In this interview, John Nwachukwu, the Chief Information/Executive Officer of ZORACOM Communication talks about their strides in the Nigerian information and communication technology (ICT) space. He explained how organisations can key into their cyber security solutions and the need for them to deepen capacity building in this area. He also talked about the NSOC facility and cyber security laws in the country.
Tell us about Zoracom as an IT firm?
Zora Communications Limited (Zoracom®) is a Technology company located in Nigeria with wide regional presence in West Africa. We develop and deliver excellent business solutions, aimed at increasing our customers’ revenue, enhance satisfaction, and provide a real competitive edge for our customers. At Zoracom we pride ourselves in the ability to proffer & provide solution to our clients’ various needs when it comes to Observability (Our ability in understanding what’s going on inside and to answer any question about our client’s network), Cybersecurity (Our Solution protects computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction) & Infrastructure (Helps our clients maximize cost which is secure and scalable)
As an IT firm, what is your take in the Nigerian IT space?
The Nigerian IT space is a rapidly growing and dynamic industry that has seen significant growth in recent years. With a population of over 200 million people and a burgeoning middle class, Nigeria is a prime market for technology and digital innovation. The IT sector in Nigeria is diverse and includes a range of industries such as software development, ecommerce, cloud computing, mobile technology, and cybersecurity. In recent years, the sector has attracted significant investment from both local and international companies, and many startups have emerged as well. One of the key drivers of the Nigerian IT space is the country’s large and youthful population, which is highly tech-savvy and eager to embrace new technologies. This has led to a surge in demand for digital services such as ecommerce, online payments, and social media, which has in turn helped to drive innovation in the sector. The Nigerian IT space is also home to a number of successful tech startups which Zoracom is part of and we have attracted significant investment and are now leading the way in the country’s tech ecosystem. Overall, the Nigerian IT space is a vibrant and dynamic industry that is poised for further growth in the coming years. With a large and tech-savvy population and a supportive government, it is well positioned to become a major player in the global technology landscape and we are glad to play a major role in it.
You recently launched an NSOC, can we know why?
The life blood of any business is its network systems and as we all know, the digital landscape is constantly changing, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to protect against the various forms of cyberattacks that are targeting organization’s networks of all sizes. That is why Zoracom has invested in the latest technologies and strategies to ensure that we are always one step ahead of the hackers by setting up Our Network & Security Operations Center. Zoracom’s Network and Security Operation Centre (NSOC) will provide unified command, control, communication, intelligence sharing and analysis capabilities to enable physical security of the key state assets which includes IT infrastructure, real-time monitoring of events happening across ICS/SCADA networks and provide dynamic decision support, incident reporting, workflow management and system monitoring capabilities. Our Network and Security Operation Centre (NSOC) is equipped with state-of-the-art facility which serves as the cornerstone to consolidate our core services in Observability, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure management.
One of the challenges of cyber security is manpower and capacity building, do you have the competent personnel to manage this facility?
Yes, we are very much aware of the shortage of skilled and qualified professionals. There is a high demand for cyber security experts, but the supply is limited, leading to competition among organizations to recruit and retain top talent. This can lead to high salary costs and employee turnover, as well as difficulties in finding qualified candidates. To address this challenge, Zoracom as an organization, we invest a lot in training and development programs to build the skills of our employees/consultants, as well as offer competitive salaries and benefits packages to attract and retain top talent. We also work with educational institutions to promote cyber security programs and help develop the next generation of cyber security professionals. Furthermore, we also consider outsourcing some cyber security functions to specialized firms, additionally we leverage automation and artificial intelligence which helps alleviates some of the workload and improve efficiency, freeing up our cybersecurity professionals to focus on more complex tasks.
Can you assist organizations in training?
At Zoracom, training is the Core of our service delivery to our customers, after or during the deployment of any of our services/projects, we ensure that they are well trained and get certified for it. This is carried out through various methods such as providing training materials, conducting workshops or seminars, or hiring external trainers to lead training sessions. Additionally, we use technology such as e-learning platforms or virtual classrooms/labs to provide training to clients & employees. The training we have done for organizations has helped improved the performance and productivity of their workforce, as well as increase employee satisfaction.
In this era of eGovernment, do you think that public sectors can key into this facility?
Yes, the public sector can key into NSOC (Network & Security Operations Center) in the era of eGovernment. At Zoracom, our NSOC can serve as a central hub for coordinating cybersecurity and emergency response efforts across various government agencies. By utilizing our NSOC, the public sector can improve their cybersecurity posture and ensure the protection of sensitive data and systems. This will help to prevent cyber-attacks and reduce the impact of any potential threats. Additionally, our NSOC can provide valuable resources and expertise to the public sector in handling cyber emergencies and responding to incidents in the following way;
On Integration,wWe help the public sectors integrate their systems and networks with our NSOC to enhance the security of their data and systems. This will allow them to share information and collaborate with our NSOC so we can help identify and mitigate potential security threats. Cybersecurity training at Zoracom, our NSOC’s cybersecurity training programs is developed to educate the personnel in the public sector on how to protect their systems and data from cyber threats. We have also Cybersecurity consulting. Here, we carry out consulting services to our public sector client using NSOC’s cybersecurity experts to help assess their systems and recommend the best security measures to implement that are in line with the regulatory bodies. This will help maintain their reputations and avoid costly legal and regulatory penalties. Then we have Threat intelligence sharing. This done by the sharing of threat intelligence with our NSOC team we can help the public sector identify and respond to potential security threats in a timely manner. Finally, Collaboration. Through our collaborative efforts with the public sector, we can develop and implement cybersecurity strategies and policies that ensure the security of their systems & data.
