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How discarded tech endangers company security

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To keep up with technology and improve efficiencies, companies are constantly replacing outdated IT equipment. However, this creates a challenge as large amounts of excess electronics must be managed and disposed of properly.

The problem with IT asset disposal projects is the chain-of-custody of equipment. Often during audits, equipment is unaccounted for and untracked. The IT director is normally the first person to be accused but then the blame is shifted to the disposal vendor for taking an inaccurate inventory. Then finally, the truck driver is accused for stealing the computers on route to the recycling facility.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says securing sensitive data is a daunting task for any business. “Data security laws mandate that organisations implement adequate safeguards to ensure privacy protection of individuals. And the penalties for data breaches are tough.”

Unknowingly, employees often donate old IT equipment to charity organisations or schools that are in desperate need of computers. However, before doing so, they fail to ensure that the hard drives are erased properly. What employees view as a trivial act, is in fact a serious data security threat that could create massive liability for the company.

Most organisations take data security seriously and spend exorbitant amounts on IT security including firewalls, network monitoring, encryption, and end-point protection. Although they spend millions guarding against hackers, they often overlook one crucial element of data security – theft of the physical hard drives.

Arewa says many businesses now rely on expert assistance. “The fact that certified electronics recyclers are transporting retired IT assets to vendor facilities to be processed and sanitised can create a false sense of security that blinds executives to the biggest threats. First, there is still the possibility that assets can be lost or stolen in-transit.”

Chain-of-custody is the foundation for indemnification and transfer of liability. It only takes a single missing item to cause a breach. Only a careful, objective examination of tracking data can confirm chain-of-custody — or reveal potential liability.

Company executives must prevent employees from taking retired computers and by acknowledging the risks and inherent conflicts-of-interest surrounding retired assets, will result in more effective ITAD policies and adequate safeguards.

Applying established incident-response procedures to the process of ITAD can help raise awareness of unappreciated vulnerabilities. More importantly, educating senior management about the risks will hopefully secure the resources needed to prevent an ITAD-related breach.

“Treating IT asset disposal as a reverse procurement process will deter insider theft,” he says.

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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