Shippers get serious about Cyber Threat

Shippers get serious about Cyber Threat

Shippers get serious about Cyber Threat

The NotPetya cyber-attack of June 2017 affected some 2,000 organizations across 65 countries, causing estimated economic losses of $2.5 billion to $3 billion and exposing vulnerabilities in the marine supply chain. The virus led shipping group Maersk to suspend operations as it was forced to reinstall 4,000 servers, 45,000 computers and 2,500 applications, causing congestion at a number of ports worldwide and resulting in business losses in excess of $300 million. The attack also disrupted operations at logistics company FedEx, resulting in $300 million in lost business and clean-up costs.

According to Volker Dierks, Head of Marine Hull Underwriting, AGCS Central & Eastern Europe, such attacks have increased awareness of the potential for cyber business interruption losses and physical damage to vessels arising from a cyber-attack. As a result, shipping companies are now engaged in more detailed discussions with insurers about how to protect against cyber exposures.

“Three years ago operators saw ships as largely isolated from cyber risk but now they realize that their vessels and the logistics supply chain are all connected,” says Dierks.

This has seen increasing interest in insurance solutions, most notably for physical damage and business interruption cover for industrial control systems, as well as insurance cover for supply chain cyber exposures.

“There has been a significant increase in the awareness of the shipping industry as to the potential risks from cyber, be they malicious or accidental,” agrees Chris Turberville, Head of Marine Hull & Liabilities, UK, AGCS. “As the technology on board increases, so do the potential risks. Safeguards need to be introduced at the same rate as new systems. We cannot wait for more significant problems to occur before we react.”

The shipping industry and regulators are now taking cyber security far more seriously. The International Association for Classification Societies (IACS) plans to publish guidelines covering cybersecurity practices in the shipping industry by the end of 2018. Last year, the IMO issued guidelines on maritime cyber risk management and called for cyber risks to be addressed in existing safety management systems by 2021. According to Captain Rahul Khanna, Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting, AGCS this deadline is not soon enough: “The industry needs to take the initiative and address this much earlier than 2021.”

While the vessel safety management system (SMS) is the best platform for the cybersecurity program to reside on, the fact that cyber is a non-traditional maritime risk should not be overlooked, Captain Andrew Kinsey, Senior Marine Risk Consultant, AGCS, believes. Given the nature of this risk and the potential impact of the failure to adequately protect a vessel, a new approach is warranted.

“We cannot approach our procedures and auditing process the same way we do with the majority of our operational risks within the SMS. Merely having an SMS is not sufficient to prevent catastrophes,” says Kinsey. Robust training and auditing – including independent cyber-security audits to ensure procedures are adequate – and having dedicated personnel assigned to provide captains with effective guidance and procedures will be necessary, according to Kinsey.

Many shipping companies are already looking to improve cybersecurity on board their vessels. For example, some are reducing the threat posed by interconnectivity by separating IT systems for different functions, such as navigation, propulsion, and loading. “Cybersecurity is a race without a finish,” adds Kinsey. “It is continually making inroads into the way we operate and manage vessels on a daily basis. The nature of ports and shipping lanes is such that the fate of one company can impact the fortunes of all.”

GDPR and NIS could shed more light on the true scale of cyber risk in shipping

Much attention has been devoted to the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, which enforces tougher data protection requirements on businesses across the European Union (EU). In the same month, a less well-known EU directive was introduced which also has significance for the maritime sector.

The EU Network and Information Security Directive (NIS) will necessitate “essential services” providers, such as large ports and maritime transport services in the EU, to demonstrate that they have taken sufficient measures to manage cybersecurity risks. It also requires companies to report cyber incidents, including those that disrupt services. As with GDPR, the penalties for breaches of the new laws will be substantial. For example, the UK has announced it could impose sanctions of up to $22.6 million (£17 million) in fines if companies do not report serious breaches.

“The current lack of incident reporting masks the true picture when it comes to cyber risk in the marine industry,” says Khanna. “The NIS directive will help to change this and will bring more transparency around the scale of the problem.”


