Africa’s cloud boom to drive stepped up security wave

With the arrival of major new datacentres and the widespread move to cloud across the continent, public and private sector are moving to new levels of security to enable the cloud migration.

This is according to Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa at Trend Micro, a global cyber security solutions leader. The company has dramatically increased its presence across Africa over the past year, to meet growing demand amid the continent’s cloud boom. “We’ve expanded from a handful of staff a year ago to nearly 50 at the regional head office in Johannesburg, as well as representation in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana,” says Siriniwasa.

This growth has been driven by the fact that organisations across Africa are leapfrogging older technologies and moving directly to cloud-enabled advanced digital environments, thanks to widespread fibre installations and new cloud infrastructure.

The cloud demands a different approach to security from the traditional enterprise approach, he notes. Traditionally, infrastructure was on premise and secured by firewalls, but moving to the cloud means security has to scale and flex along with cloud-based software and infrastructure. “Security in the cloud has to auto scale, and this requires a lot more work. We see a growing focus on cloud security orchestration across the continent,” he says.

While the continent’s public and private sector organisations make cyber security a top priority, Siriniwasa says there are still some misconceptions around cloud vendors’ shared responsibility models. Trend Micro is therefore working together with partners to educate the market on securing the journey to the cloud, on next level security frameworks and factors to consider when securing cloud environments. One important consideration is when to focus on security during the cloud journey: Siriniwasa says this should be done first, before embarking on the migration. “Security must be considered before the move to cloud, as the cost to address security after the move can be significantly higher,” he says.

Around the world – and across Africa – information security has become a business imperative rather than an IT focus area, and the environment has become increasingly complex. Siriniwasa says once-static security frameworks must now be updated constantly, as organisations innovate and drive new applications to market. “This means the CISO must be connected at board level to stay abreast of organisational changes, as well as staying ahead of constantly evolving risks,” he says. “There is more pressure in this environment now, and it will keep on getting worse.” Besides security associated with cloud migration, top information security risks still include email compromise, ransomware, and even basic patch management, he says.

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