members across all industries. At UJ, we have been widely involved with accountability of members of boards, as cybercrime is the number one threat for companies across all sectors”, he says. Thus the demand for IT graduates is huge, says Prof von Solms. “It is acknowledged globally that the demand for expertise in the cyber field is among the highest, if not the highest, among all professional disciplines”, he says. As a result, the certificate courses in the Centre for Cyber Security are constantly oversubscribed by IT employees, while full-time students can barely finish the four-year degree before they are head-hunted. “We struggle to get lecturers and postgraduate students, because the demand out there is so high”, he says. In 2011, Prof von Solms was awarded the Alumni Achievers award by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, where he actually started his academic studies, in 1965, when it was still the University of Port Elizabeth. In 2016, Prof von Solms was elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, which honours the country’s “most outstanding and celebrated scholars”. He is also a Fellow of the Computer Society of South Africa, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Oxford Martin School of the University of Oxford and a Chartered Information Technology Professional (CITP).
In the late 1990s, computer networks developed faster as the Internet evolved. “I was very privileged to have seen the dawn of this discipline, to be part of and experience the massive developments in the IT fields over the years. “I am proud that I could, over the years, be part of establishing Computer Science and Informatics as an academic discipline, and be part of the internationally acclaimed Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering that we now have at UJ”, says Prof von Solms. In 2005, Prof von Solms was awarded the ICT Leadership Award by the South African IT industry and the Computer Society of South Africa for “exceptional thought leadership qualities and sustainable contribution to the development and growth of the South African IT Industry”. A year later, the South African Academy for Science and Arts awarded him the MT Steyn Medal for Scientific and Technical Achievement. In 2009, the book Information Security Governance , co-authored with his brother, Professor Rossouw von Solms, was published internationally by Springer. The book documents the experience and research resulting from cooperation between the two brothers over 10 years. The following year, he received the Computer Society of South Africa (CSSA) Distinguished Service in ICT Award, as well as the 2010 IFIP TC-11 Kristian Beckman Award, for “his never tiring work towards broadening the meaning of Information Security in various aspects”. Also in 2010, the SA Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists awarded the Pioneers in Computer Science and Information Technology Award to Prof von Solms for his contribution to IT, and specifically Information Security, over the last 40 years. Prof von Solms says cybercrime is now massively pervasive worldwide, with Africa being a “hotbed” of cybercrime. “Cybercrime is no longer a technical issue, but an issue that concerns company board
He is a past president of the International Federation for
Information Processing (IFIP), which he is now an honorary member of, and is the vice-chair (Africa) for the IEEE’s Special Interest Group on Big Data and Cyber Security. “My journey started early and is coming to an end, but the future lies open for the present generation to develop applications that we cannot even envisage at this stage”, says Prof von Solms.
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