Archive for Kwiecień, 2012

CM2: Measuring the business continuity model

By admin, 24 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

A capability and maturity model injects rigour into a business continuity model—something that’s necessary given its importance. 

By Karen Humphris, senior business continuity management advisor, ContinuitySA

As we all know, the business environment has become much more volatile and changeable: Competition is more intense, and customers are raising the bar all the time. Business agility has become a key business success factor, and the modern corporation is increasingly all about change.
In tandem, business continuity plans have to become as agile in order to ensure they remain up to date with constant change. For that reason, business continuity management has grown in importance globally because it provides a way to embed and continually update business continuity plans. And, as business continuity management has grown in importance, so has the need to assess it effectively.
The old adage, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”, is equally true here.
We have developed a comprehensive model that allows companies to assess the effectiveness of all the elements of their business continuity management programmes and, perhaps more importantly, to move from their current state to the desired state in a deliberate and planned fashion.
This model—the Capability and Maturity Model, or CM2 Model—is applicable whether you have just begun implementing business continuity management or whether you have a full-blown business continuity management system.
The 12 success factors of business continuity management
Our departure point for building the CM2 model is the 12 success factors of a successful business continuity model. Clearly, the effectiveness of each one of these contributes to the overall maturity of the programme as a whole.
In our experience, the 12 success factors of an effective business continuity model are:

• Executive support. Is there a business case and is it backed up with budget, policies and leadership commitment?
• Resources and expertise. Are they sufficient?
• Core enterprise threat assessment. What are the threats and single points of failure—and how are they managed and mitigated?
• Extended enterprise threat assessment. The same assessment made of the supply chain.
• Continuity strategies. What are the possible strategies for each of the resource dependencies, and which ones should be selected?
• Incident management framework. This should consist of strategic, tactical and operational activities with an appropriate infrastructure.
• Incident (emergency) response. Are the procedures, infrastructure and teams in place to protect your most valuable asset, your people?
• Reputation management. Are the procedures, infrastructure and teams in place to protect your next most valuable asset?
• Business continuity plans. Do they include an initial response, recovery plans and, ultimately, resumption of normal operations?
• Recovery infrastructure. Is it adequate, and is its own risk profile adequately managed?
• Testing. This is one of the most vital steps and one that companies struggle with the most.
• Assurance reviews and audits. These processes are necessary ultimately to drive a culture of continuous assessment.

Creating the CM2 model
Each of these 12 success factors, including the many individual factors that make up each one, can then be scored according to international standards and good practice guidelines. Each scoring would take into account the theory and methodology of business continuity management, the company’s actual practices, the resources it allocates to business continuity management and the underlying business continuity management system.
The scoring we use distinguishes between five levels of maturity, from Level 1 (cannot recover from or survive a disruption) to Level 5 (recoverability is certifiable). These levels correspond to percentage ranges, and so each success factor’s elements can be rated in terms of percentage to generate an overall level for that factor. The assessment results are granular enough to provide many different analyses; for example, business units or individual sites could be assessed.
This model thus provides a clear snapshot of where the organisation is at present—perhaps more important it allows a company to specify where it would like to be in the future. And because it’s so concrete, the steps that need to be taken can also be precisely identified and prioritised. Progress along the journey can also be measured and managed, and improvement quantified.
Measurement truly doesn’t only enable management but also improvement—and that’s where the strength of this model is evident: it helps an organisation to move towards better business continuity management and thus, ultimately, to a company with greater longevity.

T-Systems donates R3.7 funding sponsorship for establishment of Hazyview Digital Learning Centre

By admin, 24 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment
  • In partnership with Good Work Foundation and Hosanna Church Community Projects
  •  High level of training
  •  Utilise renewable energy

As part of T-Systems in South Africa’s Sustainable Enterprise Development programme, the company is investing R3.7 million towards the establishment of a world-class Digital Learning Centre in Hazyview; an initiative which will provide critical skills such as IT, Tourism and English to the community of Hazyview and surrounding areas in the Mpumalanga Province.

