[cybercrime] hidden cost of commoditizing IT Talent

Very interesting observations. I think for a long time and in many
companies, the IT guy’s role was to clean the machines, ensure everyone
could connect to their email/internet, install MS office and generally
ctrl-alt-del whenever machines hang.

Today, an entire company’s systems are IT based. The IT guy now is critical
to ensure the entire company runs smoothly, as IT is at the core of how
several companies run. However, to some companies, the IT guy is still seen
as the guy who dusts machines and installs antivirus. Hence this lack of
recognition of the centrality of competent IT staff and giving them the
appropriate support and rewards is costing companies billions.

Kenya will no longer be a leader in ICT sector in the continent or the
globe if we cannot develop our capacity appropriately to respond to
emerging threats and challenges. It is not enough to propose laws such as
the ICT practitioners bill. Another example is the computer misuse and
cybercrimes act which fails to acknowledge that Cybersecurity is a shared
responsibility that cannot be addressed by government alone.

We need to think critically about the sector and have concrete plans that
cement Kenya’s leadership in the sector. Disjointed approaches to solving
problems in the sector will only lead to more problems. Hence, critical
country plans that are in dire need of revision ought to be revised. The
ICT policy 2016 should be reviewed and adopted. Multistakeholder approaches
are critical. We all need to work together to address these apparent gaps
and table solutions that will save the profession and the country at large
from this impending disaster. Otherwise, companies and any person using IT
services might as well just continue increasing their budgets to make
provision for losses that will arise from cybercrimes.

Victor K

On Fri, 1 Feb 2019, 11:56 Patrick A. M. Maina via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke wrote:

> Indeed Barrack. It’s the reason we have non-ict influencers (possibly
> sponsored by rent seeking multinational corporations that want to turn the
> market into slave labor) pushing weird initiatives like an “ICT bill” whose
> only real effects are retrogressive: e.g. by creating a BACKDOOR RENT TAX
> (license fee) for anyone who wants to practice ICT and to suppress
> independent indigenous innovations. Legislation can’t fix ignorance…
>
> On Friday, February 1, 2019, 10:40:32 AM GMT+3, Barrack Otieno <
> otieno.barrack@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> Spot on Patrick,
>
> Information and Communications Technology is quiet misunderstood. No
> wonder for the longest time ever Gartner always reported the fact that
> only 30 % of ICT projects always succeeded in the long term.
>
> Regards
>
> On 2/1/19, Patrick A. M. Maina via kictanet
> <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
> > There’s a funny corporate culture that I have observed in Kenya that
> could
> > shed some light on why local IT systems appear so vulnerable: TALENT
> > COMMODITIZATION.
> > Take the banking industry for example, I recall a while back seeing some
> > chatter on twitter about how big brands UNDERPAY key IT staff (I.e. the
> > hands on technical staff like sysadmins / app admins / dbadmins & devs)
> in
> > order to “save” on manpower costs. In this day and age that is not an
> > intelligent thing to do.
> > Others assume that outsourcing to India will magically solve for costs,
> > quality and security. I have worked on projects with “world-class”
> offshore
> > teams and what I saw was a minefield of HIDDEN COSTS if you don’t have
> your
> > own savvy supervisory / QC team.
> > Then there is the “contract fixes everything” fanatics. Contracts mean
> > nothing if you can’t detect shoddy work – and if going to court after the
> > fact is almost impossible given risks of PR blowback (in image sensitive
> > industries). In many cases such contracts are just for CYA (avoiding
> blame
> > or passing audit reviews).
> > Some tradition-heavy institutions still put IT under Finance directors /
> VPs
> > or GMs instead of having IT representation at board level. This makes it
> > hard for IT to push back on top-down “spreadsheet inspired” directives.
> You
> > don’t increase shareholder value by setting up your critical functions
> for
> > downstream failure (or putting the entire org or at risk just to hit
> annual
> > growth targets).
> > Beefing up the Infosec unit is pointless if the underlying architecture
> is
> > full of holes. There is only so much duct taping that can be done. Worse
> if
> > that team is underpaid as well.
> > It’s also interesting that many local companies don’t have a “specialist
> > path” for technical talent advancement. This limits the
> political/decision
> > making clout for technical talent as well as limiting their personal
> growth.
> > Hopping / side hustling / track switching (e.g. to management) is the end
> > result.
> > These mistakes have cost the financial industry (for example) a whopping
> > 17BILLION in potentially avoidable losses (and still counting).
> >
> > So much for HR “cost savings”. :-/
> > I think the Infosec crisis in Kenya is just a SYMPTOM of bigger
> > “organisation and culture” issues – and short term thinking is right at
> the
> > heart of it.
> > “Financial institutions in Kenya have recently become a soft target for
> > cybercriminals, with police records showing that they lost about Sh17
> > billion to the fraudsters in 2016, up from Sh14 billion in 2015.”
> >
> mobile.nation.co.ke/business/Police-probe-130-bank-cyber-fraud-suspects/1950106-4959008-12vounp/index.html
>
> >
>
>
> —
> Barrack O. Otieno
> +254721325277
> +254733206359
> Skype: barrack.otieno
> PGP ID: 0x2611D86A
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