Tag: costs

The cost of a data breach in South Africa

Source: IBM

In 2017, the average total organisational cost of data breaches in South Africa was R32.36-million. The average per capita cost was R1 632 ZAR.

These are the major takeaways from the 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study: South Africa, the second annual research conducted by IBM Security and Ponemon Institute.

The 2017 study examines the costs incurred by 21 South African organisations from nine different industry sectors, following the loss or theft of protected personal data and the notification of breach victims as required by various laws.

An increase of 12% in the total cost of data breach was recorded compared to the previous year, while the cost per lost or stolen data record went up by 5%.

The report identified the most common root causes of data breaches in South Africa, and pointed to trends in practices to reduce the risk and consequences of a data breach.

Source: IBM

High data costs hit low-income households

By Avantika Seeth for City Press

The high cost of data is seriously stifling the growth of South Africa’s lower-income households, leading to the digital divide leaving many behind in the fast paced world of information access and communication.

This is according to community advocacy organisation Amandla.mobi, who yesterday made submissions at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) public hearings in Sandton.

An inquiry into high data costs was launched by Icasa last year, with the second draft of public hearings into the “end-user and subscriber service charter amendment regulations 2016” ending on Friday.

Amandla.mobi, who made submissions to Icasa on why data costs should be reduced, say that greater transparency of communication services needs to happen.

“What we are saying is that low income consumers are paying disproportionately higher charges and are in turn not seeing benefits of competition in comparison to high-income consumers who are able to buy larger quantities of data. The low-income consumers actually end up paying more for their data bundles,” Koketso Moeti, executive director of Amandla.mobi told City Press.

Moeti believes that the high cost of out-of-bundle data rates contributes to the general public, particularly those from lower income households, not benefiting from the online space.

“These days, more and more things are happening online. To apply for school, it has to be done online. To register a business, it has to be done online. Even government responsiveness happens more and more in the online space and the inability to access data holds people back from accessing these very basic, but necessary services,” Moeti said.

Moeti explained that two recommendations made in the submission need particular attention: the option of consumers to opt in and out of out-of-data bundle packages and that a restriction on the maximum difference allowed in pricing per megabyte between small and large bundles be implemented.

“Ultimately, those who are only able to afford smaller data bundles pay a higher rate per megabyte, than those users who purchase larger data bundles. A practical example is the Vodacom out-of-data bundle rate from 2017, which basically equates to a user paying R990 per gigabyte of data,” Moeti said.

The out-of-bundle rate, Moeti said, was based on Vodacom’s current 99c per megabyte out-of-bundle rate which came into effect on October 15 last year.

“As table 1 shows, out-of-bundle prices are 10 times higher than prices for 1 gigabyte and this in fact understates the problem. There is significant competition at the top of the market with promotional offers that offer higher-income contract consumers data at 0.03c or less. This means that those consumers who are using small data bundles or using data ‘out of bundle’ may be paying 50 times what richer consumers are paying,” Amandla.mobi said of the table.

Moeti added that some of the mobile providers such as Cell C and Telkom do provide good value packages for smaller data purchases.

Other industry players who also presented submissions included MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, and Telkom.

In 2016, Tariffic, the company that helps companies and individuals determine if they’re spending too much money on their cellphones, conducted research into the data costs within South Africa.

Tariffic found data prices in South Africa to be 134% more expensive compared with other Brics nations.

“Tariffic’s analysis shows that, once prices were converted to rands and re-based for the cost of living, South Africa was consistently the second most expensive for one, two and three gigabyte data contracts, with Brazil being the most expensive in all three cases. Data prices for South Africa were on average 134% more expensive than the cheapest prices in the group,” the report said.

“Data prices are comparably rather expensive in South Africa and there has been no major movement to reduce these prices, specifically for the low-value data bundles, which are in very high demand,” Tariffic chief executive Antony Seeff told City Press.

“Even though there is work to be done across the board with regards to data prices, if people are tired of high data prices, they can move networks to where prices are more affordable,” Seeff said.

