Cyber security threats “a major concern among East African CEOs"

Friday June 24 2022
Cyber
By Alex Nelson Malanga

Dar es Salaam. East African chief executive officers view cyber security as a major threat to the growth of their organisations, according to a new survey by the KPMG, a multinational professional services network.

Cyber attacks have surged over the last two years, aided by technology adoption across sectors, increased tendency of working from home and the ease of spreading misinformation during a pandemic.

Cyber-risk is reported to have been affecting the organisations’ ability to sell products and services and damage innovation through technology or processes.

The revelation was made yesterday during the KPMG Audit Committee Institute Forum event whose objective was to discuss the board considerations for digital transformation projects.

KPMG associate director for cyber security and privacy, Anthony Muiyuro said 79 percent of the CEOs who were interviewed said that protecting their partners ecosystems and supply chains was just as important as building their organisation’s cyber defences.

On the other side, he added, 75 percent said a strong cyber strategy was critical to engender trust with their key stakeholders.

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Further, the survey showed that 70 percent of the CEOs said that they were well prepared for future cyber attacks.

“Cyber security is on top of agenda in board meetings,” said Mr Muiyuro.

“If organisations are to beat cyber-attacks, they need to align digital transformation to their strategies so that it can be easy for them to convince board members for approval.”

He was of the suggestion that CEOs now had to embrace a cyber-resilience that is all about what do you do when you are attacked.

While a cyber-security strategy can help prevent a data breach or reduce the risk of malicious activity, a cyber-resilience strategy specifically helps mitigate the impacts of these attacks. Risk management consultant Augustino Mbogella expressed the need for empowering board members to be part of the digital transformation.

“One of the grave mistakes that we make is assuming that board members are more knowledgeable than others,” he said.

Mr Mbogella recommended organisations to have in place digital transformation training programmes specifically for board members so that they could understand the concept and make it easy for them to approve related projects.

KPMG Associate director for technology transformation Martin Kimani said difficulties in making quick technology related decisions could be inhibiting digital transformation in an organisation.

He cited other impediments as lack of coherent view on key technology trends on which to act and lack of skills and capability in the organisation.

Vodacom Tanzania board member Margaret Ikongo said for organisations to beat cyber security attacks, they need to have cyber security policy and strategy in place.