How cloud technology can help seal cyber loopholes

Cloud computing has made the sharing of information and resources significantly easier but it has also brought about some unique security concerns. Mr. Jimmy Kosgei, the Technical Lead for IBM’s Skills Initiatives in Africa discusses the significance of technology to small businesses and role to cyber security.

What is cloud technology?

Imagine you have an awesome agricultural idea, the idea could be already in practice or something you want to try out. Typically, because you are trying it out, you want to use the least amount of resources so that you can cut your losses if it fails or expand upwards when it succeeds. So, you hire the piece of land, hire the equipment and buy the seeds and all the input, do all the hard work. You do not care about who owns the land or equipment all you care about is the result of your idea.

Cloud is the same concept, it is an enabler of Innovation, it’s a time and cost saver. It enables organisations to focus on what their core business is without worrying about piling costs in IT hardware, Software and Services. Cloud gives these firms the flexibility to try out new ideas without incurring massive costs.

Where does Kenya stand in terms of cloud technology compared to other countries in Africa and around the world?

Compared to the rest of the region, Kenya is way ahead of its counterparts. We have an amazing internet link thanks to the fibre termination in Mombasa and robust telecommunication industry. This has put us ahead of the pack. This has fostered an appetite for technology use amongst the people. The result is an economy of Innovations. The ingenuity amongst our people and how we do business has enabled that.

 How will local businesses benefit from cloud technology?

Cost Saving: With cloud, the businesses do not have to make any upfront investment (CAPEX) they can just pay for the IT they need at the time. By adopting an OPEX model they can focus the funds and resources into expanding the business and exploring other revenue and growth channels.

Faster Innovation: With Cloud, organisations can explore any ideas they have. It allows them to test these ideas, fail in these ideas, correct them without having to lose so much in time and resources. When it comes to testing and rectification of errors made, cloud is an inexpensive option for them till a time when they have a viable product. All this implies businesses will get their products and services to market fast before the competition.

Faster turnaround time: For organisations with lots of important data, cloud provides an option for a reliable inexpensive back up. In case of a calamity, their customers need not feel the impact. With cloud, you are available 24-7-365.

Increased collaboration: The other cool thing about cloud is the ability to work and collaborate worldwide, with access to the internet you can get to work at anywhere in the world at any time.

Global Marketplace: By December 2017, 4.1 Billion people had access to the internet. Cloud opens your doors to that pool of potential customers anywhere in the world. Think WhatsApp; how many people use it today? Where are they? What enables that kind of technological ingenuity? That could be your business.

Why is cloud technology significant to cyber security?

Because moving your data to the Cloud is more secure than keeping it on premise. That is why it’s increasingly the foundation of a cyber security strategy for a growing number of businesses. Most service providers have embedded sophisticated detection, protection and mitigation measures that are not available for smaller sized businesses. This provides an airtight security implemented from physical security of the data warehouses to using Artificial Intelligence to probe and learn more from all the previous and upcoming attacks.

What are the long term economic benefits of cloud technology?

Most of the long term economic benefits of cloud are derivatives of what makes it great for business. Just to expound on a couple of them;

Global reach for businesses: The niche that a business may have succeeded in locally can scale upwards to a global stage without the business having to change much. If there is some change needed, the robustness and flexibility of cloud will make that easy to sort out.

Lower Costs in the Long Term: A lower costs for businesses will mean growth for business. This will equally reflect on the economy. Moving from a CAPEX to an OPEX model will cut cost significantly for most businesses in the long run.

Lower maintenance cost: Lower cost of running IT is a saving for businesses no matter the size. Over a reasonable amount of time, that reflects to the economy in a positive way.

Better resilience and redundancy: With unpredictability of natural calamities globally, having not to worry about business downtimes is a key benefit to all organisations.

Global collaboration: The skills available in the country coupled with impeccable internet speeds makes us a very attractive destination for Business Processes Outsourcing kind of businesses. Cloud enables most organizations to have offices and outsourced services to place like Kenya. A positive impact on our economy.

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