Technology, Solutions & Innovations - June 2021 Edition

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JUNE 2021

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Fostering a culture of innovation in South Africa

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nnovation. It’s at the heart of this magazine. It’s at the heart of many forward-thinking organisations too. Companies innovate to find smarter methods of doing things, to create new products and services, or to save money. But innovation can go beyond the companies engaging in it, spilling over into other organisations by introducing these new products or methods to the paradigm, enhancing competition and, ultimately, benefitting society. So it’s understandable that countries should do as much as possible to encourage research, development and innovation on their soil. In this issue of Technology, Solutions & Innovations, we chat to some smart people about the funding options available to companies wishing to engage in high-level R&D in South Africa, with a particular focus on the S11D tax incentive, which grants a significant tax break to businesses that are pushing the envelope (page 6). We also take a look at the effects of the global computer chip shortage on local industry (page 13). Still thinking globally, organisations are increasingly sourcing talent from and managing workforces across the world, and technology is helping them to ensure compliance and find the most cost-effective ways to manage remuneration (page 17). Just as conventional solutions have become more innovative, so too have nefarious ones: rising cybersecurity threats are increasingly compelling companies to adopt zero trust security systems (page 20). And finally, on page 25, we take a peek under the bonnet of your sedan at all the cool tech that’s making driving safer, more economical and, and more fun. Stay safe, stay sane and keep innovating. Anthony Sharpe, Editor



Picasso Headline, a proud division of Arena Holdings (Pty) Ltd Hill on Empire, 16 Empire Road (cnr Hillside Road), Parktown, Johannesburg, 2193 Postal Address: PO Box 12500, Mill Street, Cape Town, 8010 EDITORIAL Editor: Anthony Sharpe Content Manager: Raina Julies Contributors: Trevor Crighton, Thando Pato, Rodney Weidemann Copy Editor: Brenda Bryden Content Co-ordinator: Vanessa Payne Digital Editor: Stacey Visser DESIGN Head of Design: Jayne Macé-Ferguson Senior Designer: Mfundo Archie Ndzo Advert Designer: Bulelwa Sotashe Cover Images:, supplied SALES Project Manager: Tarin-Lee Watts Tel: +27 87 379 7119


Research and development R&D is expensive and risky, but these funding options can help


Fintech Innovative solutions can aid in managing distributed workforces


Components The global chip shortage has hit home, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better


Cybersecurity Zero trust security systems are a response to increasingly sophisticated threats



Automotive Navigation, safety, access and entertainment innovations heading your way

MANAGEMENT Management Accountant: Deidre Musha Business Manager: Lodewyk van der Walt General Manager, Magazines: Jocelyne Bayer

Copyright: Picasso Headline. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited material. Technology is published by Picasso Headline. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Picasso Headline. All advertisements/advertorials have been paid for and therefore do not carry any endorsement by the publisher.



PRODUCTION Production Editor: Shamiela Brenner Advertising Co-ordinator: Johan Labuschagne Subscriptions and Distribution: Fatima Dramat Printing: CTP Printers, Cape Town


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TARIN-LEE WATTS Business Development Specialist Tel: +27(0) 87 379 7119 Cell: +27(0) 79 504 7729 Email:

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THE OFTEN-OVERLOOKED SOURCES OF FUNDING Businesses seeking funding should consider alternative options such as the grants and tax incentives offered by government and philanthropists



tart-ups, SMMEs and large corporates in South Africa are faced with significant challenges, one of the most prominent being access to funding. The tried and tested options of debt and equity made available by investors, venture capitalists, private equity and lending institutions, come with significant hurdles before any funding is accessed. An often-overlooked source of funding exists in the form of grants and tax incentives made available by government, SARS and philanthropists. These funding options, while not often at the forefront of entrepreneurs’ minds, can offer a vital lifeline to those looking to get their businesses off the ground or unlock new offerings.

In South Africa, some of these grants and incentives available to innovative businesses include the s11D Tax Incentive and the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation as well as various offerings from the Technological Innovation Agency. The benefits under these programmes range from supercharged tax deductions of 150 per cent on qualifying expenditure through to matching cash grants and soft loans amounting to R5-million or more. The grants and incentives are even more lucrative when viewed as being part of a funding mix, together with traditional sources of financing. The challenges in accessing these grants and incentives lie in the lack of information and the administrative burden that regularly accompanies such applications – this is where a trusted advisor plays a critical role. Most government grants and tax incentives are only eligible for funding from the date of submission of an application – provided it is approved – resulting in it being critical to get an application right the first time to ensure that the grant and/or incentive value is maximised.

