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Africa security spending rises with increased connectivity

o Rebecca Wanjiku
15.04.2010 kl 16:48 |

Africa's spending in IT security has risen and is expected to continue growing as more people access affordable connectivity and companies embrace smartphones and social media in work places.


Africa's spending in IT security has risen and is expected to continue growing as more people access affordable connectivity and companies embrace smartphones and social media in work places.

According to IDC, Africa's IT spending is high compared to the GDP, with South Africa leading with IT security spending of 3.8 percent of its GDP. Mauritius, Morocco spend 1.1 percent of GDP on IT security while Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia spend less than 1 percent.

"As IT budgets undergo cutbacks, security spending will not be one of the areas significantly affected by the economic downturn; between 2009 -2011, security products and services will remain stronger than other IT areas because of compliance and business requirements," said Francis Hook, IDC East Africa regional manager.

The security trends were discussed at the annual IDC security roadshow, organized jointly with Kaspersky Labs and bringing together CIOs and IT security experts to discuss emerging threats and possible solutions.

The entry of SEACOM, TEAMS and EASSY fiber optic cables has significantly lowered the cost of connectivity for many companies while the removal of tax on mobile handsets has allowed many people to afford high-end smart phones, which are also used to access corporate networks.

"Ten years ago, a bank would have been forced to get leased lines for interconnecting their operations within the country; today, availability of Virtual Private Network solutions has significantly reduced the costs, but has meant higher spending on security solutions for the shared services," Hook said.

"Online content is expected to grow, which poses corporate challenges yet CIOs will be expected to check the capital expenditure and operational expenditure," said Stan Kamanguya, analyst for systems and infrastructure solutions, IDC East Africa.

With the acceleration of speeds and the desire for increased local content, IDC projects that many organizations will defer some projects, freeze hiring, and actively look for savings from virtualization and host management.

According to IDC's 2009 security study, the worldwide security services market was valued at $20.1 billion in 2007, and is expected to increase at a slower compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5 percent over the 2008--2012 period.

In Africa, technologies such as identity and access management, unified threat management, messaging and web security are expected to continue driving security services spending.

Technology trends such as the growth of security as a service, the rise in the number of Web 2.0 tools, social media, and how companies are attempting to block the sites and the sophistication of online criminals was also discussed.

"The focus from criminals is to steal data and monetize that; they blend their attacks across multiple vectors; URL lists and signature based security mechanisms cannot keep up with zero-day threats," said Mike Hibbert, director for Websense in Africa.

Corporate security policies and the need for an organization-wide data loss prevention (DLP) strategy that defines guidelines for employees including messaging and endpoint security was discussed.

However, Hibbert said that the Websense 2009 Web 2.0 @work international survey revealed that almost 50 percent of all IT managers surveyed admit their users tried to bypass security policies.

Keywords: Security  
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