By Ifeoma Asika
In June 2020, KnowBe4 hosted the inaugural Africa Cyber Security Culture Conference 2020 that invited delegates and speakers from across the continent, and the world, to discuss security culture and the impact of the global pandemic. Held on 11 June, the event hosted industry experts from Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Norway, USA and South Africa, among others, and focused on key trends and topics relevant to cybersecurity on the African continent.
According to Managing Director of KnowBe4 Africa, Anna Collard the event exceeded expectations.
“We expected maybe 200 delegates, and we ended up with 1300 people registering to attend,” she says. “They came from all over the world, not just Africa, and engaged in conversations that helped shape the picture of security on the continent and in preparing for a more secure future.”
What made the event truly stand out was how easy it was for speakers and attendees to engage with one another and to share insights, and for the event to host a truly diverse range of speakers.
Traditionally, events are limited by the costs that come with an international speaker circuit but a virtual experience bypasses all the complexities and opens up significantly more variety in panel and discussion.
“Our keynote speaker, Head of Security Research at Orange Cyberdefense, Charl van der Walt revealed that, in spite of everything, simple security failures like poor patching, basic security hygiene and human error are the root causes of most security breaches,” adds Collard. “People are more vulnerable working from home and the company has limited control over devices and environments which is further increasing vulnerabilities. And the cybercriminals are exploiting this.”
Managing Director at CLTRe Kai Roer shared how it’s possible to use scientific survey models to measure what security culture means and how it can be tracked over time. Done over multiple organisations, worldwide, the data reflected that African users were more conservative compared with American users and that if a business wants to impact security culture, it has to measure it.
“Lynne Moses, Information Security Governance Specialist at First National Bank, spoke about the tools she uses to measure return on investment into security and culture,” says Collard. “She assesses security culture across 45,000 end users across multiple African countries at the beginning and the end of the year to compare people’s behaviours and how they’ve either improved or deteriorated. This makes it easier to prioritise what security principles – like compliance or phishing – have to be prioritised.”
Throughout the event, leaders in the industry shared security concerns in the new normal, best practice for managing security in the future, and how to help employees build safe spaces in their homes and offices.
“Roger Grimes, the Data-Driven Evangelist at KnowBe4 and Ian Keller, Chief Information Security Officer at SBV Services, both provided powerful presentations around training, security hygiene, and security awareness,” concludes Collard. “The event highlighted the need for richer security cultures, how a scientific approach can help create this culture, and how to bring about real change.”
The feedback from the attendees was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that KnowBe4 is planning to run a second event in the last quarter of 2020 that’s even more inclusive and accessible.