Cybersecurity is essential for South Africa's public sector

27 March 2020 3 min. read
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Executives at global digital transformation consultancy RSA have warned of the urgent need for the South African government, among others, to focus on its cybersecurity capabilities as it looks to digitalise a growing portion of its operations. 

Tim Norris, who is a Product & Solutions Strategist at RSA has written a blog post describing the dire consequences that a cyber breach of government operations could have. Stefan van de Giessen, General Manager of Cybersecurity at RSA’s South Africa distributor Networks Unlimited Africa has shed some light on these comments as well.

“As agencies and their partners work to make government more accessible to citizens through online and mobile experiences, there is a risk that these activities will also make operations and data more vulnerable to cyber attacks, whether by external actors such as nation-states, activists and disgruntled citizens looking to create chaos, or by insider threats across the government workforce,” wrote Norris.

Cybersecurity is essential for South Africa's public sector

Both executives urge governments to consider cybersecurity concerns in a digital age, as the alternative could be disastrous. As explained by Norris, some of the negative effects of a cyber attack on a government include threats to national security, disruptions to public services, privacy violations, leaked information and even election tampering. 

South Africa’s tech landscape is expanding at a fair pace, as an increasing number of businesses recognise the value of digitalising their operations. As people grow increasingly tech savvy, the government and public sector agencies are developing their services in the digital sphere, leading to a growing digital market on the one hand and growing vulnerability on the other.

The private sector has already upped its investments in cybersecurity, and Van de Giessen suggests that the public sector take the same measures. “When we think that cyber criminals globally have shown their readiness to strike at state-run critical infrastructure, with potential examples of cyber attacks including power facilities, transport systems, manufacturing plants, water treatment facilities and defence systems, it is clear that governments around the globe need to set out their cybersecurity requirements and strategies as a business priority, in just the same way that we see occurring in the private sector.”

Van de Giessen works at Networks Unlimited Africa, which is a regional distributor of a variety of global tech solutions, including those developed by RSA. Other partners include ProLabs, Rubrik, Fortinet, F5, and a whole host of others. RSA’s products an services are grounded in the cybersecurity domain, and include advisory & assessment services, implementation & optimisation, incident response & cyber defence and technical support, among others.