By Avantika Seeth for City Press

Back-to-school stationery price shock

The average stationery list for a primary school child starting Grade 1 has a total cost of between R700 and R1 000 and, while parents would want to compare prices to get the best deals, schools are prescribing certain brands for parents to buy.
Many schools offered parents the option of paying the school for the stationery or purchasing it themselves.

Most parents who spoke to the Daily News on Monday while doing their last-minute stationery shopping felt some items on the list were “overboard”.

Parents believed items such as a box of tissues and toilet paper should be provided by the school.

Different types of crayons, glue sticks and paper reams were some of the items schools required on the first day, but parents said this added another expense to the already exorbitant price of getting children back to school.

The price of a ream of A4 paper of 500 sheets is about R47.99 and some schools stipulated which brand they wanted parents to buy.

Grade R pupils were no exception. A stationery list for Grade R pupils at a Durban North public school with 18 items cost R615.22, excluding an extra R200 for a swimming bag, a chair bag and a library bag.

Five-year-old Thando Mokwena of Westville is attending Holy Family College this year and was busy shopping for stationery with her parents on Monday. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/ANA
A mother of a Grade 1 pupil said she thought being told to buy 17 exercise books for her child was a bit too much.

“I have a problem with the school asking me to buy so many exercise books. I know that times have changed and that children these days do more than I did in my time, but I think 17 books are just too much. Asking for four items of glue stick, which cost R56.49 each, to be bought at the same time was inconsiderate,” she said.

She said it would be reasonable for schools to instead ask parents to supply one of each item which could be replaced when they ran out.

Sizakele Mthembu, a parent of a Grade 2 pupil attending a private school in Durban, said she had a problem with schools dictating which brands parents should buy.

“There are retail shops with cheaper options on items such as pencils, glue sticks, wax crayons, rulers, paper reams and ballpoints, but schools ask for specific brands,” she said.

A Grade 6 pupil said: “I find myself having to ask my parents to buy me more glue stick, pens and pencils by the end of the first term. They are stolen,” she said.

Khethiwe Ndlovu, a parent of a Grade 3 pupil, said last year she had dropped off all the stationery on the first day of school and was told not to remove the items from their packaging. That was the last time she saw the stationery.

“The children are made to keep the books at school and only take their homework books home,” she said.

She suspected that schools were supplying other children who did not have.

“I understand the kind of poverty that some pupils come from and, if that is the case, then the school should make us aware of such challenges so that it can be done properly,” she said.

Ntombizodwa Zungu, a mother of a Grade 9 pupil, had the choice of buying her daughter’s stationery from the school but instead opted for shopping around at different retail shops, saving R350.

“Checking for prices beforehand helps and, although it is a lot of work, my secret has always been to buy early and have a proper shopping plan. The last-minute rush would always work out to be expensive,” she said

Vanessa Chetty said she found exercise books were not expensive, but it was the extras, such as dictionaries and crayons, that were.

She said that while they could be used for more than a year, she was forced to buy them twice a year.

Vee Gani, South Durban chairman of the KZN Parents Association, said stationery was expensive and schools and parents should have discussions about making cost effective purchases.

He said when it came to schools’ choice of brands, there was no choice as some cheaper brands were useless.

“I can understand why parents are sceptical about sending more than one item to school for risk of it being stolen or lost.

“But teachers also want to prevent a situation of items being forgotten at home,” he said

By Sne Masuku for IOL

Tech costs ‘likely to rise’ in SA

Information technology (IT) hardware is likely to become more expensive in SA because of the weak economy and rand, according to Mark Walker, associate vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa at the International Data Corporation.

“SA is looking at a growth rate of 0.7% to 1.5% [in 2018]. Many organisations are pricing this weak economy into their discussions as it means that hardware and imported equipment will be more expensive.

“There are also murmurs around adding VAT to petrol and potential increases in taxes, so the technology sector could very well be an easy target from a tax point of view.”

As a result, IT was expected to become more expensive, particularly hardware, and this was likely to prompt “an acceleration into cloud-based computing”, Walker said.

Further, if the outcome of the ANC’s elective conference was not well received, the market would weaken further and this would further fuel the rise in IT costs.

Innovation and investment could be affected by the lacklustre economy, he said. “We have started seeing a trend emerge where you have individuals and organisations innovating locally, but then taking those ideas overseas because they are not able to unlock investment in the local market.”

