Invest in the technology, embed the security, but don’t forget that people are your most important asset
Security. This is a word that can make a grown CFO tremble and an entire SOC crumble. It is the word that captures a complex landscape littered with complexity, cybercriminals and technology.
It defines how well an organisation adheres to a growing body of legislation – GDPR, POPIA and other data protection regulations – and how its reputation fares when a breach is revealed and information exposed. Security should be on every boardroom agenda, in ongoing employee training, and in investment into the right tools and solutions.
But, perhaps most importantly, security should be an inherent part of the company’s culture because it is this factor that ultimately determines its security risk and posture.
“There is a clear link between security culture and secure behaviour and that, in itself, correlates to a clear reduction in risk for the organisation,” says Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist, KnowBe4 Africa. “By improving your security culture, you are immediately improving employee behaviour and potentially plugging one of the biggest security gaps in every business – people.
People are often the weakest link. The ones who click on the link, who open the phishing email, who share their company passwords and who accidentally create vulnerabilities within the organisation.”
A recent study undertaken by KnowBe4 examined the behaviour and security culture of more than 97, 000 employees across 1, 115 organisations worldwide. The study dug down into the components and building blocks of security culture and unpacked how this has become a critical component for any robust security structure in a detailed whitepaper.
“IT leaders have always known exactly how important people are to the perfect security triumvirate – people, process and technology,” says Collard. “But, over the years, process and technology have been pushed to the forefront of investment and conversation, leaving the human element wide open and the business at risk.
The reason for this shift is multi-fold – it’s hard to engage with a diverse workforce and the security message is not always that exciting.”
Yet, the research found a very clear proof that a robust security culture reduces the risk of credential sharing and improves the entire organisation’s security posture. In fact, it found that there was a 52x difference between the behaviours of people sharing credentials in a poor security class and the best which highlighted how a focus on security culture can significantly change the way employees adopt secure practices and behaviours.
Which again underscores the value of setting up a security culture programme that explores the seven dimensions of security culture and how these can be improved within the organisation.
These seven dimensions include: attitude, behaviour, cognition, compliance, communication, norms and responsibility. And they provide the organisation with a solid framework within which to build an equally solid security culture that has longevity and relevance.
“The more that the business focuses on security culture, the more likely it is that employees will follow secure practices and adopt more secure behaviours,” concludes Collard. “This ground breaking research has provided a very clear and measurable link between security culture and secure behaviour and emphasises the value of investing into people, training and security communication best practice to ensure that this link is always maintained.”
Why There’s Need for a Second Giant in the $20 Billion Mobile Mapping Market
By Prince Osuagwu
Competition in the mobile industry is arguably shifting to the Mobile Mapping Market. The market size exceeded $20 billion in 2019 and is poised to register gains at over 17 percent CAGR between 2020 and 2026. It is also estimated the market could attract advertising revenue worth up to $100 billion per year, according to Barron’s.
Although the industry is witnessing a significant disruption with the increasing availability of portable and low-cost sensors and rapidly the growing use of telecommunication networks, the disruption is, however, adding to its strength, by developing new trends, which have become growth parameters.
They include increasing demand for terrestrial mobile mapping in telecommunication and transportation; increasing penetration of mobile devices; increasing investment in city planning and smart city projects; improved network connectivity and the growing role of optic fibre technology in driving smart cities. The irony of the market is that it is almost becoming a one-horse race, with Google dominating market share.
According to Morgan Stanley, it is estimated that Google Maps revenue will total more than $11 billion in 2023. Apple map is also estimated to yield advertising opportunities in a hot trail to Google’s.
But that’s about it, in a market that boasts of major players like, Trimble Inc, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Google, PASCO CORPORATION, Huron Geomatics Inc, TOPCON CORPORATION, The Sanborn Map Company Inc., 3D LASER MAPPING, Apple Inc, NAVVIS, Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, NGC Aerospace Ltd, FARO Technologies Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Hexagon AB, TomTom International BV, IGI mbH, Hyper Tech, and Gexcel, and NEXIT App; among others.
