Ruediger Dorn, tech giant Microsoft Corporation’s director in charge of cloud technology and strategy, says Kenyan firms must make cyber-security central to their plans of digitising operations.
Mr Dorn on Wednesday said the recent rise in cybercrime, where company information has been stolen and bank accounts wiped clean, calls for institutions to make online security a top priority.
“We regularly update our systems and this has helped keep hackers at bay compared to the current practice where companies buy annual Internet security packages,” he said.
Microsoft estimates that cybercrime-related losses will cost the global economy over Sh600 trillion up from Sh300 trillion reported in 2016
This, he said, has created an opportunity for the government and universities to generate jobs by filling the emerging skills gap for cybercrime experts to man online platforms.
“If you are a chief investments officer, a chief executive officer or the owner of a small business, nothing should be more important than the security of your company data,” he said.
Kenya has in the past launched e-citizen, a government portal for various services, while individual private entities have online platforms where tech-savvy Kenyans pay via mobile payment platforms for products and services.
“We must trust cloud services since we are already using social media or mobile phones that run on cloud. But the government needs to formulate an IT policy on cloud storage, data storage and use of information technology to boost trust,” he said.
Mr Dorn, who is visiting Kenya as a volunteer in the Microsoft 4 Africa Initiative, said hacking was becoming a serious business with some countries sponsoring the activities to disrupt services in other countries.
Usage of free public Wi-Fi to transact official business and accessing company portals, mobile banking platforms to pay for services or buy goods risk exposing individual passwords and PIN codes.
Mr Dorn suggested that email passwords be regularly changed and strengthened by mixing letters with numbers.