Data age, is your confidential information protected?

By: Bongekile Filana

(A Certified Data Scientist)

“Data is now a new oil of the digital economy” says Honourable Minister Stella -Ndabeni Abrahams in her address at Nedbank webinar last week Friday.

She further says, “As all sectors have been reshaped by the Covid 19 pandemic, organizations have begun to utilize databases/data warehouses as the centrepiece of their operations. The need to fully understand and leverage data they collected and compared has become more and more apparent and that leads to both the value and volume of data to be higher” she concluded by saying “when you talk about the fourth industrial revolution, it is inevitable to talk about data and data protection”.

Let’s talk about data protection or security. BusinessTech Insider recently reported that South Africa’s Regulator declares that it has received information that the  personal information of South Africans  has been exposed by Experian  group data breach because it has found its way to the ‘’dark web”.

The dark web allows criminals to anonymously sell stolen personal information like cell phone numbers, employment details, banking details and Identity numbers. In South Africa, there is no direct law or policy regulation around data commercialization and privatization. But the right to privacy is protected in terms of the common law and section 14 of the constitution of South Africa 1996, and the Protection of personal Information (POPIA) Act. In many instances, the right to privacy is limited, and to prove an infringement will be fair difficult especially in this data age as the law does not precisely address data hacking challenges .While we are still waiting for the South African government to close the existing gaps, companies are urged to prioritize data protection because data has now become more valuable than before.

The data age comes with very high risk of data exploitation and hacking, therefore, making cybersecurity a top priority is now a must and it has become imperative that all organizations protect their data to maintain confidentiality, integrity and tha availability of data in all the following contexts: on premises, in the cloud and in hybrid environments. We have interviewed high-tech entrepreneurs   who are running their business and storing their data online, here is what they have got to say:

Limpopo based Activator, Rejoice Kgabo Legodi, said “For me decentralyse is the plug, it essentially helps to block and set access control for people outside the company. Making sure that my business website is locked was the best decision, I have ever made.” while Activator, Sibongile Mogadi, who is based in Gauteng, encourages companies to buy software firewall, “it is more reliable and efficient”, she says. She further advised companies to have security specialist under their IT divisions. Below are   five ways that are recommended by many IT security specialists:

  1. Companies or organization’s employees are often urged not to save their password on their PC or any device because that make easy access to hackers.
  2. Have strong encryption -when you make a password choose strong characters not weak passwords like your birthday dates or your name.
  3. Companies or organizations must have software or hardware Firewalls to protect data warehouses.
  4. They should store their information on cloud hybrid in case everything is swiped by hackers. Enterprise data can be stored in open source MySQL(microsoft, Oracle&IBM)
  5. Have Google subscription to get alerts about any interruption on Access Control.

“It is either you protect your data, or you get your information wiped out. Step up your security game South Africans”‘ says Khulile Mazimba, Eastern Cape based Activator.

Image sourced online 

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