Small businesses warned of increased risk of cyber attacks

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024 07:39 | By
Image used for representation. PHOTO/Pexels
Image used for representation. PHOTO/Pexels

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have been urged to proactively enhance their cyber resilience to protect personal information in the wake of growing threat of cyber-attacks.

Catherine Muraga, Managing Director of Microsoft ADC disclosed that more SMEs than ever are experiencing cyber security breaches that put their personal information at risk. Cyberthreats, she noted, have become more sophisticated, faster, and larger in scale, posing challenges to the security and resilience of the online ecosystem.

Consequently, Muraga called on small enterprises to embrace the basic security hygiene, strong partnerships, and AI innovation to combat the evolving threats.

She spoke after Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) signed a partnership with Cyber Shujaa to train 100 students in cybersecurity across Kenya as part of the centre’s goal of improving the cyber-security talent pipeline in the technology sector. Muraga stated that economic impact of cybercrime in Africa is estimated to be $10 billion in 2023 with Kenya alone losing $383 million.

“This underscores the urgent need for substantial investment and partnerships in cybersecurity infrastructure and training,” she stated. In the wake of AI technology, Muraga regretted that cyber criminals continue to leverage on the technology to develop more sophisticated attacks.

In a bid to enhance cyber security skilling in the country, the three-month cyber training programme will see the first cohort of 70 undergraduate students and 30 graduate students with less than two years of work experience undergo eight cybersecurity modules.

“Although cybersecurity is critical to operations in many sectors, it has remained under-resourced in terms of human capital. This is the ADC’s contribution to establishing Kenya as the go-to destination for cybersecurity professionals, and we are delighted to do so with Cyber Shujaa,” she added. Cyber Shujaa, which is composed of Serianu Limited, USIU-Africa, and the Kenya Bankers Association, trains youth in cybersecurity and data protection and has already provided competency-based skills training to over 500 individuals.

Lola Omole-Odubekun, Interim Vice-Chancellor, USIU-Africa expressed delight at seeing that the initiative aligns very well with their strategic goals as a university.

“Our strategic plan is designed to address these challenges through a comprehensive approach that focuses on problem-solving through teaching, learning, and research.,” she said.”

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