Why SA businesses need to consider cyber security

Johannesburg, 31 Mar 2021
Read time 5min 10sec
Image by Jack Moreh from Freerangestock.
Image by Jack Moreh from Freerangestock.

With the rising number of cyber crime attacks in South Africa, businesses need to strengthen their cyber security efforts.

Due to modern technological advancements, companies in South Africa are shifting toward digital business models. However, these technological advancements are also accelerating the pace of cyber crime activities.

Cyber crime is any form of criminal activity that involves targeting a network, computer or other digital device in order to generate profit. Through cyber attacks, criminals can get access to private and personal information.

Business Insider shows that South Africa suffers 577 malware attacks per hour. According to a PwC report, cyber crime has become more prevalent in South Africa, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. A study by Forbes Africa shows that South Africa experienced its largest-ever data leak in August 2020. This exposed the personal information of about 24 million South Africans and nearly 800 000 businesses.

To prevent cyber attacks, businesses need to consider a cyber security strategy. This will help protect data, hardware and Internet-connected systems from cyber threats.

What makes South Africa vulnerable to cyber threats?

Cyber criminals often target countries with weak cyber crime laws. This helps them reduce their chances of being detected and prosecuted. As a country without strict cyber crime regulations, South Africa is often targeted. According to an Accenture report, South Africa has the third-highest number of cyber crime victims worldwide. This results in a loss of about R2.2 billion (US$147 million) a year to cyber attacks.

The lack of investment in cyber security in South Africa remains a major problem. Moreover, poor public knowledge of cyber threats in South Africa is also a concern. Many people in South Africa are less aware of cyber threats compared to people from other countries. For example, about 50% of the South African respondents surveyed by Accenture were not aware of multi-factor authentication or its benefits.

Effects of cyber crime on businesses

For businesses that fall victim to cyber crime, the data that is lost to cyber threats could bring damaging effects. After a cyber attack, businesses can pay large amounts to recover and fix problems.

Companies that experience loss of sensitive customer data due to cyber crime can be found to be in violation of the POPI (Protection Of Personal Information) Act. This may lead to penalties, loss of revenue and brand reputation damage. After a cyber attack, businesses can lose customers and find it hard to acquire new ones.

Cyber crime should be a real warning to any business. Measures should be taken quickly to reduce threats.

Zakir Inamdar, Project Manager at Winjit

How to prevent cyber crime

Cyber security is something that businesses need to take seriously if they want to prevent cyber crime. However, businesses should first start by reviewing what is currently in place. Winjit experts help businesses review their data sources and identify weak spots. This helps businesses gain a quick understanding of how protected and well-prepared they are against cyber threats.

After conducting a review, businesses can then implement an effective cyber security strategy. They can then train employees on cyber security policies and procedures.

Implementing a cyber security strategy will help businesses prevent future cyber threats.

Stu Chalmers, Winjit Associate VP for Sales and Business Development in South Africa

How Winjit can help

Our SecureSense practice has significantly helped our clients identify business-critical issues that their existing security vendors missed. We use sophisticated methods that outperform the techniques that cyber criminals deploy. We achieve this by using both manual and automated testing methods. We further take advantage of both custom-built and industry-available tools.

Penetration testing and its ROI

Winjit offers a penetration test (PenTest) that helps businesses know their risks so that they can improve their security and prevent cyber threats. The PenTest helps businesses avoid a loss or a higher future expense, and boosts customer retention rate. On conducting the test, businesses are then given a detailed assessment report with a recommended remediation approach. Winjit then further offers continued protection to monitor business systems for compliance. All this translates to improved company reputation and a return on investment (ROI).

Winjit’s penetration test helps businesses uncover their cyber security weak spots before attackers do.

Zakir Inamdar, Project Manager

Why do businesses need a penetration test?

It is important for businesses to protect their clients’ and employees’ personal information, according to the POPI Act. This act is a mandatory privacy law that requires South African businesses to protect personal information. To be fully compliant, businesses need to prevent loss, damage and unauthorised access to personal data from clients, customers and partners. This is all possible through conducting a PenTest and adopting a cyber security strategy.

Businesses are required to be fully compliant with the POPI Act by 1 July 2021. In essence, there’s not much time left to ensure compliance with this act.

If a business is not compliant with the POPI Act, it risks damaging client relationships and business reputation in case personal information gets leaked. By deploying the PenTest, businesses can easily identify threats and data flow throughout their network and systems. Moreover, the PenTest allows businesses to detect and block unauthorised access that could lead to loss of data.

Businesses need to be compliant with the POPI Act by 1 July 2021. Adopting a strong cyber security strategy can help with this.

Uplift your cyber security strategy today

As cyber crime continues to rise in South Africa, organisations need to be serious about protecting their businesses. They should be willing to invest in cyber security so that they can prevent and mitigate cyber threats.

Businesses need to act promptly so that they can be compliant with the POPI Act. Winjit’s cyber security solutions can help protect businesses from the effects of cyber attacks. Businesses can contact Winjit to access a dedicated technical team that will work with them on their business objectives.

Winjit has successfully deployed solutions for various industries using an AI-first approach, incorporating today’s emerging technologies. Over more than 10 years, it has displayed expertise in incorporating IOT, machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing into its solutions.

To learn more, contact us at marketing@winjit.com or call (+27) 10 109 1507.