Cloud computing is silver lining for entrepreneurs

Cloud computing is silver lining for entrepreneurs
Updated 13 May 2013

Cloud computing is silver lining for entrepreneurs

Cloud computing is silver lining for entrepreneurs

RIGA: Russian police marched into a small company’s office in Moscow and told everyone to sit down and wait to be interviewed. They left hours later with all the computers.
“You can imagine how much of a problem it was. We had no backups,” said the owner of the trading business who asked not to be named.
“We didn’t get anything done for a week as all of our files were gone and we had no e-mail,” he said.
With the police able to easily seize equipment, such raids are a persistent fear for Russian entrepreneurs.
But cloud computing offers them a new tool to reduce the risks by moving their data out of the country, often into Latvia, an ex-Soviet state that affords convenience for Russian businessmen.
Cloud computing refers to the process of getting software, storage, computing power and other services via the Internet from remote data centers rather than the memory in one’s own computer.
Many people use cloud-based e-mail services such as Gmail and Hotmail, or Dropbox or IDrive for storage, which are accessible from any Internet-connected device and ensure data is not lost if one’s computer is damaged or stolen.
The cloud also allows companies to avoid making expensive up-front capital investments in hardware and software and to quickly scale up the services they provide to clients.
But businesses often first perceive the dark side of the cloud: they have justified concerns about giving up physical control over their data and potentially having it lost or accessed by others.
Cloud companies have gone to great lengths to reassure clients their data is safe, and the sector is now booming globally as companies look to cut costs.
And IT firms in Latvia say they are seeing a gust of Russian customers seeking a bright silver lining in the cloud — the security afforded by moving their data out of the easy reach of police.
“They want to protect their data from government interference and competitors,” said a Latvian IT expert who also asked not to be named.
“The easiest way to do it is move it outside of Russia, the primary data itself or at least a copy.”
Fast Market Research expects overall Russian IT spending to grow by 11 percent in 2013 to $ 24.4 billion (18.7 billion euros).
Cloud computing still accounts for a sliver of that. According to market research firm IDC, it totalled around $ 120 million in 2011. But it is growing by roughly 50 percent per year.
The Latvia-based company DEAC has sought to tap into that growth, boasting a 46 percent increase in sales last year with more than 500 projects in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
The firm says on its website that by using its data centers “Russian clients can diversify their administrative and technical risks and reduce their IT expenses by 40 percent.”
DEAC has built data centers across Europe, both to reduce geographical risks of an outage and to provide a platform for clients to expand activities closer to customers.
For those who put a premium on physical security, DEAC offers a converted Soviet military bunker. Twelve meters (40 feet) below ground lie rooms packed with top-of-the-line servers.
“Russian companies are very concerned about secrecy,” said the Latvian IT expert, who believes his clients are more motivated by security concerns than cost.

“There is a demand for smaller private data centers as they believe them to be more discreet and they don’t want to be where their competitors are.”
This gives Latvian companies a niche in a market otherwise dominated by big global and Russian companies.
Latvia is also a comfortable place for Russians to do business. Many Russian-speakers remain from Soviet times, numerous boutique banks cater to Russian businessmen and they can get an EU residency permit in exchange for a modest real-estate investment.
But even Russian firms adapting cloud solutions of foreign vendors for the local market usually offer the option of data storage in Europe, according to Frost & Sullivan consultant Andrey Vyatskikh.
The Moscow businessman whose firm was raided says they now use Google Cloud for a virtual server, storage and have 10 free e-mail addresses.
“We have no security concerns, no spam and no problems with down time,” he said, considering himself lucky to have gotten his equipment back after only one week and without having to pay. No charges were pressed against his company.
Russia’s weak rule of law has long been thought to have held back its development, and this can also be seen with cloud computing.
Despite large efforts to provide government and health services via the cloud, Russia still lacks the legal framework to regulate cloud computing, Vyatskikh said.
Foreign firms have well-established certification systems, provide information security audits and are in jurisdictions that regulate electronic commercial relations and responsibility for loss or leakage of information.
“The presence of the laws regulating these aspects of cloud-based services in Europe and the US is undoubtedly attractive for Russian companies,” Vyatskikh said.


Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone
Updated 32 sec ago

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone

Dubai completes first phase of e-commerce free zone
  • It includes 470,000 square feet of real estate
  • The e-commerce sector in the Gulf is booming with the forced closure of bricks and mortar shops during the pandemic giving the industry a further boost

DUBAI: The first phase of a new Dubai fee zone dedicated to e-commerce has been completed.
It includes 470,000 square feet of real estate.
The 3.2 billion dirhams ($871 million) Dubai CommerCity project also includes 145,000 square feet of e-commerce logistics units and warehouses in a cluster managed and operated by Hellmann Worldwide Logistics and DHL.
It has leased 51 percent of the logistics warehouses to companies operating across IT, fashion, jewelry and electronics.
“The launch of Dubai CommerCity aims to lead the future of e-commerce business in the region,” said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority. “The project has been thoroughly studied not only to provide foundational solutions, but also to stimulate and support business and prosperity at a time when the sector is going through peak growth.”
The e-commerce sector in the Gulf is booming with the forced closure of bricks and mortar shops during the pandemic giving the industry a further boost.
The free zone provides opportunities for manufacturers, distributors and global e-retailers while offering tax and investment incentives, it said.
It is divided into three main clusters — Business, Logistics and Social.


Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses
Updated 7 min 1 sec ago

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses

Emirates NBD, Etihad Credit Insurance ink deal to ease trade finance access for UAE businesses
  • The deal will help the UAE lender to reduce any risks that may be associated with credit facilities

DUBAI: UAE export credit company, Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), has signed an agreement with Emirates NBD to improve liquidity of UAE exporters by easing their access to credit facilities.
The deal will help the UAE lender to reduce any risks that may be associated with credit facilities, so businesses can pursue export and expansion opportunities, according to a joint statement.
More than 80 per cent of world trade relies on trade finance, ECI’s chief Massimo Falcioni said, and the agreement will allow Emirates NBD to offer innovative financial solutions to their clients.
Governments in the Gulf have been investing in strengthening local businesses as a strategy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to gradually veer away from oil-dependence.

 

 


Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE
Updated 48 min 46 sec ago

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE

Italian fashion brand Diesel launches online shopping platform in KSA, UAE
  • The website will feature new collections of the fashion line, as well as exclusive deals for online shoppers

DUBAI: Italian fashion retailer Diesel has launched its own e-commerce platform for customers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the company said on Sunday.
The website will feature new collections of the fashion line, as well as exclusive deals for online shoppers. It will also offer free shipping for customers in both countries.
Diesel has been in the market for four decades and is known for its denim and casual fashion offerings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge demand for online shopping in the Gulf, with many retailers accelerating their digital efforts to take advantage of it


Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding
Updated 46 min 49 sec ago

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding

Kuwaiti coffee delivery app raises $10m in new funding
  • The funding was provided by Kuwaiti listed investment house Al Imtiaz Investment Group
  • COFE was conceived in 2017 by Kuwait-based founder Ali Al-Ebrahim, developed in Silicon Valley and launched in 2018

DUBAI: Kuwaiti coffee delivery app COFE has raised $10 million in new funding, which it aims to use to scale up its operations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK and to expand into Egypt and Turkey.
The funding was provided by Kuwaiti listed investment house Al Imtiaz Investment Group. COFE was conceived in 2017 by Kuwait-based founder Ali Al-Ebrahim, developed in Silicon Valley and launched in 2018.
“From its early days, COFE has shown tremendous potential as a unique offering that caters to discerning coffee connoisseurs and their consumption habits, while helping to grow and transform revenue streams for vendors. Our partners have recognized this and are confident in our ability to serve existing customers and vendors, while expanding into new markets,” Al-Ebrahim said in a press statement.
Zev Siegl, a co-founder of international coffee chain Starbucks, is also an adviser to COFE. “I am happy to collaborate with the COFE App team and proud of the success and development they’ve achieved,” Siegl told the Mubasher website in April 2019. “During my stay in Kuwait, I visited more than 20 coffee shops and I was impressed by the high level of service, innovation and the high demand on coffee shops which ensure that the COFE app market will keep on growing and will reach the international market very soon.”


Israel and Greece sign record defense deal

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal
Updated 18 April 2021

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal

Israel and Greece sign record defense deal
  • The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force

JERUSALEM: Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defense procurement deal, which Israel said on Sunday would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries.
The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems over a 22-year period, Israel’s defense ministry said.
The training center will be modeled on Israel’s own flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company Leonardo, the ministry said.
Elbit will supply kits to upgrade and operate Greece’s T-6 aircraft and also provide training, simulators and logistical support.
“I am certain that (this program) will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels,” said Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz.
The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus on Friday between the UAE, Greek, Cypriot and Israeli foreign ministers, who agreed to deepen cooperation between their countries.