15 May

What might be the real barriers to achieving an entirely cloud computing nation? What, on the other hand are the real opportunities? Much recent government-sponsored studies on cloud computing are part of the Government of Kenya Cloud Strategy presented in the just-concluded connected East Africa Summit in Mombasa this year, which concisely and clearly captures what it takes and does not take to have the Kenya economy safely, economically and efficiently run on the cloud.

The “Cloud Computing in Kenya Baseline Survey”, whose results were released in early  2014, and a follow-up study on the recommendations of the survey at the beginning of 2015, were conducted by Dr. Tonny Omwansa (the C4DLab’s Coordinator and ICT lecturer at the University of Nairobi) and colleagues who included Professors Timothy Waema, and Elijah Omwenga also from UoN.

The two studies have condensed both what is in it for Kenya if it fully adopted cloud services, and what derails the radically transforming process.

Among other things, on opportunities, the researchers found that governance was likely to improve a great deal since cloud computing automatically results in reduced costs of IT personnel, software and hardware, maintenance costs; created by improved access and service delivery.

However, the above dream may be rendered impossible, should the weaknesses highlighted by the two reports as real threats not be timely addressed—effectively. They include the general fear of loss of data control, privacy concerns, an inefficient legal framework, poor network connectivity, outdated computing infrastructure, as well as a stifling business environment for cloud services.

Nevertheless, the studies indicate, if the following sparse transformations were executed nationally, Kenya would be set to begin the journey to an ideal nation:

For instance, the studies discovered, we have a national leadership that truly understands digitization and has championed various IT related projects, which are amenable for cloud.

Among others, there is somewhat a progressive legal and regulatory environment that has been involved in the development of various policy documents such as the ICT policy, National Cybersecurity Strategy, ICT Masterplan, and so on.

Also, there is general institutional readiness where most institutions studied have LANs, Internet connectivity and other infrastructural developments, which are a basic requirement for migration to the cloud.

Moses Omusolo is the Social Media Manager, C4DLab.