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Lack of experience in IT security breaks the bank

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A recent report has revealed that large businesses that struggle to attract sufficiently skilled IT security experts end up paying up to three times more to recover from a cybersecurity incident.

This is one of the key findings of the recent report by Kaspersky Lab based on the 2016 Corporate IT Security Risks survey conducted by the company in cooperation with B2B International among more than 4000 business representatives from 25 countries, including South Africa. Besides the measurable budget impact, a significant share of businesses is observing a growth in wages, a general shortage in expert availability, and the need for more specialists in the field.

Citing complexity of IT infrastructure, compliance requirements and the overall desire to protect business assets, companies are highly motivated to grow their security intelligence. In fact, for a third of businesses, the improvement of specialist security expertise is one of the top three drivers for an additional investment in IT Security. The growing demand is not easy to fulfill due to a lack of available specialists and increasingly complex requirements. Kaspersky Lab employs hundreds of security professionals, and the company’s own recruitment managers’ report that on average, only one applicant out of forty, meets the strict criteria for an expert position.

But the challenge is not limited to technical know-how. The report quotes Kaspersky Lab’s security experts, who indicate that the need for security managers is even more substantial. On top of deep technical knowledge, managers’ duties include communication with top management and overseeing the overall strategy – qualities that are especially important, and in fact, more appropriate, for large companies. The report adds a final touch to the bigger picture of talent shortage with education challenges. Success in IT security requires a certain degree of passion for this particular IT field, willingness to constantly self-educate, and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing threat landscape. Higher education institutions recognise the need to revise their programmes, and at the same time acknowledge the challenge of embedding security-oriented thinking into a wide variety of IT courses.

Overall, 68.5% of companies expect an increase in the number of full-time security experts, with 18.9% expecting a significant increase in headcount. Higher education is an important part of fulfilling such a demand, but this is also a call for a change within the security industry itself. One of the solutions is to aid universities with relevant experience. Another, and very important in the long term, is to adapt R&D efforts towards the effective sharing of intelligence with corporate customers in the form of threat data feeds, security training and services. A proper combination of security solutions and intelligence is what helps corporate security teams to spend less time on regular cybersecurity incidents and focus on strategic security development and advanced threats.

Veniamin Levtsov, Vice President, Enterprise Business at Kaspersky Lab, comments: “In this evolving industry the relationship with our customers already goes beyond the shipment of a technology or a product. We need to provide them with the skills and training required to identify on-going attacks. Detailed knowledge about attacks on other businesses, in the form of intelligence reports, is also necessary, along with actionable, machine-readable data about on-going threats. Solving the different challenges of threat prevention, the detection of targeted attacks, incident response and prediction requires a lot of flexibility. As a security vendor we are dedicated to increasing the quality and size of the expert security workforce around the world. Among many projects to support this initiative we are developing IT Security Fundamentals – an educational course that will hopefully help more IT professionals to start their journey in the field of security expertise”.

The full report titled “Lack of security talent: an unexpected threat to corporate cybersafety” is available at Kaspersky Lab’s website here.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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