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NEC XON names Kevin Smith as head of cyber security

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Kevin Smith, head of cyber security at NEC XON.
Kevin Smith, head of cyber security at NEC XON.

ICT solutions and services company NEC XON has appointed Kevin Smith as head of its cyber security business unit.

Smith previously worked as head of cyber security at Puleng Technologies.

He will now be responsible for observing all of the information security, technology architecture and business security operations occurring across NEC XON, and overseeing infrastructure that facilitates customers’ security operations.

Smith previously headed up African systems integrators and provided independent strategic advisory consulting to blue-chip customers.

Prior to joining Puleng Technologies, he worked for cyber security specialist DRS as a business development manager. He worked for Dimension Data for 20 years, moving from sales to a management position, and then later into the leadership as security infrastructure executive.

NEC XON is the combination of XON, a systems integrator providing custom ICT and security services and solutions in Southern Africa, and NEC Africa, the African business of global technology giant NEC Corporation.

The Gauteng-headquartered company services all provinces in SA and 16 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It provides smart solutions, such as renewable energy, safety and security products, to companies operating in the energy, telecommunications, enterprise, retail, financial, mining, telecommunications and pharmaceutical sectors.

NEC XON says it has re-modelled its cyber security value proposition for South African organisations, as cyber resilience has become even more important due to heightened cyber security threats during the pandemic.

Over the past year, SA has experienced a cross-industry spike in cyber attacks, with exports and imports nearly crippled in state-owned rail company Transnet’s cyber attack and many justice-related activities restrained in the justice department ransomware attack.

More recently, thousands of data records with sensitive bank consumer data were exposed during a cyber attack on debt recovery solutions provider Debt-IN Consultants.

“Hackers have hammered SA’s government organisations and private enterprises in the past few months,” says Jason Barr, executive of safety solutions at NEC XON.

“These attacks expose our greatest weakness: that traditional approaches to cyber security are no longer effective. We need new solutions, new services and a new approach that is relevant to the extreme risks that can change the fate of organisations and individual people overnight.

“To further enhance our mature cyber security model, we have added new leadership to help deliver risk-based solutions that help organisations identify, mitigate and respond to dynamic threat environments.”

In his new position, Smith says his short-term goals include improving the quality of cyber security solutions available to local organisations, while in the long-term, he seeks to help leverage OEM expertise in availing advanced technologies to help organisations in their journey to re-invent themselves to maintain relevancy in the digital age.

“To achieve this requires us to maintain an intimate understanding of organisations’ business challenges.

“The two biggest challenges facing South African companies regarding cyber security are, firstly, that organisations have been under huge pressure from threat actors pre-COVID-19 and the wave of attacks have increased and will continue to increase during and post-COVID-19.

“Secondly, the global skills shortage is estimated to be anywhere between two million to three million resources – a challenge that is exacerbated on the African continent and is proving to be the single biggest one we face today.”

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