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Curbing N127bn Cybersecurity Annual Losses via Tardigrade’s ERA Roadmap

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With cyber attacks on the rise, organisations across the globe are contending with loss of reputation, loss of customers, potential financial liabilities, regulatory notification requirements and sometimes, litigation. To address this menace, however, Tardigrade, a Nollysoft’s Enterprise Risk Assessment (ERA) solution, has been identified by experts as a veritable roadmap that would provide the better understanding of the cybersecurity space and a good grasp of the internal control mechanisms to organisations towards cyber threats.

The greatest war that countries in the 21st Century currently face and which they must prepare to win headlong to actively participate in the global economy largely driven by the Internet is cyber warfare.

As such, the need for organisations to deploy a security solution that helps to identify factors contributing to and determining the organisation’s overall cyber risk; assess the organisation’s cybersecurity preparedness; evaluate whether the organisation’s cybersecurity preparedness is aligned with its risks; determine risk management practices and controls that are needed or need enhancement and actions to be taken to achieve the desired state and offers informed risk management strategies to organisations cannot be under-estimated.

Indeed, local and regional authorities, professional IT associations and various reports home and abroad have raised the sentiments around the danger posed by cyber threats and the need for each organisation to get its IT infrastructure weaponised through effective internal controls and security solutions.

Rising wave of concerns

For instance, the telecoms industry regulator in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission, has noted that cybersecurity has become an essential component of the human activity. This was the position of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, at a cybersecurity forum in Lagos,where he noted that cyber attacks’ high level of complexity requires action at different levels (both virtual and physical) and by different actors, including governments, private sector, civil society, intergovernmental organisations, among others.

According to him, the current scale and growth of ICT applications transcend all spheres of social and economic boundaries worldwide. “Whether it is broadcasting (digital TV) or social networking, e-Commerce (mobile banking and financial services), e-Governance (government services management, e-education, e-health, e-taxation, e-commerce), governments, institutions and the society, in general, are increasingly embracing these technologies and at the same time becoming exposed to vulnerabilities of cyber-attacks,” he said.

He, therefore, strongly advocated that technical measures such as theNollysoft’s Enterprise Risk Assessment (ERA) solution and appropriate legal instruments must be put in place to enhance the resilience of cybersecurity infrastructure and safeguard cyber technologies users.

In the same vein, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Mr. Shola Taylor, has also raised serious concerns about the dangers of cyber attacks and the need for a synergy by stakeholders to mitigate and, if possible, prevent their potential risks on organisations IT infrastructure.

According to Taylor, “Cyberspace contributes significantly to achieving countries’ national development goals, and so international organisations, national security services, operators, intelligence and data protection agencies, as well as citizens all, have a role to play in making cyberspace safer and more resilient,” he said, while sharing the CTO’s experience in developing national cybersecurity strategies for Commonwealth member countries as well as other countries, including Senegal last year.

Potential risks, exposures and losses

In Nigeria, over N127 billion is lost annually by mostly business organisations and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, translating to 0.08 percent loss in the `country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the country’s Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu.

Also,62 percent of firms are being attacked weekly, according to a 2017International Data Corporation (IDC) InfoBriefsponsored by Splunk. In the report, it was noted that with malware becoming more advanced with encrypted ransomware, the security breach impacts on organisations may include loss of reputation, loss of customers, potential financial liabilities, regulatory notification requirements and sometimes litigation instigated by victim customers.

President, Cyber Secure Conference organised by the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Mr. RemiAfon quoted another statistics, which puts the cost of cyber-crime globally at $700 billion per year.He said the loss is projected to rise to about $2 trillion by 2019, due to the rapid digitisation of consumer lives and company records. Breaches like these have steadily been on the rise as according to reports, the number of incidents has increased by more 38 percent annually since 2015.

According to U.S. State of Cybercrime survey, Ponemon Institute, and Juniper research, cybersecurity events and costs are increasing, data breaches are expected to reach $2.1 trillion globally by 2019.

Thus, Afon argues that there is a need for Nigeria to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy and Policy and ensure effective implementation of the Cybercrime Act 2015 as well making organisations embrace newest solution. One of such security solutions ready to tackle cyber attacks on organisations in the country is Tardigrade, a Nollysoft’s Enterprise Risk Assessment (ERA) solution.

