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Security needs new approach

Cisco is calling for the adoption of a holistic architectural approach to address growing cybersecurity challenges.

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It is time for a new approach to security. Today’s dynamic threat landscape demands a security strategy that focuses on the threat itself more than simply prevention. One that doesn’t continue to simply stick band-aid over band-aid, until a cat’s cradle of fixes and patches becomes a management nightmare. Meanwhile, the organisation’s systems remain vulnerable to new, increasingly smart, attacks. 

Findings from the recent The Cisco 2018 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study reveal that more than nine out of ten (94%) companies surveyed in the Middle East and Africa have suffered a breach in the last year, with nearly a half (48%) experiencing more than $500,000 (around R6.2 million) in damage. The good news is that companies in the region are taking a progressive approach to tackling security, with 83% using automation, 78%, machine learning, and 77%, artificial intelligence to reduce the effort to secure their organisations. 

“Today, security needs to also work hand in glove with an organisation’s digitalisation roadmap,” says Clayton Naidoo, Acting General Manager, Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa. “Most C-suite leaders think about cybersecurity as a way to stop threats. But in today’s intensely competitive digital economy they should be thinking about cybersecurity as a strategic advantage that not only protects, but also enables new business value.” 

While organisations must continue to work diligently to protect valuable data and assets, to achieve growth, the biggest opportunity comes when we make cybersecurity a foundational component of our digital strategies. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, companies need a multi-layered architectural approach to security that will block known threats and malware, but also be alert enough to identify and contain unknown risks quickly. 

This is the view of Cisco, a lead sponsor of the ITWeb Security Summit 2018. In keeping with the conference’s theme of addressing the challenge in an ever-changing threat landscape, John Maynard, Cisco vice president of security for EMEAR, will explain how, even as the IT world gets more complex, security can and should be integrated seamlessly into everything an organisation does. 

There is something of a security perfect storm brewing as we move into an increasingly digitalised world. While no one can doubt the impact of security breaches on companies, it is getting more difficult to stay ahead of them. One reason for this, ironically, is the vast choice of systems and software companies have to get the job done in the best way. 

The benchmark study explains that the challenge today arises because almost a quarter (23%) of MEA companies manage more than 21 vendors. This is not unique to the region though, and the worldwide figure sits at 21%. This system complexity leaves organisations with security stacks that are too complex to manage, administrators bombarded with too many alerts, and the increased likelihood of missing critical outcomes.

Meanwhile, attacks have got more sophisticated, and more damaging. Take for instance destruction of service (DeOS) attacks, where criminals no longer care about the bitcoins they can extract from companies as ransom but instead are selling their services to destroy targeted systems completely. And then, of course, today you also still get the employee who should know better but clicks on suspicious links in emails and opens attachments that they should stay well away from.

“Whether they are moving to the cloud, launching a new product or bringing on new digital devices, organisations need to start building an industry-wide culture where security is top of mind and integrated seamlessly into everything it does,” added Naidoo. “And while it’s never been easier to deploy new IT services, these may impact visibility and control mechanisms unless the way security is implemented and managed changes.”

This is where Cisco’s integrated, architectural approach to secure IT comes to the fore. There is an important difference between an integrated approach, where multiple point products communicate via point-to-point connections through APIs, scripts and other such mechanisms, and an architectural approach where all of the components are designed to work together, and natively share information.

Any system is only as strong as its weakest link, but with an architectural approach, an update only has to happen in one location to immediately contain threats across the entire system. This shared source of information reduces the risk of false positives, and a consistent user interface prevents human error. All of this pulled together also facilitates the automation of threat management so that only the most critical threats require human intervention. An added benefit is, of course, cost reduction, both regarding deployment, and in terms of operations. Yesterday’s security thinking can’t protect tomorrow’s systems, but a holistic architectural approach sets an organisation up for future success.

Maynard will be expanding on this “see it once, protect it everywhere” architectural approach to security at the ITWeb Security Summit, to be held from 21 to 25 May, at Vodacom World, in Midrand. Cisco’s team of security specialists will be on hand at the event to advise companies on what is involved in taking an integrated architectural approach to secure their IT into the future.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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New AirPods and iMac in iStore this weekend

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iStore has announced availability of the new second generation AirPods and iMac, unveiled this week, in store this weekend.

The AirPods are priced from R2 899 and the new iMac from R23 499. Customers can also order these new products from iStore’s website.

“AirPods revolutionised the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love,” said iStore in its announcement. “The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free ‘Hey Siri’.”

AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new wireless charging case that works with Qi standard chargers. The wireless charging case can be ordered for R3 699. The case can be used with the first or second generation AirPods.

The iMac line now has up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. The new iMac is faster for everyday tasks, up to demanding pro workloads. It includes retina display, all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave.

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