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Microsoft to Deliver Cloud Services from Datacentres in Africa

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Last Night, Microsoft revealed plans to deliver the complete, intelligent Microsoft Cloud for the first time from datacentres located in Africa.

This new investment is a major milestone in the company’s mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and a recognition of the enormous opportunity for digital transformation in Africa.

Expanding on existing investments, Microsoft will deliver cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, from datacentres located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa with initial availability anticipated in 2018.

The new cloud regions will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with data residency to help enable the tremendous opportunity for economic growth, and increase access to cloud and internet services for organisations and people across the African continent.

“We’re excited by the growing demand for cloud services in Africa and their ability to be a catalyst for new economic opportunities,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft Corp. “With cloud services ranging from intelligent collaboration to predictive analytics, the Microsoft Cloud delivered from Africa will enable developers to build new and innovative apps, customers to transform their businesses, and governments to better serve the needs of their citizens.”

Expanding Access& Opportunity: Currently many companies in Africa rely on cloud services delivered from outside of the continent. Microsoft’s new investment will provide highly available, scalable, and secure cloud services across Africa with the option of data residency in South Africa. With the introduction of these new cloud regions, Microsoft has now announced 40 regions around the world – more than any major cloud provider.

The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will connect businesses with opportunity across the globe, help accelerate new investments, and improve access to cloud and internet services for people and organisations from Cairo to Cape Town.

“We greatly value Microsoft’s commitment to invest in cloud services delivered from Africa. Standard Bank already relies on cloud technology to provide our customers with a seamless experience,” sayid Brenda Niehaus, group CIO at Standard Bank. “To achieve success as a business, we need to keep pace with market developments as well as customer needs, and Office 365 empowers us to make a culture shift towards becoming a more dynamic organisation, whilst Azure enables us to deliver our apps and services to our customers in Africa. We’re looking forward to achieving even more with the cloud services available here on the continent.”

Investing in African Innovation: This announcement expands on ongoing investments in Africa, where organizations are using currently available cloud and mobile services as a platform for innovation in health care, agriculture, education, and entrepreneurship. Microsoft has been working to support local start-ups and NGOs, unleashing innovation that has the potential to solve some of the biggest problems facing humanity, such as the scarcity of water and food, and economic and environmental sustainability. One start-up, M-KOPA Solar, provides affordable pay-as-you-go solar energy to over 500,000 homes using mobile and cloud technology. AGIN has built an app connecting 140,000 smallholder farmers to key services, enabling them to share data and facilitating $1.3 million per month in finance, insurance and other services.

Across Africa, Microsoft has brought 728,000 small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) online to help them transform and modernise their businesses, and over 500,000 are now utilising Microsoft cloud services, with 17,000 using the 4Afrika hub to promote andgrow their businesses. The Microsoft Cloud is also helping Africans build job skills, with 775,000 trained on subjects ranging from digital literacy to software development. We anticipate the Microsoft Cloud from Africa will fuel extensive new opportunities for our 17,000 regional partners and customers alike.

“This development broadens the options available to us in our modernisation journey of Government ICT infrastructure and services. It allows us to take advantage of new opportunities to develop innovative government solutions at manageable costs, as well as drive overall improvements in operations management, while improving transparency and accountability,” said  Dr.Setumo Mohapi, CEO at SITA.

The Microsoft Trusted Cloud: Microsoft has deep expertise protecting data, championing privacy, and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements. With Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud principles of security, privacy, compliance, transparency, and the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry, Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure supports over a billion customers and 20 million businesses around the globe.

“By establishing hyper scale cloud datacentre capacity in South Africa, Microsoft is directly addressing customers’ concerns, and demonstrating commitment to the delivery of cloud services within the country and the region as a whole,” says Jon Tullett, senior research manager, IDC MEA.

“The presence of local facilities will be greatly encouraging to South African customers, particularly those in regulated industries such as financial services and the public sector where data sovereignty concerns are paramount. This is a strongly positive development for the cloud industry in Africa, and particularly Microsoft’s ecosystem of partners, ISVs and customers.”

 

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E-Business

Improved Security Strategies Required for ePlatforms Uptakes- ITSSP

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By peter oluka ‎

Nigeria requires adequate cyber security measures to sustain the growth of service deliveries through e-Platforms, said information security experts.

Professor Adesina Sodiya, president of ITSSP in a telephone interview with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, described cybercrime as a growing global threat, but every country has learnt to defend its cyber space.

Prof. Sodiya said, ‎”Cybercrime is a global challenge; and the recent attacks in Nigeria have been affecting critical areas of our activities. That is why this group is concerned about the development of solutions to tackle the menace. We have to continue to discourse the way forward in terms of our national cyber development”‎

He said that, ‎as a country, professionals must be engaged to develop the cyber defence strategies. “Many countries have gone ahead with the development of defence mechanisms in the cyber space; Nigeria must not be left behind. We have not gotten there.‎

“Why do we need to be more serious about cyber space? There is a popular saying today that the next world war will happen at the cyber space.

“As at now, many countries are gathering information about other countries. They are peeping into other countries’ activities, which calls for us to develop our cyber security strategies to monitor inflow and outflow of data”.

