Rentia Booysen at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

Thought leadership: Rentia Booysen at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

Research by Accenture and the Ponemon Institute indicates most business leaders feel their cyber security risks are growing in momentum as the world becomes increasingly digital. This has resulted in global spending on solutions increasing from US$34 billion in 2017 to an expected US$42 billion by the end of 2020.

But being able to identify a trusted partner that can help navigate the complexities associated with cyber security is also critical to successfully safeguarding organisational assets. In other words, spending money on security solutions is not sufficient on its own to safeguard an enterprise; strategic expertise is also needed.

As technology has evolved, so cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated. An anti-virus checker and firewall are no longer the only counter-measures decision-makers must consider if they are to protect company data and infrastructure. Instead, a shift is happening towards implementing pro-active measures to identify threats before they penetrate the network and compromise data.

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation become vital allies as companies shore up defences. Of course, these solutions must be effectively integrated, if the myriad of touch points into the company are effectively secured. And the partner ecosystem needs to support this every step of the way.

Such an integrated approach incorporates advanced threat protection, next-generation firewalls, security management and analytics and other innovations focused on automating the majority of these processes. However, this means very little of cyber security is inaccessible to all users in the organisation, what it really requires is oversight from a single pane of glass. In the event that this is deployed, the IT department can immediately identify weak points and better allocate resources to where they are needed most.

A defensive ecosystem

Cyber security is a specialist field that requires focus and dedicated resources. Most companies cannot afford to put these in place amidst all the other strategic priorities they must accomplish. This is where relying on an experienced partner ecosystem becomes critical.

This is very apparent in the South African channel environment. Vendors have learned to rely on a process where their partners and resellers imbue solutions with local relevance and the customisation required to best fit conditions in the market.

Take adherence to our own data protection laws as a prime example. The partners who excel at this are the ones that empower their resellers with the expertise and value propositions needed to help safeguard client systems against prevailing threats and attacks. But this goes beyond a solutions-only focus.

Instead, the channel must provide an environment that meets a variety of cyber security needs, across the public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and on-premise. Solutions must work across these environments while still giving companies the ability to scale according to their growth needs. Furthermore, these must be fully compliant with prevailing regulation to keep sensitive data protected.

Trust is required

Changing market conditions dictate that companies must become more agile in how they protect their data and systems. Therefore, cyber security is a  dynamic process where solutions must always be adaptable to the current threat actors and their attack tools.

Relying on a trusted partner in this respect extends beyond the nuts and bolts of a solution to gaining a detailed understanding of the business and its strategic objectives. The security solution provider then becomes more informed regarding how best to approach protection and create a more flexible, secure environment customised to a specific organisation.

Cyber security cannot have a one size fits all strategy if it is to be effective. It should follow a process by which a business deploys innovative technologies that deliver integrated, pro-active and user-friendly protection, while being guided by the experience of trusted partners with local insights.

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