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Good governance is key to keeping strategic customers

Good governance is key to keeping strategic customers

The principles of good governance are elementary to the success and long-term sustainability of all businesses, regardless of their size and whether they are family owned, public or private enterprises.

With increasing obligations on companies to comply with various laws and codes, it is becoming more important for them to partner with businesses that too adhere to high levels of good governance. So much so, that good governance practices have become an enterprise-level priority for keeping strategic partners and customers who are the lifeblood of every business.

This is according to Charl Ueckermann, CEO at AVeS Cyber Security, who said companies are also increasingly being expected to be able to show how they’ve implemented their IT governance in order to retain business with organisations that prioritise governance.

“Organisations expect their partners to have good IT governance in place. That’s because good IT governance ensures not only that the partner’s IT investments support its business objectives, but also means that the company is effectively managing its risks and meets compliance regulations. Organisations want to partner with companies who are compliant and don’t impose any unwanted risks,” he said.

Citing an example, he said that AVeS Cyber Security has been commissioned to implement an IT Governance Framework and prepare IT security policies and operational procedures for one of South Africa’s most prominent law firms. The firm had been asked by one of their strategic customers, a major South African bank, to show how they’ve implemented their IT governance. AVeS Cyber Security has an in-depth understanding of the corporate governance context for information security compliance, specifically from a business operations and IT implementation perspective.

“Our client comes from a history of infrastructure, which the bank appreciates. However, given that they deal with people’s information, it is important for the bank to know how and where the firm implements governance principles to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information assets. We started with a comprehensive Information Security Risk Assessment, and are targeting the assessment’s outcomes, which include the governance and remediation of information security systems, as one project,” he said.

“We are looking at the business holistically: the people in the organisation (their individual roles, cultures and ethics, skills, training and awareness), the governance framework (with its recommended policies and prioritised processes), as well as technology (which involves all the documented procedures, workflows and forms). All of these must align back to the company’s business requirements,” he added.

During the assessment, AVeS Cyber Security uncovered some critical issues and has made several recommendations amongst which include updating the Information Security Policy based on ISO 27002. The firm had few defined IT Operational Procedures, and AVeS Cyber Security is preparing and implementing revised and comprehensive IT Operational Procedures, covering all critical activities of IT in line with the updated Information Security Policy and the company’s security requirements.

The year-long project kicked off in August 2018. To date, AVeS Cyber Security has prepared the IT Governance Policy; the IT Strategy Plan until 2020; an inventory of IT assets, and a high-level Information Security Policy, amongst other tasks. During the first quarter of 2019, some of the issues to be tackled include the management of vulnerabilities and policies around the transfer of physical media, access control to company systems, privileged access rights, cryptographic controls, the security and control of off-site equipment, and supplier security.

“These are all crucial elements that must be addressed to achieve good IT governance. Yes, technology is integral to achieving this. However, technical solutions are not a complete answer, governance is. Governance encompasses the technology, people and processes across the business to ensure that it is managing risks effectively and is compliant with the codes and legislation that pertain to their industry as well as the industries in which their clients operate,” he said.

“While creating a business that is compliant, accountable, resilient and transparent, this also offers clients the peace of mind that they have partnered with a service provider that protects their information pro-actively and subscribes to the highest standards of IT governance,” concluded Ueckermann.


Caption: AVeS Cyber Security is a specialist IT Governance and Architectural services consultancy. Over the past 21-years, AVeS Cyber Security has strategically honed its solutions and services to help Southern African businesses future-proof their IT environments against the constantly evolving threat landscape while achieving their digital transformation aspirations.


 

About The Author

SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.