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HomeAfricaSilence in the Servers: Internet Shutdowns and Business Continuity in Senegal

Silence in the Servers: Internet Shutdowns and Business Continuity in Senegal

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The recent internet suspension in Senegal during protests against the government raises alarming questions for businesses operating in the region.

With digital connectivity becoming the lifeblood of commerce and communication, such shutdowns pose a significant threat to data availability and operational continuity. Let’s explore the impact of this event, examine potential risks, and delve into best practices for ensuring data accessibility in similar situations.

The Digital Blackout:

Following demonstrations sparked by the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko, Senegalese authorities suspended mobile internet access for several days in July 2023. While intended to curb the spread of “hateful messages,” this move disrupted businesses, hampered communication, and caused economic losses. This incident is not isolated, with internet shutdowns becoming increasingly common in response to civil unrest across Africa and other regions.

Business Vulnerability:

For companies relying on online tools and communication channels, internet disruptions can trigger operational paralysis. E-commerce transactions grind to a halt, remote work becomes impossible, and communication with clients and partners suffers. The financial losses can be significant, impacting both immediate sales and long-term customer trust.

Data Availability Lifeline:

In this context, ensuring data availability during internet shutdowns becomes critical for business continuity. Several strategies can mitigate the impact:

  1. Local data storage: Store essential data locally and back it up regularly on separate physical or cloud-based solutions.
  2. Offline alternatives: Develop offline modes for critical business functions, allowing essential operations to continue without internet access.
  3. Diversify internet providers: Partner with multiple internet service providers to reduce reliance on a single network.
  4. VPN solutions: Utilize secure VPN tunnels to access remote servers and maintain connectivity even if local internet is blocked.
  5. Satellite internet: Consider satellite internet as a backup option, though cost and bandwidth limitations need evaluation.
  6. Regular testing: Conduct regular tests of your contingency plans to ensure their effectiveness in real-world scenarios.
  7. Employee communication: Train and inform employees about communication procedures during internet outages.
  8. Public awareness: Advocate for responsible government practices and advocate for open internet access.
  9. Cybersecurity measures: Maintain robust cybersecurity measures to protect data even during disruptions.
  10. Business continuity plan: Develop and refine a comprehensive business continuity plan that incorporates internet outage scenarios.

Conclusion:

While internet shutdowns pose a significant challenge, proactive measures can ensure your business remains resilient. By investing in data availability solutions, diversifying internet access, and fostering preparedness, companies can navigate disruptions and safeguard their operations. Remember, in a world increasingly reliant on digital connections, business continuity hinges not just on technological solutions, but also on collective advocacy for open internet access and responsible government practices. Let’s work together to build a digital landscape where businesses thrive and voices are heard, even when the web falls silent.

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

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