Edited by Daniëlle Kruger

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Safaricom to introduce finger biometrics to curb SIM card fraud

Safaricom to introduce finger biometrics to curb SIM card fraud

Safaricom considering finger biometrics to curb SIM Card fraud

Kenya’s biggest teleco Safaricom, is in the process of developing a framework that will deal with the sim card swap fraud. This comes after ongoing sim card fraud that plagued users in the country in recent months.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said that such incidents, the most recent of which resulted in the arrest of 22 suspects, including some Safaricom staff, calls for “more technical solutions.”

“We’ve assessed people quite carefully. It is only that some come in clean then become corrupted,” he said, “We are looking at introducing biometrics for SIM swaps. Meanwhile, if you want to do SIM swaps and the line is active, we will send a message with a request and you will have to confirm the request for the swap,” he added.

Last month the Director of Criminal investigations (DCI) arrested two suspects and seized 2160 unused Safaricom sim card and 3 M-pesa Safaricom booklets.

“We are happy that we are tackling this issue in a multi-faceted way right from the company, the Government, law enforcement and the media for flagging the issue making the public aware.” Steve Chege Director Corporate Affairs Safaricom.

Last year the telco introduced ‘Jitambulishe’, the voice biometric system which allows customers to access services such as resetting of their M-Pesa PIN and PUK requests through a faster and timeless vetting process. The process previously involved speaking to a Safaricom agent or taking a number of steps before getting the much-needed service.

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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SQream and Moyo to Turbocharge South African big data analytics market

SQream and Moyo to Turbocharge South African big data analytics market

New partnership between South African tech powerhouse Moyo and Israel’s SQream
set to change the face of big data analytics in South Africa

Big data analytics which together with artificial intelligence (AI) holds the promise of radically changing the world by making sense of the vast amounts of data that is being collected on daily basis around the world is about to radically change the picture in South Africa.

Moyo Business Advisory, a South African system architecture and analytics company, announced that it had teamed up with Israeli high-tech company SQream DB, bringing their technology to South Africa to service their growing list of blue chip companies including most of the country’s major banks and many JSE-listed companies.

The partnership with Moyo comes hot on the heels of a major deal between SQream and Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba who has invested in the company.

The Alibaba holding in SQream will help to open mainland China to the Israeli company’s disruptive technology of using Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) with thousands of cores instead of more traditional CPU processors enabling companies to analyse up to 20 times more data, up to 100 times faster, at as little as 10% of the cost.

The alliance with the South African company will provide SQream with a valuable footprint in Africa which is exponentially increasing the amounts of data being produced by the likes of its financial services sector as well as in mining, industry and the scientific community (among them the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) that will be producing Petabytes of data).

“Our partnership with SQream will have far-reaching consequences for both the scientific and business communities who rely on the rapid processing and analysis of very large datasets,” said Dewald Lindeque, Business Development Director at Moyo Business Advisory.
“We look forward to leveraging SQream to better meet our clients’ big data needs in their pursuit of faster analytics and more actionable business intelligence.”

“We are pleased to partner with a firm as reputable and prestigious as Moyo,” said Ilan Ackerman, VP Sales APAC and Africa for SQream.
“Together, Moyo and SQream will revolutionise the analytics space in Africa, dramatically enabling Moyo’s customers in a variety of industries to access and analyse data from exponentially growing massive data stores to gain near real-time analytical queries to become more agile and competitive.”

SQream DB harnesses the power of thousands of parallel processing cores in GPUs, allowing users to easily ingest, store and analyse tens to hundreds of terabytes of data and more with significantly reduced infrastructure and manpower resources. The result is unparalleled power and flexibility to explore and analyse massive amounts of data.

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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BankTech 2018 Southern Africa Conference: 3 – 4 October 2018

BankTech 2018 Southern Africa Conference: 3 – 4 October 2018

BankTech 2018 Southern Africa Conference: 3 – 4 October 2018

Trade Conferences International brings industry professionals another informative, interactive and innovative conference on the 03 & 04 October 2018 at the Indaba Hotel, Fourways in Johannesburg.

