As companies begin to move more and more data to the cloud, GRAHAM CROOCK, Director: IT audit, risk and cyber lab at BDO SA, asks what it means for data sensitivity and customer protection?
Fundamentally, the power of computing is moving to the cloud. Powerful, bulky machines will be rendered unnecessary as data starts getting accessed through the even more powerful infrastructure built around the incredible processing power that now lives on the cloud. More and more companies are moving their data to the cloud, as well as government agencies and institutions. But what does this mean for data sensitivity and customer protection?
Many businesses are reluctant to move their essential data to the cloud, which is becoming more and more accessible as technology converges, and companies run the risk of being left behind by their competitors. However, company leaders want guarantees that their cloud service provider cannot, for example, be targeted by terrorist groups or rival organisations.
So the question is, how do we deal with disaster recovery if cybercriminals attack or shut down one of the big data center servers that houses companies’ invaluable data? Can companies really be sure that they have efficient redundancy built into the business? Companies need to cover all their bases when looking to migrate their data onto the cloud. Demands such as zero% downtime and ad hoc changes to the architecture of the cloud infrastructure are conversations that need to be had by cloud servers and companies. It will be the tech savvy and innovative companies that will lead the pack, ensuring that they have a solid service level agreement (SLA) in place that protects themselves, their clients, and is in accordance to legislation.
But realistically speaking, the law is not keeping up. What are the penalties for companies losing vital data? Who will be held accountable should things go wrong? How will the client or company be compensated? These questions are still not properly addressed by South African legislation, and lawyers need to become tech savvy in this new era, to ensure that SLAs are ironclad. This is where the PoPI Act comes into play.
The purpose of the PoPI Act is to ensure that South African companies conduct the requirements of the act responsibly when it comes to collecting, processing, storing and sharing personal information of another body or individual by holding them accountable should they compromise a third party’s personal information. Within the PoPI Act, certain rights of protection are awarded to third parties who share their personal information with organisations. Some of these include:
- Consent as to when and how one chooses to share their information
- The type and extent of information one choose to share
- Transparency on how one’s data will be used
- Immediate notification should one’s data is compromised
- Allowing one to have access to their own information, and do with it as they pleas
- The prevention of unauthorised people accessing one’s information
- How and where one’s information is stored
- The accuracy of one’s information
The seventh point highlights the challenge that companies storing information on a cloud have. More often than not, organisations don’t actually know where the cloud is and who has access to this information.
It is important to note that while consumers now have more rights and protection, companies are also considered responsible parties and have the same obligation to protect other parties’ personal information. This includes all stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, vendors and even service providers. But in today’s day and age, people freely disseminate personal information about themselves on the internet, and it is important to remember that the PoPI Act cannot protect you if you do not protect yourself. The onus is on everyone handling delicate data to treat it as such.
When it comes to hiring a cloud server for your delicate information, ensure to chat to your risk advisor or specialist companies like BDO that will ensure that your migration is smooth and secure, and of course, that your cloud service provider is compliant to the PoPI Act.
The myths of microwaves
We all know microwaves make cooking a breeze and it helps save those minutes, we rarely have enough of these days. However, some people do have those lingering doubts about whether microwaving food destroys nutrients or that it emits harmful radiation. However, the truth is a lot more comforting and positive.
“The microwave makes life so much easier,” says Tracy Gordon, Head of Product – Home Appliances at Samsung South Africa. “It’s human-centred technology at its most helpful. The Samsung Hotblast for example, has revolutionary functions, which are tailor-made to create fast, tasty and healthy meals in minutes.”
A recent article by Harvard Health Publishingclaims stated that “microwave ovens cook food using waves of energy that are remarkably selective, primarily affecting water and other molecules that are electrically asymmetrical. Microwaves cause these molecules to vibrate and quickly build up thermal (heat) energy.” The article debunks two common myths about microwaving food.
Myth 1: Microwaving kills nutrients
Whether in a microwave or a regular oven, some nutrients, including vitamin C, do break down when exposed to heat. However, the fact is, cooking with a microwave might be better when it comes to preserving nutrients because it takes a shorter time to cook. Additionally, as far as vegetables go, cooking them in water robs them of some of their nutritional value because the nutrients seep out into the cooking water,” states the report by Harvard Health Publishing. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), food cooked in a microwave oven is as safe and has the same nutrient value, as food cooked in a conventional oven.
Myth 2: Microwaving food can give you cancer
The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that microwaves do not make food radioactive. Microwaves heat food but they do not change the chemical or molecular structure of it. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that microwaves pose a health risk to people when used appropriately, the organisation added.
With those myths well busted, it’s comforting to know one can make full use of the convenient kitchen appliance. And when the time comes to use a microwave to heat up a tasty meal in no time, one can trust the Samsung Hotblast to do the job. The HotBlast has multiple air holes blowing out powerful hot air, which reduces cooking time. Samsung claims the Slim Fry technology ensures that food is perfectly crisp on the outside and delicious and juicy on the inside. Additionally, this versatile microwave has a wider grill, making it easier to brown food fast and evenly. The turntable is wider, measuring 345mm, making it possible to prepare bigger portions of food. And with its Eco Mode power, it significantly reduces energy consumption with its low standby power. Its intelligent features and stylish design makes it very useful and as we now know – a safe, healthy way to enjoy a meal.
New BMW 3-series ushers in autonomous future
The new BMW 3-series is not meant to be an autonomous car, but it is so close, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK discovers.
It was not meant to be a test-drive of an autonomous vehicle. But the Driving Assist button on the steering wheel of the new BMW 330i was just too tempting. And there I found myself, on Sir Lowry’s Pass near Cape Town, “driving” with my arms folded while the vehicle negotiated curves on its own.
Every 10 seconds or so, yellow or red lights flashed to alert me to put my hands back on the wheel. The yellow lights meant the car wanted me to put my hands on the wheel, just to show that I was in control. The red lights meant that I had to take over control from the artificial intelligence built into the vehicle.
With co-driver Ernest Page, we negotiated a major highway, the bends of Sir Lowry’s pass, and the passes of Hell’s Heights (Hel se Hoogte) above the Cape Winelands.
As the above video of the experience reveals, it can be nerve-racking for someone who hasn’t experienced autonomous driving, or hasn’t been dreaming of testing it for many years. For this driver, it was exhilarating. Not because the car performed so magnificently, but because it tells us just how close true autonomous driving really is.
There was one nervous moment when the autonomous – or rather, Driving Assist – mode disengaged on Hell’s Heights, but fear not. A powerful sense of responsibility prevailed, and my hands hovered over the steering wheel as it took the curve. Assist disengaged, and the car began to veer towards the other side of the road. I quickly took over, and also sobered up from the giddiness of thinking I was already in the future.
In reality, Driving Assist is part of level 2 of driving autonomy, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. A presentation on the evening of the test drive, by Edward Makwana, manager of group product communications at BMW Group in South Africa, summed up the five stages as the driver having Feet Off, Hands Off, Eyes Off, Mind off, and finally, only being a Passenger.
However, the extent to which the hands-off mode of Driving Assist mimics self-driving, and easily shows the way to eyes-off and mind-off, is astonishing.
Click here to read about the components that make the Driving Assist work.