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It’s World Backup Day tomorrow – this is how to do it

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By BRIAN PINNOCK, cybersecurity expert at Mimecast

As the world celebrates World Backup Day on 31 March, it’s worth taking stock of archiving and its growing importance in an age of exponential data and rising threats from cybercriminals.

The World Economic Forum believes cybersecurity is the fifth-greatest strategic risk facing the world in 2019, according to its latest Global Risks Report. Cyber threats are multifaceted: from government spying to election meddling, stolen passwords to impersonation fraud and ransomware, organisations are being challenged on all fronts in their efforts to secure their data and maintain business productivity.

It’s become common belief that every organisation will at some point be a victim of a cyberattack. Despite their best efforts, no organisation is immune. Preventative measures such as advanced security and threat intelligence remain important aspects of cyber resilience, as does awareness training (to equip employees with the knowledge to spot potential cyberthreats and react appropriately). But there’s still the possibility that a new advanced attack could make its way through all the security controls you have in place, which means prevention alone isn’t good enough.

For those organisations that want to remain productive and access business critical information in the wake of a successful cyberattack or other business disruption – and I’d argue that is every organisation – effective archiving and recovery has never been more important. And considering the sheer volume of data most organisations have to process and store, the legislative and regulatory requirements they have to meet, and the ever-looming threat of cyberattacks, it’s high time organisations dust off their archiving strategies and make some much-needed improvements.

The new shape and size of data

Organisations have more data than ever before. Thanks to highly advanced analytics, many are using their historic data to search for trends and other insights that can improve their decision-making.

The growth of the Internet of Things is set to vastly increase the volume of data that organisations have to contend with. Gartner estimates the total number of connected things will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. And we’re not even touching on the vast volumes of structured and unstructured data generated by other sources such as email. In fact, IBM believes the world currently creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day.

Just generating large volumes of data is not enough; organisations need to be able to quickly access the correct data in order to make empowered business decisions. And if business productivity is interrupted – whether by cyberattack or, in South Africa’s case, power outages – organisations must be able to quickly restore access to important data. That’s not to mention the very real possibility of losing all data forever if they don’t have the right backup and recovery in place. This would be a catastrophe for any organisation.

Regulatory requirements add to the pressure: Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act both require organisations to be able to accommodate Right To Be Forgotten requests, which is only possible if organisations have effective e-discovery capabilities.

Breaking bad habits

A few bad habits are holding back efforts to build better archiving capabilities. The picture of a dusty on-premise catch-all with boxes full of tape persist, despite the technology maturing significantly. Settling for ‘good-enough’ search that sacrifices speed and accuracy for cost-savings tops the list. Many organisations also underestimate the importance of e-discovery: that is, until the regulators come knocking, and they are unable to quickly produce the requisite data. Perhaps this is why 50% of South African organisations admitted to lacking total confidence in their e-discovery capabilities in a 2017 Mimecast survey.

Planning for unexpected downtime can sometimes be left to the lower ends of organisational priority lists. And yet 88% of South African organisations want uninterrupted access to email in the event of system failure or downtime. Part of the challenge is storing all data in a single location: a single successful cyberattack or mistaken delete could wipe out your corporate memory forever. Alarmingly, half of all organisations can’t recover all their data after an incident.

Imagine the effect of a successful ransomware attack. More than 15% of South African organisations in a 2019 study by Mimecast and Vanson Bourne reported significant business impact from a ransomware attack over the past 12 months, with a further 27% reporting some impact. Alarmingly, 76% of South African organisations experienced downtime of two to five days following a successful ransomware attack. And for more than 10%, a whole week went by before they returned to a recovered state following a successful email-based attack.

So, what are organisations to do? I’d argue there are three key components to a successful archiving strategy that supports an organisation’s broader cyber resilience efforts.

Click here to read the KPIs archiving.

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ASUS puts more screen into gaming

While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER

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When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.  

Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.  

That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features  cutting edge, but also the internals. 

The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy. 

The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.  

The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.   

On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device. 

The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary. 

These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs. 

The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed

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Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests

Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.

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Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.

Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.

The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.

This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.

It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.

Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.

There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:

  1. Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
  2. Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
  3. If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
  4. Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
  5. If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
  6. Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
  7. Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.

The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.

With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.

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