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No time off for security

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Enterprise security isn’t allowed time off. It doesn’t shut down at 6pm and go home. It has to stay active and ready every moment of every day, writes MATTHEW KIBBY, Regional Director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa.

Security has evolved into an almost living entity which has to adapt to new circumstances and challenges on an ongoing basis. It is also one of the least understood and often most ignored part of the business with many employees finding the rules and regulations tedious and annoying, things to be dodged and avoided rather than understood and adhered to. These attitudes to security have to change, especially as the threats continue to loom large on the enterprise horizon.

Organisations are, quite simply, becoming more and more vulnerable. Expansion into digital territory, commonplace cloud solutions and employees traversing globe and country with digital devices – all these factors impact security and its validity. So does the fact that most of the technology and mechanisms used by cyber-criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and most IT decision makers (ITDMs) don’t think they can keep up. In fact, most are concerned that the threats are moving faster than the defences.

Recent research undertaken by VMware and World Wide Worx with local IT Decision Makers, found that 30% of IT leadership anticipates a major attack on their firm within the next 90 days, a more worrying 16% expect one in the next few days. These statistics are compounded by the fact that 49% of South African IT decision makers (ITDMs) believe their organisation is vulnerable to a cyber-attack.

It’s not surprising to see why – for the research also showed that 8% of organisations won’t detect a cyber-attack unless 24 hours have gone by, 2% won’t realise one has happened at all, and 23% will take around an hour. In just that short period of time, information is gone and systems are compromised. And reputations may lie in expensive tatters.

The challenges around security are not only driven by digital business complexities and a growing mobile workforce – there is a dearth of robust security protocols which are known and adhered to by everyone. There needs to be more awareness around what security solutions are in place and what needs to be done across the organisation in an event of a breach. The survey found that 43% of South African enterprises had a plan in place, but that only part of the company was aware of it. Only 40% said the entire business knew of the plan and a nervous 10% either didn’t have a plan or didn’t know one existed.

While the 40% may well be ready and waiting for the daring cybercriminal to launch an attack, the rest are not. This is compounded by further research which revealed that one-fifth of employees are willing to breach security and those who are untrained or careless are the biggest threat. It is time for the business to drive compliance across the organisation and to ensure that the rules and regulations around security are clear, concise and accessible.

It is essential that the business develops strategic initiatives to combat threats to security, both internally and externally, and shows employees why these are of value. Take that dusty tome out of the drawer, get it up to date and get everyone on board. Even that guy in the C-Suite who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. They do.

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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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