More global firms target Kenya on rising threats


Cloud leaks occur when sensitive business data stored in a private cloud is accidentally exposed to the internet. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Acronis, a global cyber protection company, has announced plans to extend its cyber cloud data centre services to Kenyan companies as it seeks a slice of the growing market.

Kenya not only stands out as a key growth frontier as companies look for digital infrastructure that enables faster internet speeds but also secure solutions.

Seshni Gafoor, the Acronis channel manager in sub-Saharan Africa, says the company is looking to bring to Kenya a data centre that has “sophisticated security and privacy” that will protect businesses from online attacks.

Of late, data centres have become tempting targets for hackers. Cloud leaks occur when sensitive business data stored in a private cloud is accidentally exposed to the internet.

“We want to strategically position ourselves to meet the growing demand for cost-effective cloud solutions,” she said.

The Kenya data centre market is expected to grow at 14.83 percent by 2027. Over the years, it has attracted many global entrants, including US-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) which entered a partnership with Safaricom three years ago.

The telco said in a past statement that it will be able to “offer AWS services to East-African customers, allowing businesses of all sizes to quickly get started on AWS cloud and accelerate innovation.”

The data centre market in Kenya has about six unique providers operating around nine facilities. Most investors set up in Kenya, as a gateway to the East African region.

“The cloud data centre will also be instrumental in enabling multinationals to SMEs within the larger East Africa market effectively engage with the global business network,” added Ms Gafoor.

Global operators are also entering the data centre space by acquiring local operators or through partnerships.

Some of the key investors in the Kenyan market include (Digital Realty), IXAfrica, PAIX, Teraco Data Environments, Wingu, and Huawei Technologies.

The country has seen an increase in digital services such as the cloud, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) driving the demand for data centres.

With the increase in digital services, Ms Gafoor said there was a need for the government to sensitise Kenyans on the emerging cybersecurity threats.

Cybersecurity has become a big threat in the Kenyan market with the high rise in technology demand. Despite the rise of cloud computing, there are still many corporate data centres around and these are tempting targets for cybercriminals.

Kenya has heavily invested in the digital space, but not so much in cybersecurity.

Sh621m cost per breach

According to Acronis, this year, the average cost of data breaches is expected to surpass Sh626 million per incident.

Between July and September 2021, over 143 million cyber threats were detected, representing a 268.8 percent increase compared to 38 million threats between April and June of the same year.

Such trends are replicated across key and emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa - factors that urgently require a unified approach to minimise the threat landscape and create a conducive environment for businesses to flourish.

In Kenya, financial phishing attempts rose significantly in the first and second quarters of 2022 as banks, online payment systems, and e-commerce websites were heavily targeted.

Over 100,000 financial phishing attacks were detected – a 201 percent increase.

Ransomware continues to be the number one threat to enterprises and businesses including government, healthcare and organisations in other sectors.

Each month in the second half of 2022, ransomware gangs were adding 200-300 new victims to their combined list. The market of ransomware operators was dominated by 4-5 players.

“Malware attack remains a global phenomenon. This is why there is a need for members to know how to protect their personal information,” noted Ms Gafoor.

On the other hand, she said that although there is a sharp increase in such attacks, data protection and security narrow down to an individual or a company.

According to KE-CIRT (Kenya's national cybersecurity), March 2022 statistics for the second quarter of 2021, ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks were the most common cybersecurity risks in the country.

This upward trend can be attributed to the rise in impersonation, online fraud, and online abuse cases arising from increased internet access and use.

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