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New Privacy Laws Apply to Companies

PoPI also requires protection of information about companies.

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Companies should not be misled into thinking that proposed new privacy laws do not apply to them. Companies need to protect more information than they expect or they may face unintended consequences and obstacles, warns Professional Services Firm PwC.

Russell Opland, an associate director within PwC’s Advisory Division, who leads the firm’s national privacy practice, says that when one reads the title of the ‘Protection of Personal Information Bill’ (PoPI), one assumes it protects information only about people. However, one of the aspects of PoPI is that it may catch some organisations unaware in that it also applies to information about ‘juristic’ persons.

“PoPI is currently the most comprehensive piece of privacy legislation in the world and the burden of complying with it is going to be a difficult one, in part because of the extremely broad definition of ‘personal information’. For organisations with complex business processes that gather multiple types of personal information, the road to compliance is going to be even more challenging,” says Opland.

Companies as juristic persons

PoPI gives a ‘juristic person’ the right to the protection of its personal information, in much the same way as a ‘natural person’. A juristic person is defined as a company, entity, community or other legally-recognised organisation.

What this means for organisations is that, in addition to protecting the information they hold about customers (who are people) and employees, they are also going to have to safeguard the information they hold about customers who are companies, as well as business partners, vendors, suppliers, and so forth. This approach is similar to countries such asAustria,Switzerland,ItalyandDenmarkthat have privacy laws in place.

Organisations face hefty fines of up to R10 million, possible jail sentences, potential civil law suits, and the prospect of being ordered to stop processing personal information for breaching the provisions of PoPI, says Opland. “The enactment of the Bill will bring about a significant level of protection to individuals and companies inSouth Africawith regard to how their personal information is handled. Individuals will now have the ability to hold organisations to account for the ways their personal information is handled—or mishandled, as the case may be.”

A right to privacy

The main purposes of the Bill are to give effect to the constitutional right to privacy and to regulate the manner in which personal information is processed. The Bill also bringsSouth Africain line with international norms on the protection of data privacy, thereby allowing the flow of personal information toSouth Africafrom other nations with data protection regimes.

This is particularly important for services such as data centres or call centres outsourcing and IT software solution providers who host such information here for foreign organisations. However, local organisations with foreign operations must take heed of the data protection regulations in those foreign jurisdictions to ensure they comply when transferring customer or employee information with SA.

The Bill applies to all companies that collect, store, or process personal information. These include organisations such as banks, insurance companies, medical and health organisations including medical practitioners, retail stores, and the Government. It also includes all employee information, so every organisation is affected.

There are relatively few circumstances under which personal information does not need to be protected. For example, personal information that is in the public domain does not need to be protected. However, if it is taken from the public domain and subjected to further processing, it may then need to be protected, particularly if combined with other personal information that is not public.

Consider other legislation

Further adding to the complexity, Opland says that organisations will need to consider the requirements of other legislation relating to privacy such as the Consumer Protection Act, the Promotion of Access to Information Act, and the National Credit Act (to name just a few) when developing their privacy programmes.

Although PoPI provides a minimum set of conditions with which organisations must comply in order to process personal information, it also allows for stricter protections in other legislation. Therefore, organisations will need to undertake an assessment to ascertain which provisions of other legislation are stricter within their particular context, and take those into account.

This is likely to have a significant effect particularly in the area of the retention of information. Often, different legislation has different requirements for records retention.

South African organisations are expected to be fully compliant with the new Bill within one year of its enactment. According to a white paper issued by PwC’s Privacy Team in November 2011, based on research conducted with its larger clients, 74% of them believe it will take more than one year to become compliant, and an additional 13% are uncertain as to how long it will take.

Opland points out that when data protection laws came into effect in other international jurisdictions, such as theUS, most companies were given a two-year period within which to become compliant, with smaller businesses given three years. “The experience in other countries shows that, given the extent of the changes required, not only to systems and processes, but particularly to the conduct of employees, it is unlikely that companies inSouth Africawill become compliant in just one year. We encourage all organisations to begin reviewing the effect PoPI will have on their business, in order to be ready when the law goes into effect, most likely in the second half of 2013.”

