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2-factor authentication




Twelve months ago, you launched a business. Considering the odds that 30% of new businesses fail in that period, you can be proud that you are still afloat and “only” facing improvements to your company’s cybersecurity,

Now, the cybersecurity marketplace features a number of products tailored for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), products which you can implement and will both lower stress levels and resource demands on you, or your dedicated IT desk, if you have one. But, you’ve also discovered and digested that it’s not just IT systems that need protecting, it’s all the data you handle too. So, the impacts of data regulations such as Protection of Personal  Information Act (POPIA) , are also likely to add additional stress because of the unknowns you’re facing.

Here are the best practices and technology that reduce stress, pair nicely with scaled security for SMEs and can also help put you on the road to compliance with data protection regulations.

One of the strongest steps which can be taken to secure data is improving the protection provided by passwords, e.g. making what should be safe – in theory – actually secure.

Passwords protect, who protects them?
One readily available option that still hasn’t been fully leveraged by many SMEs is two-factor authentication (2FA). This technology is an ideal solution for helping protect a diversity of online services from having their access credentials compromised. Simply put, use of 2FA makes it more costly in money and manpower (for bad actors) to breach your systems.

Proper implementation and use of 2FA technology are the best complement to creating robust passwords. This is because the majority of users, business or otherwise, will only be able to create and remember a small number of properly (or for that matter even poorly) built passwords at any point in time. (Most users simply opt for easy to remember passwords.)

Rapid consequences need fast acting protection

With cybersecurity and particularly data security having such serious implications for reputation and regulatory compliance, no one wants social network accounts, business or personal email, client databases, document libraries or even cloud gaming platforms accessed without permission.  Now, implemented 2FA solutions vary, but normally an automatic SMS message or other application that generates access codes is used. Once the password has been entered, the system will request this code and, in some systems, an application (separate from the web browser) is used to enter the code.

Despite the growing uptake and the boost in security it gives, 2FA  remains underutilised. This may be because of a fear of complexity for users or reluctance to understand how multiple layers of security can be leveraged to best effect. That is the beauty of 2FA: it doesn’t require deep understanding to be effective.

Securing the foundation first
Continuing to use a single data item (password) as an authenticator for a system, while practical, has proven not to be secure. Even worse are poorly implemented security measures that drive up cost and complexity.

For example, many business users who connect to a corporate network or who access their work email accounts remotely via VPN for extra protection doing so by simply authenticating with a username and password. Unfortunately, and especially in the case of paid VPN access, all benefits may be null and void simply because of a weak or already compromised password. Thus, the value of increased security is diminished or lost from the start.

2FA, done right

There is still a way to go before use of 2FA becomes standard practice. Fortunately, awareness campaigning by the European Commission and vendors like ESET around compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have made an impact globally.

Two-factor authentication, in conjunction with the traditional password system are much more secure than simply using credentials alone. Many attacks that were made public in recent months (check Have I been Pwned?) could have been prevented if 2FA had been in place. Even if attackers had managed to infect a computer and steal a password, they would not have been able to access the account associated with it, as they wouldn’t have had the access code.

Risks to password protected assets, be they data or digital tools, are even higher when geographically distributed and/or are used on the go and mean that managing the network, including devices and other digital infrastructure, requires remote access. This logically extends to security management as well. So to address the need for an easy to use, flexible 2FA solution, ESET offers it smartphone-based product ESET Secure Authentication (ESA).

Costs of implementing 2FA?

Like many other available cybersecurity solutions, there is something to suit all budgets. But rather than thinking about the expense of implementing a 2FA solution, consider the potential cost of non-implementation. 

With many employees logging into multiple platforms daily, verifying identities is of utmost importance for companies of all sizes. ESA slashes the cost of acquisition since it works across iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices, and can be implemented in under 10 minutes.

If cost issues remain, implementing 2FA for accounts with admin rights and those who have access to – or store confidential information, can be prioritized. This is a strong step towards avoidance of data theft and possible regulatory penalties. ESA covers safe access to VPNs, Office365, operating systems, email, and more. It’s designed as software-based but is also compatible with hard tokens.

