A strong collaborative framework and adhering to global quality standards is the future way of managing Kenya’s cyber-criminal threats. This is the position taken by technology leaders and regulators meeting at this year’s edition of the annual ISACA Conference where a rigorous assessment of the country’s preparedness against cybercrime is taking place.
In order to get there, Communications Authority Director, General Ezra Chiloba told the 300 delegates drawn from across government, regulators and various economic sectors that protecting Kenya’s cyberspace demands increased investment in qualified staffing and quality infrastructure.
“The telecommunications industry, both locally and globally, has had a long history of co-operation, developing standards for interoperability and security of equipment to enable its rapid growth in several application areas and we see an opportunity for us all to follow a similar route with investments in the right cyber security talent and equipment,” explained Chiloba.
Echoing his sentiments, Afke Shaart, Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs at Huawei pointed out there was already progress and that multiple stakeholders locally and globally, were working on modalities of collaboration to develop best practices and standards, figure out a standard product verification mechanism and enable credible third-parties to test and verify equipment security as technology quickly evolves.
“We need to arrive quickly though at a workable model for building trust in the digital era that is suitable for all players. This means assuming nothing, believing nobody and checking everything,” she noted adding that currently, the globally accepted Network Equipment Security Assurance Scheme (NESAS) audit would serve as a starting point. She explained that the scheme is based on specific technology attributes, is evolving alongside the technology, and can meet the entire industry’s requirements.
With telecommunications networks and services becoming ever more pervasive and critical to daily life, Colonel Evans Ombati, the Director of Kenya’s National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee (NC4) outlined the factors that are expected to build resilience of the country’s cyber space. “We consider collaboration is a major cog in the wheel that drives our cyber resilience. We are ready for a unified standard that captures both today and future technologies and skill sets,” he said.
Explaining the status of Kenya’s data protection implementation in the context of cyber preparedness, Immaculate Kassait, the Data Commissioner said that following the formal approval of the Data Protection Regulations, the government was optimistic that the rate of compliance will now rise faster as organizations possess clarity on the transfer of personal data, data subjects’ rights, registration of data controllers and data processors and handling complaints and contraventions among many other aspects.