Cyber Defense in an Era of Digital Dependency

One of the most significant implications of the COVID-19 pandemic is the global shift to dependency on the digital economy. Constellated workplaces have opened up unprecedented technological risks such as unsecured devices, shadow IT and unregulated internet access, and opportunistic fraudsters have launched unprecedented cyber warfare on poorly defended systems. In the face of heightened pressure on digital infrastructure, what can companies do to defend themselves in a new era of cyber risk? 

Businesses across the globe have typically taken an immature approach to cybersecurity, believing that a firewall is an adequate fortress to defend their intellectual property. According to Nithen Naidoo, CEO of Snode, there is an urgent need – now more than ever – for always-on surveillance and real-time risk analysis for potential breaches. “Cybercriminals are deploying a varied arsenal of insidious tactics to access your company’s information technology: coronavirus-specific phishing schemes, malware, memetics, deepfakes and mass cognitive influence operations. In this new normal, organisations must aggressively confront these potential risks. Fundamental to the success of security efforts is launching cyber defense solutions that are impactful, agile and quick to adopt. Failure to do so could be catastrophic.”

Business continuity is the key modus operandi in these precarious times. Cybersecurity efforts need to be upgraded – and quickly – to defend the digital infrastructure that is integral to a company’s success. As such, it is imperative that South Africa has access to locally-developed cyber defence technology that accounts for our unique requirements through a secure, trusted technology supply chain. 

“At Snode, we focus on digital defense innovation with in-house developed technology and home-grown talent. Cybersecurity must be approached as far more than just a checkbox exercise; the newfound fragility of information technology systems means that organisations must go the extra mile to not only remain resilient and secure but to successfully springboard into the digital landscape of the future. Our central premise is built on the need to mature the cybersecurity posture of our businesses and solidify South Africa’s fierce reputation for world-class defense innovation,” says Naidoo.

With data security top-of-mind for companies and governments alike, the United States has taken steps to emulate the “Great Firewall of China” by restricting access to apps such as TikTok and WeChat due to privacy concerns. While an isolated American information network does create more insular data defense for its citizens, it can be postulated that putting limitations on the Internet of Things defeats its intrinsic purpose: internet freedom and interconnectedness wherever you are in the globe.

In this new era of cyber defense, it is integral that business leaders and governments adopt a forward-thinking approach towards integrating cybersecurity into their business operating model. Central to this is to invest in robust cyber solutions to anticipate, combat and refine their approach to adverse business conditions, vulnerabilities and threats as a result of the world’s heightened online footprint. “Companies should be looking beyond the short-term implications of operating in cyberspace due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and gear themselves towards a sustainable defense strategy to ensure organisational success during the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” concludes Naidoo.