Tag: businesses

Source: Fin24

South African businesses of all sizes, including educational institutions, have been particularly hard hit by an onslaught of cyber-attacks, although this is not always public knowledge, according to Kerry Curtin, cyber risk expert at Aon South Africa.

Cyber risk was ranked as the #1 risk facing educational institutions and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, according to Aon’s 2018 global risk management survey.

Curtin says the potential theft or leakage of data, particularly confidential information in an educational setting, should be top of the list in risk planning.

“The need to strengthen institutional resiliency against potential damage, compromising hacks and downtime is crucial,” she adds.

This is because schools, like any other business, are increasingly dependent on technology. The knock-on effect of a cyber incident at an educational facility has the potential to be financially and reputationally catastrophic.

For example, in 2016 it was reported that the University of Limpopo’s website was taken down, leaking exam papers and the details of over 18 000 students, in addition to perpetrators publicly posting what was believed to be the login details for the University’s intranet.

The sheer number of cyber-attacks on educational institutions suggests that the sector is not as prepared as it should be in its efforts to safeguard networks, according to Curtin.

Aon provides the following tips for the education sector:

Safeguard institution-owned devices

All computers, laptops and smart devices owned by the educational institution should at the very least have a current anti-virus programme installed, in addition to adware and malware protection.

One of the biggest threats to any business is the people operating these devices and their naivety regarding cyber risks, so education is key.

BYOD policy

The practice of students and staff members bringing devices to school or university that interact with the institution’s network is very likely. The first line of defence is keeping guest devices separate from the network, allowing the institution to keep data secure on an administrative network, as well as monitor traffic more closely.

When it comes to sending sensitive information, it is crucial to implement a secure file exchange solution that can protect against cyber threats such as phishing scams.

Multi-factor authentication

While passwords alone do not provide adequate levels of security and hackers are able to circumvent physical biometrics such as fingerprint identification as a single layer of authentication, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is fast becoming the next line of defence.

Social media policy

Not only does the policy need to stipulate what is deemed as acceptable behaviour from employees and students, but it also needs to explain what the benefits are of becoming an ambassador for the brand and the legal ramifications inherent to social media platforms.

Plan ahead or miss out on 2018’s tech trends

Technology is disrupting the world in ways we’ve never seen before, in nearly every industry – and it will irrevocably change the world of work in the future.

That was the overriding message from a recent Business Day Dialogue, held in partnership with Dimension Data and Cisco, on technology trends in 2018 and beyond.

The biggest challenge facing organisations today is the burden of old technology and capability, said Stephen Green, chief technology officer at Dimension Data Middle East and Africa. Companies that have been around for 10 years or more need to digitise their systems or risk being left behind.

Peter Prowse, vice-president of strategic partnerships at Dimension Data, said legacy infrastructure had to be prepared for the journey ahead. Established companies will shore up their technological infrastructure in the years ahead to help them adapt to an unpredictable market.

He said organisations had to plot a route beyond the digital infrastructure horizon. The first step is to implement programmable infrastructure. “More organisations will be considering networking and security requirements in the development phase and programming their applications to take advantage of software-defined infrastructure.”

The second step involves understanding the platform economy. “In the year ahead, businesses will start to recognise the true potential of the platform economy, the impact it will have on their operating models and the changes they will need to make, including digital front-ends and a higher level of risk,” said Prowse.

Third comes a shift in focus from technologies to services architecture. “Hybrid IT is now generally accepted as the model of the future. However, many organisations are far from having the technology in place, so we expect to see businesses future-proofing or upgrading their business architecture.”

In an era of digital disruption, Prowse added, speed trumps cost. Companies are aware of the risk of failing to adapt fast enough and will therefore choose the technology they can use the fastest.

Last, there will be a surge in interest in software-defined wide area networks, with wireless technologies, networks and wireless-enabled processes expected to leap ahead.

More trends to consider
Other trends in technology that will affect businesses are artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics, and virtual and augmented learning, all of which will deliver compelling and complementary outcomes, said Green.

These disparate technologies will come together in the year ahead to create useful business applications. AI will drive voice-enabled virtual assistants in the workplace and everyday tasks will be automated, reducing costs and speeding up processes.

Smart buildings will evolve into smart workplaces, and increasingly employees will ask to bring their own devices and apps to work. “Businesses will have to rethink their value proposition,” said Green.

Cybersecurity will continue to be a threat. Companies will start investing in technologies aimed at gaining the upper hand against cybercriminals, including using blockchain innovatively.

During a panel discussion, moderated by Aki Anastasiou, on how technology would affect the future, Tiso Blackstar Group head of digital Lisa MacLeod explained how technology had disrupted the media industry and the steps the company was taking to transform digitally.

She spoke about the challenges posed to business as a result of a lack of digital and development skills in South Africa, as well as the country’s high data costs, which she said entrenched inequalities in our society.

“South Africa has the most expensive data costs on the African continent, which is a huge issue,” MacLeod said.

Commenting on a local shortage of IT skills, Garsen Naidu, head of channel at Cisco Sub-Saharan Africa, said there was a looming global shortage of cybersecurity specialists. He added that South African curricula had to be adapted to teach relevant skills, including teaching children to code from a young age.

Technology offers huge possibilities for the future, and it is how we use those opportunities that is critical, he said.

Giving a millennial’s perspective on technological disruption, Arye Kellman, founder of influencer marketing agency TILT, said millennials did not call it disruption or technology – to them, it was merely the way everything worked.

Source: Business Day https://www.businesslive.co.za

CEOs need social media

Everyone today is on social media, but there is one group that is sorely under-represented: CEOs.

“We frequently get asked by our CEO clients how they should use social media,” says Sylvia Schutte, MD of Stratitude. “So it’s not that they undervalue the importance of it, they just aren’t sure how to use it to their advantage.”

Numerous studies have shown that when a CEO uses social media positively, it has a positive impact on the reputation of their company, attracts talent to the business and even impacts the bottom line with an increase in sales. CEOs who are active on social media also become more relatable and connect more with their employees, peers and customers.

“One of the biggest excuses we get from senior executives is that they simply don’t have the time to be active on social media,” says Schutte.

To keep pages fresh and to prevent connections from getting bored, Schutte recommends that opinion pieces are posted onto the company blog and then shared on personal pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, CEOs should share online articles and information that they find interesting, and then include their opinion on the issue.

“Privacy is another big concern,” continues Schutte. “People do business with people they know, like and trust, which is why we recommend setting your LinkedIn profile to be open to the public, rather than keeping it private. If people are looking for you on LinkedIn it’s because they want to find out as much information as possible, to see if they can trust your company and engage in business with you.”

The more information you provide about your professional background, who you are, and what you stand for, the stronger your credentials will be and the more trustworthy you will come across to potential clients, employees, suppliers, stakeholders and business partners.

“It’s essential that you pay attention to the language you use, which means you don’t craft every tweet or post as an MBA graduate. To come across as relatable you need to use conversational, everyday language. The key is also to make it personal, so feel free to share things like places you enjoy visiting, books you recommend reading, or ideas that excite you,” explains Schutte. “These things might not be related to you as a professional, but they say a lot about who you are and they help you connect with clients, prospects and colleagues in a more authentic, human way.”

When it comes to maintaining a social media presence, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. It’s not uncommon to have a team assisting a leader to keep their social media feeds populated. However, to get this right you first have to understand the objectives and brand that the leader wants to portray.

“Posts should be real and honest,” says Schutte. “We work with leaders to define their personal brand and what they want to project on social media. We then craft content that’s in line with their thinking and personality, but ultimately they should be the ones that are in tune with their social media accounts, respond when talked to and pass along content shared by others.”

In an increasingly social business world, it’s clear that CEOs should do more than just be on social media – they should lead the pack.

Aside from political uncertainty, a tough local and global economy and increasing cyber threats, South African businesses are now also stressing about the weather in 2017.

This is according to the latest Allianz Risk Barometer for 2017, which gauges the biggest worries and risks faced by businesses across the globe.

Globally, businesses are becoming increasingly worried about the unpredictability of the global business environment, following a few surprises that cropped up in 2016 with Britain’s decision to exit the EU, and the US electing Donald Trump as president.

“Companies worldwide are bracing for a year of uncertainty,” said CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, Chris Fischer Hirs, (AGCS).

“Unpredictable changes in the legal, geopolitical and market environment around the world are constant items on the agenda of risk managers and the C-suite.”

South African businesses are no exception to this; however, the local risk landscape has other things to consider, with natural catastrophes making its debut among the ten biggest risks companies face in the country.

While South Africa isn’t known for extreme weather, the past year has seen a lot of damage done by hail storms and flash flooding – but taking the prime spotlight is the severe drought which battered the country’s agricultural sector in 2016.

Natural disasters are a big worry, but only ranks as the 7th biggest stress among SA businesses. Cyber incidents – such as cyber crime, data leaks and IT failure – still ranks supreme, with 30% of companies ranking it as the top worry for the year.

“Cyber incidents costs the South African economy around R35 billion annually, with the most common threats being from hackers, disgruntled employees, negligence and competitors – so (it’s no) surprise to see this risk ranked first in the country for the second year in a row,” said Nobuhle Nkosi, Head of Financial Lines AGCS Africa.

South Africa also continues to face macroeconomic challenges – including low commodity prices, the Chinese slowdown, and the tightening of US monetary policy – while also suffering from its own internal pressures such as inflation, weak domestic demand and socio-political tensions, Nkosi said.

These are the 10 biggest risks companies face in 2017:
Source: www.businesstech.co.za

Despite efforts by businesses to go green, busy offices still generate a lot of paperwork. What many high-functioning businesses don’t know is that reams of paper actually reduce business efficiency and increase costs. As businesses are thrust into the digital space, analysts predict the arrival of the paperless office – yet more and more paper is produced every year.