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The Sky Is The Limit For South Africa’s Top Women Achievers

High-powered women achievers from across the private and public sectors, academia and diplomatic spheres gathered for a charged two-day conference in Johannesburg this week to share experiences about empowerment, achievement and the role that women are destined to play in a competitive global environment.

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Several hundred women attended the 15th Annual Standard Bank Top Women Conference which, with the Top Women Awards, has become one of the premier events for women on the national calendar. The objective of the gathering at the Maslow Hotel on the 17th and 18th of October, was to showcase the achievements of South African women and reignite their passion as they have major roles to play in all arenas of endeavour, says Ethel Nyembe, head of Card Issuing at Standard Bank.

“The delegates to the Top Women Conference were inspired by speakers such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka, singer, songwriter and an entrepreneur in her own right; Phuti Mahanyele, executive chair of Sigma Capital, a black-owned investment group, and political and academic stalwart Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, now Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University and other women who are playing leading roles in many of the nation’s listed blue-chip corporations.”

“The overall message is that women are playing a central role in growing all facets of our economy and are helping to build a future from which other women can benefit and, in turn, inspire others. Women, regardless of whether they are entertainment icons, professionals engaged in helping shape the minds of future generations, businesswomen or scientists are part of building a new global reality.”

Related: 13 Female Entrepreneurs Rising To The Top In SA

To inspire delegates about the breadth and depth of the future for women, the conference examined all facets of economic life from the impact that IT and scientific research is having on building businesses, through to the development of entrepreneurs and leadership skills. Insights were offered through the contributions of speakers and roundtable panel discussions in which leading women offered observations and advice gathered from their vast experience.

“Standard Bank is proud of the role it has played in enabling women achievers to reach their full potential within its ranks. The bank also recognises that women across society have a broad role to play in the future of South Africa. It is through support for events like the Top Women Awards and the Top Women Conference that this approach is made visible and tangible.”

“We expect this year’s conference deliberations to deliver insights and inspiration that will not only spur established women to new heights of achievement, but also stimulate young women starting new careers,” says Ms Nyembe.

More information on the Top Women Conference can be found at https://topwomen.co.za/ and it can be followed on the #SBTWConference conversation on Facebook and Twitter  

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The Ins And Outs Of A Good Exit Strategy

The thought of parting with a business you’ve grown from the ground up may be unsettling, but Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says that it is better for both your business and yourself to plan for this as early as possible.

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“The challenge that business owners often face in this respect is comparable to the difficulty that many new parents have with imagining their children grown up and leaving for university. Imagine, however, if parents did not plan ahead for the cost of their education – that would be detrimental to the future of their children. The same could be the case for your business.”

Mjadu says that a good exit strategy is about sustainability and being able to measure your business performance against the goals you have set for it. “It’s really about being able to say, ‘this is when the work is done and I can exit the business or take on a different role – this is what success looks like in terms of monetary return on investment and other business growth indicators’.

“The lack of an exit strategy could be telling of a fundamental lack of measurable business goals and this needs to be addressed,” she says.

From immediate liquidation to liquidation over time; family succession; selling to staff or external investors; the open market or another business; or the gruelling but profitable exercise of taking your company public – there are many different ways in which an entrepreneur can exit their business, but Mjadu says that whatever the process, a strong and solid strategy is essential.

She shares five key points of a good exit strategy:

1. It tells you when you are done

Mjadu says that a good exit strategy should reflect a core understanding of all the intricacies of your business and should be able to tell you when the lifecycle of your business (or of your involvement in the business) should come to an end. This is usually done by including a set of tangible measurables or objectives so that it is easy to ascertain when these have been achieved.

Related: When Do You Know It’s Time To Sell Your Business

2. It sets out the right environment within which to exit

A good exit strategy considers the economic, social and political environment at the time of your exit. Mjadu says that this is important in order to plan for a secure financial future.

“Failure to think about this could result in short-changing yourself by exiting during a tough economic climate when the risk to buyers reduces the value of your business.”

She references the case of Victoria’s Secret when founder, Roy Raymond, sold the failing business for $1m unknowing that it would later grow into the multi-billion dollar empire it is now. “While Raymond’s exit was ultimately necessary for Victoria’s Secret’s growth, he sold it in 1982 during the global recession of the early eighties – one of the world’s biggest financial crises and this influenced the selling price at his exit”.

