While few can argue against the dangers of malicious email attachments, security attacks inside the organisation have become significantly more sophisticated. Whether it is an employee who does not understand good or tools that prey on people’s gullibility, protection is vital in this digital age.
1. USB devices
The humble flash drive poses a significant risk to the business. Infecting your network can be as easy as a visitor giving a service pitch on the boardroom PC using a presentation from a USB stick.
Another example is how a security firm loaded 20 USB drives with password-stealing malware and scattered them in the parking lot and other likely locations outside a target company. Fifteen of the drives were found by employees, who plugged them in to see what was on them.
It only took a few hours for the security firm to get a steady stream of passwords and other critical data.
Unfortunately, USB device protection under Windows is pretty limited. Basically, you can only enable or disable a USB on a system. But since this is the default peripheral connection for Windows, it does not make practical sense. Fortunately, third-party software such as Sophos, Devicelock, and Promisec remove this restriction and offer policy-based management for USB devices.
2. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing
Although unauthorised file-sharing programmes are often forbidden by company policy, many businesses are not even aware that staff have these applications installed on their computers.
An example of such an application is BitTorrent (or any other torrent software for that matter). Cyber-criminals have started using these P2P programmes to compromise and take over networked computers. And then there is the small matter of P2P being one of the primary methods of illegally distributing copyrighted material. Imagine the cost (and embarrassment) of the authorities knocking on your door after John in accounting downloaded the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
3. Anti-virus problems
The major anti-virus vendors release anything from 1,200 to 2,400 updates per week. Let that number sink in for a bit. Scarily, this does not necessarily match the number of new viruses hitting the internet.
Clearly, it is vital to keep your anti-virus current with the latest patches. This is particularly true because one infection strategy used by malicious users is to infect as many computers as possible in the shortest amount of time before a patch can be made available. For example, on 19 July, 2001, the Code Red worm infected 359 000 computers in 14 hours.
4. Outdated Microsoft Service Packs
Similar to the importance of installing the latest anti-virus updates, businesses that run on Windows need to ensure that the latest patches are downloaded and installed on all network machines.
The larger the organisation, the more challenging it becomes to guarantee that this is done. And that is not even examining the myriad of smartphones and tablets connecting to the corporate network. It seems a case of when rather than if a breach will occur.
5. Missing security agents
No, these are not the bloody agents you are thinking of. Many companies require agents to be installed on all their endpoints (essentially any networked device).
These agents may monitor network traffic, make sure patches are up to date, or track and report on stolen computers. However, requiring such agents and actually having them installed are two different things.
6. Unauthorised remote control software
Remote control software is invaluable for troubleshooting hardware and software. But then so unauthorised remote control becomes a great tool for malicious users who see it as the perfect way into a corporate computer.
7. Media files
Anybody remember all those Anna Kournikova emails doing the rounds many years ago promising all sorts of photo and video content of the tennis star? The names of the celebrities might have changed but unauthorised media files still remain dangerous both because of their content and what can be hidden in them.
Video and music files are an increasingly popular method of sneaking malware into an organisation – spyware, Trojans, viruses and just about any other kind of bad thing you can think of.
As with file-sharing, even if the files do not contain any embedded malicious code, you still have the small matter of copyright violations and distribution of pornography to think of.
8. Unsecured synchronisation software
Laptops, tablets, and smartphones use synchronisation software to keep information such as calendars and contact lists updated. While convenient, especially when combined with technologies like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, simply allowing any device to synchronise over the network can open a serious security hole.
This is more so the case given how many of these programmes work in the background with the user not even aware of what is being uploaded or downloaded.
9. Wireless connectivity
Recent research shows that almost 95 percent of all laptops ship with built-in wireless access. Again, while it might be convenient to have a wireless network in your office, the more secure route is to limit connectivity to physically having to plug devices into network points.
Generally, the recommended strategy is to control the threats rather than trying to totally eliminate them (because realistically you will never be able to do that). While some of the threats to endpoint security can be eliminated from corporate networks, others (think wireless and USB devices) are important for the modern business. Mitigating risks to the practicality of security should provide a good starting point to protect your organisation.
