Talking cybersecurity with Africa’s tech leaders and innovative entrepreneurs at GITEX AFRICA

Pankaj Bhula
By Pankaj Bhula 4 Min Read

At the first GITEX AFRICA event in Morocco in May, business leaders and start-up founders from across a range of industries came together to talk tech and innovation. Check Point was there to ensure that these conversations were had with cybersecurity in mind.

At the end of May this year, Africa had the privilege of hosting their very own version of GITEX – GITEX AFRICA – where the achievements and opportunities of the African innovation ecosystem were showcased and where discussions were had around how to help the continent achieve its digital transformation mission.

I attended the event a few weeks ago and got the chance to shine a light on some of the cybersecurity trends that business executives need to be aware of. The global volume of cyber attacks in the first quarter of 2023 rose by 7% to 1248 attacks per week, in comparison to the corresponding period in 2022.

While this increase might seem marginal, over the same period, the African region had the highest number of cyber-attacks per organisation, with an average of 1 983 attacks per week. This is why cyber resilience is so important.

Cyber resilience is all about being able to withstand, respond to and recover from cyber incidents, while also maintaining essential operations and protecting critical assets. It’s about keeping the business running when things go wrong.

I wanted to highlight this topic at GITEX AFRICA because it’s about leadership and the board’s overall ability to make informed decisions on how to mitigate risk and ensure that the business is protected.

The beauty of attending a gathering of this size is that you get to engage with business leaders from across the continent and really understand their concerns, their pain points and their needs.

It’s also a platform where you can engage with organizations from a wide range of industries, which is incredibly important because, as we know, cybersecurity affects everyone.

These conversations are so important because the volume of cyberattacks is on the increase – numbers rose has year-on-year by 38% in 2022 compared to the previous year.

These numbers serve as an essential starting point for greater collaboration between the private and public sector around how they can develop strategies to more effectively combat cybercrime together.

At GITEX AFRICA, I noticed that Africa is brimming with start-up potential and there are so many incredible ventures on the continent coming up with really fresh and innovative ideas. These start-ups have an opportunity to help businesses and countries across Africa address their security shortfalls by ensuring that their tools and technologies are developed with cybersecurity in mind.

Getting this right means prioritizing the three Cs.

  • Comprehensive: A prevention-first security architecture covering all attack vectors, from code to cloud, networks, users, email, and IoT, is essential for defending against evolving threats.
  • Consolidated: A consolidated architecture streamlines security operations, enhances effectiveness, and saves budget by eliminating the need for multiple, siloed solutions.
  • Collaborative: All solutions and products must work together to respond collaboratively to any threat, ensuring real-time threat intelligence is shared across the environment for immediate preventive action.

When people engage with us, it’s usually not under the best circumstances – they’ve either experienced an incident or something has happened that has left them feeling worried about their business’ security posture.

At an event like this, there is scope to have some really interesting discussions, build relationships really showcase the importance of cyber resilience. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

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