Online crimes facing banks in Africa

Posted on April 28, 2016 12:01 am

Local and international banks operating in sub saharan Africa are facing myriad of challenges brought about by adoption of technologies. Multiple banks have indicated a need for all financial institutions to adopt a new approach to security in order to meet today’s changing crime landscape.Recently, Kenya Bankers’ Association said the association was seeking to help Kenyan banks navigate changes in technology, and determine the best path forward to safeguard their own and customer data while also maximising today’s cloud and mobile technologies.In Kenya, banks are facing stiff competition from mobile money platforms like M-Pesa that has become the darling of millions of Kenyans with latest statistics published last week indicating there are more than 25 million Safaricom customers who are using its mobile money platform.In Tanzania, banks have invited several developed countries experts to share knowledge and provide suggestions on how Tanzanian banks can move against today’s changing threats.No doubt in today’s working environment, employees of banks work on corporate applications and access sensitive data from on-premises and cloud-based systems using every type of device. While there is an immense opportunity for the banks, there is a corresponding exposure to cyber security threats.I saw first-hand in an East African country last year that today’s cyber-criminals are very sophisticated and can mount threats of attack from anywhere and at any time. Banks in Africa must take action today to address these security threats and improve their security stances.

Stanbic Bank head offices in Dar Es Salaam.The bank is among the industry leaders but hasnt fully embraced mobile technologies.I Took this photo several years back.
Stanbic Bank head offices in Dar Es Salaam.The bank is among the industry leaders in Africa banking sector.I Took this photo several years back.

Mobile and cloud-computing vendors are enabling companies to have access to massive data, intelligence, analytics and insights that convert speculation into predictive power and ultimately the company’s bottom line. The question for African banks is no longer whether they should move to the cloud but rather how do they move to the cloud and make sure they will optimise their investment and minimise risk exposure. Irrespective of whatever banks or other institutions do, there will always be new threats, new attacks and new technologies.Overall, today’s African enterprises can either massively invest in a holistic, agile and modern security platform, or they can shift security risks to a trusted cloud service provider who is in the business of protecting and securing their customer data, and is looking into the future about how new threats will look and how to prevent and respond to those threats.The cloud computing is likely the solution for the banks but how to go to cloud securely and comply with the local regulations is the challenge for many banks across Africa.Cloud is the most idea cost-saving in terms of investment, fast-moving, and increases productivity.Banks in Africa normally go to cloud computing with their non-critical and non-sensitive systems like office, customer relationship management, unified communication and email.However, that is slowly changing with central banks in Africa working together with local Bankers’ Associations on the development of several projects that are expected to be out by next year.

Contador Harrison