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Don’t relegate security to CIO

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Given the connectedness of organisations today, cyber security has become a fundamental part of business. NATHAN DESFONTAINES believes that this environment is challenging CFOs to look differently at operational requirements.

One of the biggest mistakes any company can make is to relegate cyber security to the CIO office. With technology permeating every aspect of business, this silo approach no longer holds true. In fact, I believe it can open the organisation to a number of risks, not least of which being having its data compromised.

With the CIO traditionally reporting to the CFO for new technology implementations (considering the cost implication on the business), the finance office is in a unique position to gain an organisational-wide perspective on the IT systems and process in place.

This perspective might give way to the temptation of thinking that cyber security is something that can be rolled out annually and be forgotten about. Instead, C-suite executives need to work closer together in order for the business to become more proactive around protecting its most important asset – its data.

While there is no such thing as complete security, there are a number of measures that can be taken to minimise the likelihood of a breach:  In the digital world, these breaches result in not only significant financial damage but reputational as well. And if the breach is significant enough, the company risks not being able to recover at all from such an attack.

The top four means of incursion into a network are through exploiting system vulnerabilities, default password violations, SQL injections and targeted malware attacks. To prevent this, it is necessary to shut down each of these avenues into the information assets of the business.

It is important that the company identifies threats by correlating real-time alerts with global intelligence: security information and event management systems can flag suspicious network activity for investigation. In fact, the value of such real-time alerts is much greater when the information provided can be correlated in with current research and analysis of the worldwide threat environment.

Additionally, companies should automate security through IT compliance controls: by developing and enforcing IT policies across their networks and data protection systems, C-suite executives can help prevent a data breach caused by a hacker or a malicious insider, this mechanism works best for protecting sensitive information.

At KPMG, we believe it is important to remember that cyber security impacts on all parts of an organisation – from human resources and compliance, to business continuity and brand communications. Those organisations who see this as an integrated process are the ones that are best able to differentiate themselves from their competitors. So as much as some CFOs think that security is just a matter of Rands and cents, the impact on the company is much more significant.

I (along with other KPMG cyber security experts) will be discussing these and other issues at the upcoming Finance Indaba in Sandton, as well as the CFO World Congress taking place in Cape Town in November.

* Nathan Desfontaines, Cyber Security Manager at KPMG in South Africa

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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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