The Digital Learning Centre which will be managed by the Good Work Foundation (GWF) will focus on those individuals that have left the school system early or mature students who have not been able to obtain further education due to economic and other constraints. The education programmes will run parallel to the schooling systems and create access to world-class education for rural learners. In addition, learners will obtain practical skills preparing them for the world of work and allowing them to compete in a global environment.

The GWF is committed to bringing positive educational interventions to rural South African communities. Through the foundation’s education initiatives it assists and promotes the transformation that needs to take place in South Africa.
“The partnership between T-Systems in South Africa and the Good Work Foundation is creating a Digital Learning Centre that will be the first of its kind in South Africa, changing the way we approach education in our country,” says Dave Varty, Chairman of the Good Work Foundation.

The establishment of this Digital Learning Centre also falls in line with Minister for Basic Education, Blade Nzimande’s recently introduced green paper on post-school education and training which recommends expansion in all post-school institutional types such as further Education Training (FET) colleges, universities, adult education facilities and workplace-based training.

The paper proposes an increase in FET college enrolments from 400 000 to four million in 20 years.

The R3.7 million T-Systems founding sponsorship will go towards the start-up of the centre, the provision of HR and resources as well as curriculum alignment and assistance to ensure the centre meets the highest training standards.

Says Gert Schoonbee, MD of T-Systems in South Africa: “The Hazyview Digital Learning Centre will offer those individuals that have fallen through the cracks of the educational system a second chance to obtain the skills necessary to find employment and realise a better of quality of life.

“The centre underscores the goals of our Sustainable Enterprise Development programme which is to invest in a project that positively contributes to skills development in South Africa’s rural areas.”

The Hazyview Digital Learning Centre aims to use appropriate and renewable energy resources such as solar power to meet its daily energy requirements, as well as harvesting of water and the use of a grey water system, contributing to the overall sustainability of its operations.

Emphasising the centre’s commitment to educational excellence, it will employ retired educators who offer years of critical experience. These educators will work with and mentor young local educators. In addition, the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre will utilise relevant, accredited teaching programmes such as ABET, Molteno Project Method, Lets Sell Lobster and ICDL.

The centre is also aligned with the T-Systems sponsored CIDA City Campus ICT Academy curriculum and it is hoped to establish The Digital Learning Academy as a bona fide satellite campus in the near future.

“We will endeavour to stay abreast of new training initiatives while constantly looking at ways to digitise additional or new training courses. The advantages of online training are considerable as it allows the centre to draw in more students at a reduced cost as well as offer a variety of courses,” adds Schoonbee.

The Hazyview Digital Learning Centre is earmarked to launch in June 2012.

Galix Networking achieves accredited PCI Quality Security Assessor Partner status

By admin, 24 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

Galix Networking (Galix), specialist in the design, implementation and management of communications and security infrastructure, is proud to announce its certification as an accredited Payment Card Industry (PCI) Quality Security Assessor (QSA) partner as of 20 March 2012. Galix joins the ranks of just nine QSA companies licensed to operate in Africa, and is one of only five QSA organisations with offices in South Africa and a local presence.

The PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) offers robust and comprehensive standards and supporting materials to enhance payment card data security. QSA companies are organisations that have been qualified by the Council to assess compliance to the PCI Data Security Standard (DSS). PCI DSS is aimed at enhancing security in the payment card industry, and forms a cornerstone in the fight against payment card fraud and theft. The standard outlines an actionable framework and best practice including prevention, detection and appropriate reaction to security incidents.

PCI DSS compliance

Any business, merchant or service provider that accepts credit cards, either online or offline, needs to be compliant with the DSS. Service providers including payment gateways, online retailers and any third parties involved in the storage and/or processing of card holder data must be audited by a QSA. Level one and two merchants, defined by the payment card brands according to the number of transactions processed per month, also require external auditing.

“There are many organisations that need to be compliant, which involves security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other critical protective measures amongst other aspects. The challenge is in knowing where to start with such a project. It is vital to understand what is within the scope and what is not, but this is easier said than done. In order to do this you need to know how cardholder data travels throughout systems, and identify every single system component that is involved in storing, processing or transmitting data,” says Simeon Tassev, Managing Director of Galix Networking.

