How The Cloud Impacts Developing Economies

Posted by on Oct 11, 2013

Image from http://blog.cloudbees.com/

Image from http://blog.cloudbees.com/

Cloud computing has become the new trend in the technology market for the last few years. With the advent of cloud computing, it has become possible for individuals and organizations to access data and computing resources from anywhere at anytime. Many industries and businesses in developed countries are embracing this technology for its flexibility, effectiveness and speed.

While so much has been said and discussed about the impact of cloud computing in developed economies, less focus has been given to the impact of cloud services in developing economies. There is a huge potential in the growth of cloud computing in developing economies because of a number of reasons. It can be extremely beneficial to developing nations by reducing costs of investment in information and communication infrastructure (ICT). Companies can boost their businesses by getting access to the best business applications and infrastructure at a negligible cost. As a result there will be more job creations, improvement in government services, and they can be better competitors in the global market.

In order to enjoy the benefits of cloud computing there should be an effective and efficient flow of information between the cloud service provider and the customer. This cannot be achieved without three key technical capabilities:

  • First and foremost, the availability of high-speed communication service (Broadband). Although some cloud-supported applications can be delivered in narrow band networks, the real benefits of cloud services can be earned by using high speed Internet.
  • Unrestricted flow of information between the cloud service provider and the customer.
  • The cloud data centers can operate effectively, if they can be located and operated on the basis of efficiency considerations. This way they will be able to provide effective service to the customers anytime and from anywhere.
Image from http://www.cheki.com.ng/

Image from http://www.cheki.com.ng/

The market for cloud computing is gradually increasing in countries like India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Vietnam. An African used car classifieds sevice, Cheki, has built a huge market (that covers Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Rwanda and Ethiopia) with most users accessing the site using $70 Android smartphones. Similarly a recent study revealed that in Mexico there was a 3% reduction in fixed cost of a 45-person firm when they switched to cloud services. As a result there was a significant growth in job openings. Besides the above-mentioned examples, there are other areas where cloud computing has proved beneficial for developing nations. Universities and colleges are using cloud services to conduct innovative research, analyze data, and provide virtual computing lab facilities to their students. Another major application of cloud is seen in healthcare services – “India’s ICICI Bank’s insurance arm has used Zoho’s Web-based applications to develop services such as personalized insurance for patients with diabetes. The company adjusts premiums based on how well policy-holders stick to a fitness plan.”

The table below shows cloud computing application areas in developing countries:

Image from http://libres.uncg.edu

Image from http://libres.uncg.edu

There is no doubt that the cloud services offer so many benefits to the developing nations but on the other hand there are concerns about data privacy and security associated with the unauthorized access of information stored on cloud services for malicious purposes.

  • One of the biggest fears in using cloud computing is data loss or illegal access to data. Small businesses trusting cloud services to store their valuable data, can suffer severe loss if any of the service provider’s datacenter servers is hacked or some sensitive information is exposed accidentally. These kinds of situations will harm the reputation of the companies badly.
  • Unlike developing nations, there are standardized rules and regulations (e.g., ISO 27002, Safe Harbor, ITIL, and COBIT) for the cloud service providers operating in countries like US, Canada or the European Union.The service provider needs to comply with all the rules and regulations in order to provide service to their customers. Unfortunately, in developing countries these regulations are not widely adhered by software companies yet.
  • There is always a risk of consumer data being accessed by the service providers, used for targeted ads, or shared with third parties. The provider needs to ensure the customers that their data will not be used for any unintended purposes.
  • Another security issue with the use of the cloud is identity theft. The consumer needs to verify the identity of the cloud service providers using reliable verification mechanisms before using their service.

SpiderOak Blue for Enterprises:

Finding a truly secure third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave private data vulnerable to third party attacks. One cloud storage and sync service that sets itself apart is SpiderOak Blue. This service provides enterprises with a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data privacy. And for the average web user, SpiderOak offers the same protections with lower costs and smaller storage space. You can signup for this product now.

SpiderOak Blue protects sensitive enterprise data through two-factor password authentication and 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private as unreadable blocks of data. Two-factor authentication is just like the process used by some financial services that require a PIN as an extra precaution along with a password in order to log in. With SpiderOak, enterprises that choose to use two-factor authentication must submit a private code through text along with their unique encrypted password. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices (SpiderOak never hosts any plaintext data). SpiderOak Blue’s cross-platform private cloud services are available for enterprises on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices.

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