Cyber security remains the biggest threat to business in Africa

File picture: Pexels

File picture: Pexels

Published Sep 12, 2019


CAPE TOWN – African business owners who attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Cape Town have flagged cybersecurity as the biggest threat to business.

With the rise in adopting mobile and digital technologies, 94 percent of all companies in Africa and the Middle East admitted to have suffered a cyber attack in the past year.

The forum was confronted with answering the question of how the private and public sector could cooperate to improve cyber security. 

Cyber-security, the protection of computer systems from the theft of or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data is crucial to businesses globally.

According to The Global Risks Report 2019, cybersecurity has been listed as one of the top five short-term risks for the future.

The realisation of the digital economy is at the national level and is customarily delivered by the private sector. 

Cyber-security is a communal responsibility, and a cooperation between the public and private sector can play an immense role in alleviating risks.

Leaders at the summit had agreed that the protection of communications infrastructure has to move beyond the conventional  approach of involving the police and armed forces to include cyber-security. 

Communication ministries can provide practical environments for the public sector to lead on national cybersecurity. The greater risks of cyber attack is that governments can now be brought down with just a click of a button. 

Leaders held the strong view that ministries and industries in the private sector should be intently involved due to the transverse essence of the digital environment. 

There was also more emphasis on the “ silo”  mentality’s need to be broken in order to achieve effective policy works and frameworks. 

Refraining from long bureaucratic processes to allow quick, adequate responses to surfacing situations is crucial.

Governments were urged to be at the forefront of the regulatory framework for public-private collaboration to thrive. 

Regulatory frameworks with imperative reporting can help the industry grasp the risks of cyber-security, manage and alleviate these risks.

Furthermore, a voluminous discussion on cyber risk within the broader context of risk is essential. The data connectivity supply chain can be explored as a trust system, and regulation can also establish awareness and understanding.

There was also agreement that trans-border cooperation will strengthen cyber-security in Africa.


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