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Kenyan SMEs Suffering the Most From Cyber Security Threats

Small and Medium Enterprises have been aggressive in adoption of digital transformation but forget to look at the security part of it

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Kenyan SMEs Suffering the Most From Cyber Security Threats
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.

In the age of Digital Transformation, cyber security is slowly becoming a major concern for individuals and firms. However, small and medium enterprises in Kenya are at a higher cyber security threat.

Systems Integrator and Managed Services Provider, Dimension Data has challenged SMEs to 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.

Small and Medium Enterprises have been aggressive in adoption of digital transformation but forget to look at the security part of it. Data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that SACCOs lost $947,528 in 17 months to March 2021, as attackers target weak controls of the systems given minimal verification of members identity.

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Speaking during the launch of a cyber security sensitization 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.

In Kenya, 58% of organizations are not prepared for a malware attack and 83% have completely re-thought their IT Security to accommodate new ways of working brought about by the pandemic.

Dimension Data will be hosting SMEs for security workshops and offering detailed solutions that will assist to identify, detect, protect, respond and recover when looking for Cyber Risks.

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

According to Henry Bett, a Senior Cyber Security 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.”  he said.

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).

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