PCI DSS compliance involves a comprehensive checklist of twelve requirements, including building and maintaining a secure network, protecting cardholder data, maintaining a vulnerability management program, implementing strong access control measures, regularly monitoring and testing networks and maintaining an information security policy. Each of these processes has several steps that should be followed, and under each of these steps are multiple criteria that need to be met for compliance.

“Another challenge is the fact that there are no degrees of compliance. If organisations do not meet each and every criterion on the checklist, they will not be considered compliant. This is a complex process which often requires skilled assistance. As experts in the security field prior to our certification, and with a level 2 Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) rating, we are now perfectly positioned to assist merchants, service providers and third party suppliers in South Africa with ensuring that they are PCI DSS compliant,” says Tassev.

Achieving Qualified Security Assessor status

QSAs are organisations that have been certified by the PCI Security Standards Council to validate an entity’s adherence to the PCI DSS. This is an in-depth program for security companies and involves on-going reassessment and training to ensure that the highest standards are maintained. All certified organisations must meet stringent criteria according to internal practices, experience and certifications.

“To become an accredited PCI QSA partner involves dedication, time and effort with a minimum investment of two years before certification can be achieved. Organisations have to attend a number of training sessions, submit extensive documentation and maintain a certain level of training from the PCI and approved vendors on an annual basis,” says Tassev.

“Having applied for the first time to join the program in February 2011, our documents were approved in October after which we attended our final training in February and received our official status on 20 March,” he adds.

Opening up new avenues of business

As a PCI QSA partner, Galix is now one of only a few hundred organisations in the world certified to conduct these assessments. Of these organisations, just nine operate in Africa, with only five having offices locally. This enables Galix to service new markets in South Africa and into the African continent, with the benefit of local experience, a local presence and a top level BBBEE rating.

“Being a security specialist with this type of endorsement puts us in the league of only a handful of companies in the world. This gives us excellent credibility not only in this new avenue of business but in our existing market as well, and helps us to take our organisation to the next level. As a certified PCI QSA partner we have an enhanced image and a greater competitive edge,” Tassev concludes.

For more information on the PCI Security Council and the DSS visit:
www.pcisecuritystandards.org.

Software Development must think social says Dariel Solutions

By admin, 24 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

According to industry analysis* the total number of Facebook users in South Africa now exceeds 4.5 million people, while Twitter and LinkedIn are experiencing massive growth with 1.1 million and 1.5 million users respectively. What’s more, mobile Instant Messaging (IM) through applications and SMS is rapidly growing, and is expected to triple in use by 2016**. Is enterprise software development keeping up?

“Today, it’s all about social connectivity – social media, instant messaging and applications, where the traditional viewpoint of software development is fast changing,” says Malcolm Rabson, MD of Dariel Solutions. “In fact, today’s generation of software developers frequently make use of social media, yet despite the fact that these mechanisms are continuously impacting software development practices, the role of social media usage in software engineering is not well understood.”

Enterprise applications and mobility are changing businesses environments and the impact on traditional software development, particularly for the enterprise, is and will be fundamental. Adds Rabson; “While for the most part, social connectivity is still positioned as ‘fun’, it is fast moving to the business realm, where in my opinion, the traditional forms of communication for business such as email, will no longer be the dominant form of communication going forward – making way for what was once termed ‘social’ communication tools. Software development as a whole will need to mould to this change.”

Today it’s no longer just about building software architectures on time and on budget – although critically important – it’s also about ensuring that the architecture allows for end user engagement and of course, that allows integration into the alternative platforms such as mobile, IM, social media and presence tools.

“Enterprise architecture goes beyond technology today, it is the outline for current and future processes, organisational agility and differentiation. The 21st-century enterprise needs to do more than merely tick software deployment boxes, but rather it must be able to develop structures and frameworks, strategies and processes for leveraging these assets to create a distinct competitive advantage – and today this includes social media,” concludes Rabson.

