East Africa Data Centre, the only Tier 3 secure electronic data centre in east and central Africa, has today announced a Ksh1bn expansion to meet rack space demand that initially forced it to ration allocations to customers. Unveiling the second and third floors of the data centre, the East Africa Data Centre announced that the centre would now be extended to four floors, totalling 2000 sq. m.
The data centre, which now houses Kenya’s Internet Exchange Point, has been credited by the global Internet Society as a key factor in driving down internet prices in Kenya, to among the lowest in Africa. The East Africa Data Centre hosts the Points of Presence for global carriers with international coverage, including Tata, Level3, Seacom, and Liquid Telecom, as well as carriers owning fibre network infrastructure, including Safaricom, JamiiTelcom, Access Kenya, Orange Telkom Kenya Ltd, Wananchi Online, and Frontier Optical Network.
It is further playing a key role in enabling financial and corporate organizations to hold data securely; protecting them in the event of cybercrime and offering 24/7 secure housing for their data and back-ups.
“The East Africa Data Centre has transformed how data traffic is handled in the region. By providing a central point for interconnect services, it has reduced latency, improved data services, reduced costs and made it easier to transfer data across networks,” said Dan Kwach, General Manager East Africa Data Centre.
Within six months of starting, it had fully sold Phase 1 of the centre’s rack space amounting to the entire first floor. It has now opened another 500 sq m floor, which is already 90 percent occupied, and with the third floor already prepped for occupancy, East Africa Data Centre unveiled plans to expand to the fourth floor immediately, to cater for demand.
“We had to ration the rack space when we were selling the first floor due to huge demand, until we could get the second floor built and operational and the third floor ready to go quickly. The second floor took roughly 8 months, but now we have the space ready, we can move much quicker and customers can buy the amount they want,” said Mr Kwach.
The accelerated expansion in EADC’s rack space has benefitted the local engineering and construction services sector, with all of the contractors for the expansion sourced locally.
It also comes amid growing concern for data security. In late 2013, Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiangi, raised the flag on estimates that the country would lose an estimated KSh 2 billion (about $23 million) through cybercrime, with the number of cyber-attacks detected in Kenyan cyberspace more than doubling last year to 5.4m attacks, compared to 2.6m in 2012.
Uganda, which last year reported a surge in economic crimes, up 14.9 per cent, singled out cybercrime, principally in mobile money and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) fraud, as responsible for the loss of about USH1.5bn (Ksh51m), while Bank of Tanzania (BoT) statistics indicate TZS 1.3bn (Ksh69.5) has been stolen across the country through cyber fraud, according to the Kenya Cyber Security Report 2014.
Financial institutions are also introducing potentially vulnerable web and mobile applications, with a recent study that sampled 33 online banking portals finding that only 2 of the 33 portals sampled had adequate online security deployed on their web application. As a result, many financial institutions are now looking into EADC to store their data, reported the Kenya Cyber Security Report 2014.
“Banks and financial institutions are the second largest type of occupant at the East Africa Data Centre, at about 30 percent. With about 43 banks in Kenya, the demand for highly secure stable environments like ours, for use as disaster recovery, high-availability, or primary sites, has been rising,” said Kwach.