“Companies have come to realise that having their infrastructure hosted in a data centre may provide them with a better cost/benefit. This includes 24/7 monitoring, SLA (service level agreement), expertise of specialised personnel, uninterrupted/ protected power supply, secured data and uninterrupted connectivity. An important consideration however, is the centre’s certifications/accreditations.”
In this regard, we spoke with Cablenet Chief Commercial Officer Business, Thomas Hoplaros, to get his insights on the growing demand for more data centre investments in Cyprus and the global business challenges driving the development of this industry forward.
Making the case for Cyprus based data centres
A 2019 study conducted by the IDC, the Cyprus ICT 2019-2021 Forecast and 2018 Analysis, reported that the Cyprus ICT market including telecommunications was in 2018 valued at approximately €660 million. Telecommunications accounted for the majority share at around €450 million. The remaining €210 million was attributed to the IT sector, with a year-on-year growth of approximately 6.5 per cent. The utilisation of IT services generated around €100 million with a growth rate of about 9 per cent year-on-year.
The federal and central government was the largest vertical market for IT services in Cyprus, with €22.39 million in spending and 22.3 per cent market share. Banking ranked second, with IT services spending of €21.94 million representing a 21.9 per cent share. TelecoMmunications ranked as the third-largest vertical market, with IT services investment of €21.19 million and 21.1 per cent market share. Other industries like investments services, retail, education, media, utilities, healthcare, construction, etc, accounted for approximately 34 per cent.
Organisational challenges and technology solutions
Amongst the primary internal challenges identified by organisations through this study; security, business process improvement, leveraging company data, automation, and IT transformation featured most prominently.
These challenges as well as the increase in Cloud computing adoption are now driving enterprises to shift IT spending and seek more innovative technologies that can help them improve and overcome these challenges. This has included a major shift of focus towards the use of data centres by companies across the globe, including Cyprus.
The exponential drive towards data centre adoption Hoplaros tells us, “The increased use of cloud services in the local market, as well as the uptake of mainstream IoT (Internet of Things) applications which will be enabled by 5G, are all contributing factors to the increased growth of the data centre in-industry”.
“Even though there are no specific/official figures published on the data centre sector in Cyprus, it’s clear that it’s a growing industry with the demand for Big data applications and AI (Artificial Intelligence) applications on the rise.”
Hoplaros adds, “the Covid19 pandemic has also enhanced and increased the uptake of certain data centre services as remote working and security have become a priority for most organisations.
“As a result, companies have come to realise that having their infrastructure hosted in a data centre may provide them with a better cost/benefit. This includes 24/7 monitoring, SLA (service level agreement), expertise of specialised personnel, uninterrupted/protected power supply, secured data and uninterrupted connectivity. An important consideration however, is the centre’s certifications/accreditations.”
“The Government’s digital agenda or investment plans to drive the digital era aimed at stronger economy and prosperity is also driving the growth of data centre investment”, says Hoplaros.
“Cyprus will be investing €283 million from the EU-backed recovery and resilience fund, and work with Estonia, considered a leader in e-government, to identify best practices. The investments will be used for initiatives such as e-government, both central and local, e-justice, cross-border e-health, boosting broadband, a digital link between Cyprus and Greece with a submarine optic cable, creating smart cities, digital transformation at schools, smart water management systems, promoting innovative entrepreneurship and supporting small and medium sized businesses make the digital transformation leap.”
Local internet service providers (ISPs) are also contributing towards the positive uptake of data centre services through their expansion and roll out of fibre optic networks. This enables them to offer much higher band-width speeds at a lower cost and to also launch new and innovative value-added services for businesses and individual customers.
Leveraging geographical location and maximising opportunity
Located at the crossroads of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East -and connectivity with a number of submarine fibre optic cable systems linking these regions-makes Cyprus an ideal location to establish a robust data centre hub.
Hoplaros informs us that, “many businesses from the Middle East, Europe and Africa including media, fintech, gaming and other industries are already hosted in local data centres and are contributing significantly to the local economy. In fact, businesses from neighbouring countries are also using Cyprus based data centres for business continuity and disaster recovery, as Cyprus is the logical next best alternative in the event of a country disaster.”
Cyprus as a strategic business and investment centre
Year-round sunny weather; a safe, high quality of life; an easy and low cost of doing business; and an attractive and transparent tax regime are just some of the benefits of investing in Cyprus. Most businesses here operate in English and 73 per cent of Cypriots speak English.
The government is aware of the potential of ICT to improve the performance of all major market sectors of the economy, thereby offering support and financial incentives for new innovations and start-ups. Hoplaros adds to this and emphasises that, “technology vendors, integrators and ICT services companies are also readily available to offer their expertise and experience to enable any organisation on the IT transformation journey”.
It is clear that Cyprus presents a great opportunity for investment in data centres in order to enhance the digital transformation journey of Cyprus and to cater to regional business and technology demands.