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John m

J2 Software has launched a packed solution aimed at helpin SME's get a handle on cyber threats.  Cyber attacks on an SME can have a far harsher long-term effect that larger businesses.  A larger entity will likely have established facilities in place to recover in  the event of a cyber attack.  When a SME is hit; it may take days or weeks to fully recover - that is if they can recover at all.

According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC)[1], SA ranks third highest in the world for cyber attacks. Whilst there do not appear to be stats on the local SME sector, internationally a report by Deloittes[2] reveals that in Holland, cybercrime costs the Dutch SME sector 1 billion Euro each year. At today’s exchange rate, that equates to R16704 250 000,00. The figure for the Dutch economy as a whole is put at around €10 billion, or 1,3% of that country’s GDP.

J2 Software MD, John McLoughlin, says that not only are these figures staggering but that the local SME sector is not immune to these international patterns. “In South Africa, the security industry in general has left this sector heavily under serviced and thus reduced to implementing in-house initiatives to fight this very real threat.”

Just like that, the year end is upon us. What an interesting and scary year it has been. In our world we have come through some of the biggest global cyber attacks, taking down thousands of machines around the world. We have seen South Africa’s largest ever personal data leak and political turmoil, corruption and corporate liars have created panic across South Africa.

We are seeing some massive organisations losing a third or more of its market cap overnight because investors and customers are growing tired of dodgy dealings and corporate shenanigans. It is time for all South African businesses to review who they work with; can you trust your ICT and Information Security providers – even after their corrupt and illegal dealings are flashed across all the news channels?

The damage this is doing to our country and those organisations’ innocent staff is catastrophic. This is the time for all good, ethical businesses to take a stand to cut this out. Let us be a beacon in the fight to stop cyber-crime and insider collusive fraud.

Total visibility at all times is crucial to prevent cyber criminals from seeking to influence a company's employees.

People today live and work in a hyper-connected world. They interact with known and unknown entities on a daily basis. Do they even know how and when they have been breached?

If they don't know something has changed, they will not know that they need to respond.

I want to paint a little scenario; I will base this on a real-life situation:

Imagine owning a successful business. It has a number of people spending their days completing their tasks. This is a well-managed, trusted and tech-savvy bunch. Everything is running beautifully. Designers are designing, R&D is researching and developing, and the company is working on the launch of a new product, design, platform and/or solution for release.

Everything would appear to be on track and coming up roses.

Not only that, but the company has had the foresight to run security awareness training and its people do not click on any links – ever! Right? People do not go to strange and compromised Web sites and ensure they have their admin rights to allow them to be super-efficient. This team is tight-knit and they look out for each other and the company.

Another week, another data breach!

Earlier this year, a massive breach was reported due to a Web site flaw of one of SA's major movie houses, which saw the personal information of seven million users' data at risk.

Those implicated in SA's data leaks thought they had everything in place.

It sounds the same news as every week, except this time, South Africans noticed. This is possibly due to the fact that what was originally reported as the leaking of sensitive data on 30 million people was then discovered to be more than 60 million people, and was attributed to a company in the real estate industry.

The investigation is ongoing, but annoyed citizens are now asking how any company was permitted to hold this type of data. Information breached included names, addresses, ownership status, identity documents/numbers, e-mail addresses, income level and more.

This is the wake-up call those in the know have been preaching about for years.

The healthcare industry in South Africa comes under no shortage of criticism for many, if not most of its practices and capabilities. All the while, the organisations and people involved move along and try to provide a service to the millions who entrust their lives to these organisations and their staff.

One area of healthcare that is under intense scrutiny internationally is that of data. What happens to patient data, which is potentially one of the most personal and sensitive types of information around? And it’s not only the protection of this data that is under the microscope, the security of healthcare technology, privacy, workflows and processes is also being questioned, especially after the recent global ransomware attacks.

These attacks saw many European healthcare operators being forced to turn people away because their computerised systems were locked down. Depending on where you go for care in South Africa, an attack like this may not impact the operations of health services all that much right now, but the digitisation of healthcare is a reality that all providers need to be aware of, just as they need to be aware of the security implications and demands of digitisation.