Popular Nigeria newspaper website, Punch.ng reported the words of an Information and Communications expert where he stressed the need for African countries, particularly Nigeria, to host her data and content in her country and not overseas largely due to security and cost reasons.
The ICT expert in the name of James Ahilari made the revelation that most contents sent and received in Africa are located abroad in foreign host countries.
While Alhilari noted that hosting of data in foreign countries was largely due to cost and poor infrastructure in Africa, he also believes the advantages far overshadows the benefits.
“It delays content delivery to the region, further compromising the user experience.” he said.
Aside the issue of information compromise, Alhilari went on to state that hosting data outside the country of origin is bad business for Internet Service Providers.
“This creates several challenges: the process of routing traffic outside the continent costs more as Internet service providers face higher transit costs to deliver the content to local users by shipping from offshore.”
Alhilari mentioned that the need for a certain country to have an edge over the other could result in snooping for useful data which will be very much easier when such vital and critical information are located in another country.
“More recently, corporate and national anti -competitive practices aimed at gaining industrial or other competitive advantages such as cyber-attacks and data sniffing , data hostage and bad debt have further escalated the need to protect data as a national asset”
While he first praised Nigeria and some other African countries for having/having created Local domiciliation policy or Data protection bills in their laws, he went on to expressed his worry concerning the enforcement of such laws – something he blames on the reduced number of data centers.
“Unfortunately, Africa has not been proactive in terms of data domiciliation as other climes. Though some countries in Africa have data protection legislative bills in place , enforcement of local laws has been a problem over the years. Perhaps the dearth of data centres on the continent made such enforcement difficult.”
Alhilari however noted that Nigeria had enough data centres and have no excuse whatsoever for hosting data overseas. He further went on to state the advantages of hosting data locally in the country of origin which includes reduced cost and quicker access to contents.
Going back to the need for Nigeria to adopt local domiciliation of data, Alhilari revealed that the Nigerian Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) platform is hosted outside the shores of the country. Likewise, the Nigerian Immigration Service also hosts its passport database overseas.
In the words of Alhilari, critical and vital information as the ones above should not be in another man’s land and he believes this is more reason why government should adopt local hosting and storage of data.
“Hosting such critical data outside the country is extremely dangerous. It is time to commence enforcement of data protection and privacy legislations to ensure that beyond websites, critical Nigerian data across pivotal sectors as finance, oil and gas, healthcare, and government agencies reside in Nigeria.”
By Olanrewaju Sodiq