African countries in dire need of IT security experts

Posted on May 4, 2013 09:40 am

Latest reports about cyber threats in Africa by Price Waterhouse Coopers, a globally respected auditing firm has indicated a rising trend of cybercrime in the continent. PwC said 23% of African firms had security breaches last year. Despite the numerous reports over the last few years, there has been no prompt efforts by African governments to add more IT security professionals to guard government agencies and private companies grappling with cyber attacks and where there has been effort to combat the crime, investigators and security agencies have been overwhelmed. For example, African governments should set up organizations and agencies to help combat the crime and to address the acute shortage of skilled security experts. They should also work hand in hand with better equipped counterparts like International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants, the world’s largest certified IT security training centre, to assist in teaching IT security professionals at government agencies and vetted private sectors counterparts. African governments should train government and private sector business IT officers in ethical hacking and computer forensic skills that come in handy while handling cyber threats.

Such trained officers should become instructors to help train professionals at other agencies. Africa has what is considered the smallest IT security professionals in the world compared to tens of thousands in developed countries. Establishing a unit with enough IT security professionals will ease security threats, as hackers in developed world will eventually target weak IT security regions and unfortunately Africa is considered one of them. The latest research in my possession shows that demand for cybersecurity professionals in sub Saharan Africa will rise five times over the next three years, faster than demand for other IT jobs and a twenty times faster than for all other jobs. There is clear indication that cyberattacks will for the next half a decade become more sophisticated. This is the reason as to why western countries are increasing cybersecurity budgets in preparation for cyberwarfare that is expected to define the next “supremacy wars”. African countries must put in comprehensive plans meant to strengthen continent’s capacity to counter cyberattacks for the purpose of economic stability and national security while protecting privacy and enhancing regional and international cooperation.

Contador Harrison