What you need to know:
- Among the biggest victims of the new way of doing things are the major retailers.
- A minor slip can result in the loss of millions of shillings or even cripple or destabilise a business.
The adoption of new technology in the Digital Age has eased operations for organisations and individuals but also embedded within it is a grave risk that calls for serious attention. Many of the tasks that required people to spend the whole day queuing to be attended to can now be done at the click a button. That means huge savings in operational costs and time, and gone is the old inconvenience.
Among the biggest victims of the new way of doing things are the major retailers. A minor slip can result in the loss of millions of shillings or even cripple or destabilise a business. Take the example of retail giant Naivas Supermarket, which the data commissioner accuses of having breached the law in April by failing to report the theft of customer data within 72 hours. The retail chain now stares at a Sh5 million penalty, Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait told the Senate’s ICT committee. The oversight resulted in the illegal transfer of huge amounts of personal data that could be put to devious use.
In the online world lurks grave danger, hence the need for increased awareness and control measures to prevent costly breaches. Organisations must tighten controls, logging in and monitoring procedures. To safeguard users, there is a need for data backup on both online and offline servers and additional privacy enhancing safeguards. The country has the expertise in digital technology to make this possible. Training staff to enhance cybersecurity awareness is also crucial.
Urgent measures should be strictly implemented to protect the right to privacy of the individuals involved and to prevent future incidents. Nowadays, data is king—and that is precisely why it must be protected at any cost. The risk of fraud by hackers is real for organisations and private owners of the data that can be easily hacked. This is why organisations and individuals must strictly adhere to data protection laws.
Ms Kassait and her team must be even more vigilant to not only detect but also help private and public organisations, as well as individuals, to prevent data breaches and theft.