The grants and incentives are even more lucrative when viewed as being part of a funding mix, together with traditional sources of financing.


South Africa like many other countries around the globe has a goal of promoting and investing in businesses involved in creating innovative products and services. As a result, there are numerous grants and incentives available to companies doing R&D in anything from software development to engineering and pharmaceutical work.

Each of the grants and incentives is unique and independently managed, however, they may be applied for and obtained simultaneously. For example, a business could obtain a s11D Tax Incentive to reduce their tax bill while having the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation fund up to 85 per cent and/or R5-million of the project risk-free.

While the monetary value of grants and tax incentives is obvious, there is also another equally important but more subtle value that these grants and incentives bring to the table. For starters, the fact that an application for the s11D Tax Incentive has been approved means that your company has passed the benchmarking stage (by an expert in the relevant field) and has been deemed to be truly innovative. This should give external investors comfort, knowing that their investee company’s product would be cutting-edge technology. A second significant benefit is the risk-sharing element of a cash grant, which reduces the investment required and does not dilute any existing shareholding. At Catalyst Solutions, we utilise our skills, experience, and proprietary knowledge to assess, obtain and manage the optimum funding mix for your business. Our clients and stakeholders range from numerous JSE Top 40 multinational businesses, to leading SMMEs and start-ups. We combine our expertise and your passion for innovation and success to open up a world of new funding opportunities.

➔ Scan this QR code to go directly to the company website


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he most recent South African National Survey of Research and Experimental Development found gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) declined 5 per cent from R38.725-billion in 2017/18 to R36.784-billion in 2018/19, the first such decline since the 2009/10 period. R&D intensity – GERD as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) – is down to just 0.75 per cent, well below the global average of 2.27 per cent. The thing is, R&D is expensive and a bit risky; you don’t necessarily know if your investments will pay off. A little financial

Local investment in innovative research and development is slipping. ANTHONY SHARPE investigates available funding options for companies that want to push the envelope

assistance is a welcome boon in this space, so what’s out there? “There are several innovation-related incentives and grants on offer in South Africa,” says Justin Shein, director of Catalyst Solutions, which helps companies access these incentives and grants. “The grants we most frequently deal with are the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation, through which the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) offers R5-million cash as long as you meet their criteria, and some grants or soft loans made available by the Technology Innovation Agency.” Competition for grants is fierce, however, says Shein. “Even if you’re innovative, the DTIC has a finite budget, so you’re not guaranteed to get a grant.” Far more accessible, says Shein, is the incentive provided for in S11D of the Income Tax Act. The incentive, jointly delivered by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), National Treasury and SARS, allows for a 150 per cent tax deduction on dedicated R&D expenditure in South Africa. “To put it simply, if you spend R1-million on R&D, you could reduce your tax bill by R140 000.

“We make potential clients aware of what’s available, but once they are it’s not a straightforward process,” explains Shein. “There’s lots of admin and details to address if you don’t want to face penalties from SARS. When it comes to incentives and grants, we help companies put their best foot forward.”

LOCAL INNOVATION, GLOBAL NOVELTY Christel Wolmarans, director of private sector R&D promotions at the DSI, says this type of incentive carries clout in terms of tax design because it’s neutral. “We want anyone doing real R&D to apply. It’s not focused on advancing any particular sector; it’s focused purely on scientific or technological R&D.” Wolmarans acknowledges that R&D is risky. “Private companies may not be keen to spend their money on this, because they don’t know if they’ll reach their desired outcome. We want to incentivise them to invest in R&D because there’s a likelihood that they’ll develop new or improved products, services or processes. In so doing they will grow, but there’s also a positive spillover to the rest of the economy, which makes South Africa more competitive.”