The BankTech 2018 Southern Africa Conference will address issues regarding challenges, regulations and trends arising from new technologies in the disrupted banking and financial services environment. The use of technology to fight against cybercrime in the banking environment, biometric life-cycle in banking technologies, security integration in the new digital transactions, FinTech, RegTech and intelligent automation are some of the topics which will be broached at BankTech 2018 Southern Africa Conference.

Our high-level speaker panel will include: Era Gunning,Director at ENSafrica; Godfrey Kutumela, Managing Director of GH Security Solutions; Luigi D’Amico, Business Unit Executive at EOH Digital Platoon; Uzayr Jeenah, Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company; Gary Allemann, Managing Director of Master Data Management; Pragashani Reddy, Sector Head, TPS, Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank; Dominique Collett, FinTech Investment Specialist at Rand Merchant Investment; Pierre Aurel, Senior Consultant at Synthesis Software Technologies; Yaron Assabi, CEO at Digital Solution Group; Cobus Mentz, Senior Consultant at Telspace Systems and Ursula Pearson-Williams, Senior Manager Fraud Services at BankserveAfrica.

Xavier Dipedi, Project Manager for Trade Conferences International, said “BankTech 2018 Southern Africa Conference brings over 20 experts speakers who will set the tone by addressing all challenges, innovation, trends, technology and future of banking technologies in the financial services industry. This gathering is an opportunity for organisations to stay updated on the latest technologies disrupting bank and financial services in the digital era. Organisations must take full advantage by registering employees to attend and gain valuable insight from industry leading professional speakers”

Trade Conferences International offers the best platform in Southern Africa for professionals to network with leading industry players working with banking technologies. The BankTech 2018 Southern Africa Conference is the ideal forum for any organisation dealing with biometrics, artificial intelligence and self-services banking, cyber security, IoT whilst contending with fraud, compliance, payments, data, customer engagement, digital-preparedness, regulation and channel management concerns to attend in order to be at the forefront of industry developments.

To find out more about the conference and registration procedures contact the Project Manager, Xavier Dipedi on

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Three ways AI can help with communications service providers

Three ways AI can help with communications service providers

Collage of human head, digits and various abstract elements on the subject of artificial intelligence, modern science, computer technology and human and artificial mind

With the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, “the possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited”. This puts artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) firmly into the spotlight within most Communications Service Provider (CSP) boardrooms, as executives look to the technology to help improve customer experience and reduce operating expenses.

So, where are the smart bets being placed for AI & ML to create business value?

Customer Experience

Given that CSPs are generally not hugely popular with their customers (compared to other industries when measured by Net Promoter Score) and that a number of digital companies have created a ‘new normal’ for customer experiences, it is no surprise that many CSPs are examining how AI & ML can be deployed to improve customer interactions in areas such as marketing & sales, retention and customer support.

There is no doubt that ML can help CSPs take a wide range of inputs from the complex and continuous flow of data available from both network events and customer interactions. This data can be streamed from multiple sources, capturing dynamic events from all customer channels, CRM information and the network itself in order to learn and find hidden combinations.

These insights can be used to drive the appropriate contextual action, including decisions that impact measures such as churn propensity and customer lifetime value. For example, using AI & ML will enable CSPs to generate sophisticated, segmented, personalised offers in real time. These intelligent offers can fall into many categories, such as usage stimulation, loyalty programmes, device upgrades, household engagement and customer education.

Similarly, customers expect to interact with a CSP across a variety of channels, whether its directly through agent conversation, digital self-service or user communities. This is currently the most mature use case for AI, where virtual agents, chat bots and voice assistants are deployed to help automate the answer to customer queries, or even support human agents by helping them with cross-sell and upsell or making it easier to locate the required answer.

Network Operations

Network operations automation is another area where AI & ML will undoubtedly be used and will have high impact to CSPs. The burgeoning internet of everything (IoE) introduces unprecedented scale and velocity into how the network processes events at a level that becomes unfeasible to manage with manual processes. As software defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) become the norm, the complexity of these networks will require ML to learn how best to automate and manage the orchestration of network resource and capacity, amongst other functions, to ensure uninterrupted service availability.

