Microsoft, University of Nairobi launch cloud computing academic research

The University of Nairobi (UoN) with the support of Microsoft and the Kenya ICT Authority has released a baseline survey on cloud computing and its impact in Kenya, showing 57 per cent of respondents adopted cloud technology in either 2010 or 2011.

More organizations utilised pure private cloud (39 per cent) compared to utilising a public cloud (22 per cent).

“We are seeing widespread adoption of cloud-based email services and productivity tools like Office 365, which enable “always-on” access to emails and files from virtually anywhere. Businesses are also running CRM, HR, accounting and custom enterprise applications in the cloud. Cloud computing can benefit governments in three areas:  increasing national competitiveness, enhancing citizen services and driving down costs.” said Microsoft country manager Kunle Awosika.

“We see opportunities for government to help move cloud computing forward in three areas: Infrastructure and Skills, Regulatory Environment and Government Leadership.”

The study established that there was relatively low awareness and skills in cloud computing policy framework in Kenya by respondents and the government would also need to fast-track the enactment of key policies addressing cyber security, data protection and privacy in order to increase confidence in the adoption of cloud services in the country.

Ninety per cent of the respondents thought the cloud services market was ready but there are a lot of misunderstandings about the technology. Some technical skills are seriously lacking.

“As government, we realise the power of being promoters of such technologies by being actual users. We are putting in place mechanisms to ensure cloud is used even more within government. This is also supported by improvement of Broadband access through a National broadband strategy where the ministry has commenced laying of additional 1,600Km of National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) Phase 2 to the already existing 4,300km laid in phase 1,” said Joseph Tiampati, principal secretary at the Ministry of ICT.

 The research said cloud computing has the potential to catalyse job growth and spur sustained economic growth, in part by facilitating a knowledge economy. With immediate, affordable access to high-power computing resources, businesses, including small and medium companies (SMEs), can bring to market innovative products faster and more cheaply than ever before.

 The software economy will particularly benefit because developers everywhere can participate in the global IT market, regardless of the local technology industry infrastructure.

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