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Partnerships on the rise as cybercrime spikes in Africa

By , ITWeb
Africa , South Africa , 03 May 2022

Cybercrime is on the rise globally and Africa is not immune. In fact, South Africa has amongst the top most cybercrime incidents in the world and a lack of sufficient investment in cybersecurity has led to this crisis. This is according to Vodacom and Accenture, representing the latest alliance within the cybersecurity space.

The companies are driving Vodacom Managed Security Services as an extension of the existing Smart Service Offering partnership between the two companies.

They are aiming specifically at SMEs who they say simply don’t have the same human capital, technology assets, and financial resources as larger businesses.

In February ITWeb Africa reported that according to the 2021 KnowBe4 African Cybersecurity & Awareness Report, Africa’s cybersecurity landscape across eight countries shows that while a high percentage (72%) of respondent are concerned about cybercrime and believe they are empowered to deal with it, few actually know what to do or how to do it. And so the problem of ‘unconscious incompetence’ continues to poke holes in cyber defence strategies across the continent.

A statement released by Vodacom and Accenture reads, “The Vodacom Managed Security Services, while tailored for both small and medium-sized businesses, are scalable to large enterprises and initially focus on business needs to simplify cybersecurity and ransomware risk. The companies have taken a differentiated approach to safety, offering cybersecurity-as-a-service to South African SMEs and cover assessment, protection, detection, and response. Under these four pillars clients can invest in seven modular offerings.

Boland Lithebe, Security Lead for Accenture in Africa, said, “Essentially, this solution brings world-class cybersecurity expertise to businesses that do not have the experience, time, or financial resources to keep up with the rapidly evolving threat landscape.”

Kabelo Makwane, Managing Executive for Cloud, Hosting & Security at Vodacom Business, added, “SMEs are crucial to our country’s economic growth and must be supported with simple and easy to deploy solutions to thrive in our increasingly digitised society. Businesses have become increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats that are growing in sophistication and require a smarter response to protect a company’s digital assets.”

State of cybersecurity

According to the State of Cybersecurity in South Africa study, conducted by World Wide Worx on behalf of Intel and Dell Technologies South Africa, nearly three quarters of South Africa’s top 100 corporates are investing more in cybersecurity than the industry average, but an almost equal proportion don’t feel fully protected by their current cybersecurity strategy.

“Corporations being over-budget on cybersecurity spend may look like a positive sign, but it also raises the likelihood that the budgets were too low to begin,” said World Wide Worx CEO Arthur Goldstuck, principal analyst on the research project. “In the game of cybercrime cat and mouse, one could argue there is no such thing as being over-resourced. However, under-resourcing not only exposes companies to risk, but also poses an existential threat. A major breach can bring down a company. Budgets must catch up to the significance of the threat.”

Challenges range from these macro threats all the way down to individual losses. With the pandemic and lockdowns having sent corporate employees home, 55% of IT decision makers are concerned about their staff losing their devices. And it’s not only about the physical loss and immediate cost of replacement.

Khairy Ammar, services sales director for Emerging Africa and South Africa at Dell Technologies, added: “As new threats and vulnerabilities appear at break-neck speed, new technology also creates opportunities to innovate. As we navigate the changing landscape of work, it is imperative to deliver solutions that keep the organisations and their employees safe. With breaches now happening both above and below the OS, organisations need to keep endpoints secure from anywhere.

“You need intelligent solutions that prevent, detect and respond to threats wherever they occur. A procedural measure like taking on a certified cybersecurity partner to manage these services is often the best protection for corporates.”

A finding that will provide the business world with greater confidence is that three quarters of large corporations (77%) report their devices are upgraded frequently, and support both Secure Boot and Trusted Protection Modules – which helps mitigate physical access vulnerabilities.

Many cyber hygiene factors are implemented by corporates, with the majority using VPN access control, and cloud platform managed security. These factors being implemented show that corporates are aware of advanced methods of protecting themselves.

The vast majority (99%) of corporates are aware that disaster management is essential. This figure must, however, be seen in the context of only 40% of large businesses using multiple solutions to protect, backup, and replicate their data in the event of disaster.That said, most respondents (99%) had not experienced cyber attacks that led to financial loss.

The 1% that experienced loss after a data leak provide a useful case study of security stances after an attack: these businesses had their systems compromised before the onset of remote working, indicating that no matter how a corporate geographically locates its employees, it remains vulnerable.

Bryan Turner, World Wide Worx senior data analyst, says awareness and action are key: “Training employees to work safely but spotting out-of-character emails and communications can save a company from all the phishing headaches involved with cybersecurity incidents.”

Bespoke security offering

For protection, Vodacom Managed Security Services include Phishing Awareness and Firewall Management.

“Through our partnership with Accenture, the Vodacom Managed Security Services democratises access to cybersecurity solutions that, until now, were often only available to big companies with large IT budgets. In a world where every touchpoint in a company’s digital footprint must be secured, Vodacom and Accenture are committed to doing so, supporting businesses by protecting their assets as they successfully navigate their digital journey and become future ready,” said Makwane.

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