This is an overview of the Nigeria cloud policy that was published in August 2019 which is the latest. The policy comes very late because cloud computing has been adopted by many in Nigeria which include Large-scale enterprise, medium, and small-scale enterprise and even some part of the government.
- To ensure a 30% increase in the adoption of cloud computing by 2024
- To increase cloud computing investment to a target of 35% by 2024
This goal will be achieved by the following set objective
- enabling environment for the private sector to increase cloud computing infrastructure investments by 35%;
- clear direction and programs that ensure attainment of 30% increase in cloud adoption and migration by the public sector and SMEs that provide service for the government;
- enabling and competitive business environment for Nigerian cloud service providers (CPS) and/or cloud consulting service providers (CCSP) to operate efficiently and profitably in the cloud marketplace.
Cloud’s first Policy Thrust
The most important part of the Policy is the cloud-first policy part of the whole policy. This cloud-firsts policy means if you are doing any project or planning to do any project with the government you need to think first of using cloud solutions that are perfect for the solution. “The policy expressly articulates the government’s support for cloud adoption by public-sector agencies, creating a presumption that entities shall consider cloud solutions before any other options” (Nigeria Cloud policy August. 2019). The policy also uses this to encourage SMEs to adopt the policy most especially those that provide service to the government.
According to the policy, the agencies (NITDA) will consider the following factors when procuring cloud services:
- Value for money-to fulfill the intended purpose of the service;
- Transitioning from capital budgets to operational expenditure;
- Short, medium and long terms impact on finances;
- The suitability of service level agreements in relation to the agency-specific needs;
- Cloud Package and subscriptions;
- Avoid “vendor lock-in;”
- Market competition.
This is a very important part of the policy. Four (4) categories were introduced and below and the understanding of the categories
1) Official, public or non-confidential Data: it is publicly available and non-sensitive will be store in any available public cloud. Note: this the largest type of data held by the public sector (National cloud policy august (2019).
2) Confidential, routine government business data (data of moderate sensitivity): This includes health and financial data about a natural person (what is the meaning of natural persons when all many are equal) This information can be securely held in a public cloud.
3) The secret, sensitive government, and citizen data: The data type is for natural and juridical persons (a natural and juridical person is another type of people in Nigeria) this data must be stored in a secure, encrypted public cloud framework in Nigerian territorial boundary.
4) Classified or National Security information: This type of data considers national security and required additional safeguards. This kind of data cloud is a move to the cloud and including a private cloud option. Lastly, this type of data must reside only on-premise of the public institutions or in a cloud with the territorial of the country.
There are many part of the policy that we decided not to review because is basically definition, cloud requirement and others that are based on resource which is generally available on the internet such as the different service and deployment models of cloud, Vendor lock-in, Cloud certifications, cloud migrations and SLA s that can be found on the internet.
The goal of the policy is not detail enough to provide help to SME and it needs to be the focus, and this will help the public to follow. With the look of the policy goal, many of the investments will be swimming to the international cloud service provider (CSP) and businesses. Also, the objective does not show any focus of the policy either targeting the government or the SMEs. This is not to demystify the improvement and the mind behind the policy. However, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) can do more by focusing on the government like other countries and when the government gets it right and the business will follow.
The policy is not complete, it does not indicate the type of cloud model that need to be adopted, the process around it and the lack of focus makes it look just like a thesis or a report on cloud computing for Nigeria. Different cloud policies around the world made this known by providing the choice that was made by the government. For example, the UK cloud-first policy indicates that public cloud computing should be use and not any other cloud for the purpose that is the government thinks is right. However, The detail in the Saudi Arabia cloud policy in an example to such a policy that a latecomer needs to implement after studying the different types, models, innovations and experience.
Lastly, if the government show interest in Government-cloud and private-cloud computing there will be more information technology investment and more jobs will be created. This will also bring innovative and creative ideas and technology.
This procurement part of the policy already indicate that the public cloud computing is what will be adopted most based on the emphasis that was given to the phrase “Pay-as-you-go” basis and structure which is hard to achieve or not needed in a private cloud or communality cloud computing which supposed to be the best interest of any government cloud computing initiative. For example, The USA Ministry of Defence cloud, KSA’s national information center (Saudi Arabia government cloud), Singapore’s Gov-cloud.
The policy is late and not up to the stand of what was expected at this stage of cloud computing implementation and innovation around it. Nigeria should have followed the trend of Telecommunication adoption (mobile phone and 3G) which Nigeria has the same scenario of joining the wagon very late and quickly adopt the best solution for the Country and this made many countries in the world talk about the mobile technology in Nigeria.