PTCL envisions Pakistan’s digital transformation through Power of Public Cloud-Nabeel Amjad- GM PTCL Cloud

Public Cloud Infrastructure, Platform and Software services is an area that has exponentially developed globally over the last few years as it provides access to IT Data Center infrastructure and services at significantly scarcer capital and operational expenses. PTCL has been at the forefront of introducing ICTrelated services in Pakistan and decided to implement a local Cloud Infrastructure in 2017 as part of its continued commitment to technology and innovation.

Through our cloud service we enable our customers to get on-demand computing and storage needed in order to run business workload

PTCL, leveraging its distinct position and vast experience in Data Center hosting services, has launched cloud services with innovative offerings using enterprise-grade platforms. It has collaborated with IBM as the lead partner and system integrator for deployment of its cloud infrastructure.

Over a brief period of time, PTCL has established a satisfied clientele that has transformed and powered up their growth with PTCL Cloud services. In a short interview session with GM Cloud PTCL Mr. Nabeel Amjad we tried to dig deeper in the philosophy behind historic evolution of PTCL cloud services. Here is what he said:

PW: Please define cloud; is it a product, service or a combination of both?

NA: Essentially speaking it is a service where instead of buying or investing in an asset you rank it out. So fundamentally, we are providing a computing and storage service. You don’t have to invest upfront this way, and can save on CAPEX and cash outflow. Through our cloud service we enable our customers to get necessary and on-demand compute and storage needed in order to run business workload.

PW: Why is it called a catalyst for the digital transformation?

NA: Everything is dependent upon the time to market. In the past, if you wanted to spin up workload for a website or run an ERP application, you had to wait for weeks to do so.PTCL has collaborated with IBM as the lead partner and system integrator for deployment of its cloud infrastructureIt required huge investments on hardware and go through a whole procurement cycle.

Now that everything is digitized, you want your workload and environment to be up and running quickly in order to meet the demands of your consumers. In that case, the agility comes from the cloud because here when you want more resources, you can get them in split seconds.In a nontraditional environment, you would have to buy the hardware to increase the workload during peak season which would go in waste when the business is slow. In the case of cloud, you don’t have to do that, you can easily scale up your resources according to the fluctuation of demand. So basically you pay as you go. It’s just like electricity, you pay as much as you consume.

PTCL has collaborated with IBM as the lead partner and system integrator for deployment of its cloud infrastructure

PW: Can you please through some light on the concept of digital security and its importance?

NA: With the digital transformation and advent of digital services that we see today, the exposure and the landscape of attack has become huge. This makes digital security a crucial component.Cloud services and digital security go hand in hand, any cloud which is not secure is not going to serve any purpose for the customers because if you cannot provide security, no one will opt for your serviceNow attackers don’t attack you to take your things down rather they attack you to earn money. So the more you are online, the more there are chances for them to infiltrate your information for their benefits.

Cloud services and digital security go hand in hand, any cloud which is not secure is not going to serve any purpose for the customers because if you cannot provide security, no one will opt for your service. It is basically a cat and mouse situation where attackers come up with new ways of attacking and you come up with new forms of security.

Cloud services and digital security go hand in hand, any cloud which is not secure is not going to serve any purpose for the customers because if you cannot provide security, no one will opt for your service

We have invested a lot in our cloud service; we just got certified as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) certification v3.2 for our Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS) offering -PTCL Smart Cloud. PCI DSS certification is a landmark achievement for PTCL Smart Cloud services, which assures maximum-security compliance as per international standards.PTCL’s IaaS Cloud Services run on two locally hosted Tier-3 certified data centers, which itself is a guarantee of optimal security.

Nabeel Amjad- GM PTCL Cloud

PW: What is your take on the IT sector of Pakistan? Do you think we are ready for the cloud, IoT, and other advanced services?

NA: IIf you would have asked this question two years ago, I would have said no but today it’s a completely different story. The demand for businesses today is agility and you can’t get agile without cloud. These days you can’t go through the whole process of procurement and advertisement and wait six months to launch a service. With cloud, you can do it with a single click.