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She says applications are assessed by a panel of technical experts, then presented to the R&D tax incentive adjudication and monitoring committee, comprising members from DSI, SARS and National Treasury, which then makes a recommendation to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. Key to judging applications, she says, is the definition of R&D in the Income Tax Act: “It’s defined as systematic investigation or systematic experimental activities of which the result is uncertain, for the purpose of, among other, creating or discovering non-obvious knowledge, inventions as defined by the Patents Act, functional designs as defined in the Designs Act, and which is innovative in terms of its functional features and so forth.” There’s a high standard for applications, says Wolmarans. “We’re looking for global, not just local, novelty. Christel Has what you’re trying to Wolmarans do been done before?” Most applications come from the manufacturing sector, followed by financial intermediation, real estate and business services. “The highest approval rating is in agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing.” It’s also important to note that the incentive is based on a preapproval system, having changed from a retrospective one back in 2012. “We receive the applications when companies are still planning their R&D,” says Wolmarans. Contrasting the South African tax incentive with systems where governments give cash back to companies for performing R&D, she says various considerations make this not viable in South Africa including fiscal affordability.

BRICS R&D: HOW DOES SA STACK UP? According to the latest UNESCO data, South Africa ranks fourth among the BRICS nations in terms of R&D intensity, spending 0.75 per cent of GDP on R&D. Brazil spends 1.3 per cent, Russia 1.1 per cent, India 0.7 per cent, and China 2 per cent.

BEFORE SUNSET changes brought about by persistent and sophisticated attacks and external events. R&D is the enabler of innovation, enabling us to focus on creating new ways of serving our customers by continuously improving our product offering.” After one of LAWTrust’s sister companies used the S11D incentive scheme in the past for their development efforts in the field of electronic design and manufacturing, they approached Catalyst to assist them with their application, which Hlabathi describes as intensive. “We had to satisfy the following main criteria: It has to be a scientific or technological project. There must be an uncertainty of a scientific or technological nature that needs to be solved. We needed to demonstrate a clear, significant or innovative improvement that the project aims to achieve, which must be an improvement or innovation to existing scientific knowledge.”



One company that has benefitted from the S11D incentive is LAWTrust, a specialist cybersecurity company that provides digital trust services. “R&D is critical in our space as the cybersecurity area is very dynamic,” says CIO Katekani Hlabathi. “New threats emerge constantly and we need to keep up with all the


Hlabathi advises prospective applicants to employ a professional services company to help them navigate the complexities of the application. “They should also ensure that the incentive is going towards research that will benefit the company and larger society as a whole. There’s a lot of reporting expected as well, so they should keep accurate records of their research and development activities.” Hlabathi says the tax savings have allowed the company to put more funds into the developmental side of things, and more time into researching more innovative solutions.


Companies interested in taking advantage of the S11D incentive should get their applications in as soon as possible. “When government promulgates such an incentive, it usually comes with a sunset clause: a projected end date,” explains Shein. “That date is 30 September 2022.” Shein adds that there’s much debate going on among users, consultants, and SARS and the DSI around analysing the benefits of the incentive. “Our view is that this is South Africa’s only innovation-focused tax incentive, so it’s fundamental to our innovation landscape.” He says there’s a lot of innovation in this country that people don’t necessarily know about. “Several companies claiming the incentive are doing cutting-edge research – growing drought- and disease-resistant crops, for example. We fear that without the incentive, there will be a massive decline in the amount of innovation that takes place here. That could be to the long-term detriment of our economy.” The 2021 Budget Review states that the R&D tax incentive will be reviewed, says Wolmarans. “National Treasury and the DSI will soon publish a discussion paper inviting public comment on the future of the incentive to be followed by a public workshop. We encourage all those who are interested to provide comments once it is published.”

Katekani Hlabathi

South Africa’s largest R&D expenditure is in the field of communicable diseases like TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria, at R5.1-billion in 2018/19 (up R484-million from the previous year). Meanwhile, environmental R&D increased R268-million to R3.08billion. Interestingly, however, space science registered the largest year-on-year increase – up R588-million to a total of R888-million. Source: South African National Survey of Research and Experimental Development


