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Dimension Data's Intelligent Security business tackles cyber threats

Intelligent Security shields businesses from cyber attacks in South Africa and beyond.

Johannesburg, 01 Jul 2020
Read time 3min 10sec

In December 2019, Dimension Data launched its focused Intelligent Security business to help clients protect themselves from global cyber threats. Since then, along with a very tight interlock with its global NTT Group security team, the business has invested in additional significant platforms and skills to support its efficiency.

Of key importance is its Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) platform, which employs an ecosystem of deeply integrated technologies. Dimension Data has also invested heavily in research to develop further solution offerings that speak directly to the pricing, scaling and security needs of local businesses.

As well as serving the South African market, the company has also now extended this service to its clients in East Africa, prompted by a 55% spike in the number of recent insider-related cyber security breaches, spurred by the lack active monitoring due to IT personnel being transitioned to remote work environments due to COVID-19.

According to the Communication Authority (CA) (Kenya) Annual Report 2018/2019, malware attacks were the most prevalent threats accounting for about 78% of all cyber threat detections by the National Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre.

The first half of 2020 has seen an increase in reconnaissance attacks, accounting for 40% of all observations in the Middle East and Africa region, according to the latest NTT Global Threat Intelligence Report. It also notes that a rise in Web application attacks on content management systems such as Joomla and WordPress accounted for over 20% of observed attacks. Service-specific attacks increased by 40%, targeting known weaknesses that have remained largely unaddressed by various organisations.

Dimension Data Managing Executive for Intelligent Security across MEA, Tony Walt, says the company has always been a leader in providing security solutions for its clients. “In our emerging markets, security plays a critical role in any organisation. We have expanded Dimension Data Security into East Africa to make sure we’re offering world-class solutions that will address the unique needs of our clients operating in this market.”

Intelligent Security brings together all the capabilities and security offerings previously managed by Dimension Data’s subsidiary brands into one business.

“The current COVID-19 crisis has seen an upsurge in the use of technology as many companies adopt work from home and ‘bring your own device’ policies. This increases organisational risk as cyber security etiquette has shifted to end-users. As a result, the most prevalent attacks include phishing and social engineering. The financial services industry has been the most targeted sector because of the potential immediate monetary gain,” Walt says.

The unit’s head in East Africa, Ishmael Muli, says across East Africa “we are seeing insiders taking advantage of companies that lack visibility or the ability to investigate successful cyber attacks due to limited controls to detect unusual activity, once someone breaches their network.

“Some of these attacks involve manipulation of transactional data, tampering of logs to limit tracing, as well as framing legitimate users – all of which make forensic investigations extremely difficult.”

Muli says current attacks within East Africa are being linked to hackers employing smarter methods to distribute their server networks and occasionally purchasing command and control systems in other countries, with traffic being routed through myriad systems making its origin hard to trace.

Both in South Africa and regionally on the larger continent, organisations will need to automate more through intelligence analysis and orchestration tools, especially in terms of incident response.

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