CSPs such as Telefonica have already transitioned from a network operations centre to a service operations centre. The goal? To “maximise capacity and solve any problems before end users even notice anything”. Telefonica aim to use data from the network to move from a scheduled maintenance model to predictive and proactive maintenance.

AT&T continue the adoption of their ‘Domain 2.0’ initiative to also transition from hardware-centric to software-centric as they realise the dynamic approach delivered by SDN NFV enables more flexibility at a lower cost. Automating network functions provides a range of benefits to the business and facilitates an improved ability to give customers what they want. “It’s like moving from devices to apps…..we recently brought back unlimited data, one of the reasons we were comfortable doing that is we know this software centric network can adapt to meet the demand.”

Having the ability to analyse network data over time allows AI & ML to predict likely failures and the confidence level that failure will occur, thereby allowing for corrective action to be determined and executed. The end goal here is to combine advanced analytics with AI and allow networks to self-heal and operate autonomously.

Fraud & Security

Security must be a key consideration in the advancement of AI & ML, particularly as IoE growth accelerates.
By applying streaming User and Entity Behaviour Analytics (UEBA) that generate cyber security scores in real time, security teams can easily prioritise alerts associated with anomalous behaviour and actively respond to truly suspicious network activity. The ability to dynamically learn and adapt in real time means that fewer false positives are generated compared to more traditional rule-based approaches.
Importantly, streaming data processes data as it is being generated rather than having latency or relying on large stores of historical log files – it allows CSPs to identify risky behaviour as it occurs rather than after the event. This is crucial to ensure customer data is protected and trust maintained.

As well as protecting themselves and their customers from cyber threats, CSPs are also beginning to use AI & ML to monitor Call Data Records (CDRs) in order to learn what behaviour deviates from the norm and respond accordingly.

Additionally, there are substantial benefits to using AI & ML to identify fraud behaviour and take corrective action. For example, International Revenue Share Fraud is characterised by large volumes of calls to a single destination, to artificially inflate traffic that terminates to international revenue share providers and is identified by examining CDRs. Instead of relying on retrospectively reviewing CDRs once the damage has been done, AI & ML can help to prevent this in real time.

Explainable AI

AI comes with many challenges, including trying to decipher what these models have learned, and thus their decision criteria. One of the major areas of exploration is explainable AI (XAI), which attempts to crack open the black box and explain how and why a model derives its decisions. Explainable AI is required in regulated environments and also to build trust amongst customers and business leaders. This is especially true if CSPs are to really allow machines to make autonomous decisions around mission critical infrastructure such as network operations or security.

At our recent FICO World 2018 in April, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov — the man famously beaten by IBM’s Deep Blue at chess, and who has become an expert on human-machine collaboration — reinforced the importance of understanding how and why algorithms are making their decisions.

FICO’s own research into this area has produced a number of ways to crack open the black box. These include:

  • Scoring algorithms that inject noise and score additional data points around an actual data record being computed, to observe what features are driving the score in that part of decision phase space.
  • Models that are built to express interpretability on top of inputs of the AI model.
  • Models that change the entire form of the AI to make the latent (hidden) features exposable.With this approach, we are going to rethink how to design an AI model from the ground up, with the view that we will need to explain latent features that drive outcomes.

As CSPs become more familiar with artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the benefits they can bring to streamlining operations, this will lead to freeing up staff to focus on more value-add tasks. Together, people and advanced analytics can improve service, reduce churn and keep businesses and consumers protected from criminal activity.

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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Microsoft Kaizala Pro now available in Nigeria

Microsoft Kaizala Pro now available in Nigeria

Microsoft Kaizala Pro now available in Nigeria. (image source: Microsoft Office – Office 365)

Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Kaizala Pro is now available in Nigeria. Microsoft Kaizala is a mobile app that aims to improve the way businesses communicate and collaborate. The mobile app is designed for large group communication, workflow management, reporting and analytics, and is integrated with Office 365.

Microsoft Kaizala is ideal for organisations that need to communicate with large numbers of task workers to enhance business agility, collaboration and organisational productivity,  stated Akin Banuso, Country General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria. Workers in the region often do not have an email address, Kaizala only requires a mobile number to sign a user up.

