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  • Navigating the Ever-Changing Threat Landscape with Ted Munakandafa

    Navigating the Ever-Changing Threat Landscape with Ted Munakandafa
    Author
  • Njabulo Sandawana
  • Staff Writer
  • Posted Oct 04, 2023
  • Welcome to the first instalment of our "Ask The Expert" series. I'm pleased to introduce Mr. Ted Munakandafa, a cybersecurity specialist with vast expertise assisting firms in managing risk in our increasingly digital environment.

    Ted works as a Cyber and Application Security Analyst at Stanbic Bank, where he is responsible for monitoring threats and guaranteeing the security of the bank's systems and client data.

    I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ted about his professional path and thoughts on the cybersecurity industry.

    In our interview, Ted provides useful advice for both technical and non-technical readers. He speaks on common challenges in cyber security space, diversity and his vision for the future of Cybersecurity in Zimbabwe.

    1. Can you share your journey and how you became a Cyber and application Security
    Analyst at Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe? What were some of the key milestones or experiences that shaped your career in the tech and cybersecurity industry?


    As a Cyber and Application Security Analyst at Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe, my journey began with a deep interest in technology and cybersecurity. I pursued a degree in Information Technology at Chinhoyi University of Technology and eventually landed a job at the bank. Key milestones that shaped my career include obtaining industry certifications, attending relevant training and conferences, and gaining hands-on experience in the field.

    2. As a Cyber & Application Security Analyst, how do you see yourself shaping the tech landscape, particularly in the field of cybersecurity, in Zimbabwe? What initiatives or strategies have you implemented to drive innovation and create a secure environment for technology users?

    As a Cyber & Application Security Analyst, shaping the tech landscape in Zimbabwe's cybersecurity field requires a proactive approach to innovation and creating a secure environment for technology users. This can be achieved through various initiatives like:
    Implementing robust security frameworks and best practices.

    Conducting regular security assessments and audits to identify vulnerabilities.
    Developing and delivering cybersecurity awareness and training programs.
    Collaborating with stakeholders to establish incident response plans.

    Monitoring emerging cybersecurity trends and technologies to stay ahead of threats.
    Engaging in industry conferences, forums, and communities to share knowledge and foster collaboration.

    3. Cybersecurity is a critical aspect of the tech industry. What are some of the keychallenges you have encountered in ensuring the security of applications and systems in the banking sector in Zimbabwe? How have you addressed these challenges?

    Key challenges in ensuring the security of applications and systems in the across all sectors in Zimbabwe include limited budgets, lack of skilled personnel, evolving cyber threats and adhering to regulatory compliance and industry standards. To address these challenges, a comprehensive approach is necessary.

    This may involve implementing robust security controls, conducting regular risk assessments, investing in advanced threat detection and prevention mechanisms, and fostering a culture of security awareness among employees.

    4. Diversity in leadership is often seen as a catalyst for driving inclusive growth. How does diverse leadership contribute to addressing cybersecurity challenges effectively?

    Prioritizing and promoting diversity within any organisation and field at large is important as it contributes to addressing cybersecurity challenges effectively. Diverse leadership brings a variety of perspectives and experiences that can help identify and mitigate risks. I promote diversity through mentorship and by creating a culture of inclusivity in the workplace.

    5. Zimbabwe, like many other countries, faces unique cybersecurity threats. Can you share some insights into how you navigate these threats and protect sensitive data and systems? What measures do you take to stay ahead of emerging cybersecurity risks?

    In Zimbabwe, cybersecurity is a crucial concern due to the increasing prevalence of cyber threats. To navigate these risks and safeguard sensitive data and systems, it is essential to implement a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. This includes risk-based cyber risk management, where financial institutions identify, assess, and understand the risks they face.

    By staying updated on the latest trends, best practices, and techniques in cybersecurity, organizations can ensure effective information security. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and access controls, is vital for protecting digital systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access or damage. Additionally, continuous monitoring, employee awareness training, and regular software updates help stay ahead of emerging cybersecurity risks.

    6. In your opinion, what role does cybersecurity play in building trust and confidence in technology adoption, particularly in the banking sector?

    Cybersecurity plays a critical role in building trust and confidence in technology adoption, especially in the banking sector. By implementing robust security measures and protecting customer data, banks can instil confidence in their customers that their information is safe. This, in turn, fosters trust and encourages the adoption of technology-driven banking services. Additionally, a strong cybersecurity posture helps prevent financial fraud, identity theft, and other cybercrimes, further building trust among customers.

    7. The tech industry constantly evolves, and new threats and vulnerabilitiesemergeregularly. How do you stay updated with the latest cybersecurity trends and
    technologies?


    To stay updated with the latest cybersecurity Trends and technologies I regularly read security blogs and newsletters from reputable sources that can provide in-depth analysis and insights into emerging threats and best practices. These include but are not limited to the Hacker news, SANs and isc2. I also participate in a number of online forums and discussion communities that allows me to engage with cyber security specialists from across various regions.

    8. Mentorship and knowledge-sharing are important aspects of leadership. Have you had any mentors or role models who have influenced your career? How do you contribute to the development of aspiring tech professionals, particularly in the field of cybersecurity?

    Certainly! Without a doubt, I have individuals who I admire and consider as role models. They have influenced and inspired me greatly. In my role, I aim to provide valuable guidance, support, and insights to individuals seeking to enhance their cybersecurity skills and knowledge.

    I am dedicated to offering resources, answering queries, and assisting aspiring tech professionals in their development. By sharing the trends, best practices, and technological advancements in the cybersecurity field, I contribute to their growth. I can also help in understanding cybersecurity concepts, recommending learning materials, and providing advice on career paths and certifications. Ultimately, my objective is to guide aspiring professionals through the complexities of the cybersecurity industry, enabling them to achieve their goals.

    9. Looking ahead, what do you envision for the future of cybersecurity in Zimbabwe and the broader African tech industry? How do you see influential tech executives like yourself contributing to driving inclusive growth and ensuring a secure digital
    environment?


    The future of cybersecurity in Zimbabwe and the broader African tech industry is both promising and challenging. On one hand, there is a growing demand and opportunity for cybersecurity solutions and services, as more people and businesses adopt digital technologies and platforms. On the other hand, there is also a rising threat and risk of cybercrime and cyberattacks, as more cybercriminals and hackers target the continent's digital assets and infrastructure.

    Influential tech executives can contribute to driving inclusive growth and ensuring a secure digital environment by prioritizing diversity and inclusivity in product development processes. There is also need for policymakers to develop regulations that protect user privacy and prevent the spread of misinformation. In addition, tech executives can invest in cybersecurity measures to prevent data breaches and other cyber threats. 

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