PCI DSS certification is a landmark achievement for PTCL Smart Cloud services, which assures maximum-security compliance as per international standards

PW: Do you think our regulatory environment is conducive to digital revolution?

NA: Yes it definitely is. If you look at Pakistan’s economy index, you’ll see that it is growing tremendously when it comes to the digital transformation, we are only behind China and India in our region.PCI DSS certification is a landmark achievement for PTCL Smart Cloud services, which assures maximum-security compliance as per international standardsThe digital ecosystem of Pakistan is propelling, there are things that can be done better but overall, the regulatory regime that we currently have is doing a really good job.

There are certain industries like a financial sector that ought to be regulated because the data of the subscriber is very critical.The players from financial industry are switching towards cloud services and that is a very healthy sign. Today, data has become more precious commodity than oil, so whoever controls data, controls everything.For last 70 years, PTCL has been serving the nation through its connectivity and wireless services; cloud is another step forward in this directionYou don’t want your data to go in the wrong hands, for that you need some hardcore and dedicated policy plans.

For last 70 years, PTCL has been serving the nation through its connectivity and wireless services; cloud is another step forward in this direction

PW: What measures is PTCL taking to lay the infrastructure of cloud in the country?

NA: We have been running data centers for good 7 to 8 years. We are the only tier 3 certified data center company in Pakistan. We are offering a number of data center services to our clients. As a company, we decided that we were already running state-of-the-art data centers, and people wanted to invest in infrastructure to bring their servers and hardware into our data centers just for hosting. So we thought that we could do this investment for them and that’s how PTCL cloud was born. We partnered with IBM to set up two cloud operations, one in Lahore and the other one in Karachi. Apart from that, for last 70 years, PTCL has been serving the nation through its connectivity and wireless services; cloud is another step forward in this direction.

PW: How will PTCL’s cloud services digitally transformation in the country?

NA: It’s all about agility and having whatever, whenever and wherever you want. Cloud is just the underlying component of anything that goes digital. So with a huge enterprise infrastructure laid in the country, you don’t have to go outside and spend your precious money. The other thing is connectivity itself. You don’t have to go online to use our cloud; you can have private lease connectivity too. This gives an edge to our customers where they can run a secure digital environment in our secure data center. If you go for Amazon, Microsoft Azure, IBM soft layer or blue mix, you have to administer it through the internet whereas, if you get a privately leased circuit that costs you more than the cloud service itself. So it doesn’t make any economic and security sense.Our Virtual data center service enables our clients to manage their own stuff; we just make sure that resources are available to them, as and when needed.

Our Virtual data center service enables our clients to manage their own stuff; we just make sure that resources are available to them, as and when needed

PW: How cloud service is going to help businesses in their growth?

NA: Besides agility, it will demonstrate on-demand resources available at all times. So you can scale your capacity as per your requirement and you pay only for what you use.Although there are fixed service subscriptions as well, our basic motive is to give a flexible and customized experience to our clients so they modify the service as per their own needs.Today, data has become more precious commodity than oil, so whoever controls data, controls everythingOur clients do not have to set up their own server rather they have to just subscribe to our service. We call it our virtual data center service where our clients manage their own stuff; we just make sure that resources are available to them, as and when needed.

Today, data has become more precious commodity than oil, so whoever controls data, controls everything

PW: What do you see as the key trend emerging in the industry?

NA: There are a lot of things going on right now, IoT, blockchain and Artificial Intelligence being some of them. Blockchain will digitize financial sector just like internet has digitized our every day lives. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are some other advancement that will revolutionize the world in coming future.

PW: What is THE most important message you feel you should get across our readers and the industry?

NA: Openness to adoption of new trends is very important. Pakistan really has come at par with international players and grown as an IT advanced nation. So, we should invest more in forward looking initiatives and build our knowledge and human capital to obtain the required knowledge and skills to further grow and develop in all fields and industries.

Rizwana Khan

Dreamer by nature, Journalist by trade.

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