Pentesting: A crucial element of cybersecurity.

Author:White, Dominic
Position:PERSPECTIVE

Security software provides only temporary protection against cybercrime. Probing computer systems for weaknesses through simulated attacks, known as penetration testing--or pentesting--is essential.

Once, a lack of wired infrastructure in Africa presented a barrier to business. Today, however, it can be considered an advantage. Unhindered by legacy technologies, this environment nurtures digital-first startups, freeing them from the costs and complexities of migrating infrastructure to the cloud.

Such is cloud's dominance that there's been speculation that Africa could be the first cloud-native continent for technology and business. Back in 2013, Liquid Telecom opened what was hailed at the time as Africa's largest data centre. Since then it's been joined by others: the opening of Microsoft's two Azure data centres in South Africa is imminent, while Amazon Web Services has scheduled three Availability Zones for launch in 2020.

Africa has great opportunities, but there is significant risk. A cloud-native approach means that businesses can store data cost-effectively in data centres--yet it also means that securing data is far more complex.

A more connected Africa is less secure, and every business, person and end-point connected to a network is another potential entry-point for a hacker. African financial institutions and governments lost an estimated $3.5bn as a result of cybercrime last year. A reported 80% of personal computers in Africa are infected with viruses and other malicious software. And it's not just small and medium enterprises that are struggling to secure their IT systems--even the banking sector is at risk.

Many businesses invest in technical "solutions" as a quick-fix response. Security software that protects a business may work as first-aid, but will be ineffective in the long term. Just as one threat is identified and a solution installed, so hackers develop alternative means of breaching a network. Security solutions quickly become...

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