Brand Remarks by the Managing Director of CalBank PLC, Mr. Philip Owiredu on Impact of COVID-19 on Ghana’s Digitalization Agenda

The Deputy Minister of Communication, Hon. George Andah, National Cyber Security Advisor, Mr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, all protocol observed.  Thank you for inviting CalBank to share our thoughts at the 2020 National Cyber Security Awareness Month under the theme Cybersecurity in the Era of Covid-19. COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on global economies and Ghana has not been spared. I believe we have all experienced its effects one way or the other.

The world has experienced incredible changes over the course of a few short months. Businesses, governments and consumers have all been under immense pressure to ‘keep things going’ while operating in a world in upheaval and change. Nations, businesses and consumers worldwide have responded to the outbreak by adapting to various measures including the mobilization of resources to sustain the infrastructure, systems and digital services; and created new and innovative digital solutions in addition to enhancing the consumption and use of technology.

The effects of the pandemic have put severe pressure on banking customers across various segments such as retail, commercial and corporate. There is also increased reliance on digital channels with constant pressure on technology infrastructure and resources.

Financial institutions are rapidly deploying remote systems and networks to support staff working from home whilst criminals are also taking advantage of increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits and cause disruption. Cybercriminals are developing and boosting their attacks at an alarming pace, exploiting the fear and uncertainty caused by the unstable social and economic situation created by COVID-19. These modern attacks have been automated and are quite difficult to detect. Unfortunately, there is no single method that can successfully protect against every single type of attack. Internal threat activity has also gained prominence in the COVID-19 era as far as cyber-attacks are concerned.

The world is seeing an upsurge in cyber-attacks; therefore, the industry must invest more to educate users of digital services, conduct proper security assessments of their systems and adopt a layered approach to cyber defense to provide a wholistic protection.

The future, however, is bright if we can adhere to initiatives that have been provided by government, regulatory bodies and standard authorities.

The Business Sector is grateful for the initiative of Government in laying the building blocks to protect Ghana’s cyber space. This comes in the form of the Electronic Transaction Act, 2008, which seeks to protect consumers against cyber fraud and attacks and the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843), which provides the legal framework for the protection of personal information. There is also an ongoing process to review Ghana’s payment strategy by the financial sector and the telcos.

In the Banking sector, the growing online banking services is an area of concern. The introduction of Bank of Ghana’s Cyber Security Directive for Financial Institutions has helped to provide guidelines for cyber and information security in the financial sector.  This has strengthened the customer confidence in the security of banking technology in Ghana. Organizations are hereby encouraged to sensitize their employees around information security outside of the office environment.   At CalBank, we have to a large extent complied with the BOG directive including being PSI DSS and ISO 27001 certified.

Even though the pandemic has posed its challenges to us at CalBank, we have seen huge opportunities in our operations. One opportunity we have acted on is to ramp up our digital transformation. We have had to quicken the strategic implementation of a number of plans we had scheduled for the year and we are excited about the outcome thus far.

Our customers over the period have been encouraged to opt for our newly launched very user friendly and secure DigiBank solution when they visit our banking halls. The CalBank App has been enhanced and I dare say is the best app on the Ghanaian market today. I urge everyone here to download the CalBank App and enjoy an exciting banking experience. You do not need to be a CalBank account holder to use the app. In addition to the mobile app, we have encouraged the use of our other digital platforms to include our shortcode *771#, Internet banking and our Agent points. We are glad about the uptake of our digital products. We will continue to invest in the security platforms that protect the bank and the funds of our customers.

CalBank staff, continue to be trained on new technological advances and cybersecurity trends and how to combat these threats. With the growth in cyber security threats, we will continue to equip our team with the required tools needed to ensure their security online and the Bank’s overall security.

We will continue to invest in our commitment to ensure a viable and secure Bank across all aspect of our operations. We will continue to let our values; Responsible, Effective and Decisive continue to guide our operations as we deliver a secure banking offering to our customers, partners and other stakeholders.

Digital transformation is no longer a journey. Digital dependence is our new normal. This has entirely changed our risk posture as organizations and therefore we require a whole new approach to Cyber and Information protection.

Cyber threats are going to intensify, and we have a responsibility to ensure we protect all stakeholders.

Thank you very much.


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