Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, and ITEC Group, one of the leading managed business services in South Africa earlier this week announced their partnership to help South African organizations combat cyberattacks.
This comes after the realisation that due to ongoing work-from-home transitions, a lack of cybersecurity best practices in SMBs, and absence of stringent cyberlaws at this point of time, regional organizations need to prioritize defences against ransomware and other types of cyberattacks.
Ransomware has become one of the most significant cyber threats facing companies of all sizes, regardless of industry segment.
According to the Sophos State of Ransomware 2021 report, 37% of global respondents were hit by ransomware last year, and 54% of those admitted that cybercriminals had succeeded in encrypting their data.
“Most significantly, the average cost of recovering from a ransomware attack was more than R 6.8-million. Very few companies in South Africa have access to these kinds of funds, even to remain operational. We have also seen attackers targeting local financial services and ICT sectors with ransomware. And, as more schools and other education institutions embrace online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the educational sector has also become an appealing target,” says Pieter Nel, regional head for SADC (The Southern African Development Community) at Sophos.
Nel says that of the 200 local companies that participated in the Sophos survey, more than twenty percent (24%) were hit by ransomware in 2020, with 44% of those attacks being successful. Simply put, there are more entry points into the organisational network than ever before resulting in new opportunities for attack.
According to Ria Mey, product manager for network security at Itec SA, this reflects a broader challenge in the South African cybersecurity market.
“When it comes to cybersecurity strategies, best practices are virtually non-existent, especially amongst the smaller businesses. Often, there is a lack of investment in cybersecurity with many SMEs opting for either the cheapest product available or the plethora of free-antivirus solutions available for download. Exacerbating this is South Africa’s cybercrime laws which still needs ramping up. All combined, companies and consumers here are likely targets. Just think of how few companies have some form of cyber insurance in place. And if ransomware is successful, do they go to the closest police station to open a case or what is the process?” she says.
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