If among the array of players, Google could not be said to have a strong competition in the navigation market, look no farther than Facebook as an example, to provide the needed competition in the navigation market. What makes Facebook so successful is that it has a powerful combination of the broadest reach, richest user data, and best-in-class ad targeting tools. But, why it is not a giant in the mobile mapping market is surprising.
Though at some point, it attempted to challenge Google’s dominance of the market, through an interest in acquiring Waze, Google, however, outsmarted it and snapped the deal with $966 million in 2013. Meanwhile, there are greater chances of doing so in 2021. The chances include a strategic partnership with a budding but fast-growing mobile mapping business called NEXIT.
Although, Facebook is not the only company with vast potential to partner with Nexit, according to sources, several potential partners are said to be on the horizon for NEXIT; companies that have a rich audience, and recognize the impending lucrative monetization that is in mobile navigation mapping.
These, include Amazon, A T & T, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, a few of the larger oil companies, and several hedge funds with the connections to optimize this opportunity. Part of the reasons Google reportedly bought Waze was to add social data to its own mapping business, Google maps, and since 2013 when it did that, it was almost a no-brainer that it has shut down competition in the mobile mapping business. That is also what Facebook, could do with NEXIT.
NEXIT entered the market in December 2019, and since then, has shown a strong presence in the mobile mapping space. It prides itself on having gone into the critical details of mapping resources, providing landmark technology blueprints that sit mobile maps at the core base of today’s travel needs.
For instance, providing customized integrated trip information and preferences; maximizing advertising revenue by showing targeted, relevant advert exposures; multiple search inquiries simultaneously at the same exit and showing upcoming exits while driving, among others, are some of those unique innovations found only in the NEXIT mapping app.
NEXIT also: * Automatically shows the cheapest gas per exit and cheapest gas banner for the next 50 miles; * Allows multiple search inquiries (brand & amenity) simultaneously and shows where all are located at the same exit (TravMatch); * Book hotels right along the way integrated into the trip; * Route Planning: -Integrates preferences (brand & amenity) before you go and allows multiple search inquiries (brand & amenity) simultaneously while showing where all are located at the same exit (TravMatch).
These are features that will no doubt, leverage on the rich-mined data audience of Facebook to shot the company straight into the top spot of the market. Besides, there are, at least five benefits such a partnership can bring: Benefits of the partnership: *Facebook will have its own navigation mapping app: Let’s face the facts, Facebook’s navigation map is apparently franchised from Google and Apple maps.
No wonder it attempted to buy Waze before Google snapped it. But an opportunity to partner with NEXIT will present a renewed vigour to enter the market as a truly independent operator. This is even more advantageous when considering some of the trending innovative commands on NEXIT that may not be found on Google/Waze or Apple mapping platforms.
Firm grip, retention and control of users:
It’s a bit curious to observe that map users on Facebook are automatically taken off the platform, onto Apple or Google Maps. For a platform which major business is knowing who its users are, where they are, what they like and don’t, redirecting its users to a supposed competitor is losing valuable engagement, which is antithetical to such businesses. But with NEXIT, mapping would be integrated directly into Facebook’s products and platforms. That at least would keep users where they should be.
Opportunity of tying all Facebook social media platforms together with navigation: Partnership with NEXIT navigation can help Facebook tie all its properties together in synergy, based on the characteristics of the app. Facebook users who desire to plan a trip across the country, walk around the city, get daily coffee or weekly gas can do all that in one sitting because NEXIT provides them in a one-stop-shop. This feature helps Facebook to have control of its users when they are using navigation.
Global Navigation Reach: Facebook is everywhere but not its navigational app. However, NEXIT is currently available in the USA, and coming globally to cities like Paris, Dubai, London, Berlin, Lagos, Sydney, and others in Q4 2021. That is an added advantage Facebook can leverage on.
Additional revenue streams: Considering the projections by Barron’s that map ads could be $100 billion per year, and Google’s projected revenue from mapping which is expected to surpass $11b by 2023, according to Skift, is bad business for Facebook to have over 1.5 billion users and not monetising their data through the navigational platform.
