Mitigate The Risk – Cybersecurity in South Africa

Jun 19, 2023 | News

Cybersecurity is crucial to any business operating in today’s digital landscape. With most of our daily lives conducted online, where various types of sensitive information are managed, protecting yourself and your business against cyber threats and online data infringements or “cybercrime” is essential.

Simply put, cybersecurity refers to a series of procedures and techniques to guard a business’s essential systems and confidential data.

How we do business is changing rapidly, and there is no sign of slowing down anytime soon. The reality is that whether you are a small business, individual, or multinational giant, you need to rely on some form of technology or digitisation in your daily operations to be competitive in the market.

Law-abiding

From a legal perspective, the Protection of Personal Information Act requires businesses to safeguard personal information appropriately. A breach of the Act may lead to severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Failing to protect sensitive data can also lead to losing customer trust, financial damage, and brand reputation.

Hybrid reality

The remote workforce represents a significant increase in cybersecurity threats faced by organisations. Recent expert reports show that nearly two-thirds of companies in South Africa have reported data breaches due to work-from-anywhere (WFA) susceptibilities. Due to load shedding, South Africans are particularly at risk as a lack of power forces WFA workers to alternate between networks and public Wi-Fi. This creates opportunities for attackers to intercept business communications on unprotected devices.

Forewarned is forearmed

To ensure that your business has the most secure cybersecurity practices, there are several steps you can take. Firstly, it’s essential to clearly understand the types of data your business handles and where it is stored. This will help you to identify potential vulnerabilities and take steps to protect them.

Next, it’s crucial to have a robust set of policies and procedures in place for handling sensitive data. This should include guidelines for password management, data encryption, and incident response.

Third, you should invest in top-of-the-line security software and hardware. Included are firewalls, antivirus programmes, intrusion-detection systems, intrusion-prevention systems, and other tools to help protect your network and data.

Prepare or prepare to fail!

Organisations can no longer afford to ignore the risks posed by cyber threats. A failure to observe and respond to these risks puts any organisation on the firing line of various cybercriminals. Cyber threats are constantly evolving, so an organisation can develop significant exposure to cyber threats in a relatively short period. It is, therefore, essential that organisations regularly update technological hardware and system security networks.

Finally, keeping your employees informed about cyber threats and best practices is essential. This includes regular training on identifying and responding to potential security breaches and providing them with the tools and resources to stay safe online.

In conclusion, mitigating cyber-attack risks will require organisations to adopt a forward-thinking, dynamic approach designed to integrate effective and rapidly evolving cybersecurity mechanisms. By taking the necessary steps, businesses can help ensure protection against cyber threats and be able to keep sensitive data safe and secure.

About the author: Tashreek Miller – Associate Designate at Fairbridges Wertheim Becker (FWB)

Tashreek is a young legal professional with a deep interest in corporate finance & deal-making, working as a Designate Associate at Fairbridges Wertheim Becker in the Corporate & Commercial practice group.