Tech giant Microsoft announced a huge regional investment early in 2018, revealing plans to open its first Middle East data centres in the UAE in 2019.
The two data centres, set to be located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, will deliver Microsoft’s cloud services – empowering organisations, governments, and businesses to achieve more and recognising the unprecedented opportunity for digital transformation in the region.
“This is a mega investment for the company and we are very proud that our first data centres in the Middle East will be in the UAE,” Sayed Hashish, regional general manager of Microsoft Gulf told Gulf Business.
“Concerns over security and escalating IT budgets, as well as the desire to develop intelligent digital ecosystems that serve business needs in real time, are driving more and more organisations to the cloud. Microsoft’s commitment to regional economic development – demonstrated by our contribution to infrastructure development, entrepreneurial mentorship and job creation – will take another huge step forward, when we open our data centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai”, he added.
They will also boost the creation of the surrounding ecosystem – the company expects to empower more than a million SMEs across the GCC region alone.
A recent Microsoft research that surveyed nearly 1,000 organisations from the across the Gulf region, found that two in three (68 per cent) enterprises had plans to invest 5 per cent or more of their revenue in digital transformation.
When asked about specific technologies, more than half (51 per cent) named cloud computing as a priority, followed by Internet of Things (37 per cent) and Artificial Intelligence (29 per cent).
In terms of security, the survey found that more than 80 per cent of large enterprises still use usernames and passwords as the exclusive means of log-in. Only around 11 per cent use a 2FA SMS notification to support username-password authentication. And About 7 per cent reported using fingerprint-scanning and just under 1 per cent had adopted facial recognition.
“These findings show that the need for a trusted, secure, intelligent cloud has never been greater,” Microsoft said in a note, adding that its new data centres will aim to fulfil that requirement.
The new data centres will “adhere to Microsoft’s cloud principles of security, privacy, compliance and transparency, helping organisations meet their customers’ needs with the benefits of cloud computing, while still meeting local data residency, security and local certification requirements”, the company said.
It also stressed that through the data centres, customers can scale their businesses at a faster pace globally while meeting local data requirements – especially in the case of governments, healthcare and financial services sectors.
Pre-migration planning and upskilling of employees is crucial to prepare an organisation for a seamless transition to the cloud and ensures minimal risk and business disruption during implementation.
To support this ahead of the opening of the new centres, Microsoft is offering customers a ‘free cloud migration assessment’ and the ‘DC Cloud Insider’ training and certification programme.
“Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and through such major investment in the Middle East, Microsoft will spur entrepreneurship, accelerate innovation, fuel growth for businesses and aid government organisations to better serve their customers and citizens,” the company added.
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