[Column] Nixon Kanali: Moving to the cloud can help African businesses stay secure from cyber threats
A few years back I got the chance to attend the East African Cloud Summit organized by the University of Nairobi’s C4DLab in collaboration with Microsoft. The summit was on Cloud Computing and how it can be used to improve societal growth and transformation.
One of the panellists present during the summit was Dr.Bitange Ndemo, a former Permanent Secretary in the ministry of ICT who is currently heading a 10-member taskforce on blockchain and artificial intelligence in Kenya. Dr. Ndemo spoke widely on Cloud and why most African organisations and even SMEs are still scared of moving into Cloud. He said most of these companies feel unsafe with their data being in the Cloud since they believe that with the data being in the Cloud they will be sharing it with other people.
Dr.Ndemo also noted that most of these organizations lack information about the importance of moving to the cloud. I remember asking the panel what needs to be done to convince these organizations or SMEs that the cloud is an indeed a safe place store their data, and Dr.Ndemo joked that the only thing that can be done is pray for them. Well, one thing was clear though, more awareness and facts need to be given to these organisations. One thing they emphasized on is that moving into the Cloud is not about sharing, it’s about accessibility.
Moving to the cloud can help businesses secure from cybercrime threats. In an interview I once had with Kaspersky Lab Enterprise Sales Manager for Africa, Bethwel Opil, on the State of cybersecurity in the country, it was evident that there were so many gaps to be filled. Most organizations are not investing in this sector. Its either they don’t have the personnel or don’t even care at all. The cloud could help them fill these gaps and stay secure from online threats.
With the threat of cyber-crime and insider fraud on the rise, Kenyan companies should be looking towards cloud applications as one means of improving the security of their IT environments. In their experience, Bethwel Opil said CIOs and/or CISOs are starting to understand how serious cybercrime is becoming in Kenya, and the realities around cybercrime and the impact it can have on a business – not only from a data loss point of view but also from a reputational one. Kenyan organizations are wrestling with the growing danger posed by threats such as malware, hackers, and theft of computing devices.
The cost of cybercrimes is mounting, Cloud computing improves IT security and security professionals and African organisations need as much help as possible. Cloud helps security operations respond quicker to threats helping organisations to focus on business risk as opposed to spending thousands of hours researching threats.
Cybercriminals are becoming very skilled and are placing a strong focus on the business market, given the financial gain it can offer them. Ransomware that targets businesses, for example, is becoming more widespread and more sophisticated. Cybersecurity is therefore not an issue that only IT people should take into consideration. The reality is that it concerns everyone – consumers, home users and their families, small businesses and large organisations, including governments.
Moving to the cloud should, therefore, be a top priority for African organisations.
Nixon Kanali is the Tech Editor for the Africa Business Communities