MTN Moves To safeguard Ghana’s SMEs sector against Cyber-attacks

As part of efforts to safeguard Ghana’s small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) sector against Cyber –attacks, MTN Ghana has taken another judicious step by organizing its 2nd Business Executive Breakfast Meeting for 2023 under the theme: “Cybersecurity and Digital Transformation for SMEs”.

This is also in line with the company’s unabated efforts to promote the growth and resilience of Ghana’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in order to drive and accelerate socio-economic growth across the continent.

The meeting brought together industry experts, government officials, and business leaders to share their insights and experiences on how SMEs can effectively manage their cybersecurity risks while leveraging digital technologies to drive growth and efficiency.

In a keynote address delivered on behalf of the Director General, of Cyber Security Authority, Dr. Albert Antwi-Bediako, he noted that are the backbones of the economies; stressing that the vital role SMEs play in job creation, innovations, and economic growth cannot be overemphasized.

The new generation of technologies that is Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Quantum computing, Blockchain are changing the nature of businesses.

Today these technologies help businesses to create and explore new innovative opportunities to bolster revenues, streamline operations, and the speedy delivery of goods and services.

“However, these very solutions that empower also have the potential to expose them to a multitude of cyber-ricks. Cyber –attacks including phishing schemes, data breaches, and online fraud have become victims of online impersonation on social media.

Hence there is a need to prioritize cyber-security awareness training for all business employees, and stakeholders to foster cyber-security best practices. This training will cover topics such as recognizing phishing emails and creating strong passwords, “he advised.

He said regular training sessions and awareness campaigns can significantly reduce the risk of human error and also improve the overall security posture of the organization. Failure to do so can expose the business to cyber threats.

Dr. Albert Antwi-Bediako also cited limited budget of SMEs affects the implementation of adequate security measures making it challenging to invest in robust security solutions and dedicated personnel.

According to him, the limitation makes SMEs attractive targets for cybercriminals. It is therefore imperative to find cost-effective solutions and prioritize cyber-security when drafting a budget.

However, he indicated that the government as an enabler and regulator has initiated and established various mechanisms to address Ghana’s cyber-security challenges.

The Senior Manager, of Enterprise Information Security & Governance at MTN Ghana, Jacqueline Hanson Kotei, also underscored the need for SMEs to endeavor to practice good cyber-hygiene and also put good plans in place to secure their businesses.

“You can’t have any digital transformation without cyber-security. More so, SMEs are not too small to embark on a cyber-security journey,” she stated.

In order to make the most of limited resources, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) must conduct a risk assessment to identify areas of vulnerability. This will enable them to allocate resources efficiently and effectively to ensure continuous monitoring, deterrence, early detection, and mitigation of cyber-attacks.

The CEO of Innovare Ghana, C.K. Bruce, highlighted the significance of digital transformation and its inevitable impact on businesses.

He emphasized that businesses that do not embrace digitalization will eventually fail. However, digitalization also means outsourcing various aspects of operations to other cloud-based entities to reduce costs.

He cautioned that while cloud solutions provide many benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of cyber-attacks. By taking proactive measures to safeguard against these threats, businesses can enjoy the advantages of cloud technology while minimizing the possibility of a security breach.

Audrey Mnisi, a Banking Operations, Risk, and Cybersecurity Specialist at the Ghana Association of Banks, hinted that hackers exploit the vulnerabilities of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the digital space.

According to her, they use these SMEs as conduits to hack even larger businesses. This highlights the importance of cybersecurity measures for SMEs to prevent them from becoming targets for cybercriminals.

More so, it is imperative for businesses to ensure that all devices and online access points, including those belonging to individual workers, are password-protected to prevent any unauthorized access.

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo