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How GDPR data laws will affect SA business

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Previously, protecting data was the responsibility of the employer, but now the payroll software provider shares this responsibility. WARREN VAN WYK, co-founder and director, Payspace discusses General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on payroll.

The most significant update in data protection legislation will come into effect in May this year. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a very specific mandate: to provide greater personal data protection. The legislation applies to all individuals within the European Union (EU), and covers all information that could identify them, both directly or indirectly. 

As a South African based business, you may think GDPR doesn’t apply to you. But this is not necessarily the case. GDPR may be EU legislation, but it affects any company that has business interests in the EU, or that employs EU citizens. Given the multinational scope of business in today’s globalised market, companies don’t stay domestic-only for long. If your company is already international, or is in pursuit of growth, then it’s crucial that you comply with GDPR sooner rather than later. There are severe penalties for non-compliance that simply aren’t worth the risk. 

How will this affect HR and payroll teams?

Payroll and HR departments process huge volumes of personal information. There is no doubt that GDPR will disrupt how things are currently done. HR and Payroll managers will have to take on new responsibilities to make sure that their processes comply with the legislation. 

Additional responsibilities will include having to issue privacy notices to employees and job applicants that clearly outline how their personal information will be used and if it will be used outside the EU. Any transfer of data out of the EU can only be done with regulatory approval. If there is any security breach, payroll managers have 72 hours in which to alert the data protection authorities. 

Fortunately, these new pressures can be shared. If your company outsources its HR and payroll processes for example, then the in-house team and the provider share the responsibility of ensuring GDPR compliance. Your data controller will oversee adherence to GDPR’s core principles, and the payroll provider will support this with technical and organisational measures, such as data encryption and secure storage. 

  

Enhanced security

GDPR is making businesses around the world reassess their data security measures and pay more attention to their current processes. This enhanced security consciousness is setting a new global standard. This means that, even if your business isn’t legally obliged to comply with GDPR, you should still make sure your company’s data protection is up to scratch. This will help you remain competitive and avoid any potential reputational damage. 

To properly assess your company’s current data security measures, and prepare for GDPR, you need to review your entire payroll process. Take it apart step-by-step and determine how the system does or does not meet the legislative requirements – and what can be done to improve it. Of utmost importance is knowing who of your employees is in direct contact with sensitive information, and how do they collect, store, archive and destroy data.

A critical question to ask is: could you reduce the number of employees that have access to sensitive information? This will mitigate risk significantly. Industry best practice also calls for companies to only gather and use the data they need to perform their business. Give your dusty data archives a clear-out and put in place processes that focus on using and storing relevant information. 

When it comes to GDPR, the best approach for South African businesses (whether they are directly affected by it or not), is to view it as a global call for enhanced data security. Getting your business GDPR compliant sooner rather than later will only serve you in the long run. Adjusting to a change in legislation can be challenging. So, make sure your payroll software is secure and that the provider you work with is GDPR compliant and you’ll be halfway compliant in no time. 

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Wannacry still alive

One and a half years after its epidemic, WannaCry ransomware tops the list of the most widespread cryptor families and the ransomware has attacked 74,621 unique users worldwide.

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These attacks accounted for 28.72% of all users targeted by cryptors in Q3 2018. The percentage has risen over the last year, demonstrating more than two thirds growth against Q3 2017, when its share in cryptor attacks was 16.78%. This is just one of the main findings from Kaspersky Lab’s Q3 IT threat evolution report. 

A series of cyberattacks with WannaCry cryptor occurred in May 2017 and is still considered to be one of the biggest ransomware epidemics in history. Even though Windows released a patch for its operating system to close the vulnerability exploited by EternalBlue 2 months prior to the start of the attacks, WannaCry still affected hundreds of thousands devices around the globe. As cryptors do, WannaCry turned files on victims’ computers into encrypted data and demanded ransom for decryption keys (created by threat actors to decipher the files and transform them back into the original data) making it impossible to operate the infected device.

The consequences of the WannaCry epidemic were devastating: as the victims were mainly organisations with networked systems – the work of businesses, factories and hospitals was paralysed. Even though this case demonstrated the dangers cryptors pose, and most of PCs around the world have been updated to resist the EternalBlue exploit, the statistics show that criminals still try to exploit those computers that weren’t patched and there are still plenty of them around the globe.

Overall, Kaspersky Lab security solution protected 259,867 unique users from cryptors attacks, showing a substantial rise of 39% since Q2 2018, when the figure was 158,921. The growth was rapid yet steady, with a monthly observed increase in the number of users.

The rising share of WannaCry attacks is another reminder that epidemics don’t end as fast as they start – there are always long-running consequences. In the case of cryptors, attacks can be so severe that it is necessary to take preventive measures and patch the device, rather than deal with encrypted files later,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

 To reduce the risk of infection by WannaCry and other cryptors, users are advised to:

  • Always update your operating system to eliminate recent vulnerabilities and use a robust security solution with updated databases. It is also important to use the security solution that has specialised technologies to protect your data from ransomware, as Kaspersky Lab’s solutions do. Even if the newest yet unknown malware does manage to sneak through, Kaspersky Lab’s System Watcher technology is able to block and roll back all malicious changes made on a device, including the encryption of files.
  • If you have bad luck and all your files are encrypted with cryptomalware, it is not recommended to pay cybercriminals, as it encourages them to continue their dirty business and infect more people’s devices. It is better to find a decryptor on the Internet – some of them are available for free here: https://noransom.kaspersky.com/

·         It is also important to always have fresh backup copies of your files to be able to replace them in case they are lost (e.g. due to malware or a broken device), and store them not only on the physical object but also in cloud storage for greater reliability (don’t forget to protect your cloud storage with strong hack-proof password!)

·         If you’re a business, enhance your preferred third-party security solution with the newest version of the free Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool.

·         To protect the corporate environment, educate your employees and IT teams, keep sensitive data separate, restrict access, and always back up everything.

·         Use a dedicated security solution, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business that is powered by behaviour detection and able to roll back malicious actions. It should also include Vulnerability and Patch management features that automatically eliminates vulnerabilities and installs updates. This reduces the risk of vulnerabilities in popular software being used by cybercriminals.

·         Last, but not least, remember that ransomware is a criminal offence. You shouldn’t pay. If you become a victim, report it to your local law enforcement agency.

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Nokia 6.1 gets slice of Pie

HMD Global has announced that the Nokia 6.1 will start receiving Android 9 Pie – the second smartphone in the portfolio to receive the latest version of Android less than a month after the update arrived on the Nokia 7 plus.

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Packed with Google’s newest software and building on the features of Android 8.0 Oreo, Android 9 Pie’s focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning gives owners a more customised and tailored experience.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, the Nokia 6.1 is over 60% faster than its predecessor. Also, now offering enhanced Dual-Sight, ZEISS optics, USB-C fast-charging, Nokia spatial audio and pure, secure and up-to-date Android Oreo.

The Nokia 6.1 has been selected by Google to join the Android One family and therefore users get exclusive access to Apps Actions – a feature only available to Android One and Google Pixel devices.  App Actions helps users get things done faster by predicting their next move and displaying the right action on right away.

Now with Android 9 Pie, the Nokia 6.1’s already impressive battery life is further complimented with the introduction of Adaptive Battery, an update that uses deep learning to understand usage patterns and prioritise battery power on the most important apps.

Other key features of Android 9

·       Slices – Identifies relevant information on favourite apps to make them more easily accessible when needed

·       Adaptive Brightness – Automatically adapts phone brightness by learning from interactions with different settings

·       New system navigation – Features a single home button that provides intelligent predictions and suggestions (user enabled)

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