Mr. ‎Aderogba Adeoye, former president of ITSSP also told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that increase in these e-platforms calls for improved cyber security awareness.‎

“Everybody is talking about e-platforms. If we are to run the e-platforms, it entails a need to develop capacities for security. Your data or information can be wiped off in a twinkle of an eye. As far as the e-commerce platforms are concerned, the intention is to make profit.‎

“For us to continue reaping benefits in e-services applications the capacity development of the human capital must be taken very serious. This is what the conference tends to address.‎

“We are not relenting. ITSSP is an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); it is important to us to advocate for focus on issues related to cyber security”, he said.‎‎

He added that recent advocacies have yielded results with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), for instance, introduced information security departments. “That is a right step in good direction. The other day we engaged the Ministry of Justice and the National Security Adviser (NSA) and they were convincing enough on how admitting electronic evidences are helpful in combating cybercrimes”. ‎

“In order to build capacity government has to enhance IT policing activities by ensuring that anybody executing government projects, in IT, are registered professionals. This is another way to elicit adherence to the rules of the business,” Adeoye added. ‎‎

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Stakeholders Frown at Nigeria’s Position on eReadiness Report

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by Chike Onwuegbuchi

Information and communications technology stakeholders have frowned at the recent position of the Nigeria on eReadiness status where the country is placed 119 out of 139 countries.

eReadiness refers to a country’s capacity and state of preparedness to participate in the electronic world.

The state of maturity is commonly measured by the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and the ability of its government and citizens to utilize the positive impacts of ICT for sustainable development.

Chris Uwaje, director general, Delta State Innovation Hub, who disclosed the country’s position said: “In the e-readiness report just released early this week Nigeria is sitting at 119.”

He said; “eReadiness status is about the aggregate measure of how countries are faring using ICT or within the ICT landscape, it embodied economic, educational and social index, measured along the lines of sustainable development goals. Each country has an index that they need to pass, it just like exam. But the aggregate sum of our domain platform today is really unacceptable. It keeps us into that realm of super consumption country in ICT but less in innovative and creativity and that is wrong.”

He explained that the more we consume the more we cannot create employment. “The more we consume, the more we are funding capital flight, the more we consume the more our educational sector will be malnourished in terms of knowledge, and will not be attractive, that is why more Nigerians are now in Ghanaian universities and in Republic of Benin universities.

“For the country to move up it is about knowledge Olympiad. We need to refine our educational system, government need to invest more on knowledge parks, incubators, and fund incubators. We have to ensure that lectures and those who can replicate knowledge are given added resources and reward system that enables them. Because we need to create a digital army for this country, so that when financial sector, aviation, transport or any other sector is attack can we defend it?”

Amos Emmanuel, chief executive officer, Programos Software, said that Nigeria has a lot to do if she has to move up in the ladder of e-readiness.

“The game of e-readiness has changed; it is no longer like technological transfer from Europe or America the focus is now on innovation base on the environment. Nigeria needs to reformulate its digital policy,” he said.

He blamed the country’s socio-cultural environment as impediment to application of information and communications technology to every sector of the economy.

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E-Business

FG to Harmonize BVN, Others into National Identity Database

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By Fabian Tarpael, Abuja
The Federal Government has announced its decision to stop what it called proliferation and duplication of biometric-based identity systems in the country.

Mrs. Habiba Lawal, acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, stated this in Abuja while inaugurating a former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, alongside eight others as chairman and members, respectively of the Governing Board of the National Identity Management Commission, (NIMC).

Lawal noted that the Federal Government established the NIMC as the primary institution charged with the responsibility of providing and regulating identity management in Nigeria, the issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN) and ID card to all registrable persons as well as the harmonisation and integration of existing identification databases in government agencies and integrating them into the National Identity Database (NIDB).

Represented on the board are the military, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, other government agencies and the private sector.

Among the first task the ex-governor and his team have been saddled with is the harmonisation of databases of Nigerians believed to have been unnecessarily duplicated.

Data expected to be harmonized included the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration being handled by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC); Bank Verification Number (BVN); Drivers Licence from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC); and voters card number among others.

Lawal said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari expects the proliferation and duplication of biometric-based identity systems to stop as it was neither cost effective, nor security smart.

“Apart from being unwieldy, the cost of operating multiple discordant databases and infrastructure is unattainable,” Lawal had stated.

She urged the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to come up with a more effective and innovative identity management system that was devoid of duplication for the country.

Mrs Lawal also said despite the successes of the commission at data capture of registrable persons in the country, “there was still much more to be done.”

She urged members of the Board who were drawn from both the public and private sectors, to take a cue from the countries that have successfully issued unique identity to its citizens and have utilised such identity to transform their society and economy.

“We need change, positive change in our identity eco-system. The change starts with all of us agreeing to make the sacrifices and commitment required, defining clear policy direction and taking collective actions to achieve our common goal.

“The NIMC must focus its energy on ensuring that the remaining component of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) roll-out alignment and switching over by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through the harmonization and integration framework is successfully implemented.

“The speed of data collection must have to be improved upon, and this will reduce justifications given by MDAs, as reasons for duplicated biometric options.

“Hopefully, the harmonisation programme, being spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President, will help to achieve this, especially, by the commission ensuring that the MDAs switch or at least, align their existing infrastructure as data collection agents to the NIMC system,” she said.

In an acceptance speech, Oyinlola gave the assurance that the Board members will work assiduously to justify the confidence reposed in them by the government.

“We, therefore, pledge our loyalty to our dear nation and Mr President who has recognised our inherent capabilities and made the appointment, based on trust, competence and the confidence reposed in us.

“We shall live up to expectations, especially given the fact that the burden placed on our shoulders is a very sensitive and significant one that must be carried with every sincerity and patriotism,” he said.

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