Layer3, a cloud and network technology company, has urged private businesses and public sector agencies to store their data locally, warning that hosting data abroad increases Nigeria’s vulnerability to security risks.
According to the firm, the majority of Nigerian websites are hosted in foreign countries making them targets of authorities in their host countries for several reasons.
The firm said given the dangers associated with hosting data abroad, it is only logical that Nigerian businesses host data locally, especially with the encouragement of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The Chief Sales Officer, Theresa Adeyinka, said organisations whose data are hosted in other countries do not have immediate access to the physical spaces in which they are kept and as a result, are at the mercy of the data residency laws of the countries that host them.
Adeyinka said if any countries feels the organisations have violated their laws, they could deny them access to their data, especially if Nigeria is caught in a diplomatic row with them.
She noted that the risks to foreign-hosted data could arise along the global data transmission line. According to her, undersea cables that transmit data from stations elsewhere in the world to Internet users in Nigeria may get damaged.
She cited the 2020 incident, when a submarine cable system was severed, which disrupted internet services to financial institutions, SMEs and larger corporations in Nigeria, noting that such disruptions could cost the affected businesses millions of naira in revenue loss, depending on how long they last.
Adeyinka also cited the Russia-Ukraine conflict, noting that data centres in Ukraine have struggled to sustain their operations, with some having incurred increased energy costs.
She said several western internet service vendors have halted their services to Russia, noting that if Nigerian organisations have their data held in a country under attack like Ukraine, there is always a risk that their data could be lost when data centres are attacked.
Adeyinka said the fact that this could happen already places a large portion of Nigerian businesses in a vulnerable position, noting that a report from 2017 indicated that only 2.3 per cent of .ng websites were hosted locally.
She further stressed the fact that the threat that foreign agents may act against data host within their territories is real, stating that businesses and government agencies can minimise this risk by keeping their data closer to home.
She said cloud solution providers like Layer3Cloud are making this a much easier action to take by providing virtual servers, disaster recovery, data backup and object storage services to help businesses transit to the cloud and enable them to instantiate multiple cloud computing use cases to their advantage.
Adeyinka said organisations seeking to move their data to local hosts can achieve this as the team at Layer3Cloud helps clients remain on the right side of data residency and other IT-related laws in Nigeria.