By CAREY VAN VLAANDEREN, CEO at ESET South Africa.
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.
Gaming gets rad at Rand Show
With the opening of the 125th Rand Show at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, today, gamers and cosplayers have a new destination to strut their stuff.
A new addition to the show, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion, is offering anything from gaming and cosplay to dance-offs and science displays.
The organisers provided the following information (although several million exclamation marks and exaggerations have been removed!):
There was a time when Gaming was a considered a solitary pastime, confined to single player consoles; but that truly is a thing of the past with a fully immersive Fortnite Tournament open to all Fortnite afficionados and even those just starting out. Players can battle it out over both show weekends, including a final on each weekend. Family fan clubs can also get in on the action with live broadcasts of the game as it happens across screens – a full-on Fortnite family affair. Sponsored by PlayStation, gamers are truly going to be spoiled and should get in on the action as fast as they can because R 100 000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.
Smart Technology Centre will deliver a super-fast FibreMAX 500Mbps fibre link, wholly dedicated to the gaming pavilion to ensure that absolutely nothing ruins the thrill of the National Fortnite Tournament.
“As the exclusive connectivity provider, we have gone all out to ensure an amazing experience for gamers,” says Dillynn Els of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner. “When it comes to gaming and the best experience possible, it’s all about ensuring we provide a dedicated, uncapped, unshaped connection that makes every second count.”
Keen players can come along and enter on the day, but don’t delay because space is limited.
Fortnite Inspired Dance Off
Visitors can come along and be entertained by the finalists in the Fortnite inspired dance-off. There will be daily dances to enjoy for the entire duration of the show.
Come and play – Cosplay, to be exact.
The stage is set for a celebration of creativity and imagination that is going to be literally out of this world. Super hero heavy weights and masters of the mysterious will be letting their creative vision loose and take part in various Cosplay Tournaments and a visually stunning Cosplay Masquerade. Come see what all the fuss is about and get lost in this world costumes, colour and creative talent.
Games, Games and Science
For those wanting to get their gaming on, there will be three free play areas sponsored by Xbox with a host of games available to play. Xbox will be giving away 3 Xbox 1’s and an awesome Xbox 1X, but you truly have to be in it to win it, so make sure you don’t miss out.
The Kalahari Scientist will be onstage delighting visitors with his explosive displays that are guaranteed to up the ooh and aah factor with audiences young and old.
But wait, there’s more
Along with the larger-than-life gaming entertainment offering, visitors will also get to be the first gamers on SA soil to get a sneak peak of PlayStation’s brand new Mortal Kombat 11. Don’t miss your chance to experience the continuation of this epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. The iconic showcasing brutal battles like never before, along with a host of customisable fighters with enhanced graphics and animations.
Other activities at the Pavilion include VR Experiences, a full-on NAG Nerf Arena, Gaming vendors with awesome gaming content, retailers selling gaming related products and software, and tutorials and workshops on how to improve your gaming skills, Celebrity Fortnite match off for charity.
With huge sponsors such as PlayStation, Xbox, MMS, NAG, SABC 2 and Smart Technology, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion is geared up to become a hot zone of entertainment.
In case the entertainment offering just doesn’t get the heart beats racing fast enough, an all-expenses paid trip to TwitchCon USA, sponsored by PlayStation, in conjunction with 94.7 Highveld Stereo, is waiting for one lucky visitor to grab it. Every ticket purchased into the Entertainment Gaming Pavilion qualifies as an entry, so bring the whole family along for the ride.
Tickets to the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion can be purchased at the show for R 20 which gives the ticket holder access for two hours.
The pavilion will be open from 14h00 to 19h00 weekdays and 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends from 19 to 28 April 2019.
Riaad Moosa show debuts on Vodacom Video Play
Riaad Moosa’s comedy special, Life Begins, will be the first major local title to be released on Vodacom’s video-on-demand service, Video Play.
As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most renowned funny men. His one-man show is available for download on the platform from today, 26 April 2019. Life Begins is rated PG-16L
Vodacom’s says its affordable video-on-demand service, Video Play, has had an incredible uptake since its launch in August 2018, with over 2-million subscribers.
“But with a proliferation of affordable video-on-demand platforms available to the South African market, what is it that gives Video Play the competitive edge?” it asked in a release this week. “Recognising the consumer’s need for flexibility and freedom of choice, Vodacom has ingeniously developed an adaptable subscription model that puts the power in consumers’ hands. Forget being tied down to a monthly subscription. Video Play gives consumers the liberty of choosing a daily, weekend or even monthly package.
“Blockbuster movies can even be viewed for a once off cost, without subscription. Furthermore, these bundles can be purchased according to niche categories and genres, from Bollywood movies to gospel music.”
Consumers are able to pay for movies and series by using their airtime or adding it to their bill, eliminating the need for a credit card. Subscribers are also able to purchase video-specific data at a fraction of the regular price to consume constant content without overspending. Daily subscriptions start from R5 a day.
Zunaid Mahomed, Group Digital and Fixed Services Officer, says: “Video Play has enabled the company to provide a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. With the addition of Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins, we’re excited to offer consumers even more quality content and a wider variety of entertainment on demand than ever before. We’re putting quality entertainment, into the hands of anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection.”
Riaad Moosa describes his show as “very philosophical and existential”.
“It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head. It’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude. Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement.”
To access Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins comedy special, register for Video via the Video Play website (www.videoplay.co.za).