(Infographic) Chevron South Africa Says Its B-BBEE Transformation Is A Driver Of Job Creation
Creating new Black entrants for 50% of its retail network; and channeling approximately 50% of its crude procurement through Black and Black Female-owned oil trading companies are just two great examples of how an integrated oil company can support South Africa’s socio-economic transformation objectives.
- 82% of the workforce are Black South Africans with 65% of top and senior management comprising of Black employees
- Procurement, a major driver of B-BBEE strategy, aimed at creating entrepreneurs
- Majority Black-owned Branded Marketers own 50% of Chevron’s Retail Network
- R100 million provided towards Enterprise and Supplier Development.
Chevron South Africa’s executive chairman, Shashi Rabbipal, is strongly in favour of transformation in the oil and gas sector as a driver of job creation and value for the company and its various stakeholders.
According to Rabbipal, the company views transformation as a key value enabler for business, achieving a newly minted Level 2 against the revised Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Codes of Good Practice.
Rabbipal outlined that the company has harnessed its procurement capacity and its Branded Marketer network to create an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive in the energy sector.
The company said that creating new Black entrants for 50% of its retail network and channeling approximately 50% of its crude procurement through Black and Black Female-owned oil trading companies are two great examples of how an integrated oil company can support South Africa’s socio-economic transformation objectives.
Chevron South Africa’s Level 2 achievement is most impressive, given that it is based on the company’s full value chain which includes its Cape Town refinery and its national network of Caltex retail service stations.
Related: What Is BBBEE?
Transformation embedded in business strategy
“Our commitment to Transformation goes beyond compliance as we continue to seek opportunities which drive job creation and economic prosperity, cultivate mutually beneficial business relationships and demonstrate good business practice,” said Rabbipal.
The following examples illustrate actions Chevron South Africa has taken to deliver on the country’s Transformation objectives:
- 82% of the workforce is Black, with 27% Black Female.
- 90% of the Board Directors are Black South Africans, with 30% Black Females.
- A flagship programme building capacity for Black unemployed youth living with disabilities has been implemented, with an intake of 66 learners to date.
- 90% of procurement is with Black suppliers.
- Approximately 50% of procured crude oil and petroleum products is through Black-empowered trading companies, of which roughly 35% are Black women-owned.
- An Enterprise and Supplier Development programme has provided over R100 million in interest-free loans, credit lines and deferred marketing loans to designated B-BBEE beneficiaries within the procurement pipeline.
- 50% of the retail network is owned by Black entrepreneurs through the Caltex Branded Marketer Programme, with average Black ownership of 73%.
- Social investment partnerships impacting 50,000 direct beneficiaries each year in the areas of health, STEM education and economic development.
“We conduct business in a socially responsible and ethical manner, leveraging our ability to benefit the communities where we work. As such, Transformation is more than a scorecard to us and is deeply embedded in our business strategy,” Rabbipal concludes.
Blu Blood’s Fearless Leader Ranked Among 2018 Standard Bank Top Women Award Finalists
Having pioneered leading lifestyle and event management company, Blu Blood, in 2008, Shaaista Khan Osman celebrates the company’s 10 years in business with two excellence nominations in the upcoming 2018 Standard Bank Top Women Awards taking place on Thursday, 23 August at Emperors Palace.
Cemented as South Africa’s leading and pre-eminent initiative to honour the achievements and advocate the advancement of gender empowerment, the Standard Bank TOP WOMEN awards celebrates their 15 year anniversary gathering South Africa’s most accomplished businesswomen and organisations accelerating gender transformation in the workplace.
Shaaista Khan Osman’s commitment and successes for Blu Blood and the soon-to-be-launched World Women’s Network has earned her the recognition as a frontrunner of gender empowerment in two categories: TOP BUSINESSWOMAN OF THE YEAR and TOP GENDER EMPOWERED COMPANY IN INNOVATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY.
Commenting on the achievement of reaching Finalist status, Shaaista comments:
“I was truly taken aback when I received the news of the nominations. I am humbled because it is our strong and dedicated business family unit that has contributed to my successes and of which I am in awe. I am honoured to take on this great responsibility of being a voice in the progression of women in business alongside other likeminded and courageous women.”
