The ransomware attack suffered by the city of Joburg sounds a clarion call for company boards to revisit their technology governance strategies. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG -The ransomware attack suffered by the city of Johannesburg last week sounds a clarion call for company boards to revisit their technology governance strategies and take a more holistic view of technology and the risk it poses, the Institute of Directors South Africa (IoDSA) has said.

The Johannesburg city council last week temporarily shut down its website, e-services and billing system after it detected a network breach which resulted in unauthorised access to its information system.

“Cyber-attacks like this one represent a huge and present risk for all organisations in both the public and private sectors—the city is effectively unable to do business until its systems are restored, and vital corporate and customer data could be lost or compromised,” IoDSA chief executive Parmi Natesan said of the incident.

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The institute's information technology (IT) governance facilitator Marlon Moodley said because technology now provided the underlying platform for most business in both the public and private sectors, directors’ responsibility in terms of technology governance was more important than ever before.

Globally, directors of both public and private entities were not taking adequate steps to acquire broader skills to understand crucial developments in the fast-moving technology space, he warned.

"Because of technology’s pervasiveness, directors should make sure they acquire a broader understanding of technology and the trends driving it. But they should also be calling in experts to advise them," said Moodley.

"The key here, though, is to ensure that both they and the experts take a holistic view that encompasses the entire technology environment and its operational impact, including on sensitive data."

- African News Agency (ANA)