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Jamaican businesses investing in UK cybersecurity services

Published:Friday | July 17, 2020 | 12:11 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

The United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Trade (DIT) is reporting a noticeable increase in Jamaican businesses investing in British cybersecurity services, with one company providing services to the value of £1.5 million in recent months.

Country Director for DIT Sharifa Powell underscored that with an increase in the number of Internet-based transactions and electronic payments, including those owing to COVID-19, the importance of establishing a robust cybersecurity network has become even more essential for businesses.

“The IT security company in question secured contracts across the financial, food and media sectors, with their services set to cover email and network security over a five-year period starting 2021,” Powell disclosed, further stressing the added importance of raising public awareness of the threats and risks associated with e-commerce activities.

Reason for Success

She explained that the success stemmed from direct engagement by the company with local businesses and strategic support from DIT Kingston with the hosting of a targeted market-engagement programme in February.

“The success of the UK firm signals a commitment by Jamaican businesses to mitigate risks associated with e-commerce activities, while protecting their consumers,” she contended.

Responding to the development, British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad stated that the investment was a win-win for the British IT supplier and local companies.

“The threat of cybercrime to businesses is rising fast and e-criminals continue to prove among the most skilful and elusive in the world. As more businesses connect with customers using the Internet and non-cash payments become the norm, vulnerability to cybercrime rises. Unprotected IT systems is no different to leaving the warehouse door unlocked,” Ahmad reasoned, noting that UK’s cybersecurity offerings continue to expand to keep pace with its growing digital economy.

“Our cybersecurity sector is valued at over £20 billion and we’re making essential investments to become a world leader in the field. It is good to see Jamaica playing a leading role in the region, at the government level, through the national cybersecurity policy announcement last year. The private sector is recognising both the opportunities and risks of using technology for customer service,” Ahmad added.

Cybersecurity remains high on the agenda of the British High Commission and the DIT, with plans to host an event showcasing UK expertise in cybersecurity later in the year, in collaboration with key stakeholders.