Gov’t builds SOC to protect, strengthen state institutions

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The Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, and some dignitaries being taken through how the SOC works

… private sector urged to clock in to secure systems  

The Minister for Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said that the establishment of the world-class Security Operations Centre (SOC) at the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) is indicative of the government’s resolve to protect the country’s Information Technology (IT) installations from cyber-attacks.

She explained that the SOC will offer services including consistent government network monitoring in real time to identify any threat and deal with it to prevent hacking of state systems.

The newly established SOC adds to similar interventions which the government has implemented in the last three and half years to improve cybersecurity incident response across different sectors.

These include the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) for the telecommunications sector at the National Communications Authority and the Security Operations Centre (SOC) launched by the Bank of Ghana in 2018 to address cybersecurity challenges in the financial sector.

For her, these interventions are critical elements for the effective operationalization of the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Points of Contact (PoC) launched a year ago.

Between January and August this year, more than 5,000 residents have made contact with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), through the National CERT, for guidance and advice in addressing cybersecurity issues of which most of them involved online fraud.

Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful told the B&FT in an interview that: “This rivals anything that is currently operating in the world and for me, the key part of it is that we are not completely blind to what is happening in our cyber echo system, we have more visibility about it.  Now, we have the capability to now detect and stop imminent attacks.”

She urged all state bodies to take advantage of the infrastructure and pipe their system through NITA to build a solid cybersecurity wall around their operations. “Every agency needs this. This NITA SOC is protecting every ministry, department and agencies and our e-government infrastructure, but you can only benefit if you are on.”

Private sector plug in  

The minister added that the infrastructure has the capacity to extend to the private sector businesses as well. “They still have the capability of even offering their services to the private sector for a fee. This is scalable enough to accommodate both the private and public sector which both need protection from the cyber criminals out there.

The more we engage online the more we are exposed to cyber-attacks and you may not have the eyes to see where it is coming from. This centre will assist us to know where the attack is coming from and even block the detected IP.”

SOC Brief

The Security Operations Centre (SOC) is a command centre of highly skilled and talented ethical hackers and security analysts operating with defined processes and supported by integrated security intelligence technologies.

The SOC specifically focuses on cyber threats, monitoring, forensic investigations, incident management, reporting, escalation and closure with proper justification and root cause of events and incidents.

The SOC is expected to continuously monitor and improve the security posture across government digital platforms for safe and effective service delivery by proactively preventing, detecting, analysing and effectively responding to cybersecurity incidents.

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