COVID-19 is a tough one. In just the few months it has been with us, it has played a number on not only the health of millions around the world but also social, legal, and economic systems. The virus is one game changer that must be met with deserving resilience from individuals, corporate bodies, Governments, and economies alike. Heads must come together in all sectors to not only fight it, but to also take the ‘new normal’ that is slowly but surely creeping on us.
Earlier this week, the Kenyan chapter of ISACA hosted a half day conference where over ninety IT professionals ‘met’ under the theme Maintaining Enterprise Resilience during Systemic disruption. ISACA is a is an independent, nonprofit, global association that engages in the development, adoption and use of globally accepted information system knowledge and practices. The purpose of the conference was to have a look at among other things, the current realities that have been thrust upon the business environment. It was facilitated by experts drawn from different sectors and moderated by Boniface Asiligwa Chairman Education Committee and Dorine Nalo – She -Leads Tech Liason.
The experts in attendance were:
Ken Kaberia – Safaricom Plc Head Enterprise Risk.
Ken tackled the topic of effective returning and what business leaders should be on the look-out for in the coming weeks. He highlighted the three questions that every business leader is asking – the depth of disruption, length of disruption and the shape of recovery. He took the audience through the resilience and resolve required on the road toward recovery and warned of the risks involved in returning too rapidly post COVID-19. He also highlighted the benefits of remote work may be having on businesses and personnel alike, like lower cost of production, improved productivity, and employee satisfaction.
He advised on the very real possibility of new behaviors as the new normal sets into organizations and advocated for setting up of COVID-19 crisis management centers to counter these by offering support.
He took the audience through the steps to recovery through the AACT methodology which focuses on Adopting the new world, Accelerating structural shifts, Crafting stage-based return plans and workforce, customer and Time transition.
Ag. Director General Communications Authority of Kenya Mercy Wanjau
Mercy looked at the regulators role in maintaining enterprise resilience during systematic disruption. She said that the ICT Regulator is well aware and concerned about the risks that the pandemic poses. She promised to help licensees remain resilient during these unexpected times, and to protect customers.
She emphasized the importance of digital connectivity which by now is driving every part of the Kenyan economy from education, working from home, e-Commerce, e-Government and e-Commerce among many others. This is the new reality and it unfortunately it does not come without associated risks. Since the pandemic came calling in the country for instance, a whopping 16, 450, 346 cyber threat events had been detected. These threats are as a result of more institutions adopting the work from home model.
The Authority has however long been at top of its game with the establishment of the Kenya Computer Incidence Response Team Coordination Center in 2012. With this as the country’s go-to and trusted 24/7 point of contact, cyber threats are well under surveillance and management.
Adam Lane – Deputy CEO, Public Affairs Huawei Kenya
Adam looked at Huawei’s strategy on connectivity, computing, cloud, smart devices and providing products and solutions for Government, industries, global enterprises and customers.
Global connectivity cannot be underestimated. Neither can mutual trust among players to fuel innovation, collaboration, technology for good, and all things nice that will eventually lead to prosperity for all. Unfortunately, where there’s all this technology, the risks associated with cyber security rear their ugly head again.
Alan spoke of Huawei’s recognition of cyber-attacks as the third biggest threats to mankind, with extreme weather and natural disasters being top two. He also highlighted Huawei’s journey and contribution towards cyber security, which starts by making the issue a top priority, and the end-to-end systems that the companies uses to build trust and quality in all ICT infrastructure product that comes from them.
He also highlighted the importance of connectivity and digitization, and how the healthcare sector, businesses, education, and Governments cannot escape them in the current world. He demonstrated to participants how Huawei’s digital technologies like 5G, big data and cloud are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Kenya for example is able to use Huawei’s video conference systems to help multiple Ministries improve co-ordination and learning from overseas. The speaker also mentioned how, through the Ministry of ICT, they shared global experiences in how ICT can fight against COVID-19.
Mark Thomas – CGEIT, CRISC Escoute, LLC
Mark discussed the need for governance systems to work together in a synchronized manner in order to make good of today’s complex information and technology environments. He emphasized on the importance of having proper governance frameworks which would include processes, organizational structures, information flows, behaviors, etc.
To drive the point home, he took the participants through a real-world case study on how tailored governance systems can be used to synchronize IT and business functions, and how to determine the best way to determine systems to use considering the current disruptive environment.