How Cloud Computing Will Revolutionise African Business

By KALID MOHAMMED

The subject of cloud computing is no longer just hype, but a real and relevant issue to African businesses.

For greater efficiency and cost savings, companies are now starting to move to online services to access the same applications over the Internet through Cloud Computing, because of the convenience that come with online services. This is the same as what is happening in the African continent, but there are some region specific problems that go with this.

For example, as 2012 figures show, ICT development and uptake are proceeding apace within the Africa region with cellular mobile penetration at 52 percent and 12.8 percent of the population having Internet access.

However the penetration rates for fixed and mobile broadband, barely surpassing 0.2 and 3.79 percent respectively, highlight the need for continued effort.

As in all parts of the world, cloud computing brings unquestionable benefits to the technology sector and subsequently many businesses. To reap these benefits to the full, there has to be a coherent regulatory framework guaranteeing transparency, data protection and respect for data integrity.

The essential value of this new way of using IT resources lie in the fact that IT services, from the storage and processing of data to software applications, are now available and accessible to everyone instantly without commitment and on request.

For some African sub-regions, the cloud computing model has already come to represent a solution to IT under-equipment problems, and the trends indicate that this model is set for major development provided certain accompanying measures are taken in a timely manner.

Some cloud solutions such as the Hotmail/Outlook online personal email accounts have been in use for years, but now there is real scope for African business to harness this technology to its advantage, as long as investment and growth into online services continue and connectivity spreads.

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