Serianu, a cyber security consultancy firm, has opened its Cyber Immersion Center, a training centre which targets cyber security professionals in Africa to hone their skills and ramp up their cyber-attack preparedness.
Located in Nairobi, Serianu’s Cyber Immersion Center is grounded in the metropolis that is fast emerging as Sub-Sahara Africa’s technology hub where for the first time in the region’s technological history, cyber security professionals now have an opportunity to stay a step ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving global cyber security landscape.
(TOP: William Makatiani, the Serianu CEO during a past interview with KBC TV).
William Makatiani, CEO, Serianu said in a statement that with incidences of cyber threats growing at an average of 25 per cent annually and losses piling into hundreds of millions of shillings for private and public organizations, the firm decided to invest in a local Cyber Immersion Center to equip organizations the skills to deal with attackers who have become more sophisticated.
The only one in Sub Saharan Africa, it mirrors those existing in Europe, the US and Asia, and is designed to meet a huge demand for such a specialized facility that provides professionals with a modern, third party environment to test individual and organizational cyber threat resilience, train cyber security professionals and deliver locally designed courses based on relevant case studies.
Makatiani noted that the Serianu Cyber Immersion Center is designed to bridge the existing gap of sufficient cyber security experts by bringing globally accepted training to a local environment, conducted by a distinguished team of consultants and practitioners.
“In Kenya, the market currently requires about 40,000 cyber security experts, yet we only have just under 1,000 professionals at the moment,” said Makatiani adding that, “While typical professional training takes between six to twelve months our initial target is to be able to empower 10 specialists every month through our Cyber Immersion Center and that way chart a path towards self-sufficiency and self- reliance with locally built solutions.”
Conservative estimates put Kenya’s total annual investment in cyber security training at US $4 milion (Kshs 400 million).
Joseph Mathenge, Serianu’s COO, explained that the firm’s Cyber Immersion Center is a hybrid between an advanced cyber range and an educational institute. The cyber range provides trainees with an opportunity to conduct realistic drills to test their personal knowledge and review their organizations cyber responsiveness.
The training institute additionally provides cyber skills development and education programs tailored to the varying needs of directors, managers and technicians covering simulations, product testing, deep dive applications and systems as well as digital forensics among many others.
Through its two-prong approach, Serianu’s Cyber Immersion Center aims to build a strong pool of cyber security talent pipeline to drive its cyber security initiatives and build a dynamic national as well as regional cyber security ecosystem.
He added that the Serianu Cyber Immersion Center is now open to train local enterprises and public organizations with the necessary know-how to counter cyber threats in a holistic manner to help them mitigate the risks and costs associated with cyber disruptions. At the same time, The Center provides experienced cyber security professionals with the opportunity to enhance their skills by training with leading cyber security experts.
He explained that the facility will also drastically reduce the cost of specialized cyber security training, pointing out that presently, training costs are high as local professionals rely on European and American designed courses.
The average cost of technical of training now is US $3000 (Kshs 300,000). The generic courses are costly since they cover a broad spectrum of subjects. At the Serianu Cyber Immersion Center, training will be priced at an average of US $1,000 (Kshs 100,000) for the courses, meaning that professionals from across sub-Saharan Africa will not need to go Europe for the same.
Cyber security as a growing career space and Africa has reached a critical point where original courses that include local relevant cases are required. This requires defining the specific risks in the country and building courses related to these areas to empower employees.
Cyber security, said Mathenge, is no longer just a technical issue to be tackled only at the operational level. It needs to involve all levels within an organization.
The Serianu Cyber Immersion Center can emulate the environments and operations of enterprises using state-of-the-art technologies. Like other cyber ranges the facility can simulate cyber-attacks in order to test a company’s inherent vulnerabilities, defense and response capabilities. Unlike other ranges however, the new facility can easily replicate any company’s operating environment and use the latest range of cyber threats, including an extensive library of viruses and malware, to simulate attacks.
Serianu is a pan African research driven cyber security and business consulting firm that enables organizations to anticipate, detect, respond and contain cyber threats. Serianu’s work straddles several African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Lesotho, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.