact that it minimises the amount of physical equipment that needs to be secured and maintained. Unfortunately, theft is not uncommon and hardware is often the target. Making use of, a cloud-based technology provider mitigates the risk of securing on-premise hardware and the sensitive data it may contain.
In order to mitigate any other security concerns that a business may have, it is essential to engage with a well-known and reputable provider. For example, providers with high profile clients within the financial services industry, means that their services will already be subject to the most stringent security and compliance requirements. Some global cloud providers also offer a sovereign cloud service, which is ringfenced within the borders of specific countries, to meet legislative and compliance requirements.
By conducting due diligence to obtain the correct services from a reputable provider, the service model is likely to be far more secure than an in-house solution. Businesses have access to more features and more advanced technologies and can benefit from global best practices. These global providers stake their reputation on delivering secure services, and businesses will benefit from the investment made into security. In addition, a reputable provider will offer well-designed solutions something which the majority of organisations in Africa simply do not have the skill sets and capabilities to achieve. The XaaS model offers a significant step forward for emerging markets.
Obtaining solutions through a service model does not absolve organisations of ultimate responsibility for security. It is up to them to apply a good solution design within their environment, and that the solutions delivered meet their business, security and compliance requirements.
In summary, to leverage the full benefit of XaaS, organisations need to do their homework. This includes finding a vendor with a solid track record and experience implementing XaaS. Your chosen vendor should make use of cloud services from leading global providers and be able to tailor a solution to meet your needs, including ensuring security and compliance objectives. It is then essential to monitor these services and solutions. Businesses must maintain responsibility for their data regardless of the delivery mechanism of their IT services and solutions.
Dave Joyce is the Managing Member of Nimble Technologies
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.