Africa displays ramped-up approach to cyber security – KPMG
74% of Africa’s large companies reported a relatively mature approach to privacy and cyber security.
Cyber security. Image: Pexels.
KPMG Africa yesterday launched the Africa Cyber Security Outlook 2022 survey which unpacks the state of cybersecurity across the continent.
The study revealed that 74% of Africa’s large companies reported a relatively mature approach to privacy and cyber security.
John Anyanwu, Partner and Head of Cyber Security at KPMG Nigeria and Africa Cyber Lead, explained that while the African continent continues to face many challenges including poverty and political conflicts, multiple economies in the region have shown tremendous growth with a number of countries demonstrating rapid post pandemic recovery with increased consumption and adoption of digital technologies at grassroot level.
The survey also identified key areas of focus for Africa including the integration of cyber security into business strategy, risk focused regulation, proactive threat identification and defence, and a focus on the cyber talent pool.
Strategy, governance, and cyber defence
Around 61% of companies have implemented a clear data protection/governance approach, with 80% reporting the establishment of strategies to bump up security and address privacy risks.
“This demonstrates the significant efforts taken by leaders in organisations to secure the processing of data across the digital landscape. As organisations undergo digital transformation, it is crucial that they envision data protection and privacy as a key component and we are starting to see a massive shift across the African continent,” says Marcelo Vieira, partner and head of cyber security for KPMG South Africa.
The report also highlighted those organisations in Africa with a global footprint that have been able to achieve better cyber security compared with those operating solely within Africa.
Oversight & management
“Cyber criminals in this modern era are changing tactics to include data exfiltration, targeting personal user information and targeting organisations that attempt to aggregate, combine, compare and analyse data to better service their consumers.
“Therefore, today, there is a much larger focuses needed on not only mitigating threats but in the way, organisations are set up to deal with them,” says Anthony Muiyuro, cyber lead at KPMG East Africa.
The approach should focus on a few key principles including understanding crown jewel information assets, evaluating the current and emerging threat landscape, documenting and aligning a fit for purpose cyber strategy, placing it into practice and monitoring effectiveness.
Little confidence in cyber security talent
The study also found that more than 50% that have recently fallen victim to cybercrime, still lack confidence in the effectiveness of their cyber security incident response team’s action during a major cyber security incident and so there is no doubt that a new focus on building cyber skills is critical – the need for highly specialised cyber security resources with skills for cyber leadership, securing and testing systems should be prioritised.
Results show that 75% of companies encounter challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified cyber professionals and only one in three have access to a sufficient talent pool.
Despite this however, some industries are well geared towards cyber skills, with the highest percentage of adequate skills being in the manufacturing (48%) and ENR (47%) sectors, followed closely by the FMCG and ICT sector.
The financial services and public sector have been prime targets for cyber-attacks and demonstrate an acute demand for cyber resources, largely due to the high level of regulatory oversight required.
Africa at a glance
While East Africa has driven the highest adoption of digital transformation, with 89% of organisations undergoing digital transformation, they are also the largest proportion of cyber-attacks amongst the African regions (31% reported cyber-attacks).
Africa’s adoption of cyber security policies and regulations stands at 72%, which is the lowest across the globe.
This, together with the outcomes of KPMG’s research indicates that there is a real need to rapidly advance agile cyber security measures to enhance risk resilience and enable organisations to harness new opportunities for revenue growth and business success, while ensuring business continuity.