South African enterprises are taking data protection and governance seriously and are actively moving to implement governance best practice, says PAUL WILLIAMS, Country Manager – Southern Africa at Fortinet.
South African enterprises, particularly those in the financial services and health sectors, are already on track to meet the requirements of the POPI Act.
What does “data governance” mean?
Data governance covers the management and protection of data across the entire ecosystem – from data collection, to its movement through networks, to storage and the eventual destruction of data. Poor management at any stage – for example in emails between colleagues within the organisation – could result in leaks. Local CIOs, CISOs, risk managers and legal specialists are well aware of these risks and are taking measures to secure their valuable data at every stage of the data lifecycle.
Data flowing ‘North-South’ (in and out of the enterprise) is not the only area that requires focus. East-West data flow must also be protected and controlled. For example, when data moves between servers within an organisation, it could be at risk if a malware has been introduced somewhere within the network. Employees collaborating on shared documents or emailing copies of information to each other could also put data at risk without effective protection and governance rules in place.
What are the primary elements of a data governance strategy?
Effective data governance begins with a full audit of how data moves through the organisation, the categorisation of data by levels of security required and the setting of clear rules about access rights within the organisation, this will vary in different business verticals and the type of data sets in their business, this is known as DLP – Data Loss prevention.
See more information on DLP here.
To be truly effective, the data entering and leaving the organisation must be carefully monitored and authentication and permissions must be managed. The organisation must govern who is accessing the data, using what device to do so and which content they are accessing. It comes down to the micro-management and inspection of the data.
The data governance strategy must encompass all data. This includes basic operational and administrative data that could reveal the corporate strategy; and the keystrokes, screens and voice call records gathered by the company contact centre.
Shortfalls still exist around identity and device management, defining the profiles and rights of users, and management of contact centre data. But enterprises are starting to look more closely at these risk areas and we expect POPI to spell out measures to be taken under endpoint protection regulations.
Why is or will data governance be important to PoPI compliance once the legislation is in effect in 2018?
Data governance should not wait until 2018. Personal information and important enterprise IP data is constantly at risk and companies stand to incur serious losses and reputational damage, should their data be compromised or stolen. Once POPI comes into effect, they face the additional risk of prosecution and hefty fines which will also spell out market reputation.
Any company that has not yet done so must start taking the bull by the horns and adapt to the POPI model which is a “Frame Work”. In this frame work each business vertical can adapt their data and corporate governance accordingly. They need to start understanding the Act and take a closer look at their existing data governance, data flow and how effectively they are managing, storing and securing the data.
Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults
An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.
By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.
These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.
Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:
- The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
- The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
- The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
- The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
- The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
- The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.
The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been.
“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured. The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.
“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’.
“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves. Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).
“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”
For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.
How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals
Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.
MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down.
“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.
However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding
An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries.
“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.
Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.
“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”
Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.
Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.