CSA receives 907 licence and accreditation requests

Cyber Security Authority

The Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has received 907 licencing and accreditation requests since the process began earlier this year, Director-General Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako has disclosed.

These requests include 134 institutions registering to apply for licences as cybersecurity service providers, 41 seeking accreditation as cybersecurity establishments and 732 applying to be accredited as cybersecurity professionals.

The CSA began the licence and accreditation process on 1 March 2023 as part of its mandate to introduce sanity into the cybersecurity sector, setting 30 September 2023 as the deadline for cybersecurity service providers, cybersecurity establishments and cybersecurity professionals to obtain the necessary licences and accreditations.

This regulatory regime is designed to ensure that licenced and accredited entities are legally empowered to engage in legitimate business, pursuant to Sections 57 and 58 of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038).

Speaking at the launch of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2023 in Accra, Dr. Antwi-Boasiako however hinted at possibly extending the deadline to encourage more participation, given the impressive number of applications received…

According to him, the number of applications received has surpassed the Authority’s initial estimates when the licencing and accreditation regime began in March. This suggests a likelihood of even more potential applicants, given the interest and requests received by the CSA.

“This number will certainly increase, and hence I am already making a case for the board to allow an extension of the [deadline] for further engagement. This is the first time we are doing this, and I do believe that once we intensify engagements we can achieve even better results,” Dr. Antwi-Boasiako stated.

Fostering a culture of digital safety

Ghana is one of several countries around the world that participates in the Cybersecurity Awareness Month initiative, along with countries like Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Since its inception, NCSAM has been centred on distinctive and relevant themes. This year’s – ‘Promoting a Culture of Digital Safety’ – is aimed at fostering a resilient digital economy by instilling a collective mindset and behaviour that values and encourages responsible online conduct.

The National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, therefore stressed the importance of promptly cultivating a culture of digital safety by empowering every individual to navigate the online world securely.

To accomplish this, Mr. Kan Dapaah called for a comprehensive approach that entails collaboration between government, industry and the general public.

“First and foremost, government has a crucial role to play in creating a secure digital environment. This includes investing in robust cybersecurity measures to protect critical infrastructure, data and government networks. We must also strengthen our cyber-defence capabilities to respond swiftly and decisively to cyber-threats. Additionally, we should continue collaborating with international partners to combat cybercrime and promote global cybersecurity norms,” he said.

He added: “However, the responsibility for digital safety does not rest solely on the shoulders of government. The private sector, which plays a central role in developing and maintaining digital technologies, must also step up. Companies must prioritise cybersecurity in their operations, invest in employee training, and adhere to best practices for data protection.”

Ample reason to be concerned

The Deputy Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Deputymaa Boateng, said that while the cybersecurity industry is rapidly evolving and offering increased opportunities, there are valid concerns for businesses, organisations and the public.  She pointed to the INTERPOL Global Crime Trend Summary Report of 2022, which identifies ransomware, phishing, online scams and hacking as major global threats.

“These reports,” she said, “are evidence of the risks that accompany opportunities presented by the digital space, and we cannot gloss-over their devastating impact on the nation agloss over”

According to her, these developments, along with several others in global cyberspace, collectively influenced the theme’s selection for the 2023 edition of NCSAM – which aims to highlight the importance of cultivating a communal mindset and behaviour that values and promotes responsible online practices and the protection of personal information.

She was hopeful that the NCSAM2023 would create synergy between public and private sector stakeholder groups to intensify awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and the inherent risks associated with it.

“The accumulation of knowledge shared through this year’s NCSAM will help the public, businesses and government appreciate the Cyber Security Authority’s ongoing work, such as protecting the country’s Critical Information Infrastructure (CII),” Ms. Pomaa Boateng stated.

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