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Providing Fibre O

for Everyone

pen access fibre network operator (FNO) Evotel has recently expanded its focus to include more areas and schools in celebration of the growth it has achieved over the past six years. This is in addition to reconfirming its mission – bringing fibre into every home in South Africa. The company has become synonymous with its Fibre For Everyone slogan and endeavours to deliver uncompromised services to all its customers countrywide, providing fast fibre for everyone’s benefit. “We want people to know that we mean business and we’re ready to make an even bigger impact,” says Bradley Bekker, head of Business Development at Evotel. Evotel remains a trusted fibre network provider and continues to place its customers first. “At Evotel, we have always taken care of our customers and deliver fast reliable fibre with the betterment of communities at heart,” continues Bekker. “We believe that the world opens up for anyone that has fast access to the internet, and by providing our fibre infrastructure we are confident that we are making a difference for the better. “Over the past year and a half, the company has expanded its reach with a focus on smaller towns and nonmetropoles, often forgotten by the large FNOs. “We are responding to the needs of smaller communities around South Africa that also require fibre connections and have come to their rescue by not only providing fast and reliable fibre internet connections, but also investing in the overall health and upliftment of these communities,” says Bekker.

SCHOOLS Evotel strongly supports education and youth development. In 2019, the company started its Schools Programme whereby it provides any school that falls under its network coverage area with free fibre internet access.




Fibre network operator Evotel is committed to giving everyone access to a stable fibre network

Bradley Bekker

“The main idea behind this initiative is to provide learners with the ability to be successful,” explains Bekker. “They are, after all, the country’s future leaders and their success will be of benefit to everyone.” This programme saves schools in the region of R24 000 a year on leasing and running a fibre line – money that can be invested elsewhere.

INVESTING LOCALLY Evotel has further focused its attention on the overall development of smaller towns by investing in the wellbeing of these towns and employing 30 per cent locals to assist with the fibre installations. “We believe in helping people and therefore decided that with the roll out of our fibre networks we would employ local contractors to build the network infrastructure and share in the wealth. It is one of our ways of investing in the community and the town’s overall development,” says Bekker. Though the fibre installation project provides locals with short-term employment only, Evotel is going a step further and is training these local contractors, providing them with the necessary skills to service the Evotel fibre infrastructure in the future – an opportunity for locals to have continued employment with a regular income. “It is time for a change and for us to disrupt the fibre world,” concludes Bekker. “We are making it easier for anybody to get access to fibre and will continue to deliver a stable and uncompromised fibre network to all South Africans.”

The Schools Programme is based on the same principle of laying fibre to build smart cities, however, in this case, it is to establish “smart schools” – the importance of which became clear during the COVID-19-related national lockdown when efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus required schools to close.

“We believe that the world opens up for anyone that has fast access to the internet, and by providing our fibre infrastructure we are confident that we are making a difference for the better.” – Bradley Bekker

➔ Scan this QR code to go directly to the Evotel website. For more information: 0860 386 835


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Technology now enables companies to source employees from all over the world. RODNEY WEIDEMANN finds out how businesses can easily manage staff on a global scale


lthough globalisation is not a new concept, its pace has been significantly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with the technological leap forward resulting from the lockdown, which is forcing many to work from home, this has enabled organisations to create networks of widely distributed employees. However, while businesses can now source sought-after skills from all over the world, hiring employees from a different country can create challenges around compliance, contracts and even payments in the local currency. Technological innovations designed to solve this, therefore, need to be flexible and agile. According to Lesley-Anne Gatter, head of people at Investec, there has been a paradigm shift in organisations’ management of people, moving away from the idea of controlling them towards accepting a collaborative approach to work and higher levels of individualism.




“Another issue that is paramount is the notion of flexibility,” says Gatter. “These companies are learning that it is about redefining time. In a global workforce, you don’t pay people for their time, but rather for their talent, output and value contribution, although this is a more complex approach. It is also a challenge to the accepted hierarchy in an organisation, since remote workers operate in a less structured and linear way than office workers, preferring a flatter structure focused on delivery rather than executive leaders.” When it comes to fintechs, Gatter says that Investec usually views them as “co-opetition”, particularly as the growth of this type of remote engagement with workers means large enterprises need smaller, more nimble fintechs to provide the solutions to make such engagement effective. “Remember, they are small and agile enough to remain nimble in the face of rapid change, so their solutions are ideal for large enterprises that are less able to change direction suddenly.”

