Featured Finance

Banks spend $10b on offshore data storage yearly’

Banks in Nigeria spend a conservative $10 billion yearly to store their sensitive data in the public cloud outside Nigeria, through the services of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and Google Cloud.

Nigeria lacks data security due to  inability of local service providers to effectively store and protect sensitive data locally.

The Technical Consultant to Unitellas International Limited, the official distributor of Zadara Solution in Nigeria, Mr. Vijay Gurav, who gave the figure, said storing sensitive data outside Nigeria inevitably leads to data insecurity Zadara, a US-based Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), provides full-service storage solutions. Located in the public cloud same as

AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, it has 30 data centre locations, supporting over 500 service providers around the world with two (2) in Nigeria.

Gurav, who spoke during a press conference in Lagos, during the week, said Zadara was partnering Unitellars to empower local service providers in Nigeria to meet up with international standards with regards to data storage infrastructure, service, pricing and security.

Also speaking, the MD/CEO, Unitellas International Limited, Mr. Smith Osemeke, said Financial Service Institutions (FSIs) and other key organisations in Nigeria invest millions of dollars annually in acquiring and managing IT infrastructures instead of focusing on their core businesses.

He said this is because FSIs must have an IT department to build and manage their data storage infrastructure – a service that is supposed to be handled by local service providers in Nigeria.

Osemeke said that in Nigeria, local service providers are over-burdened and challenged by outdated IT systems, forcing many organisations to move their data outside the country, which leads to many of them defaulting on the guidelines on local content laws.

“All organisations operating within Nigeria should have their data stored within Nigeria,” he said, pointing out that “Storing data in the public cloud outside Nigeria creates the problem of data protection since data stored there is exposed to cyber and ransomware attacks,” he stated.

According to Osemeke, incidents of cyber and ransomware attacks in Nigeria are high because the existing public cloud service providers do not provide absolute data protection.

He, therefore, said sensitive citizens data such as Biometric Verification Number (BVN), national identity numbers and other private and confidential details need to be protected from such attacks and exposures.

The Unitellas boss said with Zadara’s immutability storage, local service providers and organisations can fight ransomware and other malwares.

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment.

Immutable back-up or storage implies that data stored is fixed, unchangeable and cannot be deleted for a period of time or in some cases sometimes, forever.

“Having immutable storage is important for industries so that data is stored and saf will allow them compete effectively with renowned public cloud providers in infrastructure, security, pricing, management and service,” Osemeke said.

He said organisations and agencies that have collected citizens’

personal data through processes such as the SIM card registration, national identity card registration, new vehicle license regime, BVN, voter’s card, Tax Identification Number (TIN) etc. should enable immutability storage.

He listed them to include the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Central Bank of

Nigeria (CBN), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) etc.

Osemeke said some of Zadara’s compelling value propositions include pay per use/pay as you go, scalability (ability to shrink or grow to subscribers’ storage need), periodic hardware upgrade without extra cost, and free advanced hardware replacement among others.

According to him, on-boarding to Zadara services is cost effective, as subscription to its data storage services is about four times lower than the public cloud pricing. Subscribers, he said, can get a minimum of 50 Terabyte (TB) scalable to the required needs of the organisation.

He explained that Unitellas will deliver the storage device (hardware) to the agency/organisation’s data centre and key IT staffs of the organisation will be trained on how to use the provided services.

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