North Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are stepping up efforts to counter cyber insecurity, a problem that is costing the continent billions in losses each year.
Security breaches have now become commonplace and the approach of corporate entities and governments have moved from prevention to resilience.
“While emerging technologies are becoming double-edged swords, the role of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) needs to be established clearly to ensure that we not only upgrade to newer technologies, but also account for safety of our data and systems” authorities representing an upcoming event known as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) CISO Summit have said.
According to a 2016 Cyber Security Report by Serianu, a global information technology company, African countries lost at least $2 billion in cyber-attacks in 2016.
The MENA CISO Summit, an initiative of the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council), comes at a time when the world is engulfed in what the Council is calling a “cloud of security vulnerabilities.”
The EC Council, which is the world’s largest cyber security technical certification body, operates in 145 countries across the world.
The Summit, which focuses on North Africa and the UAE, is the regional chapter for the Council’s ‘Global CISO Forum’, hosted in the United States every year.
The program, to be hosted on the 18th and 19th of April, 2018, will cover the most pressing security concerns of companies and governments globally.
The event comes just as Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, is preparing to host a similar event.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Mr. Joseph Mucheru met with senior Kenya government officials in February to discuss the government’s cyber security efforts as well as plans to host the inaugural Africa Cyber Defence Summit, which will be held on the 9th and the 10th of July, 2018.
“Technology has become a key economic enabler for African nations,” Nr. Mucheru said at the time.
“The rate at which internet and mobiles have penetrated into the continent in the recent past is phenomenal. Amidst these exciting developments, it is imperative to address the challenges of cyber security collaboratively and to protect our critical infrastructures, as well as to ensure that sensitive information and data are secured,” he explained.
He added that the forthcoming Summit is one of the many initiatives that the Government of Kenya is pursuing to achieve this goal.
The Africa Cyber Defence Summit, which will follow the MENA CISO Summit, is scheduled to be Africa’s most high-profile gathering. Bringing together more than 300 senior professionals including Ministers, CEOs, CIOs and CISO.
The two events indicate Africa’s push for a more cyber-secure business environment, just as the Middle East is soon gaining the reputation of a global market and as the natural choice for multinational companies to work with.
At the MENA CISO Summit, global experts will share their opinions on some of the burning issues in cyber security. A
“Alongside the summit, we will also be hosting our CISO awards for the experts in the Middle East and North Africa region to complement their efforts in building a safer MENA region,” the EC-Council said in a statement
The conference is designed to be a cross-industry event and will be attended by professionals working in the innovative technologies and cyber security, including CEOs, Heads of Information Technology, Enterprise Security Architects, Government officials and Heads of Regulatory Affairs, among others.