Akin said the app addresses several challenges faced by many businesses across the country who manage field staff remotely. “Mobile technology is enabling businesses to embrace the fourth industrial revolution and digitally transform their operations. Microsoft Kaizala is ideal for organisations that need to communicate with large numbers of task workers to enhance business agility, collaboration, and organisational productivity,” Akin said.

According to Microsoft, Kaizala provides actionable information through analytics and reports, while complying with industry security best practices. Messages, photos, video files, audio files, documents, polls, surveys, and other data are protected by encryption in-transit and at-rest. Managers can decide who has access to company data.

All Kaizala data is stored in Microsoft Azure data centres, which adhere to industry standard security and compliance certifications.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Huawei teases new upgrades for P20 Pro

Huawei teases new upgrades for P20 Pro

Huawei teases ‘real upgrade’ for P20 Pro, Mate 20 Pro gets biggest battery yet

Huawei fans could be in for a treat as the brand confirms the P20 Pro will feature a triple lens camera with 40MP, as well as 5x zoom and “much more”, according to a recent tweet.

The Chinese tech giant was not too impressed with Samsung’s latest offerings, tweeting on the same day as the Note9 was revealed, “we’re all about real upgrades.”

Samsung’s Unpacked event on August 9 brought fans a new Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch, and also the first Bixby-powered smartspeaker, Galaxy Home. However it seems that Huawei’s tweet was mostly directed at the latest smartphone, a device said to share a similar design to its predecessor (Galaxy Note 8) and some of the upgrades given to the Galaxy S9.

Huawei’s Twitter account shared an image of the upcoming flagship rear side, titled “This is called a real generation upgrade,” revealing three cameras — possibly making it the first Android smartphone with a triple camera setup.

For those that care about the small details. #HuaweiP20

— Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) August 9, 2018

Two more posts — all on the same day as Samsung’s Unpacked event — further promote the P20 Pro’s new capabilities. In a second tweet, addressed to “those that care about the small details,” an image compares the details available in a 12MP photo with that of the upcoming device with 40MP.

The third tweet reads: “With the Leica Triple Camera, we’re always two steps ahead.”

With the Leica Triple Camera, we’re always two steps ahead. #HuaweiP20

— Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) August 9, 2018

But that’s not all that Huawei’s proud of. The website Pocket-Lint got their hands on what seems to be the company’s marketing material, confirming an upcoming model believed to be the Mate 20 Pro with the biggest battery pack of all their high-end series. The teaser shows the P10 Plus with a battery icon of 3750mAh, the Mate 10 Pro and P20 Pro both with 4000mAh, followed by a giant question mark in a bigger box, suggesting that the new smartphone’s battery capacity and overall endurance will be a marketing highlight.

More information is expected at Huawei’s keynote event at the IFA trade show, in Berlin on August 31.

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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Announcing the 4th Annual Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa

Announcing the 4th Annual Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa

f Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa is set to take place on 17-18 October 2018 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The 4th Annual Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa 2018 will be taking place on the 17th and 18th of October at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. Under the theme “Transforming Healthcare with Technology”, the event promises to provide attendees with great insight into the relationship between healthcare and ICT.

At Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa 2018, leaders in the industry will gather to explore how technology can ensure that citizens get the services they deserve by presenting the latest, innovative technologies and showcasing their practical application and integration into existing healthcare infrastructure.

The summit will look at how technology affects the healthcare industry and what kind of impact hot topics like robotics, analytics, artificial intelligence, and IoT play in the future of the industry.

A formidable team of healthcare experts and professionals will lend their thought-leadership and expertise to this year’s Healthcare Innovation Summit Africa. The Advisory Board is particularly instrumental to the success of HISA as it is designed to assist in driving knowledgeable dialogue on a range of issues in a constantly evolving industry.

List of advisory board members:

• Rajeev R Eashwari – Director eHealth and Systems at Gauteng Department of Health
• Leonard Slabbert, Head of Information Technology: Sub-Saharan Africa at Boehringer Ingelheim
• Etienne Dreyer , Associate Director: Healthcare Consulting at PwC
• Reg Courtenay, Deputy Director : IT Systems in Health at Joburg City
• Giridhar Joshi, Associate Director: Data & Analytics at PwC
• Dr Ravesh Goordeen, Medical Doctor at Healthcare Investment

Who should attend?

