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Get your SME POPI-ready

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The POPI legislation ensures that companies of all sizes around South Africa need to implement measures to better secure their customer’s personal details. For many SMEs, this can be quite a headache and rather costly. DARYL BLUNDELL, GM of Sage Pastel outlines a few steps that will help companies become POPI compliant.

As if you needed something new to worry about, a piece of legislation called the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) recently came into effect in South Africa. This data privacy law means that it’s more important than ever for you to ensure that your data and information systems are secure from breaches and leaks.

POPI essentially seeks to protect people’s privacy by regulating the ways in which their personal information is stored, managed and processed. In addition to complying with a range of rules that govern how you obtain and use customers’ personal information, you also need to take reasonable steps to secure it. You might face a fine if this data is stolen or leaked.

Personal information includes employee and customer data such as cellphone numbers, ID numbers, and personal addresses.

Preparing your business

If you have not started doing so already, now is the time to align your data security policy with the criteria of the Act. Here is a step-by-step guide:

·                 Identify existing customer information and who has access to it.

·                 Review the processes through which you collect and process personal information.

·                 Compare your company’s privacy policy with POPI’s requirements and revise it if necessary.

·                 Ensure that all the departments that are affected by POPI are trained to work according to the rules set out in your newly reviewed privacy policy.

The information you collected and stored before POPI is also subject to the new Act, so it might be necessary to securely discard it if you cannot migrate it onto technology platforms that meet the law’s requirements. In practice, your core business solutions probably keep customer data in well-identified locations such as structured databases, so it is relatively easy to meet the POPI Act’s requirement to “apply reasonable security measures” to safeguard the information.

This would include common sense rules such as protecting customer data with strong passwords and encryption, and restricting access to the most sensitive data to the people who need it. Managing unstructured information such as call centre voice logs, Word documents, and paper-based documentation might be more challenging.

Keep it in the cloud

One way to handle POPI is to use cloud applications provided by a reputable service provider. Most major service providers and software companies will already have data security standards and technology in place that meets POPI’s needs.

This is more secure and usually cheaper than trying to handle all the information security yourself – a good provider will have strong encryption, high-end firewalls, and other solutions in place. But be sure to ask each provider about compliance and look carefully at how your providers based in other countries manage and secure your data.

The biggest challenges will be around culture, company policy, and end-user behaviour, since the enabling technology is fairly simple to implement. The challenge isn’t encrypting data or enforcing strong passwords, but getting your employees to understand why they need to follow security policies that may seem annoying and time-consuming.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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