Xalam Analytics: Can Data Localization Laws Boost African Cloud and Colocation Markets?

On the surface, requiring companies to host data locally would seem an attractive option to foster local industry and data sovereignty. The question is whether it ultimately does more harm than good.

Last August, an Indian expert panel committee released its initial recommendations for the country’s upcoming privacy law, including a requirement for companies to store Indian user data in servers physically located in the country. The committee’s recommendations have touched off a fierce debate on the future of India’s digital ecosystem. As more African countries push to adapt their legal frameworks to the Internet age, the same debates are intensifying here.

Kenya’s proposed Data Protection Bill, for example, would require companies to store user data in servers physically located in Kenya, and hire local IT professionals to monitor how the data is managed. In South Africa, the POPI Act (which becomes effective next year) includes some data localization requirements. In Cote-d’Ivoire, the launch of Orange’s Personal Cloud service ignited a public debate on data privacy and the need for localization requirements.

Data localization requirements have far-reaching ramifications, mixing issues around end-user privacy, security, data sovereignty, cloud network architecture and infrastructure, and market player behavior.

Consistent with the Xalam research focus, this Market Brief is primarily concerned with the potential economic impact of such measures, specifically on African cloud and data center colocation markets.

Can data localization boost African cloud service adoption?

There is no clear precedent for the impact data localization laws might have in African markets. To this point, the main markets to have implemented, or strongly considered pervasive data localization requirements have been relatively large economies: China, Russia, India. As a block, African markets would undoubtedly carry similar weight. But Africa is not a block, and the relatively small size of most markets makes the consequences (intended, and unintended) of data localization obligations difficult to read.

Building on data and insights from our data center research and ongoing analysis of African public cloud markets, we ran some impact simulations for several markets and attempted some educated speculation on the potential impact of localization requirements. A summary of our initial conclusions follows.


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[South Africa] SAP unveils the first sports-specific cloud solution, SAP Sports One

SAP has launched SAP Sports One, the first sports-specific cloud solution powered by SAP’s celebrated HANA platform. The solution which was launched Johannesburg provides teams and administrators with a single unified platform for the efficient management of teams and players and delivers powerful analytical insights for performance optimisation.

The solution was born out of a partnership between SAP and the German football team. Following the team’s victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, SAP was heralded as the team’s “12th Man” by the Wall Street Journal and credited with a significant contribution to the famous win.

The launch was attended by delegates from many of South Africa’s top sports bodies, including the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Federation International of Football Association (FIFA), Gauteng Sports Confederation and other key members of the sporting industry.

Commenting on the launch, Bernhard Escherich, Global Head of New Markets & Strategic Customers: Sport & Entertainment at SAP, said this experience prompted SAP to expand the scope and functionality of Sports One and release it as a single product for sports teams. “SAP Sports One provides team management, training planning, player fitness, performance insights, scouting and penalty insights functionality to some of the world’s leading high-performance sports teams. While it was initially designed to support football teams, today Sports One has been adopted by a range of other sports disciplines, including rugby, basketball, skiing and ice hockey.”

Deployed in the cloud, SAP Sports One helps clubs and organisations digitalise sports performance management by coordinating all administrative, training and team management, scouting and medical processes. “The solution is built on SAP HANA, so data analysis and processing take place in real time to equip coaching, medical and administrative staff with in-the-moment insight into various performance areas relating to the team or organisation,” said Escherich. “Most sports already generate a wealth of data from video feeds and equipment sensors, and we have partnered with a number of sports companies to generate player data via their wearable devices: our platform integrates all the data sources and enables real-time management of teams.”

Escherich added that many of the company’s innovations in other industries have been incorporated in the Sports One platform. “We have embedded powerful tools to understand the relationships between data sets, apply geospatial analysis of data, and present the findings in new and interesting ways that are relevant to the person consuming the data. For example, the coach will have a very different interface when using Sports One than what the physiotherapist will experience. This ensures each user gets the information most important to them and their job functions.”