*Social Media Data, Strategy Worx Consulting, 2012
**Mobile instant messaging usage expected to triple by 2016, Juniper Research, Mobile Marketer

 


Samsung’s Smart TVs Awarded Industry’s First Official Certificate for Smart TV Functionality

By admin, 24 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

Samsung Smart TVs – ES8000 and ES7500 – acquired the industry’s first “Smart TV” certificate for fulfillment of the TÜV Rheinland’s standard including Smart Interaction and Smart Evolution features.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced that TÜV Rheinland – one of the most trusted certification institutes in Europe – awarded its Smart TVs with a certificate for its Smart TV performance. TÜV Rheinland tested Samsung’s new flagship LED TV ES8000 and the ES7500, and thoroughly examined its various innovative features including voice and motion control and facial recognition.

Certificates determine future of Smart TV
The new certification poses a significant implication in the TV industry, by establishing new test criteria for Smart TVs, an ever growing TV category. – This certification of the TVs’ features ensures that consumers have trustworthy guides that they can refer to when buying a Smart TV. The Smart TV certificate covers both TV’s inherent features, picture quality – including brightness, contrast ratio, colours – and a variety of Smart TV services such as access to the Internet, e-Mail services, social media, web browsers, etc.

Samsung planning to apply for Smart TV certificates for all Smart TV product ranges
The particular Samsung Smart TVs – ES8000 and ES7500 – that offer special advanced features such as voice and motion recognition as well as hardware upgrades, are entitled to receive the “Smart TV advanced” certificate. In addition to this, Samsung plans to apply for “Smart TV” certificates for other Smart TV models, ensuring that consumers have independent guides to make informed decisions around their Smart TV purchase.

“Samsung is the first manufacturer to acquire the certificate for Smart TVs, which is recognised as the leading category in the next-generation TV market,” said Justin Shaw, Business Leader for Visual Display at Samsung Electronics SA. “Furthermore, as a global leader, Samsung is committed to delivering Smart TVs that will further enhance the user experience for consumers and this certification is certainly evident of this commitment.”

“Locally we will be launching this innovative range of TVs to our consumers in early May and we look forward to the opportunities that we believe this will open up for us, where the delivery of quality TVs that push the boundaries of technological innovation is business critical,” concludes Shaw.

NFC adoption still far in SA’s future

By admin, 24 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

South African banks and retailers are likely to be slow to adopt near-field communications (NFC) technology for mobile payments because of the high costs of installing point-of-sale terminals and other enabling infrastructure. That’s the word from Tim Walter, Executive Head of Marketing at Nashua Mobile, who says that there is little appetite among institutions to drive adoption of yet another new point-of-sale payment technology just as the end of their protracted roll-out of the EMV credit card standard is in sight.

NFC is a short-range wireless technology that will eventually allow people to use their mobile phone as a wallet. It will enable consumers to make secure payments to compatible point of sale terminals or to another user’s smartphone. NFC has proven itself to be a viable technology in field trials in countries such as the US, and South African banks are reportedly also trialling NFC. But, as yet, there are not enough NFC compatible handsets in the market, nor is there a compelling commercial model for the rollout of the technology in South Africa, says Walter.

“Most of the major handset manufacturers are bringing NFC to market in the latest models of their mid to high-end smartphones,” Walter says. “Yet we are still a long way off from the critical mass that would really justify massive investment in the technology by banks and retailers.”

Walter notes that despite the many experiments with NFC as a payment technology in the international market, it still is an immature technology far from the mainstream. According to research by Berg Insight, global sales of handsets with NFC increased ten-fold in 2011 to 30 million units. Shipments are forecast to touch 700 million units in 2016.

“With just 30 million NFC handsets sold in 2011, these devices represent a tiny fragment of the overall mobile phone market. The growth is exponential, but even in advanced markets, NFC looks like it could be two to three years away from mainstream adoption,” says Walter.

In South Africa, it is the capital-intensive process of rolling out point of sales terminals by stores, hotels, restaurants, services firms and other merchants that will be the big barrier to adoption, believes Walter. It took a good 10 years from when banks first started talking about EMV until it become common in South African shops – and even now the rollout isn’t 100% complete.

Says Walter: “Retailers and banks will need to see some clearly defined benefits in security, convenience and cost-reduction before they adopt NFC in a big way. We will need to see big retail groups, mobile operators and banks cooperate closely to nurture an NFC ecosystem based on a sound business model that works for all of them – and that could take some time.”

