[Column] Syed Asad Abbas: We need to embrace the Cloud
There’s a lot of hype about the Cloud, however what comes to mind when you hear that your software will sit in the cloud, it sounds positively intangible and like a cloud it can fall apart anytime. Making it seem like something you have no control over, it may just disappear like smoke. Many people think this, but it is misconception. We the ICT industry should have used another word to describe as the name Cloud certainly created misunderstandings and the intangible nature of clouds created a negative perception when it came to ‘Cloud Technology, ‘however the name stuck and we’ve been playing catch-up as a sector ever since.
The Cloud is actually a set of technologies which are rented out to multiple tenants, anywhere in the world and at a low cost, hosted by a company which specialize in hosting, managing and delivering them. Keeping them operational 24/7 and 365 days a year. Some servers use computing power to run applications or "deliver a service”. Almost everyone that uses any form of tech, already uses Cloud Services, often without knowing it. If you use any services of Google or Apple, you are using and accessing Cloud technology.
With examples, implementation and case studies regarding the use of Cloud Technology, companies and organisations started to become convinced. If we take an example of data security, who will have better measures in place to secure data, you an accounting firm or any other business or a firm specialising in nothing but Information Technology and security?
Cloud as we know it is not something new, it existed as far back as the first industrial revolution. Cloud was there when people started depositing their monies in a bank instead of their personal vaults, money is valued above all else, and yet we don't even know where exactly our money is stored, we just access it via an ATM, online, or via a speedpoint. You could call utility companies such as electricity or water companies Cloud technology. People started using electricity brought to their homes from a power station instead of using their own generators. Water pipelines to bring water to the tap from a river, a dam or a centralized water source instead of digging their own boreholes and wells. Why install an expensive infrastructure at your own premises when you can just use and pay only for the service that you need. Imagine every needing their own water company to access clean and potable water.
When it comes to selecting a cloud based solution, more often than not we think about where our data will be stored, but actually what's important is who will have access to our data, will it be available to us whenever we need it? So it does not matter where our data sits, what matters is how secure is the access and how durable is the service availability.
Next time when you are offered a solution which sits in the Cloud, think about the more important factors, i.e. Security and Availability. Whether it is a software application, data that needs to be stored or software programmes (Software as a Service), it’s all possible and at the organisation’s fingertips with the Cloud. The services are available anywhere and anytime through any enabled devices and are totally secure and with an exponentially increased efficiency. Most organisations and companies across the globe have already embraced completely secure cloud service based solutions.
Cloud-based solutions and Software as a Service are almost without exception part of every country’s overall development plan in terms of public service infrastructure, economic outlook and investment environment. Developing ICT-infrastructure in both the public and private sectors.
If we do nothing as Namibia, but just stand by and watch this new revolution pass us by, it will cause long-term damage and will create an unbridgeable digital divide compared to other nations which are adapting to this trend proactively. It really makes sense for every business and organisation to use Cloud Services. So what do we do? There’s no need to be cautious or doubtful regarding Cloud technology, the tech is proven. We need to adopt and embrace strategies which enable us to utilize cloud computing and deliver effective and efficient e-Governance and Cloud Services and software to companies and organisations, no matter their size.