Data Commissioner, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner Immaculate Kassait has assured Kenyans that their personal data held by government institutions is in safe hands.
Ms. Kassait was speaking during a visit to Konza Technopolis to inspect the ICT infrastructure and the Technopolis’ readiness to host and protect data.
Government Institutions are the biggest holders and controllers of data in Kenya. She notes that the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has partnered with the Kenya School of Government to capacity build Government institutions on data protection in an effort to enhance the security and privacy of Kenyans’ personal data.
“Following enactment of the Data Protection Act, 2019, certain categories of data which are of strategic importance to the country must be processed in Kenya or a copy must be kept in Kenya. The Commission is therefore keen to work with relevant institutions such as Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) to ensure that data is safely processed and kept within the country”
Further, the Data Commissioner stated that the Data Protection Act, 2019 recognizes the need to build on human capacity in data protection and called on institutions to invest in data protection professionals as the field is very demanding and bears great potential. This will result in less cases of data breaches in the country.
Eng. John Tanui, KoTDA Chief Executive, ascertained Kenyans that KoTDA has put in place mechanisms to ensure that data stored at the National Data Centre in Konza is secure.
“Through industry collaborations, we are keen to make Kenya an attractive investment hub that assures all stakeholders of safety of their data. The National Data Centre is therefore equipped with facilities and man power who meet global standards.” he said.
As part of KoTDA’s quest to create awareness around data protection, the Authority partnered with the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Huawei Technologies and VMware to host a cybersecurity forum on Monday, 28th February 2022 that brought together both experienced and upcoming ICT professionals to discuss data protection and growth opportunities in the sub-sector.
Commenting on the initiatives KoTDA is undertaking to sensitize industry players on data protection, Eng. John Tanui noted that Konza is continuously advancing its cloud storage capabilities as that is one of the ways to ensure data is stored safely. “Many Government and private institutions are transitioning to cloud storage because of the advantages it offers. Cloud provides additional flexibility and security to data users and owners of applications because data is stored in shared infrastructure and it cannot be traced to a specific hardware therefore giving additional security features” said Eng. Tanui.
Ms. Maureen Mbaka, Chief Administrative Secretary, ICT, Broadcasting and Telecommunications at the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs presided over the cybersecurity forum and alluded to the opportunities for Girls in ICT in the data protection and cybersecurity field. “While cyber security breaches have continued to rise in the past few years, the gap in cybersecurity skills continues to persist with women lagging even further behind – making up approximately 20 percent of the cybersecurity workforce” she said. “The global demand for cybersecurity skills far exceeds the current supply of traditionally qualified individuals. Skilled cybersecurity professionals are therefore a unique resource at the moment and we would like to prepare and position young girls to take up these opportunities through forums such as this”.
Everline Kamau, Senior Territory Manager East Africa at VMware encouraged girls to take up opportunities in ICT arguing that it is one of the ways to tackle youth unemployment “The beauty with ICT is that it offers diversified opportunities and one’s creativity is not stifled. All you need is an idea hinged towards a tech solution to begin a startup. In addition, the technology demands by consumers is on a steady rise leading to creation of multiple tech companies which offer employment” She noted
The cybersecurity webinar was held under the Girls in ICT Initiative Kenya, a program run by KoTDA, Ministry of ICT and Women in Technology Huawei aimed to commemorate the Girls in ICT day locally and intensify efforts to bridge the digital gender gap. The Initiative was launched in August 2021 and will culminate in a finale event in April 2022 to mark the International Girls in ICT Day.