Safer data ahoy: Liquid Telecom launches Microsoft Azure cloud services in East Africa

Will greatly reduce data transmission time while increasing cyber security.
Liquid Telecom, Africa, Connectivity, Services, Business, Tech, Society, Cloud


Liquid Telecom Kenya, part of pan-African Liquid Telecom, has launched Microsoft cloud services in East Africa.

The new Azure Stack service will allow companies to run a private Microsoft cloud within East Africa, rather than at one of Microsoft’s 54 public data centres located outside the region. This means users benefit from the cutting-edge security protocols developed and run by Microsoft on its cloud platforms, while holding their data locally – which makes data uploading faster for databases that can be as large as one terabyte or more.

The service is now available across East Africa, hosted in private cloud nodes in Kenya and Tanzania.

“The data transmission time to Europe is around 200 milliseconds, and for the closest Microsoft cloud server, in South Africa, 55 milliseconds. But the new Azure Stacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam will mean data transfer speeds of less than 20 milliseconds for all users within East Africa,” said Winston Ritson, group head of cloud services for Liquid Telecom.

Using Azure Stack also opens the way to a level of cybersecurity that few organisations have the capacity to develop. Said Winston: “Microsoft spends some $1 billion a year on ensuring the security of its Azure platforms. This is a scale of spend and professional attention that companies cannot match or surpass in securing their data.”

This comes as East Africa’s data security continues to deteriorate. In 2017, Kenya lost more than 21 billion Kenyan shillings (about US$210 million) to cybercrime. And the nation’s losses are forecast to rise further on new cyber threats, including attacks on built-in Windows IT admin tools, PowerShell files and Windows Scripting executables.

“Developing the Azure Stack in East Africa has required intensive development and co-operation between Liquid Telecom and Microsoft,” said Adil El Youssefi, Liquid Telecoms’s CEO for East Africa.

“However, we believe that in offering a now unequalled level of cybersecurity, it has delivered yet another vital pillar to the economic development of Kenya and East Africa.”

Liquid Telecom is a leading communications solutions provider across 13 countries, primarily in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. It serves mobile operators, carriers, enterprise, media and content companies and retail customers with high-speed, reliable connectivity, hosting and co-location and digital services.

Liquid has also built Africa’s largest independent fibre network, approaching 70,000 kilometres, and operates data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi, with a combined potential 19,000 square metres of rack space and 80 MW of power. This is in addition to offering cloud-based services such as Microsoft Office365, Microsoft Azure and digital content provision including Netflix and Kwesé TV across Liquid’s fibre footprint.

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