More than a third of South Africa IT decision-makers (35%) are on high alert for a cyber-attack on their businesses within days.
This is a core finding of a new research study entitled The State of Enterprise Security in South Africa 2019, conducted by World Wide Worx in partnership with Trend Micro and VMware. It surveyed IT decision-makers at 220 enterprises across all industries in South Africa on the centrality of cybersecurity in business strategy, the vulnerability of businesses, and security compliance.
It found that while 35% believe an attack will happen within a few days, a further 31% of businesses expected an attack with the year. Fewer than one in five IT decision-makers in SA enterprises think they are safe from attack in the next two years.
Just over half, 57%, of businesses say they will detect evidence of a malicious breach within a few minutes. However, almost half of businesses (43%) won’t know they’ve been compromised until a few hours or longer after a security breach. Such businesses may be in for a big shock. Ransomware and other file destroying malware may corrupt almost every file on a user’s computer within a few hours, which means any response would be too late.
Surprisingly, IT decision-makers are willing to accept responsibility. Half of the respondents (51%) says they would blame their own departments in the event of a breach.
“This finding shows IT decision-makers are cognisant of how important security is to their role, as half of IT decision-makers would accept accountability for a data or security breach in their organisations,” says Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa at Trend Micro.
The survey shows a disconnect between who would be aware of data breaches and who should be aware of data breaches. Over a third of IT decision-makers (36%) reported that the IT department would be the most aware of the actions to take after a data breach, while over half of IT decision-makers (54%) reported that their Chief Information Officers should be the most aware of how to navigate the organisation after a data breach.
“We were astonished when we found that CIOs don’t lead the organisation’s response to a data breach,” says Lorna Hardie, Regional Director Sub-Saharan Africa at VMware. “This finding shows that organisations still have a long way to go in terms of connecting a CIO’s strategy to that of the IT department.”
The biggest shortcoming in cybersecurity preparedness was outdated software, with an enormous 77% of IT decision-makers reporting that it makes their organisations highly vulnerable. In terms of additional vulnerability factors, senior management not understanding the risk slots in close behind, indicating a massive need for education and a need for a new approach to security, where it is an intrinsic part of the systems deployed by business.
“All of this then leads us to imagine that the IT departments must feel under siege, yet they are supremely confident in their ability to protect companies,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. “Any question relating to their capacity and capability is met with resounding confidence, suggesting that they are either over-confident, or supremely arrogant. At best, we would say that they don’t want to be perceived as falling down on the job and can cope regardless of the obstacles in their way and the threat out there.
“Although 99% says they are confident about protecting the company, the picture disintegrates when asked if they have the skills to do so. Almost half – 45% – agree that they don’t have the skills to protect the company, this disconnect suggests overconfidence in their ability to protect the business,” adds Goldstuck.
Says Hardie: “There is a huge need for senior financial decision-makers to learn that an ounce of data breach prevention is worth a pound of lost data and productivity. Interestingly the research highlights that there will be breaches, that is a fact, but it is how business mitigates these risks going forward with a modern approach to security where we aren’t chasing each breach, but instead shift to a model where we build intrinsic security into everything – the application, the network, essentially everything that connects and carries data.”
Siriniwasa concurs: “The report reveals a stark trend in how South African IT decision-makers protect their corporate networks to gives a clear sense where South African companies need to remain strong and areas of IT security where they need to work on. At this stage, strong information and data security are non-negotiable, but ensuring this requires a cultural shift towards security awareness and collaboration across all parts of the business. Not only does business need to invest in security solutions that are pervasive and intrinsic, but they also have to invest in the right skills and people to drive best practice forward.”
Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets
Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds
Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.
South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.
Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact.
The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users.
These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person.
- Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school.
- Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides.
- People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services.
- There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education.
- Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information.
These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report.
Nokia to be first with Android 10
Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.
Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range.
“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”
HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.