Kenya’s new draft cyber security laws are a major step in the right direction, says Bethwel Opil, Channel Sales Manager East Africa for Kaspersky Lab.
Speaking to Biztechafrica during a visit to South Africa, Opil said the landing of the undersea cables in 2010 and the subsequent roll-out of fibre networks in the East African region had caused a spike in internet use. Along with it, has come a spike in cybercrime targeting users in the region, he says.
“While private sector players are standing by to mitigate the risk, appropriate legislation plays the most critical role in combating cybercrime. Over the past few years, we are seeing encouraging signs that East Africa’s governments are serious about their digital strategies, and about mitigating risk at the same time. Kenya’s draft laws to combat cybercrime are a good example of this.”
Opil says Kenya is fast becoming an ICT growth point in East Africa, but that investors are keen to see solid cyber security laws in place before investing in the region. “With sound cyber security policies in place, we can expect to see data centres moving from offshore to in-country, and more ICT investment and development in the region,” he says.
Kaspersky Lab, which has operated in East Africa since 2002 and leads the market in Kenya, according to IDC, is currently focusing its efforts in the region on upgrading existing customers to corporate solutions, expanding its channel in Rwanda and Burundi, and educating end users on the risks of cybercrime. Unlike in most global markets, the bulk of its customers in Kenya are consumers, with only 40% enterprise grade customers. Opil says this is due in part to the large proportion of SMEs in the region, as well as due to the fact that Kenya is a price-sensitive market and many customers select their security solutions based on price, rather than suitability.
“We are engaged in programmes to educate customers about the importance of selecting the right solutions for their needs, as well as the benefits of consolidating their various solutions into a single, comprehensive solution that reduces cost and complexity,” Opil says.