BCX builds SOC, repositions to fight cyber crime

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 31 Jul 2020
Jonas Bogoshi, BCX CEO.
Jonas Bogoshi, BCX CEO.

BCX is building a Security Operations Centre (SOC) in the vicinity of its Midrand data centre, as the Telkom subsidiary repositions for the cyber security market in SA.

This was revealed by Jonas Bogoshi, BCX CEO, in a recent video-conference interview with ITWeb.

Bogoshi, who took the reins in 2018 after being promoted from the post of chief revenue officer, said the IT services company has established a partnership with European multinational information technology giant Atos, to help South African companies fight cyber crime using quantum computing, big data analytics and automation capabilities from the SOC, which is expected to launch by September.

Headquartered in France, Atos offers managed security services and has a global team of over 5 000 security specialists with a network of 14 SOCs.

“BCX has a lot of customers who have been requesting end-to-end security services. Although we do offer security services, we want to take it a little further and provide fully-fledged managed security services for companies.

“The SOC which we are building together with Atos will offer a full spectrum of advanced detection and response services, observe and analyse threats on a minute-by-minute basis, prevent breaches from happening and consistently update customers on their environments. For those who already have in-house security services, we will deliver augmentation capabilities,” explained Bogoshi.

Atos has developed what it calls Europe’s first quantum computing industry programme, Atos Quantum, which the company says aims to develop quantum computing solutions and enhance cyber security products to anticipate quantum advantage and its impact on cryptography.

The COVID-19 outbreak, which is wreaking havoc on the healthcare system and the global economy, has had a significant impact on the security of businesses, presenting an unusual array of cyber security challenges, noted Bogoshi.

“Cyber attacks have increased by 300% globally amid the coronavirus pandemic and threats are becoming more sophisticated and brutal – we can also witness this increase among some of our customers.

“When companies have more employees working from home, this creates a fertile environment for criminals who take advantage of that because many companies have security policies which are developed to be implemented in an office environment, and once workers work remotely, it becomes a challenge to control the vulnerabilities.”

BCX has an existing ecosystem of partners, including Red Hat, SAP, Cisco, Veritas, Microsoft, IBM, Commvault, VMware and Dell, to provide a full range of ICT services and solutions.

“Partnerships are at the core of our strategy. Our partnerships with a number of original equipment manufacturers provides us will tools and services that will help us detect viruses, signatures and intrusion detection technologies, while others provide us with typical IT infrastructure.

“Our duty is to integrate them and provide the customer with a single holistic view of what’s happening in their environment – so we are the integrators of various security services.”

Growth opportunities

Bogoshi bills BCX as one of the largest IT services companies in SA by revenue, having made revenue of R17.5 billion last year.

In its results for the year ended 31 March 2020, BCX parent company Telkom said the BCX IT business contributed positively to group revenue, despite the challenging economic environment in which BCX operates.

The performance was supported by the drive to grow the industry-specific intellectual property.

The group has a wide footprint, with operations outside SA, including Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia and the UK.

“We are continuously looking at areas of growth. In SADC, we mainly provide hardware services in those countries and ideally we want to provide full IT services, so we are currently re-looking our business model. We are also looking at various ways to scale our small operation in the UK.”

Earlier this month, BCX partnered with the Department of Health to develop the COVIDConnect contact tracing technology that aims to fast-track the containment of COVID-19, by using several data sources from laboratories, healthcare facilities and a WhatsApp screening service to locate primary infected individuals as well as close contacts.

In terms of future offerings, Bogoshi points out that in August the company will launch digital solutions that will enable South African businesses to seamlessly develop their own e-commerce platforms.

“The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the demand for digital services and we have seen an uptick in demand from customers.

“As a company with our own specialists in the Internet of things, mobile applications and e-commerce skills, we’ve packaged our digital innovations in one. Through big cloud partners Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, we will enable South African companies to build digital capabilities and develop a strong online presence,” concluded Bogoshi.