By Dr. Nathaniel Atansuyi
The rapid expansion of digital payment systems, coupled with the growing reliance on technology and the increasing connectivity of financial networks, has exposed vulnerabilities that are being exploited by cybercriminals. Japa Syndrome, where individuals abscond to seek good living conditions in foreign countries, has further exacerbated the cybersecurity challenges in Nigeria’s cashless economy. It is imperative to understand the cybersecurity challenges associated with Nigeria’s
The Effect of “Japa” Syndrome on Cybersecurity
Restricted access to opportunities and nearly unavailable good living conditions are the main reason why the Nigerian economy is losing numerous professionals to foreign countries where such opportunities and access to good living conditions abound.
Cybersecurity professionals are not immune from the “Japa” Syndrome, hence the shortage of adequate cybersecurity professionals required to support the cashless economy. This behavior has become prevalent in Nigeria’s cashless economy with a direct impact on cybersecurity, and this has led to increased incidents of fraud, chargebacks, and disputes related to digital payment transactions.
Aside from the traditional roles of cybersecurity professionals of ensuring data privacy and confidentiality, securing payment infrastructure, detecting and mitigating cyber threats, conducting risk assessments and audits, educating stakeholders, incident response, and recovery; the flip side is the risk of “Japa” cybersecurity professionals becoming one of the “insider” threats because of their prior access to organization data and organizations protection strategy, may be tempted to make use of their foreknowledge for fraudulent practices such as purchases or transactions using stolen or fake identities, resulting in financial losses for merchants and other stakeholders.
This behavior not only affects the financial viability of businesses but also undermines the trust and integrity of digital payment systems, leading to increased cybersecurity risks.
Cybersecurity Consultants as Bridge Builders
In addressing the cybersecurity challenges associated with Nigeria’s cashless policy and the impact of the “Japa” Syndrome; cybersecurity consultants are experts in identifying, mitigating, and managing cybersecurity risks and can provide valuable insights, recommendations, and solutions to safeguard digital payment systems.
Engaging cybersecurity consultants can be appropriate for several reasons, complementing the role of in-house cybersecurity employees, and closing the gaps when “Japa” which is usually a sudden occurrence, happens.
The role of cybersecurity consultants in the context of Nigeria’s cashless policy includes:
Expertise and Specialization
Cybersecurity consultants possess specialized skills and expertise in specific areas of cybersecurity, such as penetration testing, incident response, or risk assessments. They bring a depth of knowledge and experience that may not be available in-house, allowing them to provide valuable insights and recommendations for improving cybersecurity posture.
Cybersecurity consultants offers a fresh perspective and an unbiased assessment of an organization’s cybersecurity practices. They can identify blind spots and potential vulnerabilities that may be overlooked by in-house employees who are too close to the system. Their external viewpoint can provide a different angle on cybersecurity risks and solutions.
Flexibility and Scalability
Engaging cybersecurity consultants provide flexibility and scalability to an organization’s cybersecurity efforts. Organizations can engage consultants on an as-needed basis, depending on their specific requirements and budget. This allows for greater agility in adapting to changing cybersecurity needs and resource allocation.
Employing full-time cybersecurity employees can be costly, including hiring, training, salaries, benefits, and ongoing overheads.
Engaging cybersecurity consultants, on the other hand, can be a cost-effective option as organizations can engage them for specific projects or timeframes, reducing long-term financial commitments.
Access to Advanced Tools and Technologies
Cybersecurity consultants have access to
advanced tools, technologies, and methodologies that may not be available in-house. This can enable them to perform comprehensive security assessments, testing, and analysis, leading to more effective cybersecurity strategies and measures.
Enhanced Compliance and Regulations
Cybersecurity consultants can provide specialized expertise in compliance and regulatory requirements, ensuring that an organization’s cybersecurity practices align with industry standards and legal mandates. This can help organizations meet regulatory obligations and avoid penalties or fines due to non-compliance.
It is crucial to note that engaging cybersecurity consultants does not replace the need for a
dedicated cybersecurity employee or team. In-house cybersecurity employees can provide dayto-day monitoring, management, and response to cybersecurity threats, while cybersecurity consultants can provide specialized expertise and support for specific projects or initiatives.
A combination of both can provide a robust and comprehensive cybersecurity approach for organizations. But in a situation where “Japa” happens, cybersecurity consultants can respond in real-time to block any suspected loopholes by overhauling the cybersecurity architecture, such that the employee that just left will not be able to access the organization’s security architecture.
As Nigeria’s cashless policy gains momentum, it is crucial to recognize and address the cybersecurity challenges associated with digital payment systems. The “Japa” Syndrome has further complicated the cybersecurity landscape, leading to increased risks of fraud, data breaches, and other malicious activities.
Cybersecurity consultants play a crucial role in mitigating these challenges by providing expert insights, recommendations, and solutions to safeguard digital payment systems. Their expertise in risk assessment, policy development, training, technology evaluation, incident response, and forensics can help businesses, individuals, and policymakers effectively address the cybersecurity challenges posed by Nigeria’s cashless policy.
It is imperative for stakeholders to work collaboratively, implement robust cybersecurity measures, and enforce regulatory compliance to ensure the security and integrity of Nigeria’s cashless policy and protect the interests of businesses, individuals, and the economy as a whole.
Dr. Nathaniel Atansuyi, FIIM, MNCS, MCPN (C.itp), Cybersecurity Analyst of Safe Mode Data
Technologies [SMDT] Limited