Microsoft to support women in cyber security engineering

Written By: Claire Wanja/Regina Manyara
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From left, Microsoft East Africa Country Manager Sebu Haileleul, SheHacks Co founders, Laura Tich and Evelyn Kilel with Microsoft's General Manager Engineering , Hayden Hainsworth
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Microsoft through the Cloud and AI Security Engineering team has reiterated its commitment to advocate for women with an interest in security engineering through the SheHacks annual HackFest Festival.

The pronouncement, made during this year’s annual HackFest held at Strathmore Business School, underscores the organisation’s commitment to supporting developing, sponsoring and advocating for women with an interest in Security Engineering.

Speaking during the event, Hayden Hainsworth, General Manager for Cyber security Engineering at Microsoft highlighted the importance of such strategic partnerships and events in developing competency in tackling cyber threats in a rapidly evolving tech ecosystem.

“My mission is geared towards empowering our customers and partners to get and stay secure on their journey to cloud while inspiring the next generation of cyber security engineers”.

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“We are really delighted to be partnering with SheHacks for this year’s Hackathon, with a focus to prepare women to thrive in the technology industry. We want to make it easy for anyone to take their next step forward in technology,” Hainsworth added.

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SheHacks Ke Co-Founders Laura Tich (left) and Evelyn Kilel (right), with Microsoft’s General Manager, cyber security engineering Hayden Hainsworth during the SheHacks event held at the Strathmore Event

On their part, SheHacks Founders Evelyn Kilel and Laura Tich emphasized the need for increased support towards youth in Kenya.

“Since we founded this initiative, we have seen tremendous growth in the number of women and young people who want to take part. This year alone, we are hosting close to 300 young ladies from Kenyato equip and empower them with the required technical know-how to combat cyber-crime”, they said.

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In conclusion, Pratik Roy Modern Workplace and Security Business Group Lead for Microsoft in North, West, East, Southern Africa, Levant & Pakistan noted Kenya has one of the highest number of internet users with over 46 million people having access to the service, according to internet world statistics. But with the acceleration of digitalisation comes insecure consumer habits.

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“This coupled with inadequate cyber security measures in key sectors and eventually turning Kenya into a lucrative target for cyber criminals. Our collaboration with SheHacks provides a great opportunity to empower more youth with the right skills – most urgent cyber security skills to accelerate digital success in the region.” He said.

Kenya lost 30 billion shillings to cyber related crimes in 2018 according to a report by cyber security firm Serianu.

The report further indicates that though cyber crime poses a threat to the economy, most organizations are ill equipped to counter such attacks with Kenya having only 1,700 certified cyber security skilled professionals.

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