BusinessDay

Rise in Ransomware attacks in Nigeria force security skills upgrade

More information technology (IT) officers in Nigeria are upgrading their security skills in readiness for the rising incidences of Ransomware.

The “IT Security Team: 2021 and Beyond,” survey by Sophos showed that a vast majority of IT teams in Nigeria faced a rise in cyberattacks (87%) and a heavier security workload (91%) over the course of 2020 strengthened their security skills and knowledge. Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, 52 percent of the IT teams surveyed globally, said team morale increased during 2020.

The surge in online adoption reported by companies in different market segments also attracted criminals. The survey notes an increase in cyberattacks that impacted IT skills across all industry sectors covered in the survey. The sectors covered include at a global level, education (83%), retail (85%), and healthcare (80%).

The 5,400 survey respondents are IT decision-makers in mid-sized organizations in 30 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

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“IT professionals played a vital role in helping organizations to keep going despite the restrictions and limitations necessitated by COVID-19. Among other things, they enabled education institutions to move learning online, retailers to switch to online transactions, healthcare organizations to deliver digital services and care under incredibly tough circumstances, and ensured public entities could continue to provide essential services,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, Sophos.

Facing challenges together boosted team morale. IT team morale also improved for many teams. More than half (59%) of the IT teams surveyed said team morale increased over the course of 2020. Morale is also likely influenced by external and personal circumstances during the pandemic, such as local lockdowns, the inability to see family, and other factors. Regardless, the findings suggest that a shared purpose, a sense of value, and facing adversity together helped to bond and lift the spirits of IT teams.

The experiences of 2020 have fuelled ambitions for bigger IT teams and using advanced tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) in future technology strategies. Many organizations appear to have entered 2021 with plans to increase the size of both in-house and outsourced IT teams and to embrace the potential of advanced tools and technologies. The survey found that 72 percent of IT teams anticipate an increase in in-house IT security staff by 2023, and 51 percent expect the number of outsourced IT security staff to grow over the same time frame. An overwhelming majority (94%) expect AI to help deal with the growing number of attacks and 93 percent with the complexity of attacks. This could be due in part to the fact that 47 percent of IT teams believe that cyberattacks are now too advanced for the in-house team to tackle on their own

“However, the survey shows that in many cases these challenges have created not just more highly skilled, but more motivated IT teams, ready to embrace an ambitious future. As a growing number of countries are able to start planning for life beyond pandemic restrictions, we have an excellent opportunity to implement new IT and security policies, adopt more secure modern tools to manage employees and operations beyond the IT perimeter, build expert teams that blend in-house and out-sourced talent, and introduce security platforms that combine intelligent automation with human threat hunting expertise. There is no going back. The future may be just as unprecedented as the past,” Wisniewski said.

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