According to Simon Carpenter, Chief Technology Advisor at SAP Africa, the company’s rich history in developing ERP solutions for large, complex industries has opened the door to developing solutions for the media, sports and entertainment industries. “Modern sports teams are huge, multi-billion-dollar businesses with millions of fans, extensive facilities, thousands of employees, and of course the sports stars themselves. As the sports industry is increasingly professionalised, administrators face many of the same challenges other industries encounter: procurement, talent management and retention, performance management, marketing, and CRM. Attempting to manage all these disparate elements manually while still ensuring peak team performance is nigh-impossible. That’s where Sports One comes in.”

Carpenter says there is a global war for talent, and this is even more closely fought in the sports industries. “Social listening integrated into Sports One can pick up fan conversations about which players are perceived to be performing well, pointing talent scouts to potential future superstars. The ability to identify talent at an earlier stage further enables better talent development, helping grow and develop promising players. Through the deep analytics embedded in the platform, team managers can also start identifying patterns that point to exhaustion or excessive workload, which may be precursors to injury. With this insight at hand, sports teams can make more informed decisions over how players are managed for optimal performance.”

Sport’s mass appeal and global reach make the fan experience essential to the growth and success of sports disciplines and teams. Large sports events can draw billions of viewers – the FIFA World Cup attracts on average 3.5 billion viewers, with 1 billion watching the 2014 final alone – and technology has emerged as a vital component to improving the viewing experience for fans. “The explosion in data use in sports has created compelling new opportunities to provide fans with deeper levels of insight and engagement,” says Carpenter. “In a long-standing project with Sailing Team Germany, we applied our data analytics and planning expertise to reduce the complexity of sailing and make what is happening on the water more compelling for crews and sailing fans. The solutions focused on the team and the events, with event solutions using live streams, real-time and post-race analyses, and data analytics of wind and water conditions to make the races more comprehensible and hands-on for spectators and fans. In another example, our work with Formula 1 teams has given viewers unprecedented access to data relating to trackside conditions, including the temperature of the tyres, the G-force experienced by drivers at different stages of the race, and more, to give fans exciting new data points to interact and engage with.”

Carpenter said he  believes the sports industry is moving away from ‘gut feel’ to a more science-based approach built on accurate data. “The world is evolving to the point where we can generate deep, accurate insights about anything happening in the physical world. This was evident in a recent project with the Volvo Ocean Race, where we used our SAP Leonardo IoT Edge technology to track sailors’ fitness levels and exhaustion during the race, so that the crew can optimise their performance based on the data collected. Physical and mental exhaustion are the biggest threats to crews during the eight-month race – considered to be one of the toughest of any sports event in the world – and by using technology we take the guesswork out of the crew’s fatigue, reaction to weather conditions, stress levels and other biometric measurement data.”

He adds that the pace of change is simply too fast for so-called ‘shooting from the hip’. “Successful sports teams will increasingly use technology and data to understand how to improve performance. European and US sports teams already make great use of data; with the introduction of SAP Sports One here on our continent, African teams have access to a powerful platform that can improve and optimise every aspect of their operations, training and performance.”


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HealthCarePoint establishes BlueCloud Africa to improve research using smart city approach

BlueCloud by HealthCarePoint (HCP), a Texas-based healthcare and clinical research networking technology company founded by patient survivors, has established BlueCloud Africa to work with local organizations to improve the healthcare and clinical research ecosystem using smart city development approaches.

A “smart city” is commonly known as, “an area where information and communication technology, and various physical devices are connected to networks to optimize the efficiency of city operations and services and connect to citizens.”

BlueCloud will be working with local African based organizations who will now be empowered to use BlueCloud’s delivery, distribution and implementation (DDI) strategies and technology mechanisms to deliver, distribute and properly implement initiatives to help organizations establish sustainable business models and regulatory processes in African nations.

