Data security, innovation on top of Dimension Data as it delights in being crowned Cisco partner of the year for Africa
In November 2018, Dimension Data East Africa was feted Africa Partner of the Year at the Cisco Partner Summit 2018, held in Las Vegas, United States.
Dimension Data is a USD 8 billion global systems integrator and managed services provider that designs, manages, and optimizes today’s evolving technology environments to enable its clients to leverage data in a digital age.
This was a great achievemnet for the company as it was gauged to have developed innovative measures to ensure cyber security and creative technologies in Big Data as well as Artificial Intelligence to solve key African challenges.
One of the most acclaimed fete of the company was in South Africa, where the company learnt valuable lessons on connected conservation, where in just two years, it helped reduce rhino poaching by 96% in the Kruger National park .
AI in wildlife management
This fete according to Ndung’u Kahindo, General Manager, Solutions at Dimension Data Solutions was a way of giving back to the society or commonly known as Corporate Social Responsibility.
Kahindo acknowledges the success of these lessons. “While everyone was working on tagging the rhinos, we acknowledged that by the time a sensor is not responding, then it is too late and the animal might be dead. We opted to develop technologies that can detect the people in the park and exactly point who should not be there hence saving rhinos,” he says.
There is a possibility this can be replicated in East Africa in the next two years as talks are ongoing with various players. Kahindo acknowledges that the company is willing to explore what AI and big data can offer.
One of the area that has made data scientists scratch their heads across the world is urban traffic management. In Kenya for example, Kahindo observes traffic snarl-up is often brought about by human errors and AI can help address human behaviour and prevent it from making the situation worse.
Mr. Ted Ogonda, Engineering Manager, Sub Saharan Africa at Cisco Systems observes that the availability of secure internet infrastructure can also help decongest cities as everyone does not need to commute to city for work.
AI in sports management
Dimension Data and Cisco have also been called in aid of sports in Africa and across the globe by using scientific methods to predict results and performance.
“As the official technology partner for Tour de France, our cloud-based solution gives billions of cycling fans, media, and commentators access to accurate and secure rider data, including live speed, location of individual riders, and composition of groups.”
This is not a very new development in managing sports through technology but is new in Africa. Kahindo says through the use of AI, they are able to predict an individual performance in the remaining part of the game.
Though sounding futuristic, this, he reckons will lead to a point whereby even some football player substitution in the future will be decided by a machine rather than a coach.
But Dimension Data is not only into futuristic projects. They have for the last decade been developing cyber security solutions to wade off potential threats online.
Local industry experts estimate that financial losses due to breaches are expected to reach 21 billion shilling in 2018 up from 17.5 billion shilling in 2016. Kenya has remained largely reactive to cyber risks, a situation further aggravated by a severe shortage of security experts not only locally, but also globally.
But with most companies not obliged to report financial losses, and related infiltrations these figures could be much higher, noting that mobile fraud, sim swap, SMS phishing and Internet of Things (IOT) breaches are rarely tracked or recorded. Dimension Data estimates that a ransomware attack occurs every forty seconds somewhere around the world.
Recent efforts by the Central Bank of Kenya that introduced cybersecurity standards and guidelines in 2018 have however driven urgency and proactivity in addressing cybersecurity challenges in the local financial services sector.
According to a cybersecurity report by business consultancy and research firm Frost & Sullivan, up to 62% of companies in Kenya have suffered at least one form of cyber breach before. The report notes that cybersecurity market in Kenya is worth about Kes. 43,6 billion, and expected to reach 52.5 billion in 2020, offering a huge opportunity for innovative solutions in the sector.
” From converged networks a few years back, we now have a vast ecosystem of hybrid infrastructures running on cloud, on-premise and mobile systems. This is only going to increase the pressure on data security as organisations seek to increase revenue and reduce operating costs”, explained Kahindo.
In addition, the combined lack of a unified response by the security industry to threats, and diversification of illicit subscription services, automated software toolkits, and the ever growing online criminal support forums have also reduced barriers to entry for cyber criminals.
“We need to make cybersecurity more intelligence-driven, so as to counter fast-moving and automated attacks while managing the ever-changing threat landscape. Intelligence is key to timely and predictive responses”, said Kahindo, adding that vulnerable sectors such as healthcare and professional services in Kenya need to emulate the financial sector.
The Dimension Data cybersecurity trends report 2019 notes that by 2020, more than 60% of organizations are expected to invest in multiple data security tools, such as data loss prevention and encryption.
“We are delighted by the confidence the Kenyan and larger African market continues to show in our business transformation services. Even so we realize that businesses continue to face huge technology challenges, such as cybersecurity which remains the biggest threat in the Financial services, manufacturing and public sectors in the region”, said Kahindo.
Insider threats due to poor network visibility and monitoring, malware downloads from malicious websites resulting from poor web traffic monitoring and email phishing were identified as the key cybersecurity challenges faced by businesses in 2018.