This is instructive as industry experts have said organisations in Nigeria are in dire need of cyber experts that could help secure the cyberspace and one of the ways to boost protection is to embrace and deploy innovative solutions offered by security company/experts.

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Worldwide Information Security Spending to Exceed $124 Billion in 2019 – Report

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Worldwide spending on information security products and services will reach more than $114 billion in 2018, an increase of 12.4 percent from last year, according to the latest forecast from Gartner, Inc. In 2019, the market is forecast to grow 8.7 percent to $124 billion.

“Security leaders are striving to help their organizations securely use technology platforms to become more competitive and drive growth for the business,” said Siddharth Deshpande, research director at Gartner. “Persisting skills shortages and regulatory changes like the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are driving continued growth in the security services market.”

A 2017 Gartner survey* revealed that the top three drivers for security spending are (1) security risks; (2) business needs; and (3) industry changes. Privacy concerns are also becoming a key factor. Gartner believes privacy concerns will drive at least 10 percent of market demand for security services through 2019 and will impact a variety of segments, such as identity and access management (IAM), identity governance and administration (IGA) and data loss prevention (DLP).

Mr. Deshpande said highly publicized data breaches, like the recent attack on SingHealth that compromised the personal health records of 1.5 million patients in Singapore, reinforce the need to view sensitive data and IT systems as critical infrastructure.

“Security and risk management has to be a critical part of any digital business initiative,” he said.

An increased focus on building detection and response capabilities, privacy regulations such as GDPR, and the need to address digital business risks are the main drivers for global security spending through 2019.

Gartner has identified key trends affecting information security spending in 2018-2019, including: At least 30 percent of organizations will spend on GDPR-related consulting and implementation services through 2019.

Organizations are continuing their journey toward compliance with the GDPR that has been in effect since 25 May 2018. Implementing, assessing and auditing the business processes related to the GDPR are expected to be the core focus of security service spending for EU-based organizations, and for those whose customers and employees reside there.

Risk management and privacy concerns within digital transformation initiatives will drive additional security service spending through 2020 for more than 40 percent of organizations.

Consulting and implementation service providers have retooled their service offerings over the past several years to support customers on their digital transformation journey. Security is a key factor in the uptake of that transformation process for regulated data, critical operations and intellectual property protection spanning public cloud, SaaS and the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Services (subscription and managed) will represent at least 50 percent of security software delivery by 2020.

Security as a service is on the way to surpassing on-premises deployments, and hybrid deployments are enticing buyers. A large portion of respondents to Gartner’s security buying behavior survey said they plan to deploy specific security technologies, such as security information and event management (SIEM), in a hybrid deployment model in the next two years. Managed services represented roughly 24 percent of deployments, on average.

“On-premises deployments are still the most popular, but cloud-delivered security is becoming the preferred delivery model for a number of technologies,” said Mr. Deshpande.

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F5 Reports Rising Multi-Cloud Adoption

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More and more businesses globally are moving to a multi-cloud situation to deploy or access services.

 

This is according to F5 Networks’ recent report, ‘The State of Application Delivery 2018’ (SOAD), in which more than 50 percent of the respondents, representing IT professionals from all over the globe, said they use between two and six cloud environments.

 

The F5 report, now in its fourth year, surveys more than 3,400 industry peers, evaluating the state of application services and looking into motivations underlying the deployment of application services.

 

It covered more than 300 organisations across a broad spectrum of vertical markets such as banking and finance, telecommunications, public sector and consumer products.

 

The five key findings revolved around the issues of digital transformation, inspiring new architectures and IT optimisation initiatives; multi-cloud deployment, which enables the best cloud for the app; application services as the gateways to the future; the fact that IT optimisation drives the use of automisation; and the relationship between security confidence and the rise of multi-cloud.

 

The survey notes that, according to 49 percent of respondents, digital transformation is encouraging the delivery of applications from the cloud. Simon McCullough, major channel account manager at F5, noted that attacks on applications are becoming more complex, leading to organisations transforming the traditional perimeter to include the new everyday reality of users accessing applications from anywhere, at any time, and from any device.

 

He added, “A key finding of this year’s SOAD report was the continuous increase in multi-cloud deployments, which enable organisations to select the cloud platform that best meets the requirements of a specific application. This scenario, however, which allows a company to transform their application portfolio to compete in today’s digital economy, also increases the challenges that many companies face in managing their operations across multiple clouds and, consequently, their security.”

