Internet banking, mobile computing, social media engagement and cashless are becoming the order of the day. Expect more technology driven growth, more spread. But is information security keeping up? Driving innovation in the knowledge driven economy without a full embrace of information security is futility in action. Password protection isn’t enough. Does the culture, the environment, the leadership appreciate and foster information security in a meaningful manner? It is time to go beyond individual gestures and private initiatives.
ICT is the infrastructure of today’s age. The digital route is the way to go for all – citizens, government, private sector, etc. With increased awareness of ICT and its applications in society, emerging threats and attacks – different forms of computer crime, misuse and fraud – highlight the need to protect consumers, other stakeholders and all who are involved in ICT activities. So how secure is the new digital environment? More computing, more networking, computing in the clouds, big data, but are we safe?
Information security is a moving target. It is constantly changing, with new threats and vulnerabilities emerging frequently. However, are we doing enough? What are we doing to keep up? The information security environment in Nigeria needs to be enhanced to ensure that digital transactions and activities are secure. Is enough being done to generate confidence in online transactions? That mouse could be a grenade launcher, that iPad could be a guided missile, that mobile phone could be a weapon of mass data destruction. In addition to strict technical concerns there are also commercial, social, child online protection, and other ethical concerns that arise from our growing use of technology. New issues are born online, while some offline threats are being uploaded online. To keep up with the reality of growth in the ICT enabled society, information security is essential not a luxury.
But the question is: are we joking with information security? It is important to acknowledge the several initiatives led by organizations such as the African Information Security Association (AISA) to promote information security in Nigeria and Africa. AISA and other advocacy groups run programmes from time to time to raise awareness. Several organizations that appreciate the evolving scenario have also invested in information security capacity building programs.
However, private initiatives alone will not do. There must be inclusive security climate change in the knowledge enabled society. Further, highlighting the danger and unpreparedness in the environment is the fact that required legislation including the Computer Security and Protection bill, the bill for the establishment of the Cybersecurity and Information Protection Agency, etc are still waiting to be passed by the National Assembly of Nigeria despite presentations and advocacy by stakeholders.
Stakeholders, such as interest groups, professional associations and government agencies must go beyond beautiful speeches and academic concepts. It’s time to step up and lead. It’s time to engage by delivering stakeholder driven legislation and an information security friendly environment to facilitate the achievement of Nigeria’s digital agenda. It is foundational. It is substance. Let’s put real meat into ICT for development. Information security is more than good passwording.
Innovation and Development Advisor, ICT at Jidaw
ICT Development Advisory Support and Consulting