Cyber security has ‘fallen by the wayside'

Read time 2min 20sec
Ian Jansen van Rensburg, lead technologist at VMware Africa.
Ian Jansen van Rensburg, lead technologist at VMware Africa.

While everyone is talking about digital transformation and 4IR, and giving a lot of attention to data analysis, the cloud, and automation, cyber security is falling by the wayside.

So says Ian Jansen van Rensburg, lead technologist at VMware, adding that when it comes to safeguarding data, many businesses still rely on anti-virus and firewall solutions.

According to him, organisations continue to fight increasingly sophisticated threats with traditional tools. “If other digital solutions have evolved and been embraced, why the hesitance to adopting the same approach around cyber security?”

recent survey by VMware revealed that only 25% of business leaders across EMEA are confident in their existing security solutions, and although 75% of them said they thought their tools are outdated, only 42% acquired new tools over the past year.

Moreover, 35% of IT decision-makers polled in SA, said they expect some form of attack not within years or months, but days. This is why he says it's key for investments in new security solutions to increase, and mindsets to change if

Inadequate policies

In terms of spending patterns, Jansen van Rensburg says these have already started to change. According to Gartner, global spending on cyber security grew to over $114 billion last year and is expected to reach $124 billion at the end of 2019. 

“Changing security risks, business needs, and industry changes are the main reasons driving this. Of course, it is one thing to implement new solutions and something else entirely to foster a cultural change inside the business.”

Unfortunately, he says nearly a third of IT security respondents claim it takes up to a week to address a cyber security issue. 

“In today’s real-time environment, this is not good enough. Recently, the City Power in Johannesburg was hit by a ransomware attack that not only compromised its databases but left many clients unable to buy prepaid electricity. Imagine the reputational (and financial) damage of taking a week to resolve this.”

What is clear, he says, is that current cyber security policies are inadequate. Outdated software is failing businesses, who need to look beyond the traditional ways of managing cyber security, and examine how their current security systems can be improved.

Jansen van Rensburg says slow and inefficient practices are seeing businesses losing confidence in their ability to fight the latest threats.

“Throwing money at the problem will not make it go away. A fundamental change to how cyber security is managed in the organisational structure is necessary if the business is to be protected against more sophisticated digital threats.”

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