When it comes to the financial business landscape, digital innovation is key – thanks to widespread adoption of cloud-powered technology, Africa’s banking market is the second-fastest growing and second-most profitable in the world.
With new data-informed digital strategies, financial institutions are now able to serve customers with online banking and digital applications – but will these new innovations leave them open to elaborate cyber-attacks? In this blog, we’ll explain why good cybersecurity is essential in the African financial landscape and how you can provide the highest standards for your customers.
The current state of African cybersecurity
The number of data protection laws in Africa is increasing. In South Africa, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) has recently been enacted, with Kenya and Tanzania in the process of creating data privacy protection laws. However, according to McKinsey, African banking still has the second-highest cost of risk in the world. This can be attributed to both a lack of credit bureaus and irresponsible risk management practices, but also the global epidemic of hacking. Financial institutions store a great deal of sensitive data which makes them prime targets for targeted data breaches, leaving them open to ransoms and regulatory penalties.
Phishing and spam emails are also primary issues within the financial industry. Spam emails present a threat to IT workers whose time is monopolised by managing individual inboxes and implementing policies to filter out reoccurring emails. While spam emails are time-consuming to manage, phishing emails can cause data breaches: by convincing workers to click on unsafe attachments or input sensitive information, hackers can obtain access to data and the wider business network.
Business growth in the digital age
In the changing cybersecurity landscape, businesses and organisations must modernise and digitally transform their existing IT environments. For financial institutions, the dual goals of maintaining cybersecurity and pursuing digital innovation may seem at odds, but with the right approach they can be achieved simultaneously. Digital transformation is the practice of modernising a business with intelligent cutting-edge software – so how should organisations be approaching digital transformation in a secure way?
True digital transformation begins with migrating to the cloud. However, many financial institutions remain sceptical about the cybersecurity that cloud storage can offer. Hosting financial data on external servers may appear as a red flag to institutions who host their own servers, preventing them from truly embracing the digital age. With this in mind, institutions must ensure that their digital transformation doesn’t come at the cost of their cybersecurity.
Building a safer business IT environment
Migrating to the cloud can take many forms. Some organisations choose to maintain a hybrid environment, hosting some of their legacy applications and data on private servers, and some choose to migrate fully to third party cloud-powered environments. The benefits of migrating to the cloud include:
- Modern collaboration with real-time, simultaneous document editing for multiple workers.
- Enhanced communication capabilities with videoconferencing and IM software available from any device in any location.
- Reduced costs thanks to a rolling subscription that ensures your servers will scale effortlessly to meet your data storage needs.
- A secure network that protects your sensitive business information without any additional maintenance needed from your IT department.
Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft: dedicated to protecting your cybersecurity
While many providers offer cloud-powered productivity suites and computing services, Microsoft leads the market with Microsoft Azure and Office 365. Built to help organisations create the ultimate digital workplace, Office 365 gives workers access to cloud-powered versions of tools they’re already familiar with. Thanks to this familiarity, Office 365 can provide value immediately upon deployment – requiring less downtime while workers get used to their new apps.
Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business provide the modern productivity-enhancing capabilities that organisations need, and they have enterprise-security built into their DNA. Information is updated in real time, preventing version control issues and eliminating siloes within your organisation. Workers have the ability to access emails and documents securely from any device, enabling more flexible working without compromising on the security of their business information.
In order to tailor their offering for any organisation, Microsoft offer tiers of Office 365 licences, each with the same enterprise-grade security. The two primary licences are Business Essential and Business Premium, which grant access to the complete suite of Office 365 apps. Business Premium licences allow greater flexibility with the option to download desktop versions of apps for guaranteed uptime. With this option, organisations can pay only for the licences they definitely need for their monthly subscription, eliminating unnecessary costs and streamlining their operational expenses. This kind of evaluation can be difficult to undertake without the guidance of a trusted partner – this is where Liquid Intelligent Technologies can help organisations.
Migrating with Liquid Intelligent Technologies
As the leading independent data, voice and IP provider in eastern, central and southern Africa, Liquid Intelligent Technologies is the ideal partner to help your organisation migrate. Using a flexible and dynamic approach to creating a cloud-powered environment, Liquid Intelligent Technologies can provide the managed services that will allow your IT team to spend less time on routine environment maintenance tasks. Office 365 provides the secure, modern IT environment that financial institutions can use to create the best customer experiences, and with Liquid Intelligent Technologies, your organisation can take advantage of the power of the cloud today.