Keep in mind that this system, while not fool proof, offers an additional layer of security that many criminals won’t even try to get past. Therefore, a business that does not implement 2FA will be more likely to be attacked than one that does.


Regardless of the size of your business, two-factor authentication is a layer of security that should be considered, especially for shared resources and for employees who access their corporate networks remotely.

With 2FA behind you, more growth lies ahead. Stay informed about best security practices and address risk by scaling protection in proportion to growth.


It’s printing, Jim, but not as we know it

Selling printing services is not only about the hardware anymore, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK



The seminal science fiction series Star Trek generated many catch-lines, like “The Prime Directive” and “Live long and prosper”. One of its most parodied lines, however, is Doctor Bones McCoy’s words to Captain Kirk on encountering an alien species: “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

That’s exactly the way one could describe the printer industry today. Every time an HP, Epson or Konica Minolta releases a new machine for this sector, one can sense the puzzled frowns of people taken by surprise that it still exists.

The difference is that it has evolved from a focus on paper to an emphasis on document management.

One of the first companies to spot that shift in the market, Japanese-headquartered Konica-Minolta, pioneered the concept of a dedicated printer company introducing its own software development division.

“We’ve always believed our role is solving problems for the customer, and not just to provide print, copy and scan solutions,” says Marc Pillay, CEO of the company’s South African division. “Our primary focus is multi-functional devices, but we always look at adding value to clients. Our real job is to assist in achieving a better return on investment.”

The proof of the pudding is that the local division is one of the biggest Konica-Minolta distributors in the world. The reason is simple: unlike most other countries, the South African operation has both a direct and indirect channel. That means it is able to supply companies through its reseller network, while also having a presence on the ground in the form of a dealer network across the country. That, in turn, has given it access to municipalities and other organs of state.

“Our value proposition is based on quality products, service and an unparalleled supply chain,” says Pillay. “When everyone was afraid to do business with government, we thrived on it. It comes from being located in areas where it’s easy to do business with us.”

One could call that the secret of success for existing demand. The coming era, however, will require an appreciation of the next big shifts in printing, says Pillay.

“We’ve seen the big shifts from analog to digital, from monochrome to colour, and from decentralisation to centralisation of printing. The next shift is unbundling printing into a hybrid approach, using both cloud and managed solutions. It’s all going to become subscription-based, and it will be print-on-demand. The high-end customers go into that very quickly, but we still have to cater for people who just do copying.”

Pillay believes that the opening of Microsoft’s Azure data centres in South Africa in March has already made a difference.

“Now you can scan from a device into Microsoft’s SharePoint online or Google Drive. It’s not about screen size anymore, but what you can do to make an impact.”

Where people don’t print, says Pillay, they’re absorbing documents digitally.

“We have to make sure that, where we lose the print, we are gaining the management of the scan, digitisation of the document or management of the workflow. Our income will come out of the workflow.

“Clearly, we’re not just focused on selling a piece of hardware anymore.”

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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SA chooses most loved local businesses



A new World Wide Worx research report identifies and names South Africa’s 12 Most Loved Local businesses, and places the spotlight on the vital role commercial businesses play in the South African economy. The country’s favourite local businesses include the Chapman’s Peak Hotel in Hout Bay – famed for its calamari, celebrity chef David Higgs’ Rosebank eatery Marble as well as Rouge Day Spa with branches in Kenilworth and Constantia in Cape Town run by a dynamic mother and daughter duo.

The aim of the Most Loved Local report was to celebrate those businesses South Africans love the most and to investigate exactly what makes consumers big fans of these entities. It further offers these enterprises insights into what it takes to succeed in business, highlights the qualities that convert clients into fans and encourages more South Africans to ‘shop’ local.

Report results

Commissioned by Santam, results were compiled using a combination of digital listening tools and traditional research. Social media listening using organic search analysis looked into which business categories were being searched for most. This was followed up with a trend analysis to assess whether a business category was growing in popularity, keyword volume analysis to refine the categories and finally social listening within the categories which businesses were being spoken about in the most positive terms. Thereafter, a poll was conducted among 2 489 respondents to find out what made them love a local business – or not. The sample was nationally representative and aligned to the economically active population per province. A respected independent research house World Wide Worx conducted the research.

