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How discarded tech endangers company security

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To keep up with technology and improve efficiencies, companies are constantly replacing outdated IT equipment. However, this creates a challenge as large amounts of excess electronics must be managed and disposed of properly.

The problem with IT asset disposal projects is the chain-of-custody of equipment. Often during audits, equipment is unaccounted for and untracked. The IT director is normally the first person to be accused but then the blame is shifted to the disposal vendor for taking an inaccurate inventory. Then finally, the truck driver is accused for stealing the computers on route to the recycling facility.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says securing sensitive data is a daunting task for any business. “Data security laws mandate that organisations implement adequate safeguards to ensure privacy protection of individuals. And the penalties for data breaches are tough.”

Unknowingly, employees often donate old IT equipment to charity organisations or schools that are in desperate need of computers. However, before doing so, they fail to ensure that the hard drives are erased properly. What employees view as a trivial act, is in fact a serious data security threat that could create massive liability for the company.

Most organisations take data security seriously and spend exorbitant amounts on IT security including firewalls, network monitoring, encryption, and end-point protection. Although they spend millions guarding against hackers, they often overlook one crucial element of data security – theft of the physical hard drives.

Arewa says many businesses now rely on expert assistance. “The fact that certified electronics recyclers are transporting retired IT assets to vendor facilities to be processed and sanitised can create a false sense of security that blinds executives to the biggest threats. First, there is still the possibility that assets can be lost or stolen in-transit.”

Chain-of-custody is the foundation for indemnification and transfer of liability. It only takes a single missing item to cause a breach. Only a careful, objective examination of tracking data can confirm chain-of-custody — or reveal potential liability.

Company executives must prevent employees from taking retired computers and by acknowledging the risks and inherent conflicts-of-interest surrounding retired assets, will result in more effective ITAD policies and adequate safeguards.

Applying established incident-response procedures to the process of ITAD can help raise awareness of unappreciated vulnerabilities. More importantly, educating senior management about the risks will hopefully secure the resources needed to prevent an ITAD-related breach.

“Treating IT asset disposal as a reverse procurement process will deter insider theft,” he says.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entires via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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