BlueCloud’s globally proven business model known as Connector Service Provider (CSP) and its DDI mechanisms offers an innovative solution for industry stakeholders.

Operating within the model, providers are directly connected to consumers for business and compliance purposes. Participating organizations can now distribute their products, services and specialties to consumer institutions to streamline the local healthcare and clinical research ecosystem.

Global sponsors and CROs, governments and regulatory agencies can ensure transparency, site quality assurance, and identification of competent clinical trial operations locally.

By providing real time connectivity between sites and sponsors, CROs and other stakeholders, local hospitals and sites can improve local sustainability by building study pipelines, while enabling sponsors to quickly identify competent sites based on geographical location and other inclusion/exclusion criteria while improving the process of developing products.

“By organizing African industry stakeholders into connected networks, BlueCloud Africa can pave the way to greater efficiencies as a member of the global healthcare and clinical research ecosystem – essential for improving the healthcare and clinical research industry so no patient is left behind’ – Stated Al O. Pacino, President BlueCloud by HealthCarePoint.

The BlueCloud Africa (DDI) strategy includes but is not limited to: Delivery of smart city-based technology infrastructure to qualified healthcare and clinical research organizations, distribution of industry accepted guidelines, best practices and standards of care to providers and investigative sites to help streamline clinical trials regulatory process, distribution of basic healthcare and clinical research courses to local organizations to improve human subject protection and patient safety, distribute knowledge of patient populations based on limited data sets by using the BlueCloud Patient Mapping application, implement proper mechanisms that maintain “real-time” Professional Experience and Training Records 24/7 from opt-in connections to pre-qualify sites, implement proper mechanisms to improve transparency between qualified healthcare professionals, investigator sites, healthcare and clinical research sponsors and international institutions and provide DDI support infrastructure to maximize grants, university and government initiatives.

“We are leveraging BlueCloud’s DDI innovations to help Africa modernize its local health systems for the benefit of sponsor/CRO’s hospitals, sites, investigators, common and rare disease patient networks among other local industry stakeholders. BlueCloud ensures continual site optimization and transparency that is essential to the clinical research verification processes in the eyes of regulators.” – Stated Yonnie Otieno, Manager BlueCloud Africa.

“BlueCloud’s mission has always been to leave no patient behind by using implementation of guidelines, best practices and globally accepted standards. This process has been proven to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in order to improve human subject protection and patient safety.” President of BlueCloud, Al O. Pacino explains, after 16 years in development, BlueCloud has evolved into a globally accepted DDI innovation desperately needed by organizations to promote and ultimately create smart cities with a sustainable infrastructure, helping create long-term sustainability for underdeveloped and developed countries alike.”


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Huawei Cloud launches in South Africa

Huawei Cloud, the cloud-computing services of Huawei, has unveiled a new region in South Africa, making the company the world’s first cloud service provider that operates a local data center to provide cloud services in Africa.

Huawei Cloud South Africa region will start providing cloud services at the end of this year, allowing organizations operating inside South Africa and its neighboring countries to access lower-latency, reliable, and secure cloud services, such as Elastic Cloud Server (ECS), Elastic Volume Service (EVS), and Object Storage Service (OBS). Huawei Cloud also indicated a plan to unveil more new regions in Africa.

Director-General, National Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, South Africa Mr. Robert Nkuna said: “Huawei has been a great technology partner to our country and they have regularly brought cutting edge technologies to our shores.

The launch of the Huawei Cloud is taking place in an exciting period in our country. For an example we are investing in skills development with numerous partners. We’ll engage Huawei to transfer cloud technology skills to SA and the continent. We are convinced that we can fast track our development if we work in partnership with other stakeholders.”

Li Peng, President of Huawei Southern Africa Region, said:” Huawei has been operating in Africa for 20 years, contributing to social and economic development and enriching African people’s lives with its ICT solutions and services. We have in-depth understanding of African market and is capable of better meeting customers’ current and potential needs. South Africa is one of the most diverse and promising emerging markets globally with tremendous potential. With cloud services, we are aiming to unleash the latent capacity by introducing cloud computing, one of key engines drive the growth in this era.”