The full list of businesses that came top across 12 categories are:

  1. Place to Stay: Chapmans Peak Hotel (Cape Town) – the one with the perfect calamari
  2. Eatery: Marble (Johannesburg) – the one with the celebrity chef in the kitchen
  3. Butcher: The Butcher Man (Cape Town) – the one that people cross town for
  4. Bakery: Fournos (Johannesburg) – the one that is way more than a bakery
  5. Spa: Rouge Day Spa (Cape Town) – the one run by a dynamic mother-daughter team
  6. Entertainment Spot: Gold Reef City (Johannesburg)  – the one with the heart of gold
  7. Gym: Dream Body Fitness (Johannesburg) – the one that is completely unintimidating to work out at
  8. Interior Designer: By Dezign Interiors (Johannesburg) – the one that really, really gets its clients’ style
  9. Market: Bryanston Organic & Natural Market (Johannesburg) – the one that was an organic market before it was trendy to be an organic market
  10. Laundromat: Exclusive Dry Cleaners (Johannesburg) – the one that treats every single client like family
  11. Car Wash: Tubbs’s Car Wash (Johannesburg) – the one that cleans your car while you have a haircut
  12. Construction company: Radon Projects (Pretoria) – the one that is ready all day and all night

Delving into what makes a consumer go from ‘client to fan’, the key factor standing out above all others was service. Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx, says it seems South Africans will forgive a multitude of ‘sins’ if they are treated well. “Good service was the number one factor that makes 40% of those surveyed support a local business. This was followed by quality products at 18%. Third place went to value for money at 10%, proving the old adage that competing on price alone is not a sound business strategy,” said Goldstuck.

When asked what makes them loyal to a local business, some interesting views across age groups emerged. “Younger clients are more swayed by quality, while older ones are impressed by service. This seems to fit with younger people wanting the status of nice things, and older people wanting to feel valued and respected,” said Goldstuck.

Unsurprisingly, all 12 Most Loved Locals called out service as one of their guiding lights and core pillars when interviewed. Theo and George Parpottas, owners of Exclusive Dry Cleaners, the selected company in the laundromat category, believe when someone walks into their shop, they should be greeted with smiling faces and courteous people. “We don’t care if it’s the president or a beggar, from the moment they walk in, they are a client. We greet them, we are courteous, and we treat them with respect. It doesn’t matter what they bring.”

For Gary Karycou, who co-owns Marble in Rosebank with celebrity chef David Higgs, it is all about attitude. “You can teach someone anything if they want to do it, but we employ on attitude. You get the basic skills but if someone really wants to learn, you can transform them.” He continues, “Giving the best service to our clients, is our motto. It’s something that’s lacking in South Africa and even globally. Businesses just become a bit complacent.”

Famed Green Point butchery and restaurant, The Butcher Man, is owned by Arie Fabiani. He says people will drive past other butcheries and come all the way to the Butcher Man because “we deliver a great service. Good service is critical, and our team knows it.”

Another key finding was that people are more likely to recommend a business if there is a good deal or excellent value for money. Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, Chief Marketing Officer at Santam, says this is an interesting finding. “Perhaps we are more likely to share a good deal with others and keen to help others find great nuggets of the positive trade-off between value and price. So, it is worth ensuring that, in addition to service and quality, your clients feel like they are getting value for the money they spend with you. That way, they are more likely to tell family and friends the good news!”

Dilotsotlhe added that the report’s release has been well-timed as the need to stimulate sectors of the economy which can create jobs has never been more vital. Commercial enterprises are responsible for a significant percentage of the labour-force in South Africa, and the impact thereof is significant. Due to the fact that these enterprises remain a largely underinsured sector, the campaign also seeks to highlight the need for insurance as a vital aspect of business continuity. When they thrive, it benefits the whole nation, and from a Santam perspective, this translates into sustainable growth for our business.

To download the full report, click here.

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