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GDPR to affect Europe and South African companies

ROB LITH, Director: Business Development at Connection Telecom , explores the implementation of GDPR and its potential impact on local businesses.

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As of 25 May, anyone trading with EU businesses, marketing to EU citizens, or holding the personal data of even a single European national, needs to be fully compliant. This means making major changes to how one captures, processes and stores consumer data, with a strong focus on data protection and archiving practices. Ignore GDPR, and you run the risk of hefty fines (up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater), a loss of consumer trust, and untold damage to your reputation. Are you ready to face GDPR head-on? If you have been readying yourself for compliance to our own POPI (Protection of Personal Information) act, then you should not be far off complying with GDPR which is based on similar principles.

The requirements of GDPR

Globally, recent years have seen some of the worst data leaks and malicious hacks in history. As a result, people are far more concerned about their fundamental right to privacy and have also become more vigilant and aware of their liberties when it comes to their digitally-gathered personal data, and what businesses are doing with it. GDPR outlines a new set of regulations that are designed to prioritise the rights of EU citizens and give them more control over their private data, including valuable and sensitive information such as financial details, phone numbers, addresses, religious and political views, and much more. 

Regardless of where a business is located, if it collects or processes the personal information of any EU resident, GDPR applies. In this regard, it’s imperative to understand what data you collect, where it is stored and how it’s being used. The legislation highlights two main data rights for customers: the right to be forgotten, where a customer can request their data be deleted; and the right for data portability, where a customer can request that their data is moved from one company to another. Customers are further protected in the form of necessary updated privacy notices, which need to be worded in clear, concise and plain language that anyone can understand. By outlining exactly what you’ll be doing with the data, a strong focus on transparency is emphasised, and customers feel more at ease. 

Another important aspect of the regulation involves data breaches. Businesses are required to notify authorities of any kind of cybercrime within 72 hours. In an effort to minimise exposure to these kinds of attacks, a company is encouraged to only collect, share and keep the data that they really need, and to ensure that it is effectively searchable in case they are called upon to provide it. 

The importance of change and compliance  

Any South African company needing to align itself with the GDPR requires the appropriate internal processes and technical capabilities to be able to execute these changes correctly. For example, a data processing company, such as Connection Telecom, would need to sharpen its security controls and data breach continuity plans, and seek advice from a specialist attorney that can assist with updating its policies and documentation to ensure informed consent and water-tight compliance. 

The relationship and transfer of data between data controllers and data processors is an important part of GDPR, and businesses need to work together to ensure consumer information is secure. Companies should also consider assigning dedicated individuals or teams to focus on GDPR, to ensure that data is accurately documented, safely stored, and permanently deleted – not to mention that practices are regularly tested to ensure optimal protection. 

Beyond the negative financial implications of non-compliance, there’s another important reason for businesses to implement these data security and integrity practices: a digitally-savvy generation of customers is better informed than ever before, and the reputational risks associated with irresponsible handling of data are known all too well. Consumers expect ethical behaviour and utter transparency, even from the largest corporation. 

Finally, it is worth noting the positives of GDPR compliance. By gaining a true understanding of a business’s data practices, more effective business decisions can be made in the long run. It’s not just a legal responsibility, it’s an opportunity to do better business – and organisations across the globe would do well to embrace it with open arms. 

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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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