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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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Gaming gets rad at Rand Show

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With the opening of the 125th Rand Show at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, today, gamers and cosplayers have a new destination to strut their stuff.

A new addition to the show, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion, is offering anything from gaming and cosplay to dance-offs and  science displays.

The organisers provided the following information (although several million exclamation marks and exaggerations have been removed!):

Fortnite Tournament

There was a time when Gaming was a considered a solitary pastime, confined to single player consoles; but that truly is a thing of the past with a fully immersive Fortnite Tournament open to all Fortnite afficionados and even those just starting out. Players can battle it out over both show weekends, including a final on each weekend. Family fan clubs can also get in on the action with live broadcasts of the game as it happens across screens – a full-on Fortnite family affair. Sponsored by PlayStation, gamers are truly going to be spoiled and should get in on the action as fast as they can because R 100 000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

Smart Technology Centre will deliver a super-fast FibreMAX 500Mbps fibre link, wholly dedicated to the gaming pavilion to ensure that absolutely nothing ruins the thrill of the National Fortnite Tournament. 

“As the exclusive connectivity provider, we have gone all out to ensure an amazing experience for gamers,” says Dillynn Els of Smart Technology Centre (STC), an internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner. “When it comes to gaming and the best experience possible, it’s all about ensuring we provide a dedicated, uncapped, unshaped connection that makes every second count.”

Keen players can come along and enter on the day, but don’t delay because space is limited.

Fortnite Inspired Dance Off

Visitors can come along and be entertained by the finalists in the Fortnite inspired dance-off. There will be daily dances to enjoy for the entire duration of the show.

Come and play – Cosplay, to be exact.

The stage is set for a celebration of creativity and imagination that is going to be literally out of this world. Super hero heavy weights and masters of the mysterious will be letting their creative vision loose and take part in various Cosplay Tournaments and a visually stunning Cosplay Masquerade. Come see what all the fuss is about and get lost in this world costumes, colour and creative talent.

Games, Games and Science

For those wanting to get their gaming on, there will be three free play areas sponsored by Xbox with a host of games available to play. Xbox will be giving away 3 Xbox 1’s and an awesome Xbox 1X, but you truly have to be in it to win it, so make sure you don’t miss out.

The Kalahari Scientist will be onstage delighting visitors with his explosive displays that are guaranteed to up the ooh and aah factor with audiences young and old.

But wait, there’s more

Along with the larger-than-life gaming entertainment offering, visitors will also get to be the first gamers on SA soil to get a sneak peak of PlayStation’s brand new Mortal Kombat 11. Don’t miss your chance to experience the continuation of this epic saga through a new cinematic story that is more than 25 years in the making. The iconic showcasing brutal battles like never before, along with a host of customisable fighters with enhanced graphics and animations.

Other activities at the Pavilion include VR Experiences, a full-on NAG Nerf Arena, Gaming vendors with awesome gaming content, retailers selling gaming related products and software, and tutorials and workshops on how to improve your gaming skills, Celebrity Fortnite match off for charity.

With huge sponsors such as PlayStation, Xbox, MMS, NAG, SABC 2 and Smart Technology, the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion is geared up to become a hot zone of entertainment.

Win big

In case the entertainment offering just doesn’t get the heart beats racing fast enough, an all-expenses paid trip to TwitchCon USA, sponsored by PlayStation, in conjunction with 94.7 Highveld Stereo, is waiting for one lucky visitor to grab it. Every ticket purchased into the Entertainment Gaming Pavilion qualifies as an entry, so bring the whole family along for the ride.

Tickets to the Gaming Entertainment Pavilion can be purchased at the show for R 20 which gives the ticket holder access for  two hours.

The pavilion will be open from 14h00 to 19h00 weekdays and 10h00 to 19h00 on weekends from 19 to 28 April 2019.

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Riaad Moosa show debuts on Vodacom Video Play

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Riaad Moosa’s comedy special, Life Begins, will be the first major local title to be released on Vodacom’s video-on-demand service, Video Play.

As an award-winning comedian, actor, writer and presenter, Riaad Moosa is one of South Africa’s most renowned funny men. His one-man show is available for download on the platform from today, 26 April 2019. Life Begins is rated PG-16L

Vodacom’s says its affordable video-on-demand service, Video Play, has had an incredible uptake since its launch in August 2018, with over 2-million subscribers. 

“But with a proliferation of affordable video-on-demand platforms available to the South African market, what is it that gives Video Play the competitive edge?” it asked in a release this week. “Recognising the consumer’s need for flexibility and freedom of choice, Vodacom has ingeniously developed an adaptable subscription model that puts the power in consumers’ hands. Forget being tied down to a monthly subscription. Video Play gives consumers the liberty of choosing a daily, weekend or even monthly package. 

“Blockbuster movies can even be viewed for a once off cost, without subscription. Furthermore, these bundles can be purchased according to niche categories and genres, from Bollywood movies to gospel music.”

Consumers are able to pay for movies and series by using their airtime or adding it to their bill, eliminating the need for a credit card. Subscribers are also able to purchase video-specific data at a fraction of the regular price to consume constant content without overspending. Daily subscriptions start from R5 a day.

Zunaid Mahomed, Group Digital and Fixed Services Officer, says: “Video Play has enabled the company to provide a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. With the addition of Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins, we’re excited to offer consumers even more quality content and a wider variety of entertainment on demand than ever before. We’re putting quality entertainment, into the hands of anyone with a mobile device and an internet connection.”

Riaad Moosa describes his show as “very philosophical and existential”.

“It involves the normal issues of getting older while at the same time experiencing, at a maturity where I’m supposed to be wise, a world that is completely turned on its head.  It’s about how I negotiate all these things happening around me while trying to maintain a positive attitude. Through my comedic lens, I hope to put a different spin on that and hopefully I can enter my next 40 years with renewed vigour and excitement.”

To access Riaad Moosa’s Life Begins comedy special, register for Video via the Video Play website (www.videoplay.co.za).

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