Edward Deng, Vice President of Huawei Cloud Business Unit, commented, “With over 30 years of technical accumulation in ICT infrastructure and products, Huawei provides reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services to customers worldwide. Looking forward, Huawei Cloud’s innovative technologies and services, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, will help African governments, carriers, and enterprises in a variety of industries such as finance, energy, agriculture, to leapfrog to a fully-connected, intelligent era.”

In the event, Huawei Cloud released the Africa Partnership Program with local channel partners, such as Altron, ATOS, BCX, Datacentrix, EOH, Gijima, StorTech, TCM, Tech Mahindra, T-systems and XON.

In additional, Huawei also launched InTouch Aggregator, a PaaS platform powered on HUAWEI CLOUD, which helps connect carriers, open up telecom capabilities, enable OTT, and build up the cloud ecosystem.

With over 30 years of technical accumulation in ICT infrastructure and products, Huawei provides reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services to customers worldwide.

Huawei Cloud and its partners’ global reach cover Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Africa, and China, with 22 regions and 37 availability zones.

A growing number of organizations, such as Groupe PSA, Santander Bank, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Falabella, and Andreani, have chosen Huawei Cloud and partners, thanks to their cutting-edge technologies and professional local technical support.


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Cloudleaf, Bahwan CyberTek to expand digital supply chain solutions in North Africa

Cloudleaf, Inc., an emerging leader in digital supply chain solutions, has announced a partnership with global technology innovator Bahwan CyberTek (BCT) to expand Cloudleaf’s Digital Supply Chain and Edge Solutions in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region.

BCT is a technology services leader and prominent innovator in the USA, APAC, Middle East and North Africa for two decades and is a preferred partner for some of the regions’ largest private and public sector companies.

With digitization as a priority, these companies are partnering to deploy new and innovative technologies to manage large numbers of heavy capital assets and related workflows.

Cloudleaf is partnering with BCT-Group to bring its patented IoT solution to the MENA market, delivering end-to-end digital supply chain visibility to BCT’s growing customer base in the region.

This strategic partnership also enables Cloudleaf to develop targeted solutions for the region with BCT’s deep expertise in supply chain, transportation, enterprise software and product engineering.

The combined offering – comprised of technology, services and industry best practices geared to the region’s unique enterprise needs – is designed to be the MENA market’s most powerful Edge IoT solution set.

The two companies’ initial market focus is on sectors represented by BCT’s 200+ corporate customers in the region, particularly in Oil & Gas, Energy, Utilities, Transportation and Distribution. Cloudleaf’s patented and cost-effective low-power engineering technology enables three-to-seven-year battery life on sensors, making it operationally viable to deploy at scale. Utilizing a cloud-native technology stack and purpose-built applications, Cloudleaf is able to deliver robust and scalable solutions for “Digital Asset Management” and “Digital Workflow Management” to globally distributed supply chains.

Cloudleaf solutions process more than 100 Million location, condition and path-flow data points per day, generating over 70 Million predictive insights per week. The result is unprecedented efficiencies in operations, costs and bottom-line financial performance for corporate customers.

“This synergistic partnership combines Cloudleaf’s unmatched platform for the supply chain of the future with BCT’s twenty-year track record of innovation in the USA, APAC & the MENA,” said BCT’s Co-Founder & Group Chief Executive Officer S. Durgaprasad. “Throughout the region, BCT is known for ‘Connected Innovation.’ Cloudleaf fits that theme perfectly.”

“The combined strength of our two companies extends from software and hardware to data and analytics,” said Cloudleaf Chief Executive Officer Mahesh Veerina. “We could not ask for a better partner to expand the market for the Cloudleaf platform than BCT, whose name has long been synonymous with supply-chain innovation throughout the entire region.”



