CYBERSECURITY NO LONGER AN AFTER THOUGHT BUT A NECESSITY FOR BUSINESSES

From (L), Safaricom chief financial services officer Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Safaricom chief corporate security officer Nicholas Mulila, head of digital banking Stanbic bank Victor odada, chairman digital lenders Robert Masinde and head of IT Stanchart, Jaine Mwai during the launch of anti-fraud solution for the financial sector.
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Cybersecurity threats have increased in Kenya over the years and it is no longer just a threat. Some companies have suffered huge losses from cyber-attacks both locally and even globally.

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) report for the first quarter of 2018/2019 financial year (July- Sept 2018), the National Cyber Security Centre (NCC) detected over 3.8 million cyber threats, which was an increase from the last quarter where 3.4 million threats were detected. The increase was attributed to the increase in internet penetration and internet enabled devices.

The cost of cybersecurity is high and over 90% of the companies in Kenya operate below security poverty line thus exposing themselves to cyber security risks. In its 2017 Internet Security Report, Symantec, a software security company reported that malicious emails were the weapon of choice for a wide range of cyber-attacks in 2016.

They were used by everyone from state-sponsored cyber espionage groups to mass-mailing ransomware gangs.

“Cybersecurity is a key concern for Safaricom especially because we are the largest telco in the region, supporting the biggest innovative financial services platform – M-Pesa, this has helped us over years to build a robust cyber security programme to help us with governance of our own processes, use of systems and more so, awareness of our own people,” said Nicholas Mulila, chief security officer, Safaricom.

Last year, Safaricom launched security solutions to help customers protect their information systems. Through the service, customers can access managed security solutions, security assurance and advisory services as well as managed security operations centre solutions. The services are expected to help companies, enterprises and individuals secure their emails, websites, manage vulnerabilities, test and audit information technology (I.T) systems and access real time monitoring among other services.

The launch of the services was based on the realization that customers have unique needs and different budget levels and the solution was designed to cater for each customer’s needs so that they can get the best value and strategically select their solutions.

Through the managed security solutions, Safaricom targets small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large enterprises, government, multinationals and individuals.

The telco will also explore opportunities in security awareness training, financial services, e-commerce companies and the government amongst many customers who are looking to secure their key resources and yet want to comply to set regulations.

“Based on our own intelligence through our security operation centre, we see organizations being targeted and hence we have realized that there is an opportunity in bringing this service to our customers as well as the organizations that would need it,” said Mulila.

A new global cyber security report from Vodafone highlights that the more cyber ready a business becomes, the better its overall business outcomes. According to the Cyber Ready Barometer, 48% of cyber ready businesses are reporting more than 5% increases in annual revenue as well as high stakeholder trust levels. Despite this, the research also shows that only 24% of businesses globally could reasonably call themselves cyber ready.

In its 2017 Internet Security Report, Symantec reported that malicious emails were the weapon of choice for a wide range of cyber-attacks in 2016, used by everyone from state- sponsored cyber espionage groups to mass-mailing ransomware gangs.

Safaricom has been running the biggest cyber security operation centre in the region for over five years now. The company is at a level of maturity in managing cyber security operations coupled with over one hundred cyber security experts in various domains. It is also in the process of ensuring that customers who have their resources online and are looking to secure their investments on the go are able to do so. This is being done through a process of clustering solutions targeting specific verticals in the industry to offer customers solutions to address their needs.

A lot of emphasis has also been put to ensure that the people who are working with the customers build trust and confidence and also continuously train and build awareness among them.

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