ADDRESSING COMPLEXITY Lawrence Diamond, head of Deel Africa, a fintech developer of such solutions, explains that there are many challenges to overcome, including those of corporate culture, accountability and work-life balance. “The



problem we solve for is: how do we grant people the ability to work for global firms in a compliant manner? To begin with, we focus on removing the barriers to entry, enabling enterprises to access talent more easily from anywhere.” Diamond says there is huge complexity in this, encompassing tax, legal compliance and employment issues relating to specific geographies, to name a few. “Deel has had to do the hard yards beforehand, studying these details and integrating the various compliance challenges into the solution, to make life easy for the client.” He explains that Deel has adopted a template approach that can relatively easily be customised to suit specific client requirements, depending on the contract in question. Since Deel operates across 150 nations, the company has to update these templates continuously to reflect changes that occur across these disparate countries. “For us, the key lies in intelligent process automation. Through the application of certain rules, we can determine specific risks associated with individual countries and more clearly understand the trends. This allows us to tweak our solutions to reduce client pain points and make it simple to scale into a new geography,” concludes Diamond.

Key functions that are impacted by globally distributed remote workers include cross-border payments, payroll, labour issues, tax laws and compliance.



According to the annual African Tech Startups Funding Report 2020, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt remain Africa’s “big four” when it comes to funding, accounting for 77 per cent of funded start-ups and 89.2 per cent of total investment in 2020. Overall, new funding records were also set in 2020 as 397 African start-ups raised R9.67-billion in total funding. The biggest growth story in Africa last year was Ethiopia, which saw five start-ups raise R31.69-million, an increase of more than 9 000 per cent from the single R344 000 recorded in 2019. However, R27.5-million of the 2020 total went to one software development and training company, Gebeya. Morocco, Senegal, Rwanda, Ivory Coast and South Africa saw the next biggest increases in funding between 2019 and 2020.


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THE CHIPS ARE DOWN The global shortage of semiconductor chips is likely to get worse before it gets better. RODNEY WEIDEMANN looks at what’s gone wrong



emiconductor chips are the almost unseen, integral electronic pieces essential in making the world tick. Found in virtually any modern device or appliance, more than a trillion chips are manufactured each year. However, a perfect storm of difficulties has led to a growing global shortage of these vital components. Between the COVID-19 pandemic that severely impacted the workplace (while at the same time leading to massive purchases of handheld devices, workstations and gaming consoles) and the United States government sanctions on Chinese technology companies, demand has now far exceeded supply. Mustek, one of South Africa’s largest distributors of personal computers and complementary ICT products, says that the shortages have caused a ripple effect across all industry verticals. This has resulted in a shortage of everything from laptops and tablets to printing and scanning equipment as well as several peripherals, among other products. Mustek CEO David Kan says that in more than 30 years of working in the IT industry, he has never experienced or even witnessed such shortages. “Pricing has gone through the roof as a result of these shortages. A good example would be how certain semiconductor products, such as display controllers for TVs or gaming, have seen prices increase more than thirty-fold. An even bigger challenge is that even if you are willing to pay the prices given, there is still no guarantee of supply. Worst of all, the shortages are not on a specific product, but range across all products.” Kan adds that the estimated time of product arrival is consistently unclear and the goalposts keep shifting. This results in suppliers having to forecast proactively with Mustek, leading to extreme frustration for many customers. “We have reached a point where price is no longer the determining factor; simple product availability is,” says Kan. “Customers are having to procure product that is fit for purpose

and taking what they can get, not what they ideally want. Fulfilment is an absolute priority, and a lot of upselling and downselling is being experienced.”

CLOSER TO HOME Although unable to comment globally, Roberto Alunni, associate research director for Middle East, Turkey and Africa at the Industrial Development Corporation, indicates that on the demand side for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the need for IT devices spiked at the beginning of the pandemic. “This sudden, unexpected increase in demand for end-user computing devices led to vendors and IT channels finding it difficult to fulfil orders in MEA.” Asked how it has impacted South Africa so far, Alunni notes that there are shortages of IT devices across most technologies. While there has been year-on-year growth across several products, this has been limited by the availability of products, indicating that the

growth could potentially have been larger. He adds that the shortages are expected to continue in the short- to medium-term. “Companies that had invested in digital transformation – especially in workflow automation and digitisation – have been the Roberto Alunni most resilient,” says Alunni. “As a result of increased flexibility in accessing workflows remotely through different cloud-based platforms, these players have been less dependent on specific enduser computing devices.” He adds that the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. “It is difficult to estimate how long it will take to resolve supply and logistics issues, but demand continues to remain high at the moment in the MEA region, and continued shortages are expected for most of 2021, at the very least.”

