Cybersecurity business opportunities in Africa

Posted on June 29, 2016 12:00 am

As countries look for their economies diversifications, cybersecurity is emerging as a new source of economic growth. Companies like Kaspersky are contributing heavily to their countries digital economy and overall the national gross domestic product.The global spending on IT security is expected to hit US$100 billion in the next 18 months.Growth opportunities in cybersecurity that are ripe include cloud security, security analytics, threat intelligence and mobile security.However, cloud security market will be the leading sector for cybersecurity spending.A cyber security expert I sought views on this business opportunity informed me that cybersecurity will be the key driver for future growth of any digital economy and countries with relevant capacity should capitalise. As we all know, cyberspace encompasses defence, vital infrastructures, industries, communications, transportation, trade and commerce.The threats and vulnerabilities inherent in a networked, cyber-connected world, cybersecurity are indispensable and cannot be wished away. Countries and businesses in this sector need to recognise that ICT sectors and cyber security can no longer be separated. New innovative approaches must be taken to address both simultaneously.The expert explained that in every new technology created, another technology is required to defend it.

He advises that cybersecurity should not be viewed only as a means of defence, but also as an opportunity to build up resilience and to become stronger in an increasingly uncertain and challenging world. In his own words, such challenges offers an opportunity to innovate and turn cyber resilience into a competitive differentiator for businesses in that sector and a new direction for their country’s economy.Cybersecurity companies need to set agencies that play a prominent role in providing technical support and infrastructure to help businesses prepare and strengthen cybersecurity responsiveness and preparedness.There’s need for countries to harness their expertise and establish deeper cross-border collaboration, and in doing so help to spur the export potential of cybersecurity technical consultancy services. Internet of Things is another key area of exponential growth for cybersecurity. The continued growth of a large interconnection of IP-enabled devices that have operating systems and firmware has brought vulnerabilities and configuration issues, which are among primary drivers that will determine the cyber security business and transform security operations management in the future.Internet of Things will be mainly driven by cloud computing and big data technologies and are expected to offer immense business opportunities for companies which manufacture Internet of Things products, and those which provide services related to Internet of Things.

In the case of African countries, sad reality is that compared to Western countries,they trails behind when it comes to cybersecurity solutions let alone having any sort of innovation. The skills shortage and lack of new start-ups are well-recognised problems within the sector. Unless African countries take action, they risk being further left behind. Most importantly, African countries need to create a more dynamic environment in which both government and corporate can work better with technology businesses and researchers to help further develop and commercialise new cyber innovation and solutions.The dawn of the Digital Economy has created a new economic frontier for all countries across the World including less developed African countries and they must seize upon its strengths and expertise in cybersecurity intelligence, local and international-level collaboration and leadership to drive more local cybersecurity companies and related industry players to be competitive. There is so much potential for large and small African countries businesses to grow exponentially in this new Internet era.Closer collaboration between industry, universities and government agencies is very critical if African countries want to encourage the development of international standards products and services in the cybersecurity sector.Beside the research and innovation, African countries need to develop robust cybersecurity innovation ecosystem that will transform cybersecurity challenges into new opportunities, ideas and solutions. Africa is in dire need of transformative mindset for their economies to survive internet age disruptions.

Contador Harrison