Teaming with NEXIT could help Facebook add up to $10 billion in 2023 through NEXIT mapping monetization. Most critical is that Facebook’s vast data-mined audience coupled with the innovative Nexit map and navigation platform would be positioned to capture the market from competitors like Google and Apple.
Prince Osuagwu is a technology writer based in Lagos, Nigeria.
MTN/Banks USSD Imbroglio: Signs of Things to Come
By Elvis Eromosele
Nigerians woke up on Friday, April 2, 2021, to discover they couldn’t recharge their MTN lines from their banks. It wasn’t another April fool’s prank. It was a real move by Nigerian banks to punish MTN for having the audacity to suggest reducing the margins on the commission for selling MTN credit to subscribers.
One wonders about the sort of thinking that prompted the banks to cut off over 75 million MTN subscribers from recharging via the USSD platform. Did they consider the pain of the subscribers or impact on the economy? Or was it a case of all is fair in war? It was a brutal tactic, one that sadly appears, in the short term, to have won.
Imagine disenfranchising close to 45 per cent of the Nigerian telecom subscribers. There was no way that wass not a reflection of a deeper problem. It was no surprise that everyday Nigerians questioned the system that allowed banks to unilaterally disconnect MTN subscribers without recourse to a regulatory body or care for the pains of the customers.
The chatter started online and quickly gained momentum with online blogs carrying the news. By midday on Friday, April 2, 2021, MTN sent a message to its customers: “Dear Customer, our bank recharge channels are currently unavailable. Kindly recharge using physical cards. We apologise for the inconvenience. Thank you.”
At this point, it was obvious that a full-blown war was underway.
The impact was far-reaching. MTN Subscribers couldn’t recharge their lines and so couldn’t load data. It disrupted businesses, family and personal issues. Its impact on the economy is immeasurable. For two days subscribers scampered around to get physical recharge cards. Some unscrupulous retailers cashed in to increase the price. People who had not loaded physical cards in years struggled to relearn how to load using *555*PIN#.
It was a trying time for many.
But MTN responded with incredible speed. It set up new channels and publicized them on social media. To ensure that subscribers are not deprived of service the telco giant quickly signed on Flutterwave among other fintechs to fill the gap. And quickly, Barter app by Flutterwave, Kuda app, Jumia app, Opay app, Fundbea.ng, Bill’s pay app and Carbon app and others came on stream.
Indeed within 48 hours, the firm had established so many channels that experts began to wonder there would be any space for the banks when the issues were finally resolved.
The resolution happened faster than many people expected. By Sunday afternoon, MTN announced to its subscribers that the issue had been resolved while a permanent solution was still in the works.
The firm has agreed to restore the commission it paid commercial banks for providing payment platforms to its subscribers following the intervention by the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Despite the said resolution, the dynamics of the recharge market has been irrevocably changed. Going forward, telcos would not be content to focus only on the banks in the light of how they unilateral yanked MTN off the service platform.
There are lessons in this episode. Trust has been broken and the future would be completely different from the past.
Thankfully, technology again rose to the occasion. Within 48 hours over six apps had hooked up and actively marketing MTN recharge cards to subscribers. Confession: I downloaded Flutterwave.
The subscribers have tasted something new. Many won’t go back to the banks. The convenience. The lack of charge for some other services. The need for Soro Soke generation to pick a side and stand up for a fight. It is going to be a long, maybe impossible way back for the banks.
The fintechs demonstrated the power of technology and the lightning speed of digital connections. They came. They saw profits. They gained substantial subscribers. They would be reluctant, unwilling even, to return to the status quo. They will do nearly anything to maintain and possibly grow their share of the market.
The banks should not be rewarded for their bad behaviour. Cutting MTN off was unbecoming and some would argue largely irresponsible. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.
Some sort of sanctions has to apply, first to show the error of their ways. And then, to prevent a copycat move from another section of the market tomorrow. Today, it was banks, tomorrow it could be the telcos or insurance.
This is not the way to run an economy. Corporate governance was thrown to the dogs.
The move by the banks was reminiscence of the recent unprovoked food blockage. Monies were lost, food perished and trust was broken. The gains, if any, were minuscule.