“EVEN IF YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICES GIVEN, THERE IS STILL NO GUARANTEE OF SUPPLY. WORST OF ALL, THE SHORTAGES ARE NOT ON A SPECIFIC PRODUCT, BUT RANGE ACROSS ALL PRODUCTS.” – DAVID KAN THE TOP THREE CHIP PRODUCERS GLOBALLY Intel Corporation is an integrated device manufacturer that designs and manufactures motherboard chipsets, network interface controllers and integrated circuits for a variety of computer and technology companies. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is one of the world’s largest dedicated independent pure-play

semiconductor foundries. Pure-play foundries only fabricate integrated circuits and do not have any in-house design capabilities. Many semiconductor companies outsource the manufacturing of their components to TSMC. Qualcomm a global semiconductor and telecommunications company that designs and markets wireless communications products and services. Its Snapdragon chipsets are found in many mobile devices. Source: Investopedia


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TOP CYBERSECURITY THREATS FOR 2021 LUKAS VAN DER MERWE of Gijima cites these as the greatest risks to watch out for this year.

THANDO PATO investigates how zero trust security methods can help to streamline, integrate and automate an organisation’s security approach


iven the increasing PROS AND CONS OF THE SYSTEM complexity of networks, Not all zero trust applications the number of employees are the same, says Nyosi; a and third parties security system is built around an accessing them, and organisation’s needs. “Zero trust the ever-growing sophistication operations can be tailor-made and frequency of cyberattacks, to work within the requirements the popularity of zero trust and existing technology security is growing around the implementations of organisations. globe. This model was first Every organisation is at a stage Mbulelo Nyosi introduced to the market in 2010, in its security maturity – a set says Lukas van der Merwe, specialist sales of phases we use to assess the readiness executive for security at Gijima. He explains of an organisation – [and based on that] we that, unlike traditional security systems that work with them to develop a sound plan of work by protecting an organisation’s data via implementation. Such an implementation would a firewall that is bypassed when a recognised be assessed against six factors: identities; internal username and password are entered, devices; applications; data; infrastructure zero trust security works on the basis that and networks.” no one inside or outside the organisation Van der Merwe says implementing zero trust should be trusted. It ensures that stringent security measures “is not a quick fix and should security measures are put in place to verify and be an integral part of an organisation’s overall authenticate any user before granting access. digital and business strategy”. “The zero trust security approach assumes Like any security system, a zero trust security breach and verifies every and all requests as system has its advantages and disadvantages. if they are from an untrusted external source,” Van der Merwe and Nyosi say the advantages says Mbulelo Nyosi, cloud include a network less vulnerable to infiltration, infrastructure consultant building strong and sound policies around at Altron Karabina. “It user identification, access to resources, and relies on the belief that you increased data segmentation and protection. should never trust; always The potential disadvantages include increased verify.” He says this also device management, a wider range of users affects access. Whereas to manage and, most importantly, a cultural traditionally, employees shift within the organisation around IT, users might have access to entire and data management, which will not be servers holding sensitive achieved overnight. information, in a zero trust system a user’s access to data is limited and often determined by the scope of Lukas van der Merwe their job. LUKAS VAN DER MERWE

CLOUD SECURITY Cloud configuration is a risk for organisations and presents several security challenges that are exacerbated by remote working as employees are storing or sharing sensitive data on questionable public cloud platforms. SOCIAL ENGINEERING This is when criminals engineer strategies that require an end-user to hand over sensitive information or login credentials. Van der Merwe says that social engineering tactics are growing and the masterminds are getting increasingly clever in providing context that dupes users. PHISHING This is an all-time favourite delivery method for malware and other variations of malicious content. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented more opportunities for phishers to target unsuspecting users.