Starting out with a humble upbringing as the youngest of six children, Shaaista’s story is a true testament of hard work, dedication and sincerity.
Blu Blood has grown into one of South Africa’s leading event, artist & communication management companies, which Shaaista runs with her business partner & husband, Osman Osman. Blu Blood is synonymous with hosting the biggest Bollywood productions in South Africa and Africa; producers of one of the most successful comedy brands, Kings & Queens of Comedy; collaborations with local and international comedians including Tumi Morake, Riaad Moosa, Orlando Jones and Russell Peter; as well as producing theatre and children’s stage productions.
But Shaaista’s biggest and most challenging project to date is the World Women’s Network. Powered by Blu Blood, WWN is a membership based, online global initiative for women’s economic and social empowerment with the premise of the organization being to give all women the opportunity and tools to achieve their goals, through pivotal joint ventures and strategic partnerships to build sustainable projects for the development and vision of women. One of the key principles of WWN is the hope to uplift individuals and communicates through education and mentorship by offering free schooling, selected higher education courses and life skills courses and mentorship to members of WWN.
Director of Standard Bank TOP WOMEN, Karla Fletcher:
“We are devoted to providing the ultimate platform to address the challenges facing women-driven economic growth. Together with the CGE, our panel of judges and all those who have participated in the Standard Bank TOP WOMEN Awards in the past 15 years, we represent a community that actively responds to the pertinent questions surrounding the barriers to success for women entrepreneurs. We are excited about the work and calibre of this year’s finalists, and their significant impact offers South Africa optimism for the future.”
Shaaista proclaims that it is up to the individual to “seize every opportunity, own each day and sculpt your own brilliance”. For more information, visit www.shaaistakhan.com.
Entrepreneurs! Now Is The Time To Change Lives And Grow Revenues
All signs point to Africa as the most extraordinary place to be and do business in the future.
So, how are we going to do business?
This is the question posed by Musa Kalenga, the enthusiastic entrepreneur and strategist who was named one of the Top 200 young South Africans by Mail & Guardian, at a recent Entrepreneurship To The Point Session hosted by Property Point, the Growthpoint Properties initiative.
The answer to doing business that he offers entrepreneurs, even in this digital age, is humanity.
“Humanity is the new black; it is how we are going to be the next powerhouse of this globe,” says Kalenga. “Being human is the one thing that will enable us to survive in the age of augmentation.”
Kalenga is obsessed with using technology to empower the digitally invisible. “We can send people to the moon but we can’t feed people on earth? This is a problem,” he cautions, “because unless we’re making fundamental business model changes, we won’t have a market for the future.”
He took the Entrepreneurship To The Point audience on a journey, highlighting the sweet spot where technology and creativity merge.
Looking at how African entrepreneurs should respond to the age of augmentation, he uses the shocking November 2015 Paris attacks as an example. Facebook activated its Safety Check function, Uber alerted its drivers to take people to safety, and Airbnb operators took in anyone in need.
“While these are tech businesses at their core, they displayed decidedly human responses. They also didn’t have to redo their business model to respond in a more human way,” points out Kalenga. “The technology journey that communities and consumers have to go through must match ours as brand creators, value seekers and entrepreneurs.”
Doing this is simpler than you may think. Technology’s intersection with humanity is all about finding simple, meaningful solutions.
He points to the trend of impact investment – an approach taken by some of the world’s richest family businesses. Impact investment means finding opportunities that are solving human-centred problems and creating value for the humans that we seek to serve, and then figuring out how to make revenue as a business. Essentially, it puts doing good before making money. This is where humanity, technology and entrepreneurship are on course to meet and power the extraordinary future of business in Africa.
“Human beings are at the top of the food chain because we can understand a small and simple thing, then develop it for different purposes all the time. Also, because we can rally around common cause and purpose. Enhancing quality of life in the way people experience technology is key to continuing to solve problems, not only in Africa but across the globe,” concludes Kalenga
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