That doesn’t mean that we won’t see other applications for NFC-enabled phones in the next two to three years, says Walter. The technology can be used for applications such as paring devices to establish Bluetooth or WLAN connections, electronic ticketing, loyalty programs and coupons, parking payment, buying goods for vending machines, and more.

How popular NFC will become for such applications depends on market penetration of enabled devices and the benefits companies see in adopting it. But in the meantime, expect the banks to experiment and investigate NFC very thoroughly during 2012.

Cyber Threats in March 2012 according to Kaspersky Lab: Fileless Bots and the First Trojan Bankers for Android

By admin, 23 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

In March, Kaspersky Lab experts detected a unique malicious attack which used malware capable of operating without creating files on infected systems. An investigation by Kaspersky Lab showed that Russian media websites using the AdFox teaser system on their pages were unwittingly infecting visitors. While downloading the news teaser, the user’s browser was secretly redirected to a malicious website containing a Java exploit. “This is the first time in years that we have come across this rare kind of malware – so-called ‘fileless’ malicious programs,” explains Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab. “The fact that they only operate in the infected computer’s RAM makes it much harder for antivirus solutions to detect them. This incident was targeting Russian users, but the same exploit and fileless bot may well be used against users in other parts of the world as they can be distributed via similar banner or teaser networks in other countries.”

Duqu non-stop:
Kaspersky Lab’s investigation into the Duqu Trojan is into its sixth month, and March brought further progress as the company’s experts were able to establish which language was used in its Framework code. This discovery was made with the help of the international IT community which sent in several hundred possible explanations and hypotheses. The Duqu Framework was written in C and compiled with MSVC 2008 with the options “/O1″ and “/Ob1″. Meanwhile, the Duqu creators are not resting on their laurels: in March a new driver was detected in the wild which was practically identical to those used earlier in Duqu. The previous drivers had been created on 3 November 2010, and 17 October 2011, and the new driver was created on 23 February 2012. It seems whoever is behind Duqu went back to work after just a four-month break.

Fighting cybercrime:
Kaspersky Lab in cooperation with the CrowdStrike Intelligence Team, Dell SecureWorks and the Honeynet Project performed a major operation to disable the second Hlux/Kelihos botnet in March. The researchers call this botnet Kelihos.B to indicate that it has been created using the second, modified variant of the original bot. A dedicated sinkhole-router was introduced into the botnet, allowing the company’s experts to gain control of the bots from the botnet owners and stop them from operating.

Fans of Google’s web browser also need to be careful. At the beginning of the month Kaspersky Lab experts detected yet another malicious extension for Google Chrome. This time it targeted Facebook users in Brazil. However, there is no reason why cybercriminals couldn’t stage a similar attack on users elsewhere. Malicious extensions were spread on Facebook via links that appeared to be for legitimate applications. If a user opted to install the app, he was redirected to the official Google Chrome web store, where the malicious extension for Chrome presented itself as “Adobe Flash Player”. After the malicious extension was installed on a computer, the perpetrators gained full access to the victim’s Facebook account. Google deleted the malware as soon as they were informed about it. However, criminals have already created similar extensions and placed them at the same place – the Google Chrome web store.

Mac OS threats
This month brought unprecedented malware activity on Mac OS. The most prominent case was the distribution of spam to addresses of Tibetan organisations. This spam contained links to a Java exploit designed to install malicious programs on users’ computers: Backdoor.OSX.Lasyr.a on the computers of Mac OS users and Trojan.Win32.Inject.djgs on Windows users’ computers. This exploit infected the computers of Mac OS X users with the malicious program Backdoor.OSX.MaControl.a. Also in March a new modification of the malicious program Backdoor.OSX.Imuler was detected. Malicious programs belonging to this family are spread under the cover of files with safe extensions. During the March attack, cybercriminals distributed spam containing malicious files that were masked as erotic images with .JPG extensions. Another first in March was malicious programs using Twitter as a command and control server. To distribute these malicious programs cybercriminals used 200,000 hacked blogs operating under WordPress.

