Johannesburg, 12 Sep 2023
CHI, which positions itself as Nigeria's leading market player in fruit juices and dairy products, has engaged in a strategic cyber security partnership with NEC XON, a pan-African ICT systems integrator. The collaboration aims to bolster CHI's cyber security abilities, ensuring enhanced and proactive protection against evolving cyber threats.
Arthur Benting, CHI's Technical Director, emphasises the significance of being prepared and resilient in the face of cyber threats. He raises essential questions that organisations should ask themselves about their readiness for a cyber compromise and the quality of their cyber security partners. “How often do you practise for a potential threat?” he asks, “and do you have the right partner?”
Trust between partners paramount
Grant Ferreira, NEC XON Security Solutions Engineer Architect, emphasises the need for a trust-based relationship between organisations and their cyber security partners. He highlights the unique bond between CHI and NEC XON, where both parties openly collaborate and share responsibilities. Ferreira commends Benting’s inclusive approach – he welcomes NEC XON as an integral part of the team. This open communication allows for mutual growth, with each side acknowledging areas for improvement and pushing boundaries together.
Since Benting's recent appointment, he conducted an investigation that revealed areas where CHI's security infrastructure could be strengthened. This prompted the approach to NEC XON, which helped to assess the situation. During this period of transition, CHI had to address a few opportunities to beef up the legacy security architecture, especially with respect to applications. Two factors played a vital role in CHI’s improvement of the environment. First, the swift supply and deployment of an upgraded firewall system, facilitated by NEC XON. Second, close teaming between CHI, NEC XON and KPMG, which worked hand in hand to ensure an improved security fabric could be designed, configured and successfully implemented. KPMG was appointed by CHI’s parent company, Coca-Cola Atlanta, to facilitate CHI’s network redesign project.
The collaboration led to the deprovisioning of older security infrastructure and the implementation of new Fortigate firewalls. This upgrade not only enhances CHI's security configuration, but also positions the organisation for its digitalisation journey over the next five years.
Simplicity can improve security
Ferreira notes that prior to this partnership, CHI had a complex array of firewalls, which hindered effective security management. The transition to a simpler, consolidated system reduced complexity and minimised CHI's external footprint, thereby strengthening its overall security posture.
Benting emphasises the importance of investing in cyber security. He highlights the importance of choosing the right partners – with a strong regional presence and reputation. “NEC XON is a vital component of CHI's cyber security strategy and played a key role in identifying risks and potential entry points during the assessment phase,” he explains. Ferreira adds that effective enterprise cyber security goes beyond deploying technology and requires ongoing collaboration and best practice sharing.
The partnership with NEC XON has enabled CHI to accelerate its business growth while maintaining a strong focus on cyber security. Benting draws an analogy to a car, emphasising that superior brakes are essential for achieving higher speeds. Similarly, effective cyber security allows organisations to progress confidently along their digital journey. NEC XON operates as an integral part of CHI's team, consistently challenging and advising the organisation on how to stay ahead of emerging threats.
NEC XON is a leading African integrator of ICT solutions and part of NEC, a global Japanese firm. The company has operated in Africa since 1963 and delivers communications, energy, safety, security, and digital solutions. It co-creates social value through innovation to help overcome serious societal challenges. The organisation operates in 54 African countries and has a footprint in 16 of them. Regional headquarters are located in South, East, and West Africa. NEC XON is a level 1-certified broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) business. Learn more at www.nec.xon.co.za.