Stakeholders Harp on Standardisation of Data Security

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By Emma Okonji

Participants at the one-day conference on data security in Nigeria, organised by Bloomfield Law Practice in collaboration with Citrix Systems, have stressed the need for standardisation of data security in the country.

This, they said would address challenges of multiplicity of data in different agencies.

Worried that the data sitting in silos do not interconnect with each other, which has made data access extremely difficult across the country, the conference called for standardisation of such data, backed by proper regulation.

Although the Market Development Manager in charge of sub-Saharan Africa for Citrix Systems, Mr. Bradley Smith, in his presentation, explained that Citrix has developed a disruptive solution that is diagnostic, descriptive and prescriptive that could enable organisations connect to different data locations, from a single point, while still securing the different data, the participants however stressed the need for synergy among regulators, FinTech players and end-users of technology solutions, in order to achieve data connectivity and interoperability.

In one of the panel sessions at the conference, which held in Lagos recently, the Chief Information Security Officer at Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mr. Abumere Igboa, said: “Synergy is key to data security. We need proper legislation and policy implementation on data that will address key issues in the use and control of personal and organisational data. We have several data in silos and there must be synergy to integrate those data and make them accessible to Nigerians for the purpose of research work among others.”

The Chief Customer Enterprise Architect at Oracle Nigeria, Dr. Olufemi Oyenuga, said multiplicity of data had remained a challenge for data Standardisation in Nigeria, adding that government needs to do more on regulation to address the challenges of multiple data sitting in silos at different government agencies. “We need to standardise data, localise data and improve on our data security, through regulation,” Oyenuga said.
He, however, explained that data security was improving in the country, but added that more needed to be done to further improve on it, through proper regulation.

While Igboa was of the view that huge gap still existed in data security, he called on government regulatory agencies like the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), including the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), to align in their policies and regulatory frameworks to enhance standardisation of data security in Nigeria.

The Head, Legal at CWG Plc, Mrs. Abisola Oshin, explained that since technology is evolving, regulators must evolve with technology in order to be abreast with technology trends that are driving data security and standardisation.

Also, the Head, Regulatory Services at MainOne, Mr. Ifeloju Alakija, said too many regulations and regulators exist in the area of data control, yet the impact of the regulations were yet to be felt by industry players. According to him, Nigeria does not have regulation for critical national infrastructure in the telecoms sector, like the submarine cables that transmit broadband capacities, hence operators of submarine cables are faced with incessant fiber cable cut, most of which were deliberate.

The Senior Legal Officer at NITDA, Olufemi Daniel, said the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) that is currently being championed by NITDA, would address the issue of critical national infrastructure in the area of data control.

According to him, data regulation would ever remain important because it would protect Nigerian businesses from being de-market since countries with data protection regulation and law would continue to be recognised by international bodies, when it comes to doing international business with local businesses.

“Through the NDPR, NITDA is creating opportunities for businesses in Nigeria. Any regulation that does not create business opportunities, will not see the light of the day. We have licensed 29 partners that are driving data protection regulation across the country,” Daniel said.

Head of Technology at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Tosin Beredugo, however called for regulatory alignment among regulators, in order to drive business opportunities in the country.