Advanced technologies are being adopted across the business landscape, bringing innovation and disruption and driving growth. Cloud services have helped businesses transform their processes across a broad range of sectors in recent years. As such, cloud solutions have emerged to form a dynamic and growing industry.
Cloud services have become central to corporate digital transformation processes in Kuwait, as the cloud transition offers many benefits that serve the public and private sectors as well as individual professionals.
In September 2021 the Communication and Information Technology Authority (CITRA) issued a Cloud Computing Regulatory Framework that governs the use of cloud computing services in the country. In addition, CITRA has published mandatory policies and guidelines that support and comply with the provisions contained within the framework. Given the importance of collecting, processing and responsibly using data to further digital transformation, CITRA’s efforts to promote data protection have been broadly well received by both companies and foreign governments. A predictable regulatory environment will remain an important prerequisite to attracting investors and enhancing the competitiveness of the national digital landscape.
Under the new framework, LEAN Services, a Kuwait-based private cloud services provider that sets up and manages virtual data centres, and offers disaster recovery-as-a-service and backup-as-a-service solutions, obtained the first cloud service provider licence in April 2022. Ooredoo Kuwait, meanwhile, became the first telecommunications provider to obtain a licence in May 2022.
CITRA granted Huawei Cloud a licence to offer cloud services in July 2022, as part of Kuwait’s efforts to pursue a cloud-first policy. The China-based company has a growing profile in the country and the wider region. In the Middle East, Huawei Cloud supplies over 220 cloud services, 210 cloud solutions and 19 data centres; partners with 200 local businesses; and has more than 80 marketplace offerings. In July 2022, after several years of discussion, CITRA approved Microsoft to deliver its cloud computing services Office 365, Azure and Azure Stack Hyperconverged Infrastructure in Kuwait.
Cloud services have become increasingly attractive due to their increased security relative to on-site servers. Even if a device is stolen or a building is damaged, a company’s data will remain protected in the cloud. Likewise, cloud technology provides a defence from hackers, malware and internal theft. Cloud services have gained traction, in part, because they can significantly lower costs for end-users. Cloud migration usually reduces the expense of managing and maintaining complex internal IT systems for corporations. For example, the cloud minimises or eliminates the costs associated with system upgrades, as well as network hardware and software.
Under New Kuwait 2035, the country aims to become a major commercial and financial centre in the MENA region. The market for cloud services and data centres is anticipated to grow as government agencies and private companies shift to digital platforms that can leverage cloud infrastructure, co-location and managed facilities.
Rapid developments in network connectivity, support from government organisations and robust adoption of corporate ICT services – particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic – have been strong growth drivers for Kuwait’s cloud services and data centre segments. According to a white paper published in early 2021 by the US-based market intelligence firm International Data Corporation, public cloud services in the country are on track to more than triple within five years, from approximately $32m in 2019 to $112.3m in 2024. Investment in public, private and hybrid cloud solutions is projected to enable businesses to generate approximately $1.3bn in net new revenue between 2019 and 2024, and support the creation of around 13,000 jobs.