Mobile threats
The mobile threat segment saw the arrival of a completely new type of Trojan banker for Android. In the past there have been other Trojans capable of stealing mobile transaction authentication numbers (mTAN), which banks send to customers’ mobile phones via SMS. In mid-March a piece of mobile malware was detected that could steal not only text messages containing mTANs but the credentials (login and password) used for online banking authentication.

The full version of the Monthly Malware Review for March 2012 can be viewed at Securelist.com.

Samsung Enriches SAP’s Mobile Offerings with Android Devices

By admin, 23 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

Samsung Electronics recently announced that SAP AG has selected the GALAXY S II and GALAXY Tab 10.1 for internal use. This announcement marks the first time that Android-based smartphones and tablets have been deployed by SAP to help enhance employee productivity.

Workforce can do business securely
“We are very pleased to offer Samsung devices to our global workforce as part of our internal device-agnostic strategy,” said Oliver Bussmann, CIO, SAP AG. “It’s important for our employees and also our customers to have choices, and SAP software running on Samsung’s Android devices will allow our workforce to do business in the moment. Furthermore, it’s critical that we can secure our business data on these devices using an extensive range of IT policies with enhanced security and manageability features closely integrated with the SAP Mobile Device Management (SAP MDM) package.

“SAP’s selection of Samsung devices for its employees demonstrates the effectiveness of Samsung smart devices in the enterprise space; a firm like SAP demands the best from its mobile fleet, and Samsung delivers this” says Paulo Ferreira, Head of Enterprise Mobility at Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Device Functionality
SAP and Samsung Electronics have worked closely together to optimise security on Samsung’s Android devices, providing enhanced IT policies for multiple device management on any scale. The Sybase Afaria 7.0 mobile device management system, available on enterprise class models including GALAXY Note, GALAXY S II, and GALAXY Tablets, offers a large variety of enterprise functions. This helps ensure that businesses can get the most out of their fleet of mobile devices, providing a more flexible and connected workforce.

• Device inventory and tracking allows employers to know where their devices are at all times, delivering peace of mind and helping ensure that any lost devices can be safely reclaimed. If the device cannot be located, this function also enables the remote wiping of the device, meaning that no confidential data will fall into the wrong hands.
• With email and Exchange Account Management, employees can easily access and send emails while out and about and businesses can be sure that confidential information is fully encrypted.
• CTOs (Chief Technology Officer) can also manage the firewalls in place on mobile devices so they can easily match the settings with their own requirements.
• Device managers will be able to determine which apps can and cannot be downloaded onto devices, so they are used efficiently and help ensure that potentially harmful apps are avoided.
• CTOs can also manage restrictions around device functions such as Wi-Fi connectivity, SD Card usage, USB connections, NFC connections, and client certificate management, so that devices are tailored to meet business needs.
• Additional security measures such as Password Policy can be managed, meaning that device managers can set password expiration times and enforce password changes.

Samsung devices also support a wide range of SAP business applications, including the SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) – this enables the enterprise sales force to stay connected with customers and allows SAP to consistently deliver the products and services customers need.

Samsung has developed robust, durable and powerful devices capable of meeting the security and reliability needs of enterprise users; it has also been working closely with SAP to provide optimal integration of SAP solutions, providing the best all-round solution to enterprise customers.

The tablet dons a suit and tie

By admin, 23 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

By Deon Botha, HP Personal Systems Group business unit manager at DCC

The tablet PC, popularised by the Apple iPad, has revolutionised the consumer computing market. A huge demand drove other suppliers to develop similar touch-screen, ultra portable tablet devices, and this in turn gave rise to the explosion of apps and multi-media content. These devices have also found their way into the business world however, which has given rise to other concerns. Since tablets were developed as a consumer device for media consumption, reading and other non-input type tasks, security and management within businesses has become a growing concern.

As a result, the tablet has donned a suit and tie and assumed a more professional guise in the form of the slate. The slate addresses the business requirement for a secure and manageable device that tightly integrates with current IT equipment and services. It offers business users a seamless transition and experience between desktop and tablet.

One of the biggest problems for business users when it comes to tablets is that the operating system used on the tablet and their PC has differed, since the majority of business users run Windows OS and not Mac. This has made synchronising difficult, which in turn hampers productivity. The slate however has been designed to offer the full tablet functionality while running off a Windows platform, which offers seamless transition and synchronisation. It offers highly portable, always on connectivity and intuitive touch screen capabilities, a larger display and simpler user interface, and security and management features that make it the ideal business tool.

