Home Science Technology NITA, TrendMicro, and Smart Infraco Partner to Secure Ghana’s Digital Ecosystem

NITA, TrendMicro, and Smart Infraco Partner to Secure Ghana’s Digital Ecosystem

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The National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and leading global cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, in collaboration with Smart Infraco Limited, have officially signed a partnership agreement to fortify Ghana’s digital infrastructure.

This partnership aims to provide government organizations with robust cybersecurity solutions to create a secure digital ecosystem capable of withstanding potential cybersecurity threats.

The Director General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) Mr. Richard Okyere-Fosu speaking at the signing ceremony in Accra, highlighted the critical stage of Ghana’s digitalization; stressing that the nation’s economy now heavily relies on digital infrastructure and applications.

Mr. Okyere-Fosu highlighted the significant costs incurred when systems and applications are unavailable. He cited the internet outage in mid-March as an example.

In this regard, he underscored the need for proactive measures to assess and mitigate these risks, advocating for a comprehensive national business continuity plan.

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Identifying cyber threats as a global menace, Mr. Okyere-Fosu highlighted the vulnerability of government systems and services to viruses.

He revealed that only slightly over 30% of government systems and computers have adequate antivirus protection, posing a considerable risk to Ghana’s digital economy goals.

In response to these risks, he said NITA has collaborated with both public and private sector partners to implement interventions addressing information and cyber security across the public sector.

According to him, the development of the Government of Ghana Enterprise Architecture (GGEA) and Interoperability Framework (GIF), provide a systematic and secure approach to developing and deploying government infrastructure, systems, and services.

Furthermore, NITA has established a Security Operations Center (SOC) to monitor government infrastructure and systems in real-time.

The SOC enables a proactive response to intrusion and cyber threats within the public sector, while also providing tools for mitigating and addressing detected threats.

Mr. Okyere-Fosu also noted the added security layer brought by the deployment of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), which enhances security protocols for government systems.

The PKI encrypts technology government communication channels and data, ensuring security for online transactions and fostering digital trust for cross-border trade.

Collaborating with the Cyber Security Authority, NITA oversees the Government Computer Emergency Response Team (Gov CERT), a crucial element of the National CERT responsible for coordinating cybersecurity incidents nationwide.

However, he emphasized the importance of antivirus services in enhancing the security model, expressing hope that they will safeguard government systems and prevent past cybersecurity incidents.

Highlighting the longstanding relationship with Trend Micro, Mr. Okyere-Fosu mentioned the adoption of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) approach, which offers a cost-effective solution for government agencies.

He encouraged all government entities to utilize these services to secure their environments and ensure compliance with the Government of Ghana Enterprise Architecture (GGEA) and Interoperability Framework (GIF).

Stressing that NITA is committed to enhancing cybersecurity measures and ensuring the security and resilience of Ghana’s digital infrastructure.

Mr. Harkirit Singh, CEO of Smart Infraco Limited, highlighted the findings from NITA’s assessment, revealing significant gaps in security protocols within many public sector networks, particularly concerning antivirus protection.

This vulnerability exposes government data and systems to potential security breaches. In response, the Government of Ghana Enterprise Architecture (GGEA) has mandated the deployment of antivirus software across all government systems and end nodes.

According to him, as a technical partner of NITA, Smart Infraco will play a pivotal role in fulfilling this mandate. The company will install Trend Antivirus Servers at the two national Data Centres, ensuring efficient delivery of antivirus services to government agencies nationwide.

Adding that, Smart Infraco will implement Trend Micro’s Deep Security solution within the national data center. This comprehensive solution will offer protection at both server-side and endpoint levels, including intrusion prevention, anti-malware, and integrity monitoring, thereby safeguarding critical systems and data.

“Leveraging Trend Micro’s suite of innovative services, Smart Infraco will offer government organizations worry-free cybersecurity.

This suite includes Endpoint Security for defense against ransomware and advanced attacks, Email Security for real-time protection against targeted attacks, spam, phishing, and viruses, Collaboration Security for safeguarding online collaboration tools to prevent data loss, and Extended Detection and Response (XDR) for automating threat detection and response.

This initiative aims to enforce compliance with security architecture and protect government data and infrastructure against cyber threats, ultimately enhancing the overall cybersecurity posture of Ghana’s public sector,” he explained.

The Mediterranean, Middle East & Africa Volume Business Manager of Trend Micro, Mazen Al-Adhami, also expressed great optimism about the strategic partnership with Ghana.

He believes that this collaboration will offer a valuable opportunity to enhance the protection of Ghana’s IT infrastructure, businesses, and citizens against the ever-increasing threat of cyber-attacks.

The Director of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, Alexander Yaw Arphul, emphasized the need for collaboration in the face of rising cyber fraud in the country.

He was optimistic that by working together, the country could develop effective strategies to combat this issue and ensure a safer digital environment for everyone.

The Director-General of the Cyber Security Authority, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, pointed out that there have been several initiatives taken by NITA and its technical partners to safeguard the country from cybersecurity challenges.

He also highlighted the importance of collaboration between NITA and its partners, emphasizing that it is a crucial step towards securing the government’s networks.

Director General Of The Cyber Security Authority Dr Albert Antwi Boasiako
Director General Of The Cyber Security Authority Dr Albert Antwi Boasiako

Source: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/newsghana.com.gh

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