Com­pa­nies must de­velop dig­i­tal risk strat­egy to counter cy­ber-crime

Pretoria News - - WORLD -

AN IN­FOR­MA­TION tech­nol­ogy (IT) spe­cial­ist has urged com­pa­nies to adopt a holis­tic dig­i­tal risk strat­egy to counter the threats posed by ma­li­cious ac­tors set on steal­ing their in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and per­sonal data.

Ta­tenda Mu­jati said com­pa­nies must re­model their op­er­a­tions, this be­com­ing im­per­a­tive after es­ti­ma­tions that the an­nual global cost of cy­ber-crime will dou­ble to $6 tril­lion in 2021, up from $3 tril­lion in 2015.

“This strat­egy should span cy­ber se­cu­rity and data pri­vacy risk across the en­ter­prise and must in­cor­po­rate more than just the de­fend­ing against cy­ber-at­tacks,” Mu­jati, the IT man­ager at Grant Thorn­ton said.

Grant Thorn­ton is a lead­ing in­ter­na­tional au­dit, tax, ad­vi­sory, investigat­ion and foren­sics firm with branches in Bu­l­awayo and Harare, Zim­babwe.

“Ever stricter data pro­tec­tion reg­u­la­tion, not to men­tion the pub­lic’s growing aware­ness of pri­vacy, means tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies must reg­u­larly re-ex­am­ine pri­vacy con­trols and im­ple­ment data as­set cat­e­gori­sa­tion,” Mu­jati said.

Her sen­ti­ments are sim­i­lar to those of James Arthur, part­ner and head of cy­ber con­sult­ing at Grant Thorn­ton UK, in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished last

July, when he noted that tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies were par­tic­u­larly more im­pacted by cy­ber crime.

Arthur urged th­ese com­pa­nies to de­velop a dig­i­tal risk strat­egy based on their most strate­gi­cally im­por­tant data as­sets.

“After all, they hold more data than non-tech com­pa­nies and of­ten lead the way in adapting new tech­nolo­gies which can cre­ate cy­ber vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties,” he said.

A new study from IT ser­vices firm Se­ri­anu shows the per­va­sive na­ture of cy­ber-crime across the con­ti­nent, af­fect­ing busi­nesses, in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, and gov­ern­ment agen­cies cost Africa an es­ti­mated $3.5 bil­lion in 2017.

The In­ter­net So­ci­ety’s On­line Trust Al­liance es­ti­mates that there were more than 2 mil­lion cy­ber in­ci­dents in 2018. It is likely this num­ber sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­es­ti­mates the ac­tual prob­lem.

Mu­jati said tech com­pa­nies should work on build­ing trust.

“To start build­ing trust, tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies must of­fer value-added cy­ber se­cu­rity solutions such as mal­ware and ran­somware screen­ing that plugs vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties as part of their core of­fer­ing,” she added.

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