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SA fintech developers in big demand globally

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Local software developers in the financial sector are in high demand as they capitalise on expertise from operating in one of the most sophisticated banking and advanced mobile tech environments.

South African software developers that service the financial sector are in high demand locally and internationally as they capitalise on expertise gleaned from operating in one of the most sophisticated banking and advanced mobile tech environments in the world.

The country’s highly progressive banking system, good technical skills, mobile know-how and competitive pricing are making it an important destination for international fintech software development.

The mobile space particularly is growing increasingly important as consumers around the world perform more financial transactions from their mobile devices.

Local financial services organisations are leading the way in demonstrating how these mobile apps can be functional, transactional and secure.

“South Africa has a developed banking system, and our mobile technology is equally modern. Put that together with innovative software developers, and you have a combination that’s ready to take on the world,” says Martin Dippenaar, CEO of Cape Town software developers, Global Kinetic.

“We spend a lot of time abroad, building products, which gives us a good perspective on the state of banking in other regions too,” adds Dippenaar.

South Africa has a relatively small banking community of just 13 banks, made up of the big five, and then second tier operators. By comparison, says Dippenaar, there are around 12,000 banks and credit unions in the US, each with separate licences, and operating autonomously.

“We can effect change here in South Africa a lot faster than is possible in such a disparate environment,” he says.

“The US banking system as a whole is also not particularly advanced. For example, around a quarter of all payments in that country happen by cheque. There are few organisations in South Africa still using such a dated process.”

While banking in the US is market-driven, in Europe the impetus behind innovation is spurred by regulation.

“More innovative mobile banking products are likely to come out of Europe in time, as progressive legislation starts to make deployment of mobile banking technology a lot easier there,” says Dippenaar.

In 2018, Europe will introduce the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) protocol. The objective of PSD2 is to standardise the sector and make payments safer, increase consumer protection, and stimulate innovation and competition.

Although all banking apps need to allow users to do similar things like check balances and perform transactions, the real challenge for developers lies in consolidating and standardising the underlying technologies that allow these transactions to be carried out across multiple systems.

Schalk Nolte, CEO of mobile security specialists, Entersekt, based in Stellenbosch, says developing fintech apps requires an understanding of a wide range of issues and disciplines.

“These include regulatory compliance, privacy, accuracy, and protection of personal information. Development needs to be highly secure, super accurate, and involves intensive testing, especially for banking platforms.

“There are huge opportunities for tech companies designing new ways of delivering financial services to end-users,” he says.

“South Africa stands out as an attractive destination for fintech software development not least because development costs here are in rands. Our rates are highly competitive, with a higher quality of service and expertise than at other development sites around the world, including those in Eastern Europe, India and the Philippines,” concludes Dippenaar.

Nolte adds: “Banks, insurance companies, and many other financial services organisations are turning to South African specialist software developers because they are likely to have already encountered and dealt with the challenges of bringing secure banking and mobile technology together.”

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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.

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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.

 

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Five key biometric facts

Due to their uniqueness, fingerprints are being used more and more to quickly identify and ensure the security of customers. CLAUDE LANGLEY, Regional Sales Manager, for Africa at HID Global Biometrics, outlines five facts about the technology.

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How many times in a day are you expected to identify yourself? From when you arrive at work you are required to sign in, visiting your bank, receiving healthcare services… The list is endless. When a system knows who you are, you are able to do any number common, everyday activities. Your identity is unique and precious. It is also easily stolen and the target of many hackers across the globe. Technology is constantly evolving alongside the criminal element, always looking for ways to protect data and identity. One such solution happens to be biometrics and it is rapidly gaining traction in our increasingly complex modern world.

Reliable, secure and fundamentally YOU, unique biometric traits such as fingerprints are being used by banks, enterprises and consumers to verify identity. Biometric solutions offer significant identity protection because they use unique biological details to ensure an account is only accessed by the account holder, a door only opened by the owner. Here are five things that are little known about this technology…

  • The uncut identity. Your fingerprint is unique to you. Nobody can use a copy of it to impersonate you. Good technology is capable of scanning down into the layers of the fingertip to differentiate unique elements of a person’s fingerprint, this data is then encrypted and used as a key to unlocking whichever physical or virtual door that the biometric system protects.
  • The living proof. No, there is nothing to the stories of fingerprints being used without their owner’s knowledge or permission. Biometric solutions can use specific variables to determine if the finger used to access the system is that of a present, living person.  A copy or a fake cannot be used to access a cutting-edge biometric solution.
  • Easy and convenient. Queues and documents and paperwork may well be a thing of the past should biometrics take a firmer grip of government and banking systems. The process of registering is easy, and access to identity documents and records is yours alone.
  • Security blanket. A thousand passwords and a hundred post-it notes stuck on walls and drawers.  An excel file with a list of sites and applications and their corresponding passwords, all a thing of the past.  Nobody needs to remember their password with biometrics, they only need to show up.
  • Anywhere is cool. Schools, airports, networks, offices, homes, toilets, banks, libraries, governments, border controls, immigration services, call centres, hospitals and even clubs and pubs – knowing “who” matters and biometrics can quickly and conveniently confirm your identity where needed.

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