Comercio Limited

International Cybersecurity and Cloud Conference

Good morning, and welcome to the International Cybersecurity and Cloud Conference.

My name is Aderonke Adeyegbe, and I am the Group Managing Director of Comercio Limited. Commercio Limited is an IT infrastructure deployment and management company. This means that we supply Nigeria’s businesses with computer hardware, software, and other technology tools they need to function and thrive in today’s world. We also fix whatever issues arise with these tools and systems in the course of their being used.

Nigeria is in the thick of a global shift towards cloud-based systems. Thanks to an increasing reliance on digital technology, we are generating huge amounts of data. Businesses are finding that they are producing so much of it that they can no longer store or process it all in-house. They are solving this problem by turning to the cloud, with its shared platforms and off-site storage infrastructure.

But as we all know, there are problems with this system. The cloud, just like every other technology, is vulnerable to attack. Concerns about cybersecurity have made many businesses reluctant to move to the cloud. Their fears are not misplaced.
In 2018, according to the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it is projected that cybercrime could cost the world $2 trillion annually by the end of 2019. These losses are expected to come from the damage and destruction of data, stolen money, theft of intellectual property, personal information, and financial data, and attacks on business processes, just to mention a few.

In its 2019 Cyber Security Outlook for Nigeria, accounting services organization Deloitte points out that the ongoing movement of businesses to the cloud increases cybersecurity threat. But what is it about the cloud that makes it a target for cybercriminals?

The answer lies in the nature of the cloud itself. Because it emphasizes shared platforms and remote storage and processing, individuals and businesses have less control over the material they house on it. Their financial records, vital personal information, and other sensitive data may be located on a platform that can be accessed by others.

Privacy and security concerns are the main barriers to the adoption of public cloud in Nigeria. It is easy to demonstrate the benefits of the cloud for businesses: it reduces the number of IT resources they have to maintain in-house; it allows them to scale their infrastructure to match user demands, and it cuts waste and saves costs on processes. But uncertainty over privacy and security is such a big issue for many organizations, that it outweighs the aforementioned benefits.

When the layperson thinks of cybersecurity, they tend to visualize the shadowy hacker, who wreaks havoc on computer networks from a remote location. But there are state actors involved here as well. Data sovereignty has become a big issue in recent years. Questions have been raised about the geopolitical jurisdiction over data generated in one country and stored in facilities located in another. In some cases, huge amounts of data have been obtained from citizens of certain countries by governments of other countries, without their permission.

This is one more headache for the contemporary Nigerian business. Many countries have enacted laws aimed at preventing the transfer of data from their citizens to agents from other countries without their permission. Nigeria has provisions in certain of its laws that touch on this issue. But it does not have a law that deals specifically with data sovereignty.

Unfortunately, the commercial and public sectors struggle to deal with these challenges. They still lag behind much of the world in terms of the quality and coverage of IT infrastructure. IT services providers are helping to bring these sectors closer to global technology norms. But their efforts are hampered by deficits in human capital and physical infrastructure.

There is a global shortage of cybersecurity experts. The Center for Strategic and International Studies says that by 2022, there will be upwards of 1.8 million unfilled positions in cybersecurity across the world. This problem is pronounced in countries like Nigeria, where the education system hardly caters to this need. The same can be said of many other IT related fields, including software and hardware engineering.

Comercio Limited is tackling this head-on with its training and certification programs. Through this means, we are equipping corporate professionals with the technical knowledge they need to manage IT infrastructure.

There is also the perennial problem of inadequate power supply, which stifles industrial growth in Nigeria. It affects the IT sector as well. Computers and other digit devices need power to run. Data generation and consumption are dependent on electricity. We also require electricity to maintain the cloud and access cloud-based services. As long as power is lacking, migrations to the cloud will be severely restricted.

We will discuss extensively today on how to combat these lapses and prepare Nigeria for the twenty-first century on easy digital transformation. Discussions today will also focus on changing the narrative of cybercrime as something peculiar to Nigeria. It is not merely a Nigerian problem. It is a global menace. We want to find ways to communicate this to the world.

I would like to appreciate everybody present here today: Our panelists, Taiye Lambo, founder and Chief Technology Officer, Cloude Assurance; Rakiyya Mohammed, Chief Information Security Officer, Central Bank of Nigeria; Mitchell Elegbe, Founder and CEO of Interswitch; Opeyemi Onifade, Director Alenoids and Former Chief Information Security Officer, Galaxy Blackbone; Dr. Segun Aina, President, Fintech Association of Nigeria; and Basil Udotai, Managing Partner, Technology Advisors LLP.

And also to our partners and sponsors, Interswitch, Etranzact, Phase3 Telecoms, Layer3, VDT, Estream, Interdist Alliances, Medallion Communications, eFotresses, Cloude Assurance, and HISPI.

It is our hope that this event charts a path forward for Nigeria as it seeks to leverage today’s technologies for a shared future of growth and prosperity.

Thanks & God Bless,