Email is the core of business communication. It is therefore critical for SMEs to make informed choices when it comes to the solutions available to them, writes LOUIS JARDIM, Commercial Director and co-founder of Turrito Networks.
Few could argue that in today’s world of always-on, hyper connectivity, email is the bedrock of business communication. For businesses of all sizes and across sectors, whether it is a design agency or a bike repair shop, email keeps the proverbial wheels turning within every modern enterprise.
Despite its importance, many businesses – and particularly SMEs – fail to make informed choices when it comes to the email solutions available to them. This impacts security, efficiency, productivity and long-term profitability for SMEs.
And given the escalating threat of corporate cyber fraud, with ransomware now a daily reality, security needs to be top of mind for every business owner.
So where does one start when considering email solutions for a growing SME?
Outsourcing vs. Insourcing
The first question to consider is whether to outsource the solution, and choose a cloud-based product, or to insource your email and go with a traditional on-site mail exchange service.
The cloud-based option makes far more sense for an SME from both a financial and security perspective, with leading cloud solutions from Microsoft Office 365, which has a dedicated SME bundle offering, and Google Enterprise.
The key financial benefit for SMEs is that there are neither expensive licensing costs to deal with nor long-term contracts associated with cloud-based email – which allows businesses to scale up or down according to changing needs. In addition, there are no maintenance fees and there is a guarantee that email will be up and running 99% of the time.
On-site mail exchange in contrast, requires businesses to pay for monthly licensing fees, IT maintenance and repair, and the costs associated with downtime when the server goes offline (this is inevitable).
Leave Security to the Experts
Solutions such as Office 365 and Google Enterprise have world-class security built into the offering. This enables business owners to rest assured that their email security is strong, and they can therefore focus on core business functions – keeping customers happy and growing their business..
Having an on-site email exchange, however, requires business owners to take responsibility for security, and to purchase various security solutions. They will then have to continuously update these solutions to ensure that they are relevant in addressing new threats.
Following the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack last month, it became very clear that SMEs are underestimating the threat of cyber fraud.
Contrary to popular belief, WannaCry impacted more SMEs than it did larger corporates, largely because SMEs think they are not targets, and often turn off automatic security updates and patches.
With cloud-based email solutions in place, SMEs benefit from high-level IT security at minimal cost, and are well protected against the growing number of ransomware attacks now threatening businesses everywhere.
Guarding Against the Threat Within
All too often, business owners fail to realise that the end users within their own environment are the biggest security concerns. When employees are retrenched, disgruntled or about to resign, there are very real threats around losing critical intellectual property and company data.
For example, if an employee sends out highly confidential and valuable information to a competitor, does the business have a way of flagging such emails? Sometimes, employees are unaware of their error, and can release sensitive data unwittingly and in a non-malicious manner.
Increasingly, cloud-based email solutions offer sophisticated gateway and mail filtering features that protect against data leakage and ensure both visibility and compliance across the business. With intellectual property laws (e.g. POPI) and data protection becoming increasingly critical, such solutions must be incorporated into SMEs today.
No more he said, she said…
Another important component of an email solution is archiving. This allows businesses to be not only compliant and gives them the ability to retrieve legacy emails if called upon.
So, for example, if an employee deliberately deletes his/her entire mailbox when leaving the business, there is a way to quickly and easily retrieve everything using an archiving solution. This becomes a valuable capability in disputes over whether an email was sent before a certain deadline or not.
When submitting documents for competitive tenders, for example, businesses are often told that their information/application wasn’t submitted in time. This can be as a result of servers being down, bad connectivity, or simple deceit/misinformation on behalf of the receiver. But with Email Archiving, the business has a way of proving otherwise.
As the sheer pace and complexity of business heightens in a digitally driven world, SMEs need to ensure that their IT solutions are a help – not a hindrance to growth.
By starting with reliable and secure email solutions, SMEs can focus on their core purpose – and in so doing, drive innovation and expansion.
Now download a bank account
Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.
This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.
“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.
“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”
The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:
- Download the Absa App
- Choose the account you would like to open
- Tell us who you are
- To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
- Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
- Tell us where you live
- Let us know what you do for a living and your income
- Click Apply.
How we use phones to avoid human contact
A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.
Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances.
Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?
The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.
In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.
Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.
Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”
To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:
· I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?
With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.
· Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?
Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.
· I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?
Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.