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Lack of data laws hampers cloud adoption in Africa

Kenya , 06 Feb 2017

Lack of data laws hampers cloud adoption in Africa

An increasing number of businesses are uncertain as to whether their data is protected if it was hosted offshore and in the cloud, adding to skepticism over enterprise cloud service adoption.

"In Africa there is a perception by a lot of our customers that there is a cloud policy within their countries. It is talk among government circles but from what I am aware of there is not country that has a cloud policy per se that bars companies from putting data in the cloud," said Dele Akinsade, a Cloud Director at Microsoft who spoke at the inaugural NexTech Africa event in Nairobi, Kenya.

"What we are doing at Microsoft is working with governments and policy makers to help them frame and establish policies, guiding cloud usage within their companies," Akinsade added.

Most companies shy away from the cloud over the fear of having their data reside in another jurisdiction.

Cloud companies have introduced the hybrid cloud where sensitive data stays within the organisation, while other data is hosted in the cloud.

Ranjith Cherickel, CEO of Icolo., a carrier neutral data center in Kenya, said that an increase in government adoption of cloud services would increase general uptake and address misperception.

"In most African countries the biggest consumer is the governments from employment and services perspective. If some of these governments adopted the use of cloud services, for sure it will be a more efficient, safer and give an initial push to the adoption of cloud services," Cherickel said.

He said that digital legislation will attract some of the big players to come into the continent and set up shop.

Leonard Kore, a senior research analyst, Telecom and Networking, at International Data Corporation (IDC) East Africa agrees.

Kore told ITWeb Africa that although Point of Presence are being opened up across the continent, making the 'where data is hosted' debate a non-issue, laws are still crucial.

"Hosting of customer information needs to be regulated to comply with data privacy legislation of various countries. This requires that customer data is hosted in country although the subscribed for content can be hosted and accessed from anywhere," Kore said.

"This requirement does not inhibit growth of digital content consumption but only further protects subscriber privacy and ensure integrity of the data in compliance with international best practices. Consequently, most countries are updating their data sovereignty rules to ensure that user information and personal data is hosted in-country."

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