Is it wise for the Ethiopian government to embrace cloud computing
August 29 2009
Is it wise for the Ethiopian government to embrace cloud computing and deal with FullArmor to store students’ data outside its borders?
Data is the life line of many enterprises and it’s as important to any government, because sound policy making decisions are based on solid data and loss of control at any time is not acceptable. It has to be available when you need it and access to the data should be controlled.
Cloud computing might very well end up being the thing of the future, but at this stage major use of cloud computing for enterprises in the developed world is still in its infancy and is company based. Their reluctance to send their data outside their company’s firewall stems from security concerns among many other issues. They would have to rely on the service providers to guarantee the safety of their data.
With all the fiber optics infrastructure and mega projects being undertaken in Ethiopia to make the country the power house of the horn, the temporary recurring blackouts should not be one of the reasons to choose an overseas- storage(cloud computing) over setting up a server inside the country. Since we are talking about data that belongs to the ministry of education, I think it’s also a sovereignty issue. Access to the data could be subject to the relationship between Ethiopia and the host country in the future. It reminds me of freezing government bank accounts as a punishment or a black mail. Access to the data might also be denied if the government is unable to make payments according to the contract.
So, I say the government should consider other options like setting up a ministry-based server inside the country and train its own IT staff or even have companies like FullArmor manage it from within instead of shipping the data overseas. It should also make the government uneasy to try something that has never been tried anywhere else on a wider scale and the fact that large corporations in the west with all their technological sophistications are not ready and not willing to embrace it should be a red flag
As my comment is based on simple common sense, I would like to invite especially those who have expertise in this area to comment and enlighten us on this topic.
For background info and source click on…. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2009458942_microsoftazure13.html
For opinions including from an expatriate IT advisor at Mekelle University (Alex) click on…. http://alexlittle.net/blog/2009/07/16/can-cloud-computing-work-in-ethiopia/
For experts’ opinion click on… http://gigaom.com/2008/07/01/10-reasons-enterprises-arent-ready-to-trust-the-cloud/