African businesses deeply concerned about IT security

June 9, 2015

Most African businesses will increase their information and technology spending this year and beyond, with IT security becoming one of the top three areas where they will put their spending, a recent survey by an American Think Tank shows.The survey, which interviewed 200 companies, government agencies and educational institutions across the continent between December 2014 and March 2015, has shown a new trend where IT security has for the first time become one of the enterprises’ top three major IT focuses.“In our similar survey two years ago, IT security was not on the list of areas enterprises wanted to spend their IT funds,” one of the researchers told your blogger. According to the survey, 67 percent of the enterprises will increase their IT spending, with 29 percent of the IT budget going to IT security. It is predicted that IT spending in the continent will increase by 25 percent to US$22.8 billion in 2015 from $16.7 billion in 2014.Procurement of hardware devices, meanwhile, will still be the main focus of most enterprises.

Spending for smartphones, Personal Computers like desktops and laptops and tablets are predicted to be allocated 35 percent, 28 percent and 19 percent of the enterprises’ IT spending, respectively.The researcher also informed me that the growing use of mobile devices by most enterprises in the continent had urged them to be more cautious on possible data losses.With higher business mobility in which lots of data is stored on mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, potential data leaks are getting bigger as witnessed with Kenyan banks two months ago.The survey has revealed that 65 percent of the enterprises are willing to spend more on IT security due to potential data loss concerns. The rising awareness of IT security was also driven by a number of worldwide occurrences in which cyber attacks had massively threatened the credentials of many people.In Africa alone, media, banks, governments and communication enterprises had experienced the most data loss.It is obvious that media and communication enterprises handle data combined on various platforms, such online and printed, daily and many save their files on thumb drives making them prone to data loss.

While media and communication enterprises had become the most vulnerable to cyber attack, the enterprises were the most committed to IT security spending, along with banking enterprises and government agencies.However,despite the growing awareness of the need for IT security, less than 15 percent of the surveyed enterprises knew what sort of data they needed to protect.The average cost of data breach per Africa organization generating more than $10 million per annum is almost $200,000 per year and rising.The report provides practical insights into the evolving role of senior managers in managing cyber security threats and solutions and offers advice on how organizations can transform redundant cyber security approaches into effective ongoing security solutions.In East, Central and Southern Africa, there have been over 150,000 breached records over three years to June 2014 compared to just under 30,000 in the United States and 20,000 in China.Therefore businesses in Africa need to invest in security and work with the support of strong IT teams, and external resources, to operate more effectively and securely in digital world.

Contador Harrison