CISO Directory 2020

When Brainstorm launched the CISO Directory last year, South Africa, and the world, was in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, as we produce our second edition, we’re still in the midst of that pandemic, but for businesses, there has been time to reeect, adapt and evolve their thinking and ways of operating. Some businesses and many jobs have disappeared, but for those still around, there’s been a questioning of the logic behind making employees commute every day and the need for central oce locations when work-from-home has proven eective. Reading through this year’s CISO proles, it’s clear that the top priority for those in charge of cybersecurity is enabling the workforce to safely work-from-home. Some companies had long enabled employees to work-fromanywhere well before Covid hit.

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However, while they were prepared, it wasn’t for such long periods out of the oce, or for so many people at once. For the IT departments of organisations less well prepared, they found themselves responding in kneejerk fashion to getting employees out of the communal oces and into home oces. Realising there was a less-than-usually-protected audience, often fearful about the pandemic, cybercriminals were also busy and malware attacks increased signicantly. Depending on which of the cybersecurity vendors you believe, attacks grew anywhere from 62% to 700%+ during the last year.

The heightened level of attacks, a geographically widespread workforce likely to be working in hybrid locations in future and a corporate realisation of the benets of digital transformation have all added to companies nally waking up to the need to take cybersecurity seriously. Or to rethink what was previously in place and respond accordingly. Add to this the requirement for compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act this year, and it’s all increasing recognition of the valuable role that CISOs play for an organisation in the modern, digital world.

Talking to PwC’s senior manager for cybersecurity, Bernard Munyaradzi Chadenga recently, he reminded me of the very real nature and varying degrees of the impact of cyber attacks. From the ‘sophisticated’ attack on Virgin Active in South Africa, where, fortunately, it seems no members’ data was exltrated, through to the attack on a water plant in Oldsmar, Florida, where deadly levels of sodium hydroxide were emptied into the system by a hacker. Thankfully, the activity was spotted by a vigilant water plant operator, and stopped before any damage was done. In both cases, good luck seems to have saved the day. We can’t count on that forever.

The CISO Directory is Brainstorm’s way of highlighting the vital work that our heads of cybersecurity do in preparing for and protecting organisations from attack. We want to showcase the men and women who lead South Africa’s top organisations in this regard and help boost their recognition and importance in the corporate hierarchy. Thank you to all who gave their time to feature in this directory. I’d also like to thank the sponsors and advertisers for their nancial support. And, of course, thanks to the Brainstorm team who have undertaken so much of the hard work to get this publication to you; their names are listed on the credits page opposite. I hope you nd this edition useful.

Happy reading!

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