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In light of the recent cybersecurity attacks on the City of Johannesburg and the banking sector of South Africa, Tanja Kokot, a director at BroadVision urges companies interested in protecting themselves and their customers from cyber-attacks to not only invest in security measures, but to invest in the people that handle their data.

“South Africa is really starting to feel the heat from cyber-attacks from across the globe,” begins Kokot. “Any organisation that wants to be effective at preventing cyber-attacks needs to look at each and every entity that handles their data. Just like a network, if you have one weak link, the entire operation can be compromised.” Kokot works closely with clients and the company’s engineers to ensure they have mitigated their risks when It comes to data breaches. She believes an important consideration for any business is to ensure they invest in their people.

If a company has strong cybersecurity measures in place, but their employees are not cyber aware, the company is at risk.

Risk Management

For Kokot, working in an agile environment like technology for almost two decades, systems planning and investing in people is a key component of any effective IT system.

Cybersecurity has multiple aspects to it, though I believe there are two that are crucial, these are the actual technology and systems that you have in place and the second is the people,” she stresses. “In light of technology, one needs to focus on best practice procedures and policies. For example, ensuring your software and systems are up to date with the latest patching, updates and release and even ensuring a company’s networks are segmented. The second key component is the people. As a company, we focus intrinsically on our people, on training them and ensuring they are adaptive. When it comes to our partners and clients, we urge them to invest in their people, as a cyber aware employee, is an employee who will become a gatekeeper for your systems. Learning management systems are important in this instance and one of the services we offer is the simulation of phishing attacks for our clients to see how cyber aware their employees are.”

Closing the Gaps

“The recent cyberattacks are evident that the speed of technological change is leaving gaping holes in the exceedingly sensitive company IT infrastructure,” Kokot highlights. “It is these vulnerabilities that are being targeted by cybercriminals.”

According to cyber intelligence reports, a typical attack on South African assets lasts 15 minutes while a large attack may last a couple of hours. “What companies need to be aware of is the fact that these attacks are not always specific to a sector or organisation. And coupled with a low prosecution rate of cybercrimes in South Africa, cybercriminals are becoming increasingly adaptable and will always follow the financial gain.

“At Broadvision, we believe that it is going to get very complicated for ordinary businesses to keep track of all the innovation to put an end to cybercrime. We have seen this among even our small to medium-sized clients. This is why it is imperative that basic security measures and regular staff training and monitoring is in place. The more aware you are of the risks, the more secure your data and assets will be. Being alert and aware is key,” she concludes.