3. It compensates those who have contributed to the life of your business

It is important to consider the impact your exit could have on investors and staff, says Mjadu. “Closing shop for example, means that your staff no longer have employment at your business. Selling could mean the same.” She adds that it is important to consider ways in which your exit could also benefit these stakeholders – for example, selling to a bigger business could mean more career opportunities for your staff, as well as continued job security.

4. It compensates you

Mjadu says that entrepreneurs often struggle to recognise their own true worth, especially when this involves attaching a monetary value to what has been achieved. “The time of exiting a business is no place to short-change yourself. You need to get out the full worth of what you put in,” she says, explaining that this means ensuring that you are financially secure before and while you go into your next venture.

“Your needs for retirement and medical insurance, as well as the maintenance of your living standard, should be met at your exit.”

Related: Want to Exit the Company? Here’s Your Shareholder Exit Strategy

5. It sustains your entrepreneurial drive

Mjadu says that while you may be nearing the end of one journey, your exit should enable and encourage you to continue to be an entrepreneur – and to look forward to the next journey. “Your entrepreneurial skills and capacity do not end when you exit your business and whatever your strategy, it should egg you on to more entrepreneurial activity including becoming a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.”

Mjadu says that exiting your business should allow you a good retrospective look at what you have done over the years – and so planning the strategy early on in your business lifecycle will set you up in regards to what you hope to achieve. “Upon exit, you should be able to say that you have done what you set out to do, financially and socially, and you have some energy left to do more elsewhere.”

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Search Is On For SA’S Online Retailer Of The Year

World Wide Worx in partnership with Platinum Seed, Visa, Heavy Chef and the Ecommerce Forum of Africa, launch new awards to recognise online stores that promote shopper trust.

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World Wide Worx today announced that it was launching a new awards programme — called the Online Retailer of the Year — to honour online stores in South Africa that grow trust amongst digital shoppers. The awards are part of a broader project to boost online shopping by World Wide Worx in partnership with Visa, Platinum Seed, the Ecommerce Forum of Africa and Heavy Chef.

“Online retail in South Africa has consistently grown above 20% since the turn of the century but only passed 1% of overall retail in 2016. Research shows that trust is a big factor in ecommerce growth, which is why we want to recognise online retailers who help to grow the entire sector by ensuring the kind of ecommerce standards that engender trust with online shoppers,” Goldstuck says.

“But once online retail passes two per cent it crosses an essential psychological barrier and this often leads to a tipping point in emerging economies. That’s when we see online retail snowballing. It gathers real momentum and everyone in the sector benefits,” Goldstuck explains.

To be eligible for entry to the Online Retailer of the Year, owners of digital stores are urged to participate in an essential survey of local online shopping being run by Goldstuck’s World Wide Worx, together with Visa and digital growth agency Platinum Seed.

To participate in the research, local online retailers can go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/OnlineRetailSA

All online retailers who participate will be entered into the award. However, participation in the survey is not a precondition for entry to the awards. However, only online retailers who operate from within South Africa’s borders are eligible for this local award.

The awards will be made at a Heavy Chef event in Cape Town on Thursday, October 01 2018. At the same event, World Wide Worx’s Arthur Goldstuck will lay bare the state of local retail, with Brad Elliott, CEO of Platinum Seed, and Visa.

Related: Up To R1 Million In Funding For Tech Solutions To Early Childhood Challenges

Goldstuck, who is judging the awards, will present the following awards:

  • Online Retailer of The Year
  • 1st runner-up – Online Retailer of the Year
  • 2nd runner-up – Online Retailer of the Year
  • Best New SA Online Retailer of the Year.

The winners of the Online Retailer of the Year awards will be given a digital badge that the online store can display online. The winners will have bragging rights for a year — until the next award is made in 2019.

Judging criteria for the awards include trust, innovation, customer service, digital excellence, customer engagement, product excellence, and the online reputation of the digital store. Visa, Heavy Chef, and Platinum Seed will oversee the judging of the awards. The Ecommerce Forum of Africa will audit the results.

Retailers or entrepreneurs who want to attend the awards and presentation of the research results by Goldstuck can purchase tickets from Heavy Chef.

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