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CFOs must be security-savvy

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Most CFO’s are not directly involved in IT or security in IT, except possibly when reacting to an incident like a security breach. However, PERRY HUTTON of Fortinet believes that CFOs need to become more hands on when setting out IT budgets and motivating them.

Recessions may eat into enterprise budgets as a whole, but information security stands alone in enjoying increased budget allocation, thanks to CFOs who see the returns inherent in mitigating risk, says security specialist Fortinet.

Perry Hutton, Regional Vice President – Africa at Fortinet, says CFOs in South Africa’s largest enterprises typically don’t get involved in IT spend, beyond approving the CIO’s budget. “We don’t usually meet with CFOs, particularly in the large enterprises. Our top 120 to 140 enterprise customers are well structured, with very knowledgeable CIOs or CISOs in place who manage the information security spend, supporting their budgets with clearly laid-out business benefits and returns. Their CFOs are typically tech-savvy and – more importantly – aware of the potential costs of security breaches, and support spend on IT security. However, they seldom get directly involved. Possibly the only time large enterprise CFOs would get directly involved in information security budgets is when they are being reactive to an incident.”

In the mid-market sector, which may not have specialised CISOs in place, CFOs are more likely to become involved in the information security budget discussion, says Hutton. “Fortunately for us, security tends to be treated separately from infrastructure and other components of IT. Even when organisations are cutting their budgets, you don’t find too many cutting their IT security budget. If anything, finance is allocating a larger percentage of the IT budget to security, because the world is becoming more dangerous and they have to throw more cash at mitigating risk,” he says. “Of course, the money has to come from somewhere, so invariably it comes from somewhere else in IT like stretching storage. For us, it’s a good position to be in. Back when the global recession struck in 2008, we didn’t suffer as badly as other players in the IT space, because the threat landscape didn’t go into recession, and long may this situation last.”

Because Fortinet plays in a space where the benefits to business are well understood, it seldom has to assist CIOs in motivating for budget, Hutton says. However, in cases where the CIO or IT manager must motivate for budget from the CFO, Fortinet is able to supply extensive threat reports, in depth research and risk analysis to highlight the benefits to business of making the investment. “We’ve also just launched our Cyber Threat Assessment Program (CTAP) in South Africa, in which we will perform a real time threat assessment for prospective customers; with analysis by our FortiGuard Labs. After our recent launch in East Africa, we had requests for a few assessments in the region.” The requests typically came from CISOs and CIOs, but Hutton expects the CTAP results to help IT build its case for budget with the CFO.

“There are typically two schools of CFO – the old school CFO, who is usually in place in larger enterprises where the IT budget is managed by an experienced CIO and CISO. Then you find the New School CFOs, typically younger, who are typically in the small to mid-sized enterprises. These CFOs are well educated and well versed in technology and the need for IT security. We might spend some time with them, explaining the changing threats and pointing out how IoT has exploded and perimeters have become infinite, increasing their risk profile. The CFO of today is usually well aware of the benefits of IT security, they understand that there is growing risk and they have to invest in mitigating it.”

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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