In a fast growing cyber world, challenges are bound. It is for this reason that the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana under the auspices of the American Embassy, on Thursday January 18, 2018 organized a roundtable discussion on the topic, “Cyber Security Challenges in Ghana.”
Education, awareness creation, B2B collaborations, business to government collaborations, policy formulation and implementation, and discipline were some of the key strategies discussed at the meeting. The meeting which was held at the IBM Ghana office had resource person, Ms. Elizabeth Vish, Policy Adviser on cyber issues at the U.S. Department of State. Also in attendance were representatives from Coca Cola, PwC, Technip FMC, Global Trade Consult, IBM, American Airlines, U.S. Office of the coordinator for Cyber Issues and other prominent businesses.
Education was the most talked about strategy, as Ms. Vish and the other attendees think the lack of education on cyber threats is predominate among businesses. Education will not only help business to be aware of the threats, but also help them know the tools to use in combating them. It was also suggested that education will help minimize negligence, which has been the reason for a lot of cyber-attacks on businesses.
Ms. Vish also disclosed that some U.S. initiatives have failed in the past because, there was disconnect between the problems and the initiatives. For this reason, it was suggested that there should be a lot of collaborations and information sharing among businesses, and business and government. This they think will help the government in formulating policies and coming up with initiatives which will help protect Ghana’s cyber space; likewise businesses.
Though information sharing was identified as an effective tool in tackling cyber challenges, it was also noted that businesses don’t like sharing such information due to their sensitive nature. This brought up the suggestion that, government could set up a hub or an entity, which will facilitate the sharing of these sensitive information whiles guaranteeing privacy. This they hope will encourage businesses to share information on cyber-attacks on their organizations.
The meeting also concluded that, businesses need to make extra efforts when it comes to cyber security issues. Companies are advised to double check the cyber security status of clients and other businesses they engage, get staff to be disciplined and alert, and also take physical security seriously; since physical security is part of cyber security. It was also suggested that cyber security education should start at the very stages of our educational system.
Ms. Elizabeth Vish said the information shared at the meeting will help the U.S. government in strategizing future initiatives with the Ghanaian government and businesses to make them more effective. She also said “Ghana is one of our most important bilateral partners on cyber issues in Africa” and the U.S has over the years been helping the government address issues of cyber security under the ‘Security Government Initiative’, established in 2014 under the Obama administration.