However, a favourable elective conference outcome would be a boon for the local IT sector.

“The perception that SA is back on track could herald in a period of release of pent-up demand, investment spend on innovation and rolling out the infrastructure to enable broadband in rural areas, fibre and others that SA gravely needs.”

Source: eNCA

Vodacom slashes out-of-bundle data costs

Network provider Vodacom has announced that it will “significantly reduce” out-of-bundle prices for all customers from mid-October.

“For pre-paid and customers on top-up packages, the out-of-bundle rate will drop by as much as 50% once the new 99c per megabyte tariff comes into effect on October 15.”The out-of-bundle rate for post-paid customers was reduced from R1 per megabyte to 89c on October 1,”  the company said in a statement.

Group CEO of Vodacom Shameel Joosub said the company needs to expand 4G coverage and keep pace with an increase of more than 45% in sustained data traffic demand.

“Both of these come at a cost, and we have invested some R32.7bn over the last four years. However, lack of access to spectrum is hampering our ability to drive down infrastructure costs and in turn, enable us to pass savings to the consumer,” said Joosub.

Vodacom previously told Fin24 that it is committed to the process of drafting new regulations, after regulator Icasa said it would hold an inquiry in an attempt to reduce the country’s high data costs.
Vodacom joins Cell C, which recently responded to Icasa’s regulation of data by dropping out-of-bundle rates and extending bundle expiry.

In August it was announced that Icasa wanted to amend the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations by introducing “out-of-bundle billing practices” and other “expiry of data practices”.

Previously, the regulator announced it would hold an inquiry in an attempt to reduce high data costs.The probe will be conducted over four phases and will be completed in March 2018.

Kyle Venktess for Fin24

Top tips to cut business costs

Business owners are constantly under pressure to reduce costs – but the things that are losing your business money might take you by surprise.

Here are a few practical tips on how to identify areas where small changes could bring about big savings:

Smart cover
Insurance is vital in securing the costly assets that assist in running your business. Compare quotes to find the cheapest, most comprehensive insurance plan that meets your business needs. When speaking to insurance brokers and agencies don’t be afraid to negotiate – ask for multiple quotes to compare and find what you need.

If it’s viable, try a multiple policy option – different types of cover from one service provider – as this often results in a discounted overall premium. Also consider consulting your bank for insurance options. Periodically review your coverage to ensure it’s still appropriate for your business’s needs – if it’s not, change it.

Go digital
There’s nothing more costly than an inefficient workforce – and studies show employees spend 30-40% of their time looking for documents. A document management system stores and processes documents electronically, so employees don’t waste time searching for paperwork. They can spend time on what’s important, instead of getting bogged down with admin. This is especially beneficial for businesses having to cope with limited staff resources.

Explore digital tools that can assist with archiving, providing remote access to documents and streamlining workflow, like Nashua’s Managed Document Services.

Check your charges
Stay on top of bills to avoid penalty costs. Keep track of upcoming payments by using online banking and scheduling payments ahead of time. Remember to factor licences and permits into your annual budget to avoid unpleasant surprises. Be selective about subscriptions and memberships – only pay for what you need now. A journal subscription may have been useful at one point in time, but is it still a must?

Switch to green
Staying on top of what you’re spending on expenses like printing and stationery can save a considerable amount and help make your office ‘greener’. One way to eliminate wasteful printing is to manage print jobs digitally in one central hub, banish duplicate prints and audit the size of your device fleet, to downsize where possible. Nashua offers Managed Print Services (MPS) which can help significantly reduce printing costs.

Assign one or two people to manage office supplies like stationery and keep track of what’s being used. Make the process transparent and urge employees to use stationery conservatively and reuse where possible. For example, make it a rule in your business that all internal documents should be printed on reused paper.

Power down
Be mindful of devices to reduce your electricity bill. Remember, power is still drawn if machines are switched off but plugged into a live outlet. Wherever possible, use natural lighting and invest in power saving or solar-powered light bulbs – they often last longer too.

