KENYA – Yelbridges, a Mauritius headquartered cyber security firm, said it will be setting up a US$1.5 million (Sh150 million) Virtual Conference Centre in Thika, Kenya that will offer training on cyber security to IT professionals in the country.

The centre will be fitted with ultra-modern facilities that will enable real simulation of a cyber attack and how to mount defence against it, incident response as well as other offerings to enhance skills and learning amongst security analysts and IT practitioners.

“According to the Africa cybersecurity report, 96 percent of cyber incidents either go unreported or unresolved and this is part of what the Virtual Conference Centre will focus on,” Yelbridges Chief Operating Officer Steve Mambo said.

Steve revealed that Africa counts less than 10,000 certified cyber security professionals to protect a population of over 1.3 billion people across the continent.

“East Africa faces an acute cyber security skills gap with IT teams lacking the know-how on cyber defence skills against cyber-attacks,” he noted adding that the investment seeks to boost the defence against cyber-attacks.

A recent baseline survey indicates that 90% of organisations in Kenya operates below globally acceptable cyber security standard.

Notably, the current cost of cyber-crimes have climbed up from US$2 billion (Sh200 billion) in 2016 to US$3.5 billion (Sh350 billion) in 2017.

To further enhance cyber security skills in learning institutions, the company is partnering with varsities and digital Innovation hubs to scale up modern security skills amongst students and practitioners pursing IT security-related courses, reports Business Daily.

The company has already signed a memorandum under the Cyber4Growth programme with UISU-Africa to offer specialised training in cyber security to students pursuing computer-related courses.

 “Cyber4Growth programme targets both private and public organisations to raise the level of security awareness in East Africa. We want to ensure that we walk with organisations in Kenya and across East Africa.

“We also aim to promote the economic competitiveness of companies in the region by offering top-notch Cyber Defence Simulated training to IT professionals,” the COO said.

Students who graduate under the programme are exposed to opportunities in Germany for further training before returning to the country to work as cyber security experts.

Yelbridges provides cyber security services to a number of organisations including banks, MFIs, saccos, insurance and manufacturing industries.