MTN’s frantic and herculean efforts to ensure that the subscribers retain access to recharge stand in sharp relief against the abrupt way the banks disconnected the service provider without reference to the customers. It reflected and possibly reinforced an already ingrained perception about Nigerian banks: they don’t care about the customers.
The situation is tricky. It involves money, lots of it. Patience would be required to resolve the issue satisfactorily, a lot of patience.
To make progress, the customers, the interest of the subscribers must be at the core of any resolution. If the parties put the customers first and centre, then they will be able to find a sustainable way forward. The days ahead promises to be intriguing.
Common sense, however, dictates that the current cost structure cannot persist. Something would have to give. This concerns all of us.
Elvis Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst lives in Lagos.
Sustainability, it’s in the Details
By Mai Youssef
Adapting to new working practices presents an incredible opportunity (https://bit.ly/2O6wlrY) to assess and adjust our approach to sustainability. Changes don’t have to be extreme; they can include a range of small but effective actions such as embracing recycling and reusable materials, switching to more eco-friendly modes of manufacturing and reviewing transport or packaging best practice. Small wins across a wide range of areas can have a big impact.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
From separating the paper, plastic and cardboard used in the office, to reducing the use of disposable cutlery, sustainability initiatives often start with the little details first. One of those details needs to be equipment and technology decisions (https://bit.ly/2PGMDIK). The reason is obvious: technology – such as PCs, laptops, and smartphones – represented just 1 per cent of the world’s carbon footprint in 2007.
Today, that’s already tripled and is on its way to exceeding 14 per cent by 2040. Whilst technology is intrinsic to the modern business, there are still small – yet hugely beneficial – changes organisations can make to address one of the most serious problems for the environment.
For example, keeping a business phone for three years instead of two, or a laptop for six years instead of five, can make an impact on a company’s use of materials. If enterprises are doing this on a national scale, there will be less demand to create as many new devices each year, reducing the overall amount of raw materials mined to match this demand. When companies need new products, they can opt for remanufactured or refurbished equipment. (https://bit.ly/3rDuKYD).
As well as being better for the environment, companies can save on average 30-50 per cent of the selling price compared to the same equipment that has been made new. Furthermore, thanks to ratings programmes and awards schemes, customers have greater visibility of brands and products that are less harmful to the environment.
Cut the commute
Greener ways of commuting to work each day – or not commuting at all – can also be beneficial. The average co-working space, for instance a communal office closer to home, can help generate carbon emission savings of 118 metric tonnes annually between now and 2029. Prior to the pandemic, a select number of companies had introduced more flexible working policies – allowing people to work from home or cultivate a co-working space in an agile environment. Now, many companies support a mixture of remote and office working – reducing carbon emissions while improving staff wellbeing.
Technology is making this all possible. With the right solutions and printing capabilities, workers can seamlessly transition between the office and their remote working environment. For example, before 2020, video conferencing had already become a staple in workplace communication, connecting colleagues around the world, but under pandemic working conditions its usage increased dramatically to facilitate everyday meetings that could not be done face-to-face.
Reap the benefits
With so many opportunities to meet sustainability goals through incremental steps, it’s important to remember why they will remain so valuable over the next decade. A report published in 2020 found that 80 per cent of Europeans think big companies and industry are not doing enough to help the environment – suggesting that businesses who strive to make a positive difference can attract customers, while those who don’t may lose them.
Taking action on sustainability can also increase the chances of attracting and retaining talent. Some 26 per cent of UK workers said they would accept a lower salary to work for a sustainable organisation, while half of those surveyed said they would consider declining a job offer from a company with harmful practices.
A 2020 survey on the opinions of millennials across 43 countries found that the proportion who thought ‘reducing its impact on the environment’ is something their employer is doing well (61 per cent) was 22 per cent higher among those who intend to stay in their jobs for five or more years compared than those expecting to move on fairly soon.
Sustainability for businesses today is less about ‘if’ and more about ‘how’. The good news is that by working on the details and making small changes, businesses can make a significant impact. All it takes is the first step forward.
Mai Youssef is the, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services Director – Canon Middle East and Canon Central and North Africa
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