Dimension Data East and West Head of Managed Security Services Dr. Bright Mawudor (left) shows a journalist how the company monitors cyber security threats for businesses at their Threat Intelligence Centre during a media briefing at the firm’s offices in Nairobi.
Dimension Data East and West Head of Managed Security Services Dr. Bright Mawudor (left) shows a journalist how the company monitors cyber security threats for businesses at their Threat Intelligence Centre during a media briefing at the firm’s offices in Nairobi. [Photo/ Courtesy]

Systems Integrator and Managed Services Provider, Dimension Data has challenged small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to re-think their approach to digital transformation and consider cyber security as an integral part of their business operations.

According to the company, a reluctant predisposition to cybersecurity has made SMEs a primary and easy target for cyber-attacks. The impact of these breaches is detrimental to the operations of the business, a disruption that small businesses cannot afford in the current climate.

Recently, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) released the Kenya Financial Sector Stability Report 2020, which shows SACCOs, the most recent and aggressive adopters of digital transformation, lost Ksh106 million in 17 months to March 2021, with attackers targeting weak controls of the systems given minimal verification of members’ identity. SMBs share a similar technology adoption trend to SACCOs exposing them to cybersecurity threats that are detrimental to their growing business.

Speaking during the launch of a cyber security sensitisation campaign, Dimension Data East and West Head of Managed Security Services Dr Bright Mawudor said there’s a looming misconception that threat actors are only focusing on large enterprises yet small businesses equally possess sensitive data that is lucrative to attackers.

“SMEs have tighter IT budget constraints, coupled with limited capacity to invest and maintain an in-house cybersecurity expert. Constantly being taxed to do more with less and digital security being an afterthought, these small businesses are ending up compromising on security controls making them a prime target for cybercriminals and vulnerable to all kinds of threats, especially ransomware and internal threats, which has seen an increase in recent months,” he said.

Research from the 2021 NTT Global Threat Intelligence Report shows that 58 percent of organizations say they’re not prepared for a malware attack and 83 percent have completely re-thought their IT Security to accommodate new ways of working brought about by the pandemic.

Dr Bright noted that part of the campaign Dimension Data will be hosting SMBs for security workshops and offering detailed solutions that will assist to identify, detect, protect, respond and recover when looking at cyber risks.

The organization will also be carrying out real-life demonstrations and proof of concepts (PoCs) for endpoint security, cloud posture and threat intelligence solutions to showcase early detection and respond capabilities to attacks as well as having visibility of all assets and applications in the organization.

Dimension Data together with its partners will also be offering tailored managed security services that will aim to help small and medium businesses to establish a sound cybersecurity strategy by providing security design services, incident response with management, governance risk and compliance, and cybersecurity assurance services to always stay resilient.

“With this, small businesses will not only be saved from the cost of purchasing expensive solutions, hiring talent, training, and retaining security specialists but also lessen the burden on the existing resources to allow for better focus on what the business does best,” said Dr Bright.

According to Henry Bett, a senior cybersecurity solution architect at the company, SMEs today are some of the most digitally transformed businesses around with the vast majority adopting cloud solutions to assist in the day-to-day running of their businesses especially finance and CRM systems.

“It is critical that owners of these businesses educate themselves on the risk of non-compliance when it comes to security protocols. This comes at a time when the data protection Act has come into effect giving the Data Commissioner’s office the power to enforce penalties on non-compliant businesses,” says Bett.

“Digital transformation is a process, and one that when done correctly with the right technology partner can help businesses be more agile, protected, and innovative. We are happy together with our security partners to bring our tailored SME solutions spanning Cloud, Office and Endpoint Security to the market.”

Bett further challenged SMEs to adopt a unified security architecture that ensures security is delivered as a platform with tightly integrated security controls and centralised management, for consistent policy enforcement and comprehensive visibility.

A unified approach fosters standardised intelligence sharing among the various security capabilities leading to better security insights for an overall proactive security approach to the organisation.

“This approach delivers value to the business by effectively reducing risk, enhancing the compliance and visibility as well as a reduced total cost of ownership owing to the simplicity in management and enforcement across your entire organisation,” he emphasized.

The aspects considered when delivering a unified security approach involves well-integrated security capabilities covering your workloads (applications and data), workplace (network and location), and workforce (users and devices).

Read: How Small Businesses Strengthened Cybersecurity During a Pandemic

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