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[Column] Andrew Cruise: South African cloud adoption curve increases its trajectory

The cloud adoption curve should plateau in South Africa. As a result of the rapid digital transformation taking place, cloud engagement is on the increase. IDC research also states that 93% of South African companies are developing cloud strategies, and are either in the implementation phase or planning implementation in the near future. 

There is a clear shift towards more agile platforms and the establishment of South Africa as a natural hub for regional expansion. The establishment of two Microsoft Azure cloud data centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town is clear evidence of this transformation. The emergence of companies like Microsoft, into the local market, is likely to see a move away from personal clouds, favoured by business, to more powerful and reliable public clouds.

Having adopted a new mindset, local organisations have started to address the three main stumbling blocks for cloud adoption: cloud infrastructure, data protection concerns and conservative financing structures. Digital transformation and its sub-sets such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning (ML) are all increasing the pressure on local organisations to more quickly adopt a cloud strategy. Mobility will also continue to play a role in the overall cloud-effectiveness of organisations.

Having addressed security concerns, cloud providers have strengthened their platforms, easing the potential cloud-adoption burden for organisations. The next shift will come as workloads are migrated to the cloud. We anticipate this shift to take place in the fintech space as well as in the manufacturing sector over the next five years. There is a belief that this will assist with accelerating time-to-market and reinvigorate new business models.

The increasing competition between cloud vendors such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon’s AWS will assist in further developing the local cloud market. Not only is competition healthy, but this brings further investment and development, all of which bodes well for South Africa.

The burgeoning SME sector will also increase its use of cloud technology in an effort to better compete and achieve long-term success. Local cloud vendors will need to continue to find ways to address this growing market and assist in serving the needs of entrepreneurs. Cloud strategies can assist to redefine business models and business boundaries; ultimately helping SMEs compete more effectively.

Andrew Cruise is Managing Director of Routed South Africa, a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider.

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Whale Cloud, Alibaba partner with Ghana on innovative city development

Whale Cloud, rebranded from ZTEsoft, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Ghana on innovative city development at the headquarters of Alibaba Group.

Mr. Ben Zhou, CEO International of Whale Cloud, and Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, Minister for Communications of the Republic of Ghana, signed the MoU on behalf of each party.

This agreement will reinforce mutual cooperation and fuel innovation and smart city development in Ghana, applying the cutting-edge technologies and solutions developed by Whale Cloud and Alibaba Cloud.

 Accra, the capital and largest city of Ghana, is undergoing rapid urbanization, causing challenges for city administrators and inconvenience for citizens. Under the MoU, Whale Cloud will form a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Communications of the Republic of Ghana and deliver its Innovative City solutions to resolve these challenges.

Using cloud architecture, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence technology jointly developed by Whale Cloud and Alibaba Cloud, the Innovative City solutions will help launch rich industrial applications quickly on the platform of a unified operation center, including e-Government, ET City Brain, Mobile Payment and a Unified Media Center, which can help the government solve urban governance issues with the support of machine learning and AI algorithms, improve efficiency of governance and lower the costs of government operations, in order to transform Accra into an innovative and digitalized city.

Whale Cloud and Alibaba Cloud will also assist in transforming the e-commerce landscape and flourishing the e-commerce business development in Ghana.

“Building connected and tech-driven urban areas is key to Ghana’s rapid urbanization. We look forward to working with Whale Cloud and Alibaba Cloud to utilise ICT innovations to improve the quality of life of citizens, and promote efficiency, transparency, expedite the provision of services to citizens while reducing the opportunities for corruption. We will work with tried and tested partners like Alibaba to make Ghana a digital and dynamic country for citizens, businesses and investors,” said Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful.

“We’re pleased to partner with the Ministry of Communications of the Republic of Ghana and leverage our expertise and industry-proven solutions to make Accra an innovative city. We will help Ghana lead the way in digital economy and accelerate its journey towards sustainable prosperity,” said Mr. Ben Zhou.