The summit aims to assemble a wide range of industry professionals, such as CIOs, CxOs, IT Leaders, Healthcare providers, Healthcare Administrators, Policy makers, HealthTech Startups, HealthTech Vendors, Chief Medical Officers, and academics.
For more information about this conference visit:
[t]+27 11 026 0981 [e]

Staff Writer

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Five key trends transforming global payroll management

Five key trends transforming global payroll management

Bruce van Wyk, Director, PaySpace

Expanding a business into new territories is no easy feat. There are numerous challenges to navigate such as language, culture and legislative requirements. Recruitment can also be a complex job to ensure the right mix of local hires and expat employees sent over from the head office. All of this results in an enormous pile of paperwork and administration. It’s a time-consuming slog that is made all the more difficult thanks to the various geographies involved.

Fortunately, advancing cloud-based technologies are providing much-needed help. Physical borders and time-zones no longer inhibit integration and collaboration, allowing companies to expand faster and more successfully.

Payroll is just one example of a vital business function that is being transformed by the cloud. Businesses with offices and staff in multiple countries can see to their global payroll needs from one central location, or entrust it to a single service provider. The benefits are immense: fewer administrative tasks to worry about, more time to focus on business-critical work and full compliance with regional and national laws in each country of operation.

Of course, implementing a global payroll solution requires the right policies and practices to ensure success. Here are five tips to help your business make the transition as quickly and effectively as possible.

1. Outsource your payroll

Back in the day, businesses embarking on an expansion plan had to establish in-country payroll teams and enlist the help of local service providers to get their new offices off the ground. HR and procurement teams were snowed under with complex employee contracts and volumes of paperwork.

By outsourcing your payroll needs to a cloud-based software provider, you can set up your payroll function to manage multiple offices from one home-base. Not only does this reduce your HR and payroll workload, it also adds multilayer governance which helps keeps your operations 100% compliant.

In no way does an outsourced payroll provider replace your in-house payroll department. See it as additional, always-on support that enables your team to focus on more strategic work.

2. Recruit evolved payroll managers

Automated administrative assistance and greater access to information means that payroll professionals are no longer simply data-inputters. The role has become much more complex – and dynamic – especially on a multinational level.

Today’s payroll administrators are now in charge of managing global needs in a highly competitive world. This means they have to identify trends, analyse information and make fast decisions and insightful suggestions. Achieving this is only possible with forward-thinking payroll managers who can embrace new digital technologies and work closely with other departments.

3. Provide an employee self-service platform

Thanks to cloud technology, global employee self-service systems are getting better and better. Think mobile-friendly, visually appealing payroll systems that employees and managers can access from anywhere at any time.

Enhanced personalisation enables employees to set up their profile in the language of their choice. For a global business, this is an enormous step forward. It makes it much easier for all employees to understand their payroll and HR information with greater clarity.

It also means that teams can communicate and collaborate better between various offices. Colleagues can work together using real-time information, rather than chase emails or accidentally work from an outdated version.

4. Protect your payroll data

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has a very clear mandate: to protect the personal information of all EU citizens. The legislation covers customer data as well as employee data kept by businesses. Your company might not be based in the EU but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook. If you have any EU nationals working for your business or have any business interests in the EU, then your company is liable.

To comply with GDPR, in-house payroll managers have to increase their responsibilities. This can cause many problems; namely, human errors and oversights that lead to penalties and possibly fines. A far better approach is to work with a payroll provider that is already GDPR compliant and can share the workload with you and your team.

A payroll provider can also help with data security. Cyber-crime is a growing concern; data encryption has to meet far higher standards these days and employee records have to be kept for much longer. Companies can share this responsibility with their payroll software provider for enhanced data security.

