The cybercrime wave making its way to Africa
African businesses are failing to take necessary steps to protect themselves against data breaches. Many organisations have experienced multiple security breaches within the last 12 months. The region could be facing a skills shortage as businesses struggle to find trained and qualified cybersecurity professionals.
These are just some of the concerns highlighted by businesses in new research conducted by Liquid Telecom. The study is one of the first of its kind evaluating how heavily the issues of cybersecurity and data protection weigh on the minds of employees at African businesses today.
In order to gather the data, Liquid Telecom surveyed 269 respondents from the business community. Respondents drew experience from a wide range of industries with IT professionals featuring heavily (over 31 percent) as did the finance community (14 percent). Over 40 percent of respondents work for microbusinesses and small organisations, while just over a third are employed by small to medium sized businesses with under 1000 employees. Large enterprises with more than 5000 employees make up just 12 percent of respondents.
Facing up to security breaches
In the wake of soaring internet use across the region, and the rise of the continent’s digital economy, comes the threat of damaging and increasingly sophisticated cybercrime. Incidents of cybercrime are on the increase across the region and globally, prompting the business community to raise its game or risk the financial devastation caused by a cyberattack or data breach.
Security breaches are worryingly commonplace across Africa. According to the survey, an astonishing two thirds of respondents have experienced a security breach in the last 12 months. Almost 10% of respondents claim their organisation has suffered more than 10 security breaches, while almost half state they have encountered between one and five security breaches.
It is also clear that African businesses are failing to take enough precautions to prevent data breaches. Over 40 percent of respondents believe African businesses could be doing more to protect themselves from data breaches, while almost a quarter feel the region is falling significantly behind global standards.
Mind the skills gap
A skills crisis could be emerging across Africa, with the survey results indicating there is a limited pool of cybersecurity talent. Over two thirds of respondents believe more training and qualified cybersecurity professionals are required. Furthermore, over a quarter of respondents express genuine concern over the lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the region.
With demand for cybersecurity on the rise in Africa, filling positions could become an increasingly hard process for businesses. African enterprises are running into what is, in truth, a global problem – a desperate shortage of people with the right skills and experience to combat cybercrime.
Neither Africa’s corporate training departments nor its public education sector are producing talented people at a fast enough rate to match the evolving nature of the problem. Tough economic conditions are tending to apply downward pressure on business ICT training budgets at a time when they should be increasing, loading added pressure onto existing staff. And governments are in many cases failing to play their part by not putting enough resources into national skills development programmes.
An alarming response
It is difficult to determine which is the more alarming statistic: that over 40 percent of respondents believe African governments should be introducing tougher legislation to support businesses in their fight against cybercrime, or that almost 40 percent aren’t even familiar enough with existing legislation to fully answer the question. What is clear, however, is that data protection legislation is a grey area for many businesses across Africa. Data protection legislation is evolving quickly across the region and businesses must keep up.
Developments to data protection legislation could be a deciding factor for businesses looking to expand across Africa, as they aim to avoid places where the integrity of data is set at a low premium, or where they might get hit hard by protectionist and maverick data laws designed to seal borders and favour domestic enterprises.
Establishing a regulatory framework that both protects citizens and allows for healthy economic development should be the end goal for many African nations. As in the long run, getting cybersecurity and data protection right will benefit all parties – consumers, businesses and governments alike – which is why now is the time for positive action.
To download Liquid Telecom’s full Cybersecurity & Data Protection Africa Report for free, visit www.liquidtelecom.com
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.