With Kenya facing a dire shortage of cyber security experts and the Internet becoming more ubiquitous, the regulator Communications Authority (CA), Huawei, and Safaricom have partnered alongside Swahilipot Hub to impart cyber security skills to university students.

Speaking when he launched the initiative, Dr. Gilbert Mugeni, Acting Assistant Director- Innovation, Research & Development at the Communications Authority of Kenya, said that the country’s cybersecurity capacity remains a major gap, with more than one third of organizations struggling to find competent cyber security professionals.

“Safeguarding our national digital space requires adequate cybersecurity capacity. We are therefore working with local and international stakeholders to develop our national cybersecurity capacity to power and safeguard our cyber space in all spheres,” said Dr. Mugeni.

Phase one of the training will be online and self-paced, while the second phase is designed to be instructor-led simulated lab work on enterprise security. The third and last phase will be an Emergency Response Simulation Exercise.

These jointly structured sessions and courses are geared at preparing participants for a successful career in cybersecurity.  He announced that 238 students have already registered for the program, showing the heightened interest from young people in cybersecurity skill sets.

Echoing his sentiments, Peter Ndegwa, the Safaricom Chief Executive Officer pointed out that cyber security attacks are no longer the preserve of a few sectors.

“No organization and individual are insulated from cybercriminal attacks. Technology has become an enabler across different aspects of our daily lives leading to people increasingly living digital lifestyles. Initiatives such as the Pwani Innovation Week are important in ensuring that we continue meeting the future demand for highly qualified experts especially in skills such as cybersecurity,” he explained.

With cybercriminal attacks getting increasingly sophisticated and a growing threat to sensitive data, the latest up-to-date knowledge and practical activities to hone their skills is important for cyber security students.

“Building and implementing end-to-end cyber security and privacy protection assurance systems is key strategy for governments, private sector organizations and individuals,” noted Ms. Fiona Pan, Huawei’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Public Affairs. She added that the firm has found that more Kenyans were aware of data privacy and cyber security and are interested in prioritizing skilled capacity to deal with cyber security challenges.

In his remarks, Mahmoud Noor, Swahilipot Hub Chairman announced a national boot camp during the Pwani Innovation week aimed at tertiary learning institutions Community Tech Hubs. “It will be a platform to identify and upskill talent in cybersecurity and ultimately connect them to public and private sector players,” he said.

Various studies have shown that small businesses, financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare, energy and utilities are just but a few of the main industries targeted for cyber-attacks. This increasingly high number of attacks has captivated the national, regional and global attention and shown the need for more solutions against this threat. As such, organizations need the right technical knowhow to not only manage security risks and controls but also maintain a robust security posture to identify and neutralize possible cyber threats.

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