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How cloud software can help African SME businesses grow and expand

The automotive market in Africa is growing fast, with more than 3 million new vehicles being sold each year on the continent, and tens of millions of used and imported vehicles yearly.

The new vehicle sale market will grow as fast as in some European countries, with for example Nigeria to have more than 8 million new vehicle sales per year in 2035. Currently, imported and used cars businesses are growing fast on the continent, across all nations.

There are four types of car sellers that Africar Group, the number one online automotive marketplaces in Sub Saharan Africa, covering 40 countries, have identified, being – the individual seller (any individual selling his old car to buy another one), the briefcase seller (selling from 1 to 10 cars a month, that they don’t own and taking a commission fee), the broker or agent (selling several cars a month, cars that they have purchased and selling at a higher price) and the professional car dealer (selling tens of cars per month, with their own physical location).

Africar Group has been working with those different types of sellers for the last years and have identified their biggest challenge, managing their business at scale and automating it.

All of these sellers, and specially the professional ones, that are sometimes handling tens of millions of dollars of revenues yearly, are managing their businesses with spreadsheets, paper forms, notebooks and extensive contact list. Africar Group is now starting to offer them a software as a service CRM solution to maximise their sales opportunities, being the first professional tool for car dealers in early stage emerging markets like Africa.

The CRM SaaS system articulates around some main features like lead management, lead generation, personalised sales dashboard, inventory management and marketing campaign management, combining it with the strength of its online automotive marketplaces, generating tens of thousands of leads monthly in Sub Saharan Africa.

Car dealers can now easily manage their leads, sort them, list them, contact them for new sales opportunities, reach them by different channels at scale like SMS, emails, messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber or WeChat, but also managing its own vendors schedules, calendars, follow up and appointments, and extracting data and metrics out of it, which is almost impossible manually. Vendors from the same dealers can then share their calendars, leads details and notes on the go thanks to the cloud, with live updates of the data.

Africar Group is the leading operator of automotive online marketplaces in Sub Saharan Africa, covering 40 countries for more than 900 million people, backed by Emerging Classifieds Ventures, an Australian company supporting marketplaces in emerging markets around the world, and backed by renowned international investors. Africar Group has raised several 6 digits undisclosed amounts since its inception in 2016.


[Rwanda] Liquid Telecom supports startups with cloud based services

Pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom is supporting young entrepreneurs at the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali through its high-speed internet and cloud-based services.

Soft-launched in early August, the Westerwelle Startup Haus is a hub for entrepreneurs, which offers a range of services such as events, advisory services and professional development workshops.

Run by Westerwelle Foundation in partnership with Evonik Foundation, it also includes a makerspace providing machines such as 3D printers and a laser cutter among others.

The hub has a capacity to serve 200 people, who will be able to enjoy access to Microsoft Azure developer tools provided by Liquid Telecom via its leading-edge fibre network.

Liquid Telecom will support Westerwelle Startup Haus through the provision of high-speed internet, helping it to become a major driver of innovation and further positioning Kigali as a tech hub in the region.

Through its Innovation Partnership initiative, Liquid Telecom is taking a leadership position in driving tech-based innovation in Rwanda, and earlier this year also entered into a partnership with Impact Hub Kigali.

Liquid Telecom’s range of digital skills development programmes, which focus on areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, data science and game development, will help Rwanda prepare for the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“We’re excited to be supporting the Westerwelle Foundation with its new venture in Rwanda. The opening of the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali will help nurture more young entrepreneurs that are laying the foundations for the country’s digital future,” said Oswald Jumira, Head of Innovation Partnerships at Liquid Telecom.

Liquid Telecom and the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali will also explore ways to attract more leading events and startup competitions to the Rwandan capital. In July, the Westerwelle Startup Haus hosted Seedstars Kigali, part of a major startup competition held in over 20 different African countries.