This addresses a gap in the market that has developed as a result of an ever more mobile workforce and increasingly fast-paced business environment. Many people are often ‘away’ from their desks either travelling to customers, in meetings, or in transit for a large portion of their days. The speed of business has become such that the time to respond to request, queries and problems has decreased dramatically, which means that these hours away from the desk can be detrimental if users do not have a portable devices from which to work. A device like a slate offers greater computing ability in a small form factor which assists increased productivity and ability in these instances where a full notebook or desktop is out of reach or just not feasible.

Since the slate is a Windows based device, it enables familiar business applications to run smoothly on a native platform, including Outlook, Word, and Excel to name a few. For ultra-mobile road warriors who have multiple devices that need to sync, this makes life a lot easier. All of the tools and business applications they need can be made available in the cloud, enabling them to work seamlessly between devices.

Email can also be easily synced, since secure setup enables emails to be delivered from the exchange server to multiple devices whatever connection is available on whichever device. When it comes to file and document synchronisation, cloud providers offer the ideal solution for syncing between slates, smartphones and notebooks, ensuring that all files are available whenever and wherever they are needed, on whichever device they are required.

The new generation of application and back-end technologies that integrate with the cloud indicate that “always on” and constantly updating functionality is something that will soon become commonplace on notebooks, tablets and slates. This, coupled with the imminent release of the Windows 8 operating system, which has been built with touch interfacing in mind, clearly shows the direction that technology is heading in the future. Touch is here to stay, and there is little doubt that the future holds a multitude of new touch-enabled devices.

The slate has emerged to address the needs of the business market for a tablet that caters specifically for its needs. But donning a suit and tie is just the first step in the evolution of the evolution of the tablet, and we can expect to see a multitude of new, specialised products entering the market in the near future. From school uniforms to lab coats, the tablet has the potential to take on multiple guises and fulfil any number of roles in an increasingly mobile and connected world.

NCC rulings have far reaching implications for directors and companies alike

By admin, 23 kwietnia, 2012, No Comment

By Gary Alleman, MD at Master Data Management

A number of recent rulings by the National Consumer Commission (NCC) have significant implications for both companies and their executive teams. Whereas South African companies have previously escaped violations of legislation with relatively minor consequences, these rulings show that the NCC, which has been set up to enforce the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) of 2008, intends non-compliant organisations to face severe consequences.

A case in point is a local government organisation that was ordered to rectify errors on resident’s accounts, or face penalties of between R100 000 and R500 000 per issue. Historically, data quality issues have not resulted in this kind of penalty. The city in this case has won an appeal on procedural grounds – the appeal tribunal found that the blanket judgment was not lawful, as each individual case needed to be investigated independently.

Another well publicised case is a local property auctions company, and its CEO, which were found guilty of contravening aspects of the CPA. The company was reportedly fined 10% of its annual turnover, while the CEO is reported to have been sentenced to 12 months in jail or a R1 million fine. Lawyers are contesting the judgment on procedural grounds and the final outcome remains to be seen.

The implications for company directors are clear. While the NCC may lose these test cases on procedural concerns, the intention appears to be that non-compliance with legislation will have significant penalties, which could include fines large enough to bankrupt companies, or jail time for responsible executives.

The NCC is sure to learn from these initial decisions and future penalties can be expected to follow procedures that address issues identified in these appeals.
It can also be assumed that legislation such as the New Companies Act (NCA), which brings the King III corporate governance recommendations into law, and the upcoming Protection of Personal Information (POPI) bill will be enforced with similarly rigorous penalties.

Each of these bills has significant data management implications – in particular legislating how information must be stored, how data privacy must be maintained, and that data quality must be ensured.

Company directors that do not address these, and other requirements, could be placing both themselves and their companies at risk of these severe penalties. Data governance, which has historically focused on traditionally legislated sectors such as financial services, is now relevant across all sectors. Business needs to implement appropriate levels of data governance in order to ensure legislated levels of data quality and data privacy are met across the enterprise.

 

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