Nairobi — THE millions of cyber attacks occurring yearly across the continent are a cause for concern, particularly for Africa's larger economies such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
Kenya is suffering the worst, having been ranked as the 69th most vulnerable country in the Global Threat Index out of 127 nations, last year.
According to current estimates, the East African country has lost about Sh20 billion (US$199,5 million) as a result of cyber crime, yet only 4 percent of Kenyan companies spent more than Sh515 000 on cyber security.
The vulnerability of Kenyan organisations to cyber attacks can also be seen within the broader context of challenges faced by telcos in the country, said Ken Munyi, Country Manager at iWayAfrica Kenya.
These include a shortage of skilled experts in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and a disruptive political environment, particularly during election cycles, during which businesses opt to delay major decisions leading to a slowdown of economic productivity.
Munyi urged Kenyan and other African businesses to prioritise data protection and enhance enterprise security in order to mitigate the high cost of cyber-attacks.
He assured guaranteeing data protection was vitally important for minimizing financial loss while also complying with regulatory requirements and meeting customer expectations.
"Organisations need to take a proactive approach to enterprise security and view it as a strategic investment as opposed to an onerous expense to the institution," Munyi said.
The expert said ultimately, issues around cyber security deserve increased planning and attention.
"There is no doubt that security reliability of information connected over distributed networks offering convenience to stakeholders is vital both in the public and private sectors," Munyi said.