Grant Bodley, CEO of Dimension Data. Picture: SUPPLIED
Grant Bodley, CEO of Dimension Data. Picture: SUPPLIED

Technology group Dimension Data launched a new business unit to focus on cybersecurity on Wednesday, saying businesses and organisations are increasingly moving more of their operations online, making them more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Dimension Data, which is headed by Grant Bodley, is made up of four business units: the traditional Dimension Data systems integrator business; business process outsourcing unit Merchants; digital business solutions arm Britehouse; and internet services provider for public and private sector organisations Internet Solutions.

The company, which delisted from the JSE in 2010, now forms part of Japanese technology firm NTT’s operations.

With more business processes going online or being made digital, opportunities for infiltration by cyber criminals is growing, the company says. Having traditionally integrated security features into its products, the Bryanston-based business has decided to launch a separate (fifth) unit to tackle this potentially large market.  

Dimension Data Security unites all the security offerings previously managed by the other four brands into one business. The unit will be led by Tony Walt, managing executive of Security.

Walt said the size of the cybersecurity market in which Dimension Data operated was  $3.6bn (about R52.44bn).

“This is across the Middle East and Africa,” he said. 

“We have looked at the geographies in which we operate and approximately 60% of that is addressable by this new business, which makes it a $2bn market. In rand terms at 15 to 1, it’s a $30bn opportunity,” he said.

“So it’s a massive market. The opportunity is incredible and we’ve actually got a 38-year history in securing everything that we sell,” said Walt.

Regarding their other businesses, Bodley said their Merchants unit is in “advanced contract negotiations” with two large US companies that, if concluded, could see the company providing services to the US, which would create 3,000-4,000 new jobs in SA over the next two years.

Dimension Data, which employs 15,000 people across 15 countries, has also concluded an empowerment transaction that  resulted in the company achieving a 51% black ownership recognition status.

The transaction has two elements: the first is the sale of Dimension Data’s head office and premises in Bryanston, Johannesburg, called The Campus, which has been its home since 2003 and owned by the company since 2006. The commercial property has been sold to a black woman-owned company, which is part of the recently established Identity Property Fund, managed by Identity Fund Managers.

The company occupies less than 50% of The Campus and said the sale of the premises is part of a wider restructuring exercise to enable the company to focus on its core business. It would continue occupying the premises.

The second element is a 15% equity transaction through an employee share option plan, which would vest in three years for qualifying employees.

Bodley also confirmed that Dimension Data has fully resumed its services to the City of Johannesburg after the technology company suspended its business in November for nonpayment. This was around the same time that the city had faced a spate of cyber attacks by a group of hackers.