African businesses are experiencing increased cyber-security breaches as the region continues to face a shortage of IT security professionals with the skill to tackle the problem, according to a new Cyber-security and Data Protection Report from Liquid Telecom.
According to the report, almost two thirds of African businesses have experienced multiple security breaches over the past year due to soaring internet use across the region, and the rise of the continent's digital economy.
Cyber-attacks are increasing in Africa with mobile operators, ISPs, governments and large enterprises experiencing high profile cyber-attacks the most common being DDoS attacks, said Ben Roberts, chief technical officer at Liquid Telecom and CEO, Liquid Telecom Kenya in an exclusive interview with SCMagazine.com.
African business cyber-attack risks are rising and expected to go higher, said Roberts, adding that lack of qualified cyber-security professionals in the region is causing a skills crisis.
He added, “Investing heavily in cyber-security but failing to physically protect the equipment itself is a bit like leaving your house with the alarm on but the backdoor wide open. Internal threats posed by disgruntled careless or uninformed employees are also a serious risk to African businesses.”
"African businesses find themselves at a crossroads, where they must balance digital transformation with a greater focus on security policies and how to better protect customer data," said the report.
The research also indicated that banks are the most affected sector and at high risk of serious attacks, followed by governments which face high profile battles with hacking communities.
Companies need to have appropriate staff including cyber-crime professionals capable of detecting and defending against cyber-security risks, said Tyrus Kamau, information security consultant and chair of the AfricaHackOn.
“Africa's effective governance and management are major elements for implementing effective cyber-security which will be achieved through cyber-readiness since cyber-criminals are constant innovators in their threat tactics,” he stated.
According to Markets and Markets research, the African cyber-security market is expected to grow from US$ 920 million (£743 million) in 2015 to US$ 2.32 billion (£1.87 billion) by 2020, at a annual growth rate of 20.41 percent from 2015 to 2020, of which South Africa is expected to be the largest market in terms of market size followed by Nigeria.
The expected increasing focus on government regulations, compliance requirements, penetration of mobile devices and internet subscription in Africa are the major driving forces thus more investment is expected in cyber-security projects across the region, the research adds.