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Cybersecurity service providers to be licensed

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Ursula Owusu-Ekuful – Communications Minister

Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, says cybersecurity service providers will be issued licenses for legal recognition to operate.

This is in line with Section 49 of the Cybersecurity Act 2020, which mandates the licensing of all cybersecurity service providers.

The Minister said the licensing would ensure that there was sanity within the industry in terms of capabilities and acceptable ways of conducting such sensitive services in Ghana.

She said for a cybersecurity service provider to gain such recognition, the institution or individual must apply for a practicing license and be granted the license if the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) was satisfied with meeting the necessary requirements.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said this on Monday at the Forum on Cybersecurity Act, 2020 for cybersecurity service providers and professionals.

It was to solicit suggestions and input from industry players towards effective implementation of the Act.

The engagement forms part of this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, on the theme: “Ghana’s Cybersecurity Act, 2020; Its Implications and the Role of Stakeholders.”

The Minister said the Act, per Section 59, provided that the CSA developed, established and adopted standards for the overall development of cybersecurity in Ghana.

She said that Section further enjoined the Authority to enforce adopted standards and monitor compliance of public and private entities to ensure that there was a minimum standard by which all cybersecurity activities conformed to, to prevent the introduction and use of untested solutions.

According to a 2021 ISACA report on the State of Cybersecurity, 61 per cent of cybersecurity teams were understaffed, she said.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said in a 2020 publication on the cost of cybercrime, Cybersecurity Ventures reported the cost of cybercrime was estimated to reach $6 trillion worldwide by the end of the year.

She said the New York Times had reported that an estimated 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs would be available but unfilled by 2021, therefore, the need to have adequate numbers of well trained and competent professionals in the country.

“There are many indications that demand for cybersecurity workers will continue to be high. All organisations need to understand their threat environment and the risks they face, address their cybersecurity problems and hire the most appropriate people to do that work,” she said.

“In view of the anticipated need for cybersecurity workforce in the country, I have tasked the CSA to engage with you – the private sector actors to conduct research to establish Ghana’s cybersecurity workforce needs for the next five years. Findings from such research will support Government policy on cybersecurity skills development and capacity building efforts in this critical sector of our digital economy.”

Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Acting Director-General of the Cyber Security Authority, said some areas from which the Act drew strength from included provisions on the protection of critical information infrastructure, incident reporting and response, licensing and accreditation, recognition of the industry as a critical component of Ghana’s cybersecurity architecture and regulations on lawful access to data for law enforcement purposes.

He said cybersecurity regulations had the benefit of protecting Ghana’s critical systems and digital infrastructure, and that provisions in the Act would support a systematic development of the sub-sector of the emerging digital economy.

Dr Antwi-Boasiako said the CSA would engage with the industry to discuss ideas and support the country’s quest to secure its digital transformation.

He appealed to the sector Minister to consider yearly budgetary allocation to implement local cybersecurity initiatives through proposals to be submitted by licensed service providers working in collaboration with other private sector actors.

Dr Antwi-Boasiako said that initiative would consolidate the relationship between the Authority and the industry towards achieving Ghana’s cybersecurity developmental goals.

Source: GNA

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