Founders Spotlight:Dr. June Jeremiah (Founder,MCS Security Solutions)

After he created his first computer virus in varsity, Dr Jeremiah realized the value of using ethical hacking to identify and address system vulnerabilities before malicious hackers do. That translated to a decade-plus long career which includes a recent PhD. Find out more about his wonderful career and more on this interview!

In your own words, tell us who Dr June Jeremiah is

I am a cybersecurity engineer, enthusiast, researcher, and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in cyber operations and information security. A Mentor and Speaker on cybersecurity and information warfare focusing on defining up-to-date protection strategies and tactics empowering the future with innovative cybersecurity solutions.

Briefly take us through your journey to a career in information security

My journey in cybersecurity started from a young age I was always curious about computers and how they work. When I was pursuing my degree in Computer Science with Lancaster University in 2010, I successfully managed to acquire my first Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification which opened doors for me as a licensed cybersecurity professional. It was after this certification that I coded and created my first computer virus due to curiosity of wanting to know how hackers compromise the network and gain access to systems remotely through the internet. I went on to further acquire more certifications in cybersecurity such as Certified Penetration Testing Engineer (CPTE), Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), Certified Network Defender (CND), etc. so I get more insight on the offensive and defensive aspects of cybersecurity. With all these certifications I started Bounty Bug Programs for big companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, HSBC Bank, etc, and this allowed me to perform ethical hacking attacks targeting organization websites or applications to identify any security weakness before they were exploited by malicious attackers. I have also worked with world-leading companies such as PayPal Malaysia as a Senior Fraud Investigator. Ever since then I have been into cybersecurity and it’s no longer just a career but a passion to contribute to secure the future of Africa cyberspace. I just recently completed my PhD in Cyber Defense with Dakota State University and my research was focusing on monitoring the Deep Web and the Darknet: A Look Inside the Internet's Massive Underground Cybercrime Marketplaces.

What motivated you to pursue this career path?

My passion for computer systems and knowing how malicious hackers target organization by exploiting their security weaknesses motivated me to peruse a career in cybersecurity. My passion to always code and solve problems has always been my inspiration. Due to the complexity of cybersecurity, I have the opportunity to think out of the box which motivates me to continue learning new things in terms of compliance, security vulnerabilities, digital forensics, and incident response which keep growing me in my professional life.

What inspired you to pivot from a career in corporate to tech entrepreneurship and academia?

The increasing number of sophisticated cyber-attacks inspired me to set up a cybersecurity startup to assist businesses and individuals to protect their digital assets and stay ahead of cyber attacks with up to day defense strategies and tactics. Cybersecurity is a dynamic field that keeps evolving as new attacks keep surfacing, therefore is significant to keep learning new skills and also research on new threats in this field to be up to date with current industry standards requirements, and policies.

Please tell us more about your company, MCS Security Solutions?

Established in 2019, MCS Security Solutions is a leading penetration testing and trusted cybersecurity consulting firm in Botswana. We have earned our reputation for integrity as a risk and vulnerability management firm by providing innovative cybersecurity solutions to secure our clients’ digital assets from various industries locally, regionally, and internationally. We strive to remain the leading trusted cybersecurity firm in Botswana and agnostic information security providers. We persistently aim to improve our client business operation by providing the best cybersecurity consulting advisory and vulnerability assessment services that do not compromise our client’s core business interests.


What was the motivation for starting MCS Security Solutions?

Jack Ma founder of Alibaba once said “Real business people make money by solving social problems for others” this inspired me to set up my cybersecurity startup to assist businesses and individuals in combat rising cyber-attacks. The birth of MCS Security was motivated by the cyber-attack incident I once encountered which shut me out and corrupt all my files and the entire machine. It was through this incident I realized there was an opportunity for me to contribute to raise awareness on such threats and build strong cyber aware and resilient users across Botswana. Furthermore, the key factor that inspired me to found MCS Security is the increasing number of sophisticated cyberattacks targeting organization’s digital assets in Botswana and Africa at large. The aim was to contribute to shaping and securing the future of Africa cyberspace.


What progress do you think the country is making in fostering information security and what needs to be done to accelerate this progress?