Working intelligently with documents is a critical factor in reducing paper waste. It’s much more than well-organised storage and quick searches – it’s about creating secure and efficient processes. So what are the benefits of digital documents? Here’s how businesses can digitise and reduce paper to run more efficiently:

Let go of old-school
Paper storage isn’t secure or safe. Documents are susceptible to theft and vulnerable to external damage, such as fire and water. It’s also difficult to track physical documents as retrieving them takes time. The sharing and distribution of hard copies is highly impractical as information is limited to the confines of the document.

Better business
Digital documents are easier to store and send, easily searchable and more versatile than paper. Paperwork on desks and shelves isn’t just untidy, it’s inefficient too.

The beauty of digital storage is an entire company’s documents can be stored on a single server instead of endless rooms of shelving. If there’s a fire or flood, recovery from digital backup is effortless. Digital filing also means costs saved on printing and postage. A paperless office allows for easier expansion, as moving is seamless and efficient.

The paperless solution
Nashua’s Docuware and NashuaDocs help organisations gain control over their information and data. Managed Document Services (MDS) digitise crucial documents and help automate internal business processes. This is a customisable solution designed for fast document storage, retrieval, enhanced efficiency and optimised business processes.

This software reduces the time spent searching for, printing, copying and labelling documents by simplifying document-related tasks in the office. Both Nashua solutions are tailor-made for current and future business requirements. They allow for seamless workflow and boosted productivity.

Going paperless doesn’t happen overnight. Businesses can strategise to reduce paper, together with a Nashua consultant. Cutting paper use also gives modern businesses flexibility to operate from anywhere, and faster access to information needed. Piles of paperwork belong in the past. The future is digital.

As any employer or HR practitioner will know, expensive schooling and impressive certificates are not always a reliable indicator that your candidate has what it takes to do the job you’re hiring them to do. While education is vital, more and more business owners are waking up to the value of apprenticeships as they build and groom their next generation of star employees.

Many business owners, perhaps justifiably, view apprenticeships with a certain amount of suspicion. Taken on for the wrong reasons or managed incorrectly, apprenticeship programmes can indeed be a drain on company resources with little advantage to show for it. In the South African context, we’re seeing a lot of companies establishing government-sponsored apprenticeships. Sadly, many only use their programmes as a way of getting cheap or free labour, with no idea of just how mutually beneficial apprenticeships can be if done right.

Apprenticeships are not cheap labour. In fact, they can be a significant drain on a company’s resources, compared to an experienced hire. Implementing an apprenticeship programme is therefore likely to entail much more work for you and your team, not less. The upside is that if all goes according to plan, you will have taken a common resource and made it into a rare one. Here are ways that implementing an apprenticeship programme can revitalise your business:

Providing a skilled workforce for the future
Apprenticeships help to ensure new recruits develop exactly the skills they need to successfully join the organisation, which can only benefit a business in the long term. Managers can ensure that the competencies being developed are exactly those that the company will need more of in the future – filling in any gaps and allowing the business to source future leaders from within.

Increasing staff loyalty and retention
Employees trained in-house tend to be more highly motivated, committed to their role, and supportive of the company and its objectives. Apprenticeships encourage employees to stay with the company longer by demonstrating its willingness to invest in its new recruits and treat them as a valued and integral part of the workforce.

More efficient recruitment
Apprenticeships can revolutionise the efficiency of your human resources efforts – saving you time and money lost to the recruitment process, as well as helping to make the need to replace employees a far less frequent bother. Apprenticeships are a great way to incubate the talent of your company’s future leaders and test the waters in a safe, insulated environment. You’ll also get to oversee and mould that talent as it develops. What’s more, having an apprentice around is a good insurance policy in case one of your team members should suddenly leave, because they’ll be leaving a trained “understudy” behind who can help pick up the slack.

Freeing up existing staff members’ time
As your business grows, your team will probably find their time being taken up by smaller tasks that tend to derail their main work responsibilities. Delegating these tasks to apprentices not only provides them with the hands-on upskilling they expect, but also frees up the time for your other employees to be more productive and less distracted.

A breath of fresh air
Bringing new, young people on board often translates to a fresh approach and a renewed positive attitude in the workplace, which can have the effect of enhancing workplace morale and cementing team unity. Apprentices inspire existing staff members to be willing to lend a hand in their training, as well as focus on improving their own skills. Apprentices from a variety of backgrounds and with different educational histories also give you fresh insight and out-of-the-box ideas to your business operations, encouraging change and innovation.

Companies considering taking on apprentices should not do so without considerable planning and the willingness to oversee every aspect of their apprentices’ progress. It is vital to be clear about your expectations as well as theirs, and make them a welcomed part of your team. With guidance, encouragement and good communication, you may find a few hidden gems among your new recruits, who may eventually show themselves to be your star employees in the future.

By Pieter Scholtz, leading business and executive coach and SA’s Co-Master Licensee for global franchise company ActionCOACH

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top