• There has been a 300 per cent increase in identity attacks in the last year. • Weak, default or stolen passwords account for 81 per cent of data breaches. • There are around 7 billion internet-connected devices worldwide, not including laptops and cellphones. • There is a skills shortage of 3 million skilled cybersecurity professionals around the globe.

Source: Altron Karabina




Zero trust: What you need to know

RANSOMWARE Ransomware is when criminals hold data to ransom using encryption or by locking users out of their devices. Van der Merwe says that while the frequency of attacks may appear to be low, the sophistication of the methods and software used has increased.


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Audi Disney


Honda e side mirror

While drivers may not be getting any smarter, our cars certainly are. TREVOR CRIGHTON sizes up some tech innovations heading for the market


echnology moves fast in the automotive space: the first smart key fob was introduced in 1998, reverse cameras have been around since Infiniti offered one in 2002 and airbags have been standard on all cars (in the United States, at least) since 1998. So what’s coming in the next 20 years?

SAFETY Rear-view and side mirrors are set to be replaced by screens, fed by cameras that put exterior footage on a dashboard screen. This will reduce the drag produced by exterior mirrors, minimise blind spots and provide a clearer view in bad weather. Standard on the dinky Honda e, they’re currently a R25 000 option on Audi’s e-tron. Intelligent tyres are next, with Continental’s ContiSense system built around the development of electrically conductive rubber compounds that enable electric signals Dr Martyn Davies to be sent from a sensor in the tyre to a receiver in the car. Rubber-based sensors continuously monitor tread depth and temperature. If anything penetrates the tread, a circuit in the tyre is closed, triggering an immediate warning for the driver. The tyre design also features three different tread zones for driving on wet, slippery or dry surfaces. Depending on the tyre pressure and rim width, different tread zones are activated and the tyre adopts the relevant “footprint”.


Audi e-tron side mirrors

fossil to synthetic fuels, particularly in high-end performance cars where people can and will pay a premium (the fuels are more expensive to produce) to retain the feel and sound of a combustion engine.”

ENTERTAINMENT Car makers are attempting to integrate more entertainment tech for passengers – and drivers, with an eye on autonomous vehicles of the future. An Audi/Disney partnership demonstrated at CES 2020 saw passengers using VR headsets shooting lasers at asteroids and drones and flying through space with Marvel’s Rocket Raccoon guiding them. Iron Man popped up too, flying alongside the car. The “real world” influences the VR world: if the car turns so does the rocket ship and sudden braking impacts the game.

ACCESS Futurist John Sanei believes that much of our future interaction with tech and brands will be based on the Spotify model. “Spotify curates, matches and facilitates our needs for $5 a month. I believe we’ll apply that to everything: clothing, food, cars and more. That level of intelligence, accessibility and ease will become the future,” he says. Sanei likens modern vehicles to “cellphones with wheels”, and Davies has similar feelings, especially on the back of rumours that

“THE COMBUSTION ENGINE ISN’T SUDDENLY GOING TO GO AWAY AFTER 2030 – CERTAIN NICHE MODELS NEED TO HAVE COMBUSTION ENGINES.” – DR MARTYN DAVIES Apple is set to enter the automotive market with a vehicle. “Huawei is already selling cars at what used to be cellphone showrooms in Shenzen,” says Davies.


John Sanei

“Tech like that deployed in Apple AirTags is the future of traffic, with communication across devices helping us move into the autonomous vehicle world more easily,” says Sanei. Intercommunication between cars will see them passing information to each other, improving safety on the roads for a start. This intercommunication could also see vehicles “speaking” to traffic lights and roads, and able to make changes depending on weather, vehicle conditions, proximity to service stations and navigation deviations.


FUELS Speaking about the Deloitte 2021 Global Automotive Consumer Study findings for South Africa, Dr Martyn Davies, managing director of emerging markets and Africa at Deloitte, says that the interest in owning fossil fuel-powered cars is rising on the back of COVID-19. “The combustion engine isn’t suddenly going to go away after 2030 – certain niche models need to have combustion engines, even in the face of rising interest in electric vehicles,” he says. “Where we see a transition is from


South African consumer interest in purchasing internal combustion-engined cars is up to 77 per cent from 2020’s figure of 62 per cent. Fifteen per cent are interested in hybrid electric vehicles and 5 per cent in battery-powered vehicles, down from 24 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, compared to 2020. