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Bring Your Own Encryption

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While cloud computing and virtualisation are integral to the always-on business, WARREN OLIVIER feels it should not detract from the importance of security. He discusses how bring your own encryption could reprioritise this for decision-makers.

The BYOE security model gives cloud customers complete control over the encryption of their data. In essence, this enables them to use a virtualised example of their own encryption software together with the applications they are hosting in the cloud, to encrypt their data. At the same time, cloud providers are finding innovative ways to let users manage their encryption keys.

Up to now, questions around data sovereignty drove the majority of decisions around moving to the cloud. After all, having corporate data being subjected to the laws of the country in which it is located has created additional challenges for CIOs the globe over.

With BYOE, it does not matter where organisational data resides as the company has its own encryption key.

This places the onus on the business to encrypt the data locally before storing it offshore. Given the connectedness of the world and the extent at which people access back-end corporate data using a myriad of devices irrespective of location, this is an especially empowering way of going about security.

It is a great way of diversifying the backup strategy of an organisation. Not only does it mean there are local and off-site copies available, it also provides decision-makers with the added peace of mind that the data is secure from prying eyes.

Of course, this does not mean companies should embark on a mass exodus and migrate to international solutions providers. Instead, BYOE gives companies the flexibility to use local cloud providers as their primary option and offshore data centres as additional backups once the data is encrypted.

However, when it comes to this model one of the biggest concerns is what happens if the encryption key is lost? After all, encryption is theoretically a single point of failure that could see all corporate data lost.

There are ways to address this. As an example, Veeam has implemented a feature where it can generate a new encryption key for the company. This is done once certain elements have been verified and provides customers with a fail-safe solution around encryption.

However, BYOE does not mean there is an inherent distrust towards cloud providers. Rather, it is about securing corporate information as effectively as possible to meet regulatory requirements.

This is where trust partnerships with vendors come in. If a corporate relies on a service provider who understands its unique requirements, the best way to enhance the relationship is to integrate BYOE. The Always-On business requires an environment that is conducive to innovation and leveraging the best technologies for the needs of the business. BYOE supplements that from a security perspective.

* Warren Olivier, regional manager for Southern Africa at Veeam.

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Samsung unfolds the future

At the #Unpacked launch, Samsung delivered the world’s first foldable phone from a major brand. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK tried it out.

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Everything that could be known about the new Samsung Galaxy S10 range, launched on Wednesday in San Francisco, seems to have been known before the event.

Most predictions were spot-on, including those in Gadget (see our preview here), thanks to a series of leaks so large, they competed with the hole an iceberg made in the Titanic.

The big surprise was that there was a big surprise. While it was widely expected that Samsung would announce a foldable phone, few predicted what would emerge from that announcement. About the only thing that was guessed right was the name: Galaxy Fold.

The real surprise was the versatility of the foldable phone, and the fact that units were available at the launch. During the Johannesburg event, at which the San Francisco launch was streamed live, small groups of media took turns to enter a private Fold viewing area where photos were banned, personal phones had to be handed in, and the Fold could be tried out under close supervision.

The first impression is of a compact smartphone with a relatively small screen on the front – it measures 4.6-inches – and a second layer of phone at the back. With a click of a button, the phone folds out to reveal a 7.3-inch inside screen – the equivalent of a mini tablet.

The fold itself is based on a sophisticated hinge design that probably took more engineering than the foldable display. The result is a large screen with no visible seam.

The device introduces the concept of “app continuity”, which means an app can be opened on the front and, in mid-use, if the handset is folded open, continue on the inside from where the user left off on the front. The difference is that the app will the have far more space for viewing or other activity.

Click here to read about the app experience on the inside of the Fold.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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