There is no denying that cyber security has become quite a big deal as criminals get more savvy and explore more and more ways to take advantage of the huge audience that the internet and technology in general affords them. Cyber crime is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, and Governments are still a long way from setting up sustainable systems to curb it. There are very few cyber crime cases that have been convicted since most of these faceless people don’t leave a digital footprint, making it hard for the respective institutions to catch them. The best way to curb them therefore is to stay a step ahead of the fraudsters.

Many organizations only act hurriedly after a breach has happened and sensitive information or even money has landed in the wrong hands. This is a rather sad scenario because customers place so much trust in these organizations. When you think about it, millions or even billions can be lost in just one minute when criminals get hold of either data or information about an organization and its customers. Millions more are lost in data recovery and reputation management as an organization that has been attacked rushes to cyber security providers to mend the damage that has already been done. Yet it is obviously more prudent to act before, and at the very latest during a breach.

The world is now more interconnected than ever, with no signs of a slow down in this trend. As a single example of how important data security is, more than 75% of Kenyan citizens are formally included in financial services through financial technology, owing to the rise of digital services in financial institutions. One would therefore logically expect a significant increase in cybersecurity investments in the financial services sector. But is this always the case? Regrettably not. A lot of decision makers still do not take cyber threats seriously, maybe because they’re not necessarily physically tangible. This puts customer data at risk, and at the same time mess with the trust that these customers have in the institutions.

Those are just financial institutions. Now think of hospitals, telecommunication companies, hotels, taxi hailing apps, and even homes as IoT becomes more and more popular and even more info is stored on cloud. We are more exposed than ever and there is need to take necessary steps to safeguard our safety.

Anyway, cyber security providers are listening and acting to stay ahead of the game. One of the biggest and surest conglomerates that is very big on safety of data is Microsoft and continues to develop solutions and form partnerships with other like-minded companies. It is towards this that the company has today underscored its commitment to supporting, sponsoring and advocating for women with an interest in security engineering. This was during the annual Hackathon organized by SheHacks at the Microsoft Auditorium at Strathmore university.

Speaking during the event, Hayden Hainsworth, General Manager for Cybersecurity Engineering at Microsoft expressed the company’s delight to be partnering with SheHacks for this year’s Hackathon which is focused at preparing women to thrive in the technology industry. Hayden highlighted the importance of such strategic partnerships and events in developing competency in tackling cyber threats in a rapidly evolving tech ecosystem.

Shehacks is a community of women in cybersecurity from various backgrounds and counties across Kenya, that connects learners and experts who share knowledge, experience and mentorship through various platforms and programmes they have through annual events known as HackFests.

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