Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, announces that its B2B provider, Airtel Business, has formed a new partnership with Cisco to provide secure internet access to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa, in support of their digital transformation journeys.

The partnership bundles Airtel Africa’s fixed connectivity solutions with Cisco Umbrella, a cloud-based, plug and play security solution. The combination will secure businesses’ online transaction channels. Initially, the solution will be available in Kenya, Uganda, Congo-Brazzaville, and Madagascar before rolling out to the rest of Airtel Africa’s markets.

Africa has the fastest growing digital consumer market, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic that shifted to e-commerce and cashless transactions. As SMEs adopt these platforms, they face a fast-evolving array of digital threats- from surveillance to critical infrastructure disruption and delays due to cyber attacks and malware, hence the need to protect them and their customers.

Luc Serviant, Group Enterprise Director, Airtel Business at Airtel Africa commented: “Internet penetration is rising across Africa and systems are even more connected as the digital transformation is driving growth amongst organisations.

Through our partnership with Cisco, we support SMEs and entrepreneurs across Africa with their end-to-end digital presence and a secure, reliable internet to protect them from foreign attacks.“

Cisco Umbrella is a single unified security service that reduces the complexity of monitoring and managing threats and alerts. Umbrella ensures fewer infections, which in turn means less remediation time and less downtime which in turn leads to cost savings.

Umbrella converges DNS Layer Security, Secure Web Gateway, Cloud Delivered Firewall (CDFW), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Interactive Threat Intel, which is powered by Talos, the largest privately owned threat intelligence agency globally.

All these services can be consumed via the cloud, providing a Secure Access Secure Edge (SASE) architecture which can also seamlessly secure SDWAN deployments.

For the small business owner who is potentially overwhelmed with the idea of having to manage complex cybersecurity protection on top of running a business, while knowing it is time to upgrade his/her security technology to something stronger, Cisco’s Umbrella can fill in the gaps for small business cybersecurity teams.

Vikas Sharma Client Partner at Cisco said: “We are excited to partner with Airtel Africa to deliver this fast, flexible and effective security solution to businesses in the continent. It combines multiple security functions enabling businesses to protect devices, remote users and locations everywhere. This is what SMEs in Africa need as they embark on their digital transformation journeys”.

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