Kenya: Safaricom Launches Data Storage Services


Safaricom has entered the data storage business as it seeks to diversify its product portfolio from the voice market that has witnessed decline in revenues following a price war in the telecoms industry started last year.

The firm on Tuesday launched the business line branded as SafaricomCloud targeting provision off data storage and backup services to companies and small businesses.

Fast gaining currency, cloud computing involves storage of data in a similar way to how e-mail and social network data are stored only that in cloud computing this is in large scale.

Safaricom's chief executive officer Mr Bob Collymore said the firm has invested an initial Sh2 billion in putting up the necessary infrastructure, while a further Sh1.5 billion will be deployed in the venture within the next two years.

"Cloud computing allows a company to seek a number of IT services relevant to its operations, under a cost-efficient, money-saving, pay-for-what-you-use model. Such services may include a data centre, disaster recovery, back-up, software applications, among others," said Collymore.

Cloud computing has been gaining traction in companies in Kenya seeking for ways to cut the rising technology costs and operators.It is estimated that firms can cut their IT expenditure by 30 per cent.

Currently banks and telecoms with sensitive digital data use offshore servers, while many small and medium enterprises rely on disaster recovery. The post-election violence also saw businesses lose vital documents, rousing interest in secure data storage.

Safaricom's entry is set to increase competition for the archive business with firms like Kenya Data Networks, security firm G4S and Internet Solutions firms as well as companies in Europe and US who were providing the services to local firms from offshore servers.