With the total cloud market reaching $30 billion, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region is making up a significant force within the global cloud infrastructure. The diverse areas of the EMEA vary greatly in size, infrastructure and growth of cloud adoption.
There is a noticeable interest in cloud computing in EMEA in recent times which was triggered by several things.
Rise of the cloud in EMEA
Firstly, several regional and country-level announcements have been made. The European Union founded the GAIA-X Foundation to build a unified system of cloud and data services to be protected by EU laws, including GDPR. The UK Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is also working with public cloud providers to encourage cloud adoption in the public sector.
Secondly, the big soar in digital transformation was only pushed further with 2020 and the COVID pandemic that brought on a rise of remote working. Reports show that nearly half of enterprises in the EMEA region expect the number of people working remotely to grow anywhere from 20% to 50% in the next year. This shows that EMEA organizations know one thing for certain: remote work is here to stay.
And as it’s often said— cloud is the backbone of remote work. Cloud applications and services allow organizations to efficiently support a remote workforce.
Many organizations in the EMEA have migrated at least some parts of their workload to the cloud to catch up to the rise in remote work, with the sophistication of these systems ranging from simple SaaS to cloud-native applications that stand at the center of their business strategies. To best continue the acceptance of remote work, companies need to start looking at how many and which cloud services and apps they are investing in.
But cloud computing isn’t without risks, and the reason why cloud adoption isn’t near 100% in EMEA (or in any part of the world for that matter) isn’t because of some illusive reason that companies don’t want to “accept digital transformation”. Just as with any technology, cloud adoption carries risks that organizations on their own need to compare with the benefits.
Setbacks to the cloud adoption in EMEA
One of the main risks and setbacks for cloud adoption in the EMEA are the diverse and ever changing compliance regulations.
Maintaining regulatory compliance is essential for all companies that collect, store and analyze data, especially private information about customers and employees. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is just one of the many data protection laws and regulations that are concerned with best practices surrounding data privacy and cybersecurity across the EMEA region.
In order to be compliant with relevant regulation requirements, organizations in the EMEA region need to be aware of all of their data, how it travels through the network, who has access to it, etc. When you put cloud in that mix, you often get shadow IT — usually cloud apps that are used by employees without overview or permission from the organization’s IT team. When the IT team doesn’t have visibility into what users on the network access, they can’t know if there was a credential breach, if sensitive information was shared with a third-party, if a malicious app was downloaded, and similar.
Cloud can blur the visibility of an organization into its own assets and data and can lead to organizations not being compliant and paying hefty fines dictated by regulatory bodies. Organizations in EMEA that store their data in-house have no issue with identifying the location of their data, but using cloud providers for data storage can make that difficult.
Fortunately, identity and access management (IAM) solutions can and are often used to meet numerous compliance requirements.
IAM to the rescue
As the number of users, systems and (cloud) applications is multiplying in a typical IT environment, it has become increasingly challenging to maintain accurate and reliable data that is used for compliance audits. Identity and access management represents a systematic management of all identities on a network and provides authentication, authorization, privileges and roles of each user.
These systems can guarantee the security of identities of cloud users by ensuring that each user is allowed in the cloud systems, and only in specific areas they have permission to access. This insight of who is accessing what (sensitive data) users are accessing and if unauthorized access occurred, provides organizations and their IT teams with needed visibility into data privacy and security in the cloud. Ultimately, an IAM solution backed with an effective strategy can aid organizations that have hybrid or multi cloud environments achieve and maintain compliance.
Furthermore, IAM doesn’t address only the setbacks of the cloud, but also furthers its benefits. IAM is essential in facilitating a secure and effective remote workforce. Employees need quick and secure access to data, applications and other systems everyday, from various locations. IAM is the solution that allows secure connection between the right user and the right business asset.
But, organizations with hybrid or fully cloud-based infrastructures can struggle with traditional IAM solutions because they lack capabilities needed to manage the new IT environment and workforce: lack of management for virtual servers, new access points for personally identifiable information (PII) and other access controls.
Enter: cloud identity and access management.
The new and improved — cloud IAM
As EMEA organizations modernize their cloud environments using zero trust strategies, identity and access management can no longer be isolated. A cloud-based IAM that is built for the modern environment is necessary to provide security risk protection with continuously authenticating any user to any resource.
Think of cloud IAM as the next-gen IAM — a shift of the entire identity infrastructure to the cloud. Called JumpCloud Directory Platform, this approach is the modern adaptation of the traditional IAM solutions along with their add-ons for single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, privileged access management, identity governance and administration, and more.
JumpCloud and its cloud IAM is optimized to be used across all devices, operating systems with both on-prem and cloud/remote resources. This allows for greater visibility and control over remote workforce and for compliance audits.
A cloud identity management solution such as a JumpCloud can allow modern EMEA organizations to:
- Securely connect employees to their devices, applications, files and networks — all either on-prem or in the cloud from any location in the world
- Have greater overview over which user has access to each asset
- Achieve proper security posture using Zero Trust principles
- Log all authentications on systems as well as all actions on the admin and user portals
- Leverage multi factor authentication (MFA) for greater security
- Give IT the control and security that they need while enabling end users to leverage a wide range of IT solutions
Cloud IAM has the capabilities needed to address both the setbacks and benefits of the rise of the cloud in the EMEA region. For most organizations, JumpCloud can be a highly valuable part of their IT infrastructure and support their journey into the cloud.
If you would like to learn more about JumpCloud and cloud directory and IAM solutions in general, we recommend you check out our article on answering the most commonly asked cloud directory questions.
We at ElephantHop have recently announced that we secured a partnership with the U.K.-based Managed Service Provider (MSP) Employee Zero to provide dedicated services for the increasing global demand of, beyond basic support, for JumpCloud products in the region. Contact us if you would like to find out more about this partnership and how we are working towards increasing the overall depth into the JumpCloud product and the IAM space in EMEA.