Rapid Digitalization in Africa Raises New Cyberthreats: Building Cyber Resilience with Cloud-Native Security

Africa’s digital environment is rapidly evolving. The introduction of cloud technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) has sped up the spread of information and increased connectivity and efficiency. But with this comes an increase in the number of cyberthreats. 

The rise of connected technologies throughout Africa has led to an unprecedented increase in digital touchpoints, opening up the attack surface for threat actors to exploit. More specifically, in 2021 South Africa had 230 million threat detections in total, while Kenya had 72 million and Morocco 71 million according to Interpol’s assessment report.

Ensuring all these data points are monitored and secure is creating mounting pressure on organizations’ security teams, and this is a particular challenge for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) working with limited resources. In an era where organizations are looking to scale their digital transformation, deploying scalable and innovative security solutions is more important than ever before. 

Fighting back against the constant barrage of sophisticated threats requires organizations to deploy intuitive security platforms that are geared toward reducing the burden of managing threats. Harnessing a cloud-native security platform enables overstretched security teams to fight and find threats faster – all while optimizing costs and analyst’s workloads.

Growing Digital Data Points, Growing Threats

Africa’s developing digital maturity makes it a prime target for cyberattacks, with the region now the second largest in the global IoT market. The region’s IoT connections are projected to grow from 396 million in 2018, to 1.1 billion in 2025 according to GSMA Intelligence. Threat actors see Africa as a tempting target due to the influx of IoT devices. By abusing the new entryways, cybercriminals can carry out attacks against digitally connected critical infrastructure such as electrical grids or even medical devices. This can cause widespread disruption if organizations aren’t properly prepared for attacks.

To add to this challenge, countries in the region have fluctuating levels of cyber readiness. There is a lack of regional policies and a unified framework to standardize cyber resilience across Africa. This leads to organizations underinvesting in security solutions and underestimating the damage that threat actors can cause. Many businesses haven’t adopted comprehensive approaches to cybersecurity, which in turn causes a shortage of trained employees.

With security teams being increasingly overwhelmed by the cybersecurity skills gap, and the increased number of access points from devices, it is crucial that organizations focus on deploying efficient solutions to overcome the most significant threats.

Closing Visibility, Skill, and Technology Gaps 

Cloud-native is an approach to building and running applications that leverages cloud computing principles and technologies to take full advantage of the benefits provided by cloud environments.

A cloud-native software as a service platform (SaaS) can help overburdened security teams and allow African organizations to focus on digital growth. These platforms leverage powerful analytics to surface threats faster, reducing mean-time-to-respond (MTTR) and mean-time-to-detect (MTTD), while also mitigating visibility gaps.

These platforms are capable of automatic data collection to streamline the threat detection process. Data is correlated into various logs that security analysts can then use to compile the threats the organization is facing. The analyst experience is vastly improved by automating the threat detection process, allowing them to prioritize larger threats as they have more free time to focus on the work that matters.

Resources are limited for security teams, so maintaining and updating a system can take away precious time that could be used to focus on threat hunting. When organizations deploy a cloud-native platform, they gain a solution that is managed by the platform provider, taking the weight off the shoulders of security teams. The providers will then offer support and updates to ensure the system evolves alongside the growing threat landscape.

With threats being so frequent and targeting new devices, full visibility into systems is key. Cloud-native platforms are capable of aggregating data into easy to analyze logs, so analysts aren’t faced with overwhelming amounts of data. These logs create a more guided and instinctual workflow for analysts to follow, making searching across the platform much easier.

Eliminating Threats to Digital Growth

Africa is experiencing a period of rapid digitalization, but as more regions increase digital adoption, they increase their risk of attack. IoT devices provide bad actors with more touch points, letting them take advantage of Africa’s growth. 

Investing in cloud-native security platforms can relieve the burden placed on security teams and protect against evolving attack methods. With the right tools at their disposal, African organizations can continue to thrive in the digital market while staying ahead of mounting threats.

This article was written by Essam Ahmed, Regional Sales Director at LogRhythm.

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