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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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It’s printing, Jim, but not as we know it

Selling printing services is not only about the hardware anymore, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The seminal science fiction series Star Trek generated many catch-lines, like “The Prime Directive” and “Live long and prosper”. One of its most parodied lines, however, is Doctor Bones McCoy’s words to Captain Kirk on encountering an alien species: “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.”

That’s exactly the way one could describe the printer industry today. Every time an HP, Epson or Konica Minolta releases a new machine for this sector, one can sense the puzzled frowns of people taken by surprise that it still exists.

The difference is that it has evolved from a focus on paper to an emphasis on document management.

One of the first companies to spot that shift in the market, Japanese-headquartered Konica-Minolta, pioneered the concept of a dedicated printer company introducing its own software development division.

“We’ve always believed our role is solving problems for the customer, and not just to provide print, copy and scan solutions,” says Marc Pillay, CEO of the company’s South African division. “Our primary focus is multi-functional devices, but we always look at adding value to clients. Our real job is to assist in achieving a better return on investment.”

The proof of the pudding is that the local division is one of the biggest Konica-Minolta distributors in the world. The reason is simple: unlike most other countries, the South African operation has both a direct and indirect channel. That means it is able to supply companies through its reseller network, while also having a presence on the ground in the form of a dealer network across the country. That, in turn, has given it access to municipalities and other organs of state.

“Our value proposition is based on quality products, service and an unparalleled supply chain,” says Pillay. “When everyone was afraid to do business with government, we thrived on it. It comes from being located in areas where it’s easy to do business with us.”

One could call that the secret of success for existing demand. The coming era, however, will require an appreciation of the next big shifts in printing, says Pillay.

“We’ve seen the big shifts from analog to digital, from monochrome to colour, and from decentralisation to centralisation of printing. The next shift is unbundling printing into a hybrid approach, using both cloud and managed solutions. It’s all going to become subscription-based, and it will be print-on-demand. The high-end customers go into that very quickly, but we still have to cater for people who just do copying.”

Pillay believes that the opening of Microsoft’s Azure data centres in South Africa in March has already made a difference.

“Now you can scan from a device into Microsoft’s SharePoint online or Google Drive. It’s not about screen size anymore, but what you can do to make an impact.”

Where people don’t print, says Pillay, they’re absorbing documents digitally.

“We have to make sure that, where we lose the print, we are gaining the management of the scan, digitisation of the document or management of the workflow. Our income will come out of the workflow.

“Clearly, we’re not just focused on selling a piece of hardware anymore.”

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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SA chooses most loved local businesses

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A new World Wide Worx research report identifies and names South Africa’s 12 Most Loved Local businesses, and places the spotlight on the vital role commercial businesses play in the South African economy. The country’s favourite local businesses include the Chapman’s Peak Hotel in Hout Bay – famed for its calamari, celebrity chef David Higgs’ Rosebank eatery Marble as well as Rouge Day Spa with branches in Kenilworth and Constantia in Cape Town run by a dynamic mother and daughter duo.

The aim of the Most Loved Local report was to celebrate those businesses South Africans love the most and to investigate exactly what makes consumers big fans of these entities. It further offers these enterprises insights into what it takes to succeed in business, highlights the qualities that convert clients into fans and encourages more South Africans to ‘shop’ local.

Report results

Commissioned by Santam, results were compiled using a combination of digital listening tools and traditional research. Social media listening using organic search analysis looked into which business categories were being searched for most. This was followed up with a trend analysis to assess whether a business category was growing in popularity, keyword volume analysis to refine the categories and finally social listening within the categories which businesses were being spoken about in the most positive terms. Thereafter, a poll was conducted among 2 489 respondents to find out what made them love a local business – or not. The sample was nationally representative and aligned to the economically active population per province. A respected independent research house World Wide Worx conducted the research.

The full list of businesses that came top across 12 categories are:

  1. Place to Stay: Chapmans Peak Hotel (Cape Town) – the one with the perfect calamari
  2. Eatery: Marble (Johannesburg) – the one with the celebrity chef in the kitchen
  3. Butcher: The Butcher Man (Cape Town) – the one that people cross town for
  4. Bakery: Fournos (Johannesburg) – the one that is way more than a bakery
  5. Spa: Rouge Day Spa (Cape Town) – the one run by a dynamic mother-daughter team
  6. Entertainment Spot: Gold Reef City (Johannesburg)  – the one with the heart of gold
  7. Gym: Dream Body Fitness (Johannesburg) – the one that is completely unintimidating to work out at
  8. Interior Designer: By Dezign Interiors (Johannesburg) – the one that really, really gets its clients’ style
  9. Market: Bryanston Organic & Natural Market (Johannesburg) – the one that was an organic market before it was trendy to be an organic market
  10. Laundromat: Exclusive Dry Cleaners (Johannesburg) – the one that treats every single client like family
  11. Car Wash: Tubbs’s Car Wash (Johannesburg) – the one that cleans your car while you have a haircut
  12. Construction company: Radon Projects (Pretoria) – the one that is ready all day and all night

Delving into what makes a consumer go from ‘client to fan’, the key factor standing out above all others was service. Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx, says it seems South Africans will forgive a multitude of ‘sins’ if they are treated well. “Good service was the number one factor that makes 40% of those surveyed support a local business. This was followed by quality products at 18%. Third place went to value for money at 10%, proving the old adage that competing on price alone is not a sound business strategy,” said Goldstuck.

When asked what makes them loyal to a local business, some interesting views across age groups emerged. “Younger clients are more swayed by quality, while older ones are impressed by service. This seems to fit with younger people wanting the status of nice things, and older people wanting to feel valued and respected,” said Goldstuck.

Unsurprisingly, all 12 Most Loved Locals called out service as one of their guiding lights and core pillars when interviewed. Theo and George Parpottas, owners of Exclusive Dry Cleaners, the selected company in the laundromat category, believe when someone walks into their shop, they should be greeted with smiling faces and courteous people. “We don’t care if it’s the president or a beggar, from the moment they walk in, they are a client. We greet them, we are courteous, and we treat them with respect. It doesn’t matter what they bring.”

For Gary Karycou, who co-owns Marble in Rosebank with celebrity chef David Higgs, it is all about attitude. “You can teach someone anything if they want to do it, but we employ on attitude. You get the basic skills but if someone really wants to learn, you can transform them.” He continues, “Giving the best service to our clients, is our motto. It’s something that’s lacking in South Africa and even globally. Businesses just become a bit complacent.”

Famed Green Point butchery and restaurant, The Butcher Man, is owned by Arie Fabiani. He says people will drive past other butcheries and come all the way to the Butcher Man because “we deliver a great service. Good service is critical, and our team knows it.”

Another key finding was that people are more likely to recommend a business if there is a good deal or excellent value for money. Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, Chief Marketing Officer at Santam, says this is an interesting finding. “Perhaps we are more likely to share a good deal with others and keen to help others find great nuggets of the positive trade-off between value and price. So, it is worth ensuring that, in addition to service and quality, your clients feel like they are getting value for the money they spend with you. That way, they are more likely to tell family and friends the good news!”

Dilotsotlhe added that the report’s release has been well-timed as the need to stimulate sectors of the economy which can create jobs has never been more vital. Commercial enterprises are responsible for a significant percentage of the labour-force in South Africa, and the impact thereof is significant. Due to the fact that these enterprises remain a largely underinsured sector, the campaign also seeks to highlight the need for insurance as a vital aspect of business continuity. When they thrive, it benefits the whole nation, and from a Santam perspective, this translates into sustainable growth for our business.

To download the full report, click here.

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