Entries included an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled device that helps the blind see and a talent match-making platform.

The hub is run by the Westerwelle Foundation, a German non-profit organisation which aims to promote entrepreneurship and collaboration among innovators in emerging markets, in partnership with Evonik Foundation. Run by Evonik Industries, one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies, Evonik Foundation promotes education and science.

“Kigali is rapidly establishing a bright and innovative start-up sector. With Liquid Telecom’s support, we will be able to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of Rwanda’s youth and make a meaningful contribution to the country’s digital economy, overall economic growth and job creation,” said Michael Mronz, Chairman of the Board at Westerwelle Foundation.



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[Column] Adebayo Sanni: Nigerian businesses can be secure in the cloud

High-profile breaches have propelled security to the top of the agenda at many organisations, as the combination of faster, more-damaging attacks, increasingly complex technology environments, and demanding regulatory requirements continue to create new security challenges.

Deloitte’s 2018 Nigeria Cybersecurity Outlook highlights a rise in several cyber Ponzi schemes during 2017 as well as evolving ransomware attacks. Ponzi schemes promise incredible financial returns on investment while the Wannacry ransomware attack affected more than 150 countries, including Nigeria.

Today’s attacks are wide and varied, and range from targeting infrastructure and databases to applications and users. This means that to protect vital information assets, companies need controls at multiple levels across their entire environment – both in the cloud and on-premise.

Turning to the cloud

Moving to the cloud is still deemed to be risky by some IT leaders, but the reality is that the bigger risk is not moving to the cloud. The cloud is rapidly proving itself as easier to manage, maintain and secure than traditional IT environments.

In particular, cloud services are vastly more secure than many on-premise alternatives, spurred on by leading cloud vendors such as Oracle creating highly robust security infrastructure that is continually patched and kept up-to-date. This level of investment in security can never be matched in an on-premise environment.

The key is to choose the right cloud technology – one that is designed to protect users, enhance safeguarding of data, and better address requirements under privacy laws.

Autonomous services

That said, industry estimates put nearly half of all security breaches down to human error, and educating employees on how to spot suspicious emails is crucial. The hackers only need to be successful once to break in, but businesses need to be successful all of the time in order to prevent a data breach. The only way to do this and keep data safe is through defense in depth — with multiple controls, security on by default, automation, best practices, and a secure infrastructure.

Ensuring that a full range of effective controls is in place can be challenging. An autonomous cloud platform addresses this challenge as it starts with built-in self-securing features.

A number of recent large-scale security breaches occurred when companies failed to apply a patch that was available for their software. Autonomous services apply patches without a person having to schedule them, requiring no system downtime. In addition, through the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities such as real-time auto cyberthreat detection and remediation, and user behavior analytics, security risks are lowered. Improved security is among the most critical advantages of an autonomous cloud platform.

Shared responsibility

There is a marked shift in the security landscape and in customers’ needs. Not only do cloud vendors need to protect their own cloud, but customers are looking for modern techniques to help them provide consistent security controls across cloud and on-premise environments.

Security is a shared responsibility, although functions such as encryption and patching are automated, organisations are still responsible for business-specific security functions such as securing users and ensuring sensitive data is appropriately protected. Companies should have a clear understanding of the security responsibility they share with their cloud providers, including having a comprehensive service level agreement in place.

In addition, all businesses need to focus more efforts on training end-users as they’re the most vulnerable point of attack. Some of the most successful attacks leverage social engineering, including those luring unsuspected people to invest in fake cryptocurrencies and specifically in Nigeria, those conducted via emails, SMS and phone calls.

In response to the increased threat landscape, more and more organisations are transitioning their information systems to the cloud to achieve better security for sensitive data and critical business processes. Security used to be an inhibitor to moving to the cloud, now it’s an enabler to get businesses where they need to go.

Adebayo Sanni is Managing Director of Oracle Nigeria.