EDITORIAL : All in one place in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal (The Kathmandu Post/ANN)- Data centres are indispensable but yet an unrecognised part of national infrastructure

Reliable information has always played a vital role for well-informed decision-making. The legitimacy of the government is built on its capacity to successfully deliver on its promise—providing targeted outcomes as a policy-shaper and legislator guided by facts. For that, the need for data cannot be overstated. Decisions made without basing them on facts and data usually tend to be unsustainable. But the government has rarely attached the kind of importance warranted to data and ensuring its safety and security.

The annual report released by the Office of the Auditor General mentions that government bodies are exposed to cybersecurity risks owing to their disregard for the existing rules and guidelines. The report further highlights the failure of government offices to adequately secure their systems. This is a recurring problem because previous reports had revealed the same, and it tells us all we need to know about the strength of data protection in the country. Lack of funds for software development continues to hamstring cybersecurity, exposing critical data to risk. As experts have rightly pointed out, the failure to comply with the basic security framework leaves IT systems vulnerable to the breach of sensitive information collected for passports, voters’ registration and driving licences, among other things.

This kind of personal information is extremely sensitive. The ones authorised to take care of it should treat it so. Ila Sharma, a former election commissioner, however, pointed out that the government does not have the budget to build a data centre to store the biometric information. This is both alarming and disturbing. If the citizens have trusted the government with such sensitive information, it is their responsibility to ensure the safety of the same.

According to various newspaper reports, the data centre infrastructure in India has touched almost $2.7 billion dollars in 2018. Their spending in software had increased too. Although the figures constitute spending by both government and private sector, it shows their commitment to create repositories of information which can be further used to inform policies and bring about changes.

The government, in its speeches, seems to be focusing on digital transformation lead by technologies. But in reality, it has paid scant attention to actualise the transformation. Data centres are an indispensable but yet unrecognised part of national infrastructure. They support an incredible range of activities across government, business and society. Data centres become extremely important if the government aims to achieve growth based on evidence-based policy making. The government should immediately work towards establishing data centres and make sure the data collected is protected, too.

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  • Editorial: All in one place

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