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Don’t relegate security to CIO

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Given the connectedness of organisations today, cyber security has become a fundamental part of business. NATHAN DESFONTAINES believes that this environment is challenging CFOs to look differently at operational requirements.

One of the biggest mistakes any company can make is to relegate cyber security to the CIO office. With technology permeating every aspect of business, this silo approach no longer holds true. In fact, I believe it can open the organisation to a number of risks, not least of which being having its data compromised.

With the CIO traditionally reporting to the CFO for new technology implementations (considering the cost implication on the business), the finance office is in a unique position to gain an organisational-wide perspective on the IT systems and process in place.

This perspective might give way to the temptation of thinking that cyber security is something that can be rolled out annually and be forgotten about. Instead, C-suite executives need to work closer together in order for the business to become more proactive around protecting its most important asset – its data.

While there is no such thing as complete security, there are a number of measures that can be taken to minimise the likelihood of a breach:  In the digital world, these breaches result in not only significant financial damage but reputational as well. And if the breach is significant enough, the company risks not being able to recover at all from such an attack.

The top four means of incursion into a network are through exploiting system vulnerabilities, default password violations, SQL injections and targeted malware attacks. To prevent this, it is necessary to shut down each of these avenues into the information assets of the business.

It is important that the company identifies threats by correlating real-time alerts with global intelligence: security information and event management systems can flag suspicious network activity for investigation. In fact, the value of such real-time alerts is much greater when the information provided can be correlated in with current research and analysis of the worldwide threat environment.

Additionally, companies should automate security through IT compliance controls: by developing and enforcing IT policies across their networks and data protection systems, C-suite executives can help prevent a data breach caused by a hacker or a malicious insider, this mechanism works best for protecting sensitive information.

At KPMG, we believe it is important to remember that cyber security impacts on all parts of an organisation – from human resources and compliance, to business continuity and brand communications. Those organisations who see this as an integrated process are the ones that are best able to differentiate themselves from their competitors. So as much as some CFOs think that security is just a matter of Rands and cents, the impact on the company is much more significant.

I (along with other KPMG cyber security experts) will be discussing these and other issues at the upcoming Finance Indaba in Sandton, as well as the CFO World Congress taking place in Cape Town in November.

* Nathan Desfontaines, Cyber Security Manager at KPMG in South Africa

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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