Can we know organizations that you have offered advisory services as a cyber security firm lately?
We are currently in managed service partnership with the largest mobile network provider in Africa, providing for them through our observability services an end-to-end monitoring of their network. From the success of this deployment, we implemented same solution for her Western African OPCO. We have completed Proof of Concept (POC) for the second largest Mobile Networks in Nigeria with others in the pipeline. Also, we recently completed POC for the major ISP that services the Nigerian government and in an ongoing discussion with the regulatory body in one of the east African countries on how we can help unify the county’s mobile network provider using our observability services. Our Infrastructure management services has helped a truck mobility company in Lagos Nigeria managed mobility and truck traffic issues with callup application to connect existing physical infrastructure, thereby creating order and visibility for operators and regulators within the respective industry sectors we operate.
What is your take on the cyber laws in the country?
Cyber laws are a set of laws and regulations that aim to protect individuals and organizations from cybercrimes and online threats. These laws apply to various activities such as hacking, cyberstalking, online fraud, and data breaches. One of the main challenges in implementing cyber laws is the constantly evolving nature of technology. As new technologies emerge, so do new forms of cybercrimes and online threats. This means that cyber laws must be constantly updated and amended to address these new challenges.Another challenge is the global nature of the internet, which means that cybercrimes can often cross international borders. This makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to effectively prosecute and punish offenders, as they may not have jurisdiction in the country where the crime was committed. Despite these challenges, the importance of cyber laws cannot be denied. These laws help to ensure the safety and security of individuals and organizations online, and help to deter cyber criminals from committing crimes. To ensure that organizations are compliant, our NSOC at Zoracom guides individuals and organizations to be aware of and comply with these laws in order to protect themselves and others from cybercrimes.
You offer solutions for Telcos known as MSP, network monitoring & provisioning. How has it been?
It has been successful thus far, our solutions and technologies give us the edge to enable our clients have high end network monitoring, traffic analysis, and performance metrics of their networks. Using a state-of-the-art Network Operations Center (NOC), it provides visibility into various aspects of their network, including traffic patterns, network performance, and service availability. We thrive on the ability to quickly and accurately identify and resolve network issues, through a well-structured change management and configuration process, to prevent downtime and improve network reliability, and also ensuring that users can access the services they need without interruption. Our Infrastructure management services has helped a truck mobility company to manage mobility and truck traffic issues in one of the busiest ports access zones in Africa. A callup application was developed to connect existing physical infrastructure, thereby creating order and visibility for operators and regulators within the respective industry sectors.
Tell us about your Enterprise/IoT networks & application?
One of our product/solutions called Zmart is specifically tailored to help our customer when it comes to Enterprise /IoT networks & applications. Zmart has the ability of providing our clients the right technology to empower their business by gaining flexibility and agility for connecting, securing, managing, and analyzing data for a seamless, efficient & thriving connected world. It powers visibility control on business process automation, IoT, industry 4.0, IPTV/Multimedia, and smart city & homes.
Financial ecosystem is a peculiar one, you have been offering services such as Fintech/PSP infrastructure monitoring, how has it been?
Our Fintech solution through our Product Miro powered by StableNet can unify our clients core network and cyber security operations with service providers and 3PP. It can Monitor Interconnect transactions through mobile payment gateway for holistic view of critical transactions form one point to another.
You have other services such as Billing solutions and service desk?
Zoracom’s Configuration and Change Management are important considerations when implementing our billing solution, as they have a significant impact on the efficiency and accuracy of the billing process. Our billing solution allows you to easily customize and configure various aspects of the billing process, such as currency, taxes, billing intervals, and billing methods (e.g. recurring, one-time, usage-based). This will help tailor the solution to your specific needs and requirements.The billing solution we have has a robust change management process in place to ensure that any changes made to the system are properly documented, tested, and implemented This will ensure that mistakes are avoided and minimize the risk of errors or disruptions to the billing process. It also offers automation capabilities, such as automatic invoicing and payment processing which will help streamline the billing process and reduce errors coupled with unnecessary loss of valuable time.
Incident management, how can firms key into that?
At Zoracom there are several ways that firms can key into our incident management services, Firstly, firms need to Partner with an incident management service provider that specializes in incident management services like ours which will allow them access the necessary resources and expertise to effectively respond to and manage incidents. Secondly, Firms should establish clear processes for identifying, responding to, and managing incidents. This will help ensure that incidents are properly handled and resolved in a timely manner at the same time firms should ensure that their employees are properly trained to identify and report incidents. This will help ensure that incidents are identified and reported quickly, which will help minimize their impact on the business. Thirdly, investment in technology like incident management software is key to help quickly identify, report and track incidents and lastly establishing clear communication channels between different stakeholders in order to effectively manage incidents. This involve setting up an incident management hotline or implementing an incident management system that allows for easy communication between the stakeholders.
Are you looking at ECOWAS Region this 2023?
We are already operating in some parts West Africa, part of our roadmap for 2023 is to expand to more western and eastern African countries by setting up virtual office in Ghana and Kenya.
our solutions and technologies give us the edge to enable our clients have high end network monitoring, traffic analysis, and performance metrics of their networks. Using a state-of-the-art Network Operations Center (NOC), it provides visibility into various aspects of their network, including traffic patterns, network performance, and service availability. We thrive on the ability to quickly and accurately identify and resolve network issues, through a well-structured change management and configuration process, to prevent downtime and improve network reliability, and also ensuring that users can access the services they need without interruption.