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Nigerian body gets Microsoft grant to tighten data security

Nigerian body gets Microsoft grant to tighten data security

Microsoft Nigeria has provided a $35,000 grant to the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), to advance research studies on Data Privacy and Security.

The technology company said the grant underscores its commitment to Data Privacy and Security.

This is done as a show assurance for its continued effort to make sure strict compliance with the highest data protection and security standards worldwide for cloud services while espousing the socio-economic benefits that the accelerated adoption of cloud services will bring to Nigerian businesses and governmental agencies, according to the software giant in a statement.

This show of faith may not be unconnected with the recent U.S National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM/Snowden leakage saga where sensitive security information became public knowledge, and the expected governments’ and companies’ wariness of entrusting private vital information to a third-party.

Microsoft says that to address such issues, it elected to fund an independent research by NIALS, which will among others, focus on how concerns on data privacy, security of data, data sovereignty/ localization and management should be approached to make sure that these fundamental apprehensions do not slow down adoption of cloud services in Nigeria.

Speaking on the software giant’s commitment to the penetration and development of ICT in the country, the Country Managing Director, Microsoft Nigeria, Kabelo Makwane, said the company has, in its 14 years of operation in Nigeria, directly and indirectly contributed in no small measure to the Government’s objective of creating jobs and wealth.

According to him, “Microsoft’s extensive programs for Academic Institutions via its Partners in Learning (PIL) program under which it also has the Worldwide Education and Innovative Teachers Forum, YouthSpark and programs on eLearning requirements for academia and students have been enabling the digitization of relevant educational content and information and classroom experience on mobile devices and social media leveraging cloud computing.”

Kabelo said this independent research, which will be publicly available on NIALS’ and Microsoft’s websites, will add to the body of knowledge on Gaps in Data Privacy and Security, the socio-economic benefits of accelerated adoption of cloud services, the potential of cloud computing services to transform and accelerate the growth of SMEs and the Education Sector in Nigeria and ultimately the Nigerian economy.

The research is expected to focus on the SMB/SME and education sectors, considering that cloud computing can potentially enable SMEs significantly boost the nation’s economic growth.  While the SMB/SME sector now accounts for 40 per cent of the nation’s GDP, its use of ICT is now put at as low as 30 per cent, Microsoft said.

“This ICT usage can however be accelerated using  the cloud given its ubiquitousness, accessibility from anywhere and any device including older PCs with limited computing power, ease of use, affordability and pay per use model,” the software company said.

Kabelo hopes that this research would additionally promote independent and objective research on key technology and policy issues and trends, public awareness of important IT trends such as cloud computing and related issues and greater understanding of the IT industry.

Director-General (DG) of NIALS, Professor Adedeji O. Adekunle, speaking, said the Microsoft-funded research by NIALS would frame the key legal and policy issues that are critical enablers of cloud computing.  This includes the right legal and policy environment to support and mandate improved broadband speeds among others to grow cloud services which is critical as low bandwidth and slow connectivity hinder cloud adoption.

Adekunle further intimated that this research would also define and identify the transformation opportunity created by cloud computing including the accelerated rollout of e-government services across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and highlight how cloud computing is being broadly adopted in developed markets.

Microsoft and NIALS have since said they are excited about this strategic partnership, which they both consider a great opportunity for their organisations and one they are keen to further extend.

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