Tackling security in an IoT world

Featured

eepublishersPublished by EE Publishers on 20 September 2016

The internet of things is here – and it is bigger than we could have imagined – is your business ready?

The internet of things (IoT) is undeniably one of this century’s biggest phenomena in terms of ubiquitous impact and, while the implications associated with this technological wave are varied, one of the most crucial – if not the most crucial of these – centres around security.

Type the words “IoT and…” into your Google search engine bar, and one of the first phrases that comes up in the dropdown menu is “IoT and security”, says Leon van der Merwe, head of digital at customer communications firm PBSA. Security is a huge concern for businesses when it comes to this emerging network of connected things. Even with the strides made in cultivating a secure internet, this vast entity is just not 100% secure.

By nature, he says, the internet is arguably impossible to fully secure – and is becoming considerably more complex as the human race starts connecting everyday hardware devices. “We are basically building an internet of any and everything.”

And, contrary to common belief, South Africa is not playing catch-up to such an extent that local businesses need not be concerned. The IoT may not be as mainstream in South Africa as it is in other, developed countries, but it is fast heading that way. Any business that even remotely values its security would be making a grave mistake by not heeding the red flags inherent in the IoT.

In fact, according to a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) report – The Internet of Things in Africa – the market for connected devices in the country will account for $2-billion of the global total value ($1,7-trillion) by 2020. As for the continent as a whole, the research firm says Africa is likely to house around one billion connected devices by the turn of the decade.

A 2015 survey revealed that 33% of South African enterprises are planning major and/or significant investment in IoT over the next three years.

Unprecedented power

We know the IoT is set to explode – globally and on our own doorstep – but we must also consider, when taking security measures, the immense power this thing denoting a connected future holds.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) designates the IoT part of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – an era of technological advancement characterised by ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, says the possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited.

These possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the IoT, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

Given the enormous impact the IoT will have on businesses’ security, Van der Merwe believes local companies need to take security far more seriously. Many of the larger, security-conscious organisations take their security very seriously, but they don’t necessarily have the right strategies in place. When it comes to the so-called midstream businesses in South Africa, these generally have very poorly managed security policies, if any.

Access management

But where does one start when it comes to tackling this giant, looming phenomenon? At ground level, at one of the very core aspects of your connected devices – accessibility.

One of the products PBSA’s software arm, pbDigital, advocates is identity and access management (IAM). IAM outsources all require security requirements to run on the latest international identity and access management on one centralised solution.

Contact Leon van der Merwe, PBSA, Tel 011 516-9459, leon@pbsa.co.za

PBSA gets on board to improve waste management

Featured

wastecon

pbOffice, a division of leading customer communications firm PBSA, will showcase a range of its automation solutions next month, at what promises to be another successful conference centred around waste management in Africa.

The continent’s largest and most prestigious waste management conference, WasteCon, kicks off next month, setting the stage for industry professionals from all sectors to participate in insightful debate and to share ideas around best practice sustainable waste management solutions.

Taking place under the auspices of The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa, 2016 sees the flagship biennial conference taking place for the 23rd time, this year from 17 to 20 October, at Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa.

WasteCon’s extensive exhibition floor will showcase innovative products, new and old, that have contributed to – and continue to contribute to – the ever-changing face of waste management in Southern Africa.

pbOffice, as one of South Africa’s leading providers of office automation solutions, will be on hand to talk about its range of products – from baling solutions and how they can turn waste into valuable material, to three-phase shredding solutions, which enable businesses to comply with the all-important Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act.

WasteCon 2016 will play host to scores of educational and governmental delegates, as well as to interested members of the public, providing the opportunity to discuss the latest industry developments and trends from both South Africa and abroad.

pbOffice is proud to be a part of this social programme and to play a part in working towards improving waste management on the continent.

About pbOffice

pbOffice provides automation solutions to serve mailing, marketing and communication applications for small and medium-sized enterprises. pbOffice is the biggest supplier of mailing equipment in South Africa and distributes Pitney Bowes’ finishing products.

The division’s comprehensive portfolio ranges from basic office equipment like shredders and laminators, to more specialised office solutions like folding and inserting machines and pressure sealers.

pbOffice’s air purifying machines embody the modern-day drive to promote health at home and in the workplace. pbOffice offers more than just solutions with its range of top-quality air purifiers, humidifiers and combination units – it offers peace of mind for the health conscious.

For more information visit www.pboffice.co.za / www.pbshredders.co.za or call 011 516 9400.

SignFlow geolocation bolsters non-repudiation

Featured

Just when you thought SignFlow’s watertight non-repudiation could not possibly get stronger, the team has introduced geolocation to its world-class digital signing solution.

This comes as SignFlow Version 3.0 was released in August, a move that saw significantly improved workflow functionality, comprising electronic initialling and multi-document portfolios.

The addition of geolocation adds to the already sound robustness of the solution, as the geographical location (geolocation) of the signer is recorded and added to the audit log – one of the key benefits of using a digital signing solution.

When the signer makes their digital mark on the document or documents in a workflow, their physical coordinates are immediately recorded and will display in the audit trail after the document is initialled or signed.

Locating the physical address of the signer is simple and straight-forward – simply click on the Maps Pin (inverted drop-shaped icon) to view the location on Google Maps with your browser.

This is how it works: from the audit trail in SignFlow, you will see a line tagged “Location”. Next to the location will be a Maps Pin icon. Click on the Pin and your browser will automatically open the location in a new window using Google Maps.

geolocation 1

Google recognises this detail as coordinates and opens an overview map. All you need to do then, is click on the Google Map to zoom in on the exact physical location the signer was when they signed the document.

geolocation 2

With this information in hand, the level of non-repudiation associated with the document in question is supreme.

When used in conjunction with another one of SignFlow’s recent breakthroughs – Face-to-face Signing – there is irrefutable proof that both the signee and the witness were at the same location, at the same time, when the document was signed.

SignFlow’s new geolocation is just one of the many new features developing from the team’s consistent and continual efforts to bring you the world’s leading digital signing solution.