> Moreover, it may be just as easy to ensure a high degree of security
> by concentrating on the data itself rather than the conduit; a setup
> where messages are routinely encrypted, or where sensitive messages
> are encrypted for example, could allow an organisation to support
> local providers while maintaining control over its own information.
I think that's key, and it's what I advise even small organizations
that are concerned about the security of their email. So if ISPs can
offer products and services to provide security in this fashion in a
package that the major organizations can easily adapt, they'll get
But suppose ZAMNeT wants to do that. It can't just propose a
solution for IMF Zambia without proposing one for all of the IMF's
offices. So an integrated solution has to come from the top. But
the folks at the top see an Africa with a myriad of systems and can't
afford the expense of developing an integrated secure system that can
be adapted to the special circumstances in each country. A
heterogeneous amalgamation of systems is one that is in general very
difficult (and expensive) to secure.
So, for now, the IMF (or whoever) relies on a centralized system at
their headquarters, independent of local infrastructure.
Rather than concentrate on the big donors themselves, it might be
more fruitful to ask the big donors for assistance with the
organizations they fund, assuring that Internet access is not left
out of the equation when budgets are formulated, and encouraging
organizations with donor funding to buy local. I think that's
happening, more and more.
It's not all gloom here. I see local USAID missions, for example,
continuing to rely on a centralized system for secure email, but
not relying on a centralized system for their local web sites.
USAID South Africa could easily put their web site on a server in
Washington, thereby making it accessible anywhere in Africa. But
instead they're looking to put it on a server in South Africa. At
the local level, for local purposes, they are purchasing local
services. I think that's good.
Jeff @ Washington
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