5. Sign up with a holistic service

Payroll service providers are stepping up to meet the changing needs of global businesses. One key example is the integration of all business models into one system to offer businesses like yours a holistic service. What this means in practice is that businesses will be able to buy an eco-system of technology that is ready to plug and play and work alongside eachother. These API integrated software packages will cover a range of functions such as operations, sales, finance, HR and payroll – and will eliminate the traditional headache of data duplication.

Global payroll systems are changing how international businesses operate, enabling fast and successful expansion plans. Pay attention to these trends and make sure your business doesn’t get left behind. Stay agile, curious and tech-savvy, and watch your company benefit from all that global payroll has to offer.

By Bruce van Wyk, Director, PaySpace

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What does digital transformation mean for South African business?

What does digital transformation mean for South African business?

What does digital transformation mean for South African business? (Image Source:

The business landscape is changing, it’s no secret. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has already begun to shift the business landscape, and the challenges faced by businesses increase at the same pace as their competition. The barriers to entry for many South African businesses lies in the scarcity of digital talent. We desperately need to find a solution to this challenge, and establish our role in enabling digital transformation across all sectors.

According to Frost & Sullivan, South African telecommunications operators are currently in the early stages of digital transformation, more so when compared to the level of progress being made in more developed markets.

It’s, therefore, safe to say that investment injections into the sector would ultimately benefit the economy, and shape the digital landscape for businesses. A large part of South African telcos have begun their digital journey by establishing dedicated digital departments. In doing so, they are able to better develop their offerings and more effectively execute their digital strategies.

The solution lies in finding the right talent, the type that oozes digital wit, which happens to be just as important as the technology that businesses should be utilising to advance into the digital society of the future. Thankfully, we’re well on our way to tearing down this unwelcomed barrier. Through increased focus on skills development, workshops that seek to upskill employees in sought-after digital skills, Vodacom’s very own girl coder programme and providing the proper tools and resources to upskill employees – we have seen growing access to skills development in the ICT sector, which is complemented by backing from government.

Private and public sector partnerships hold the key to unlocking skills development and youth upliftment, and should be at the forefront of the digital transition we’re currently undergoing. Simply put, we should be go above and beyond to provide enough infrastructure support and skills development to propel our progression.

For starters, we need to embed digital literacy in the school curriculum, essentially instilling digital skillsets at the very core of our primary education. The unwelcomed reign of digital illiteracy needs to come to an abrupt end. We need to do away with the inability hindering the average Joe’s ability to use of a smart device, an issue that has plagued South Africa’s rural areas lately. That in itself, poses as a major barrier to digital progression.

By knocking down barriers, such as these, we can begin to open doors to digital skills development. It’s the first step in bridging the digital divide gap, and essentially enhancing these much-sought after skills.

It’s no secret that the South African telco industry is very competitive, as telcos battle it out to remain at the forefront of innovative solutions – all of which is an effort to gain a competitive edge. A strategy that has been widely adopted by some of the big names in the industry is that of acquiring businesses with unique digital offerings and varying areas of expertise. The aim here being to offer their consumers, and business customers, forward-thinking end-end ICT and digital services.

Bringing the discussion back to broader business – it’s worth noting that each business will have a unique journey to undergo to achieve digital transformation. By integrating digital technology into all areas of a business, the SA’s enterprise landscape can truly benefit from the fundamental changes in operation and the delivery of service to their respective customer bases. This feeds into customer centricity and personalisation, which is important when considering the fact that these days, it pays to be personal.

Aside from the profit-making opportunities, the efficiency that will come with it, or even the fact that their competitors are doing it – the biggest benefit will come from the appreciation that will be expressed by their customers. The truth of the matter is that external customers, internal employees and people associated with that business have already adopted digital practices in their personal lives. Think of online shopping, online banking and even smart homes which all form part of their day-to-day lives. So all they’re waiting for now is for their beloved businesses of choice to embark on a digital journey of their own.

By taking a step back, and observing the current economic standing of our country, we can get a clearer picture of what needs to be achieved to truly become a digital society. There’s no need for us to be burdened by the shortage of digital skills, and the massive unemployment issue we’re faced with. The answer lies in our hands.

By Fatima Hassim, Managing Executive for Vodacom Business

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