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Mobile now more vulnerable

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A recent survey by Blackberry Limited has revealed that despite extensive resources dedicated to mobile security, many IT decision-makers remain concerned about the level of vulnerabilities that persist.

A new global research initiative conducted by BlackBerry Limited, finds that despite extensive resources dedicated to mobile security, many IT decision-makers remain concerned about the level of vulnerabilities that persist. The study surveyed 1 000 executives from seven countries across a wide range of vertical industries, including financial services, government and healthcare.

The survey reveals that 73 percent of organizations have a mobile security strategy in place, but only three percent say they have implemented the highest levels of security possible. This is in part because of user attitudes – 82 percent of the executives admit mobile security precautions cause at least some frustration among employees, and potentially hinder productivity. Overall, 44 percent fear that too much mobile security will prevent employees from doing their job.

This fear of implementing a stronger mobile environment led to a startling majority, 86 percent, of executives who said they are worried about the level of protection for their organization with half saying they will experience more security breaches through mobile devices. Part of the reason organizations are opening themselves up to these risks is because of the growing trend of BYOD – where despite the popularity, almost half believe that supporting a BYOD policy is a risk. A critical element to a successful BYOD or COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) mobile environment is ensuring the isolation and separation of personal and business mobile data, also known as containerization. However, nearly 45 percent have no containerization technology in place.

“The frequency and severity of malicious attacks have made mobile security the center of attention for CEOs and boards of directors, but doing enough to mitigate risk is still a persistent problem that needs to be solved. This is especially true as the constant adoption of new technologies regularly brings the potential for new vulnerabilities, which can offset the benefits,” said David Kleidermacher, Chief Security Officer at BlackBerry. “We have also heard many of our customers say that security policies can be perceived as a hindrance.

However, senior executives in every function, and even in the boardroom, need to forcefully communicate that effective mobile security enhances productivity instead of obstructing it.”

The research also uncovered that nearly half of organizations do not have a Security Incident Response Team (SIRT) in place, despite the fact that SIRT is an industry best practice to reduce the cost of data breaches. IT decision-makers also want and seek outside help when it comes to securing their mobile environments. Of those surveyed, 59 percent report that external expertise is the best option for reviewing mobile practices.

The numbers are just as pronounced and even more so when analyzing specific industries:

·        Only around four in ten respondents’ organizations have a mobile device management strategy in place. Of these respondents, many felt their organization’s mobile device security strategy is not good enough, specifically:

o   Financial services: 44 percent

o   Government: 52 percent

o   Healthcare: 37 percent

o   Legal: 54 percent

·        Overall, 47 percent believe that popular BYOD policies leave the company vulnerable to too many risks, and those concerns are reflected in different sectors:

o   Financial services: 55 percent

o   Healthcare: 50 percent

o   Government: 43 percent

o   Legal: 53 percent

·        Seventy-three percent see mobile security controls as either an “obstruction” or a “complete obstruction,” and the problems are even worse in some industries:

o   Financial services: 78 percent

o   Healthcare: 78 percent

o   Government: 85 percent

o   Legal: 94 percent

However, there is general agreement that a strong mobile security posture can offer great benefits:

·        67 percent say their data is more secure

·        64 percent see increased mobility for employees

·        51 percent have experienced fewer security breaches

·        50 percent find it easier to comply with regulations

·        Enhanced compliance is a benefit for financial services (55 percent), healthcare (54 percent) and IT/computer services (65 percent)

“All mobile security policies must be consistently evaluated and tweaked, but also regularly overhauled,” added Kleidermacher. “BlackBerry recognizes that security is a dynamic field, and even the best defensive strategies and technologies today may be inadequate tomorrow. Therefore, the optimal strategy is one that secures the mobile enterprise while boosting convenience and productivity, and can then be adapted to combat new vulnerabilities as they arise. BlackBerry continues to integrate key capabilities into its enterprise software portfolio to provide organizations the flexibility they need as they use mobility to empower IT decision makers and employees.”

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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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