Information and Communications Technology (ICT) stakeholders in Nigeria have been asked to prioritize the development and harmonization of data protection policies in order to ensure a secure digital landscape.
“It is a known fact that the pandemic has changed how we work. We now see more of a distributed workforce, where people are having work done on the move. This new reality has exposed the digital landscape to massive data risks and vulnerabilities,” said Segun Okuneye, the divisional CEO of ipNX Business, at the 2021 Access Africa Workshop organized by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
The USTDA Access Africa Workshop is an initiative that supports quality information and communication technology infrastructure across Africa. It brings together critical stakeholders and partners from the public and private sectors across the continent to advance inclusive, secure, and sustainable connectivity.
The relationship between ipNX Nigeria and USTDA extends beyond the Access Africa Workshop, as both organisations signed a partnership deal in 2020 to further drive the development of Nigeria’s IT and broadband infrastructure and expand fibre-optic network to 200,000 additional homes in Nigeria.
Okuneye while speaking on “Frameworks to Support a Secure Digital landscape,” said the reality of high-level cybersecurity threats due to a change in the nature of work which was occasioned by the global pandemic.
He states further that the need for governments and private sector players to unite in purpose and align in their approach and execution to achieve data security. This is crucial because the existence of the digital landscape is hugely dependent on the successful implementation of policies, frameworks, guidelines, procedures and reforms.
“The implementation of these policies and frameworks is a shared responsibility of three key stakeholder groups – individuals, organisations and the government,” said Okuneye.
He noted, however, that the fragmentation of policies and frameworks, which are either localized to organisations, states or countries, is a major impediment towards the realization of a truly secure digital landscape.
“The fragmentation of these policies and frameworks poses a major impediment. There is a need to align policies if there will be any meaningful progress in data security,” Okuneye stated.
According to him, there are several efforts by governments at the national and international levels to bring about policies on how organisations collect, store and process user information. In Nigeria, there is the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), and internationally, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), both aimed at promoting a safe environment for the exchange of personal data.
Uche Nnakenyi, the divisional CEO of ipNX Infrastructure, shared insights on how to reduce the opportunities of data breaches and cyberattacks.
“Organisations must understand how to adopt digital security policies and frameworks within the confines of their jurisdiction and how to interact with other countries at the international level,” said Nnakenyi.
According to her, concerned stakeholders must constantly review and update these policies to keep up with the changing trends in the digital landscape.