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PoPI Act vs Cloud

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As companies begin to move more and more data to the cloud, GRAHAM CROOCK, Director: IT audit, risk and cyber lab at BDO SA, asks what it means for data sensitivity and customer protection?

Fundamentally, the power of computing is moving to the cloud. Powerful, bulky machines will be rendered unnecessary as data starts getting accessed through the even more powerful infrastructure built around the incredible processing power that now lives on the cloud. More and more companies are moving their data to the cloud, as well as government agencies and institutions. But what does this mean for data sensitivity and customer protection?

Many businesses are reluctant to move their essential data to the cloud, which is becoming more and more accessible as technology converges, and companies run the risk of being left behind by their competitors. However, company leaders want guarantees that their cloud service provider cannot, for example, be targeted by terrorist groups or rival organisations.

So the question is, how do we deal with disaster recovery if cybercriminals attack or shut down one of the big data center servers that houses companies’ invaluable data? Can companies really be sure that they have efficient redundancy built into the business? Companies need to cover all their bases when looking to migrate their data onto the cloud. Demands such as zero% downtime and ad hoc changes to the architecture of the cloud infrastructure are conversations that need to be had by cloud servers and companies. It will be the tech savvy and innovative companies that will lead the pack, ensuring that they have a solid service level agreement (SLA) in place that protects themselves, their clients, and is in accordance to legislation.

But realistically speaking, the law is not keeping up. What are the penalties for companies losing vital data? Who will be held accountable should things go wrong? How will the client or company be compensated? These questions are still not properly addressed by South African legislation, and lawyers need to become tech savvy in this new era, to ensure that SLAs are ironclad. This is where the PoPI Act comes into play.

The purpose of the PoPI Act is to ensure that South African companies conduct the requirements of the act responsibly when it comes to collecting, processing, storing and sharing personal information of another body or individual by holding them accountable should they compromise a third party’s personal information. Within the PoPI Act, certain rights of protection are awarded to third parties who share their personal information with organisations. Some of these include:

  1. Consent as to when and how one chooses to share their information
  2. The type and extent of information one choose to share
  3. Transparency on how one’s data will be used
  4. Immediate notification should one’s data is compromised
  5. Allowing one to have access to their own information, and do with it as they pleas
  6. The prevention of unauthorised people accessing one’s information
  7. How and where one’s information is stored
  8. The accuracy of one’s information

The seventh point highlights the challenge that companies storing information on a cloud have. More often than not, organisations don’t actually know where the cloud is and who has access to this information.

It is important to note that while consumers now have more rights and protection, companies are also considered responsible parties and have the same obligation to protect other parties’ personal information. This includes all stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, vendors and even service providers. But in today’s day and age, people freely disseminate personal information about themselves on the internet, and it is important to remember that the PoPI Act cannot protect you if you do not protect yourself. The onus is on everyone handling delicate data to treat it as such.

When it comes to hiring a cloud server for your delicate information, ensure to chat to your risk advisor or specialist companies like BDO that will ensure that your migration is smooth and secure, and of course, that your cloud service provider is compliant to the PoPI Act.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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