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As healthcare digitises, data breaches loom

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A recent national healthcare grant to digitise patient records is a step in the right direction. But, healthcare organisations also need systems in place to mitigate the risk of data breaches, says WAYNE CLARKE, MD of Metrofile Records Management.

According to the recent 2016 Mid Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), the national health insurance grant will be increased by R9 million to fund the strengthening of health information systems in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. While this is incredibly positive, when healthcare organisations digitise patient information and records or adopt new technology it is vital that the records management system is evaluated to mitigate the risk of data breaches.

Wayne Clarke, Managing Director of Metrofile Records Management, a group company of JSE-listed Metrofile Holdings Limited, says that healthcare organisations using an Electronic Records Management (ERM) system need to realise that sensitive and confidential information can be travelling with their employees wherever they go. “A breach in data does not always occur as a result of a hacking attack, but can happen when an employee’s electronic device gets stolen or as a result of something as simple as the misplacement of a USB stick.”

He says that healthcare data contains highly confidential information that can be used for medical identity theft and fraud. “Healthcare organisations need to be aware of the costs involved in crisis management if a cyber breach or systems failure occurs.”

According to IBM’s 2016 Cost of Data Breach study the healthcare industry was the industry with the highest per capita data breach cost last year. The average per capita cost of data breaches in South Africa in 2015 was $1.87 million. The report also states that South African companies had the highest percentage of human error data breaches and that South Africa and Brazil are the two countries with the highest estimated probability of occurrence, adds Clarke.

Data theft is not going to disappear, notes Clarke, and the list of organisations falling foul to this will grow. “Government and industry regulators will also get tougher with organisations not taking the right steps to protect themselves against data breaches and attacks.”

According to the McAfee Labs Threats September 2016 Report ransomware attacks targeting the healthcare industry especially hospitals increased in 2016.

Clarke adds that when a data breach occurs it is important for the organisation to react as quickly as possible to protect their brand, minimise bad publicity and reassure clients that they are doing everything they can to resolve the issue and taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.

Data breaches in the healthcare industry are real, and so too are the costly consequences, says Clarke. “As digital innovations increase in the healthcare industry, data breaches will only continue to grow. It is therefore vital for healthcare organisations to take proactive measures to protect their data.”

“Firewalls, antivirus software and threat detection will not prevent data breaches. The best way to combat the challenge of managing healthcare record systems and to mitigate the risk of loss or breach of sensitive data is to enforce a strict corporate policy and to educate staff on the entire records management system and storage process. However, employing a dedicated records manager or outsourcing records management to a reputable service provider, would be the best solution,” says Clarke.

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Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser

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Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.

A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.

The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.

“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.

When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.

The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.

“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”

According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.

The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.

“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”

Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.

The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.

Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.

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Future of the car is here

Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.

The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.

Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.

Jaguar i-Pace

The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.

Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.

And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.

The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.

Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h in 4.8s
  • 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
  • Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
  • Two-year/34 000km service intervals

Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.

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