Replace desktops with laptops – they use less power. If you can’t use laptops throughout the office, aim to introduce energy efficient desktops. Look out for Energy Star qualified hardware – it’s engineered to consume less energy when performing regular tasks and automatically switches to a low-power mode when not in use.

Trim travelling
Increased connectivity means employees don’t have to be in the same room to hold an important meeting. Assess all planned business trips and eliminate the unnecessary. Ask yourself: does this actually require face time? Can it be done over the phone or via conference call? If so, can the trip. If you can’t avoid an out-of-office meeting, try carpooling with team members or use services like Uber, Ryda and Snappcab.

Consider switching to an IP-based telephony service – because calls are all routed via the same line, it can drastically reduce your call costs. Nashua Voice offers this kind of cost-cutting technology – it also means you’ll be able to switch to virtual fax, virtual boardroom and virtual conferencing to further reduce costs.

WorkForce RIPS ink packs - reduce waste

European businesses currently using laser printers and copiers could dramatically reduce their waste, energy consumption and noise emissions by switching to Epson WorkForce Pro inkjet printers, according to new independent tests by Buyers Laboratory LLC (BLI) commissioned by Epson.

BLI tested several WorkForce Pro models against a selection of competing colour lasers and laser copiers and found that Epson’s printers produce up to 95% or 77 kilograms less waste when printing up to 80,000 pages. Furthermore, BLI tests against a selection of competing machines showed that Epson WorkForce Pro models use up to 82% less energy than lasers and laser copiers.1

“The outstanding eco features of our WorkForce Pro printers are made possible by Epson’s PrecisionCore inkjet printhead, which uses Epson’s proprietary Micro Piezo technology,” comments Paul Steels, Director of Business Imaging, Epson Europe.

“PrecisionCore printheads have the ability to accurately fire a wide variety of liquids in exactly the required quantities at varying media on demand, minimizing ink waste and reducing the frequency of consumables replacement, therefore producing much less waste compared to colour lasers and copiers.”

“Laser printers and copiers use a combination of heat and pressure to fuse toner to the paper. Instead of heat, Epson’s inkjet printers use subtle changes in pressure to fire ink droplets on to the paper, so they consume minimal energy when printing.”

In addition, the BLI research confirms that over a range of typical office activities for a three-minute period, WorkForce Pro models are up to 18% quieter (29.42 dBA) than competitive laser printers and copiers, making them ideal for the work environment.2

“Inkjet printers are capable of entering a sleep mode at a much faster rate compared to lasers, which reduces both energy consumption and noise emissions, helping employees focus on the task at hand,” Steels adds.

“Businesses and organizations today are constantly looking for new ways to keep distraction down and workplace efficiency up,” commented BLI Senior Editor Priya Gohil. “The clear environmental benefits, among others found in these tests, demonstrate the unique advantages inkjet printers have – making them the ones to watch in the printer space.”

The BLI test results for the WorkForce Pro range highlight Epson’s strength in developing compact, energy-saving, and high-precision technologies, which form a common base for all of Epson’s core technologies: Micro Piezo, sensing and microdisplay.

Rob Clark, senior vice-president for Epson Europe, adds:

“Through characteristics such as minimizing the use of resources and reducing waste, our core technologies are kind on the environment. Epson will continue to refine these technologies to increase the value we provide to our customers and further contribute to the environment.”

“On a company level, Epson is committed to achieving its ‘Environmental Vision 2050’ by restoring and preserving biodiversity as a member of the eco system, reducing CO2 emissions by 90% across the entire product life cycle and ensuring all products are included in the resource and reuse recycling loop.”

“As part of our environmental goals, we are challenging ourselves to create compelling, customer-pleasing products that have 50% lower impact across their life cycle by making them more compact, reducing their power requirements, designing them for easy recycling and extending their service life. By reducing the environmental impact across our products, services and all areas of operation, we help our customers to meet their environmental targets,” Clark concludes.

Catalogues: they are expensive, restrictive, inflexible and old-fashioned, yet 95% of office supplies dealers still use them. For many dealers, catalogues continue to be their principal sales and marketing tool. Across the Euroffice Group, we stopped printing catalogues a year ago. Our business hasn’t suffered. In fact, the opposite is true.

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