Cyber security has become an integral component of any organisational strategy. With intellectual property becoming more essential in a highly competitive world, no company can afford not to ensure that this asset is protected, writes TIAAN VAN SCHALKWYK at Deloitte South Africa.
The world is becoming increasingly connected. As new mobile devices are released and more bandwidth becomes available, employees are more reliant than ever on accessing sensitive corporate data irrespective of their physical location. Business is well and truly real-time but what impact does this have on security, especially in such a dynamic environment as manufacturing?
One of the biggest challenges is to ensure that security of information technologies is included in all operations. The complexity of this cannot be underestimated. Systems and networks used in manufacturing environments have significantly more stringent requirements than those used in a general office.
Manufacturers need to have the peace of mind that the safety, availability, and reliability of all aspects of their systems are nigh on guaranteed. Furthermore, the temptation exists to compromise on the security of some part of the chain in favour of usability. This does place the entire system at risk. But even if this is not the case, it is only a matter of when and not if a manufacturer will be compromised.
Preventative measures are good, but does the organisation have the capability in place to alert the right people when an attack occurs? Even better, proactively warn of an impending attack. The frightening thing is that companies, manufacturers included, too frequently only discover that the network has been breached months, and in some instances years, after the fact. The financial and reputational impact this will have can be significant for the organisation and its directors.
But even before OT (operational technology) security systems are put in place or upgraded, decision-makers need to conduct a cyber-security assessment. This enables them to better understand the threats and also gain insight into what the capabilities of the organisation are when it comes to cyber security.
Adding to the pressure is the fact that an OT security breach in a manufacturing environment could potentially impact safety. Imagine the consequences of a malicious person impacting the behaviour of a machine or any part of the supply chain process. This means no manufacturer can leave OT security as something that only happens in the virtual realm. The threat to physical operations is also very real.
In this environment, preventative measures are no longer good enough. Manufacturers need to get ahead of the cyber security challenge and look at ways of being more pro-active.
Developing more advanced monitoring and risk intelligent response capabilities provides some of the steps required to be more agile when it comes to security in a manufacturing environment. When it comes to cyber risk, it is essential to be vigilant and remain as secure as possible. This aids the manufacturer in becoming more resilient to any potential attacks both from a pro-active and a reactive basis.
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.