 

The report saw that nearly nine out of 10 respondents are now using multiple clouds as a result of their ‘best-of-breed’ strategy for each application deployment. Forty nine percent of overall survey respondents are moving to deliver apps from the public cloud. Over half (59 percent) reported that they are utilising two to six clouds.

 

The report notes: “Applications streamline processes, provide new services and offerings, and enhance customer experiences… IT decisions get made based on app requirements. At the same time, the speed and scale required from the digital economy is moving IT off premises and into the cloud. This means that cloud decisions are made on a case by case, per-application basis according to 56 percent of the respondents. As customers have on average over 200 applications, with varying requirements, it’s no surprise that most respondents are operating in multi-cloud environments.”

 

“The power of apps in the business world is unmistakable,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, a value-added distributor of F5 in Africa. “The right technology should support apps to optimise a business and not hamper productivity.  Our mission is to empower a business’ limitless potential, and we recommend F5’s app security solutions to move your business forward, making your people more productive and creating a better experience for your customers.”

 

F5 security solutions have been developed to offer customers complete visibility and control at scale. “Applications ‒ along with their users and data ‒ are exposed to enormous risk as they travel from device to data centre server and back again. Unpredictable and stealthy cyber threats continue to disrupt user availability and exploit financial information and intellectual property. F5 secures access to applications from anywhere while protecting them wherever they reside. F5 helps businesses protect sensitive data and intellectual property while minimising application downtime and maximising end-user productivity,” concluded McCullough.

 

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Technology is Future of FICA, Digitised Customer Onboarding

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Simon Slater, chief operating officer at e4

Digitisation is transforming business and impacting consumers through every stage of their daily lives.

 

While rapidly becoming a way of life, onboarding consumers digitally is still in its infancy, but is becoming a major focus for every financial institution across the country.

 

According to Simon Slater, chief operating officer at e4, a digital solutions company, the amendment of FICA, which now incorporates a risk-based approach to customer due-diligence, enables Accountable Institutions (AIs) to adopt their own, more flexible approach.

 

He said this move will quickly solve onboarding challenges as AIs, such as the banks, embrace the vital role technology can play in the process.

 

Slater said that technology’s role in addressing FICA requirements is rapidly growing because AIs now have more flexibility to manage compliance and risk independently.

 

The FICA amendment, he said, has seen a swift uptake in the use of technology solutions: “In part prompted by the rise of the fintech companies and the potential challenges posed by several new digital challenger banks, the major incumbent banks have all risen to the challenge of addressing both onboarding and compliance utilising technology solutions.”

 

The strength of these technology solutions, according to Slater, often lies in the use of data sources combined with intelligent rules engines, to verify customer information behind a great front-end channel. It is here that artificial intelligence will also start to feature more in onboarding solutions.

 

There are several components to the ultimate onboarding technology solution according to Slater.

 

Centred on the customer, the solution requires a simple web front-end or mobile app, that is easy to use and intuitive.

 

Proof of identity is next, and the solution will need a direct link to Home Affairs to verify a person’s identity. Depending on the channel, this can include the use of fingerprint biometrics, which provides a very strong real-time check, coupled with or alternatively using up to three-way facial matching of a customer’s image (enabling a ‘virtual’ face-to-face process).

 

A virtual video link can also be offered, coupled with liveness detection to cater for all risk levels of customer verification. Finally, technology can now also solve the challenges around income, affordability and employment verification.

 

To solve proof of residence, Slater said these types of technology solutions are reinventing the process digitally at new levels: “We have managed to create a marketplace for address providers to compete on a price and quality basis, to enable AIs to verify digital evidence for proof of residence, against multiple sources of addresses. This is the level of onboarding that suddenly becomes possible in a digital environment.”

 

Real-time approval via instant processing of new customer applications is the ultimate goal of digitised onboarding. Slater says that from a FICA perspective, the next goal is to assist AIs to address the ongoing verification of existing customers.

 

Often referred to as Know Your Customer (KYC), the technology solutions developed to onboard new customers can also be utilised to refresh a customer’s data based on their risk profile.  This is the road ahead.”

 

Slater is very upbeat about the future of new technology within AIs.  Sustainable solutions to help solve the ability of AIs to onboard a customer and meet their FICA requirements are finally available.

 

 

 

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