Botswana is among the most targeted country in Africa by cyber attacks. As more people are now getting connected, it is necessary for Botswana as a country to be prepared for more sophisticated attacks. The development of the National Cybersecurity Strategy is a milestone in shaping information security in Botswana. However, failure to set strict cybersecurity policies by most government agencies and private companies remains a challenging factor in securing our cyberspace. Our cybersecurity culture and preparedness need to change to ensure a cyber resilient nation. Furthermore, with only 65 million Pula budget allocated for National Cybersecurity Strategy, Botswana as a country need to invest more in cybersecurity to accelerate the progress of developing cyber aware and resilient nation.

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation drive in both the private and public sectors. How has this impacted the need for information security services like those offered by MCS?


The pandemic has brought about new sophisticated attacks which were not a concern before. The priorities for cybersecurity within the organization in Botswana have also changed rapidly with the pandemic. We have seen businesses transitioning to offer remote workforce support and struggling to maintain internal network security using secure virtual private networks (VPN) to improve security. Furthermore, we have experienced high demand for security training to educate staff on measures to protect themselves and the organization's digital assets from attacks targeting them while working from home. With increasing numbers of employees working remotely, many organizations in Botswana are now realizing the significance of increasing their cybersecurity investment and spend. Although this is a pressing challenge for most businesses that are already affected badly by the pandemic, with decreased revenues forcing spending budgets to shrink, most organizations in Botswana are now prioritizing cybersecurity in their budgets this has increased demand for the services that we offer at MCS Security more especially training demands and business continuity advisory. 


Information security services, as important as they are, do not come cheap. Most local businesses are below the security poverty line, and consider these services as more of a privilege than a necessity. What do you think can be done to change this mindset?

Despite many reports we often read regarding cybercrime and attacks, it is shocking to realize most local businesses are still not concerned with improving their investment in cybersecurity. This lack of concern is understandable as many local SMEs are still making the mistake to believe cyberattacks are only targeting large enterprises and organizations such as banks, government agencies, and multinational companies. Most local businesses still believe they are not targeted to cyber-attacks as they don’t have anything of much value to be targeted by malicious hackers. However, size is immaterial in the world of cybercriminals. Vulnerabilities are the major challenge. If a business can easily be exploited then size is not of any significance. What distinguishes winners and losers against cyberattacks is how well the organizations are prepared for attacks and how effective their incident response is . Cyber attacks are now inevitable and the aftermath can be devastating with a high degree of financial losses and reputation damage which can affect brand value and customer retention. Therefore, it is necessary for local businesses to always ensure they are secure and ready to respond to any large-scale cyber attack incident.


As a B2B enterprise specializing in providing cybersecurity solutions in such a technologically infantile country like Botswana, what challenges have you faced?

First of all, companies in Botswana are failing to invest in cybersecurity with limited budgets allocated for cybersecurity projects across Botswana. This is not only a business challenge but we consider it as a business risk to many businesses operating in our region. Furthermore, the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals in the Botswana job market makes it challenging to acquire the right talent to fill in job openings within our company and we are forced to outsource skilled manpower across borders.


How have you been trying to overcome those challenges?

To resolve these challenges we usually host workshops and seminars to provide Security Awareness programs in order to assist organizations to realize the significance of investing in cybersecurity because, in this connected world, it is not a question of if cyber-attack will happen but rather when it will happen and how much it will cost the organization. Furthermore, we are proud EC Council and PECB accredited partners delivering world-class cybersecurity courses to individuals to reduce the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals in Botswana. For more details on our courses kindly visit our website.


On the other hand, what are some upsides to working on a startup engaged in such an environment?

Cybersecurity is one of the fast-growing industries, with the global cybersecurity market share estimated at USD 167.13 billion in 2020 and projected to reach USD 345.4 billion by 2026. Due to the complexity of cybersecurity, there is an opportunity to keep learning new things in this industry which makes it interesting as it keeps challenging me to evolve and keep up with rising cyber-attacks through innovation and thinking out of the box to come up with defence strategies to always be ahead of cybercriminals.



Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers regarding what MCS is up to, project-wise, currently and in the near future?

We are currently working on the development of an All-in-One Cybersecurity Management Platform which will assist organizations to ensure compliance, gain threat visibility and improve the protection of critical digital assets. Our solution Enterprise Security in One Platform (ESOP) uses the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist SMEs and large enterprises to protect their digital assets by unifying disparate security solutions and legacy systems in a single platform allowing businesses to manage, detect, automate and respond to cyber threats. ESOP brings together threat intelligence, vulnerability management, assets discovery, dark web monitoring capabilities, and incident response management through a single platform.


Lastly, please share with our readers your contact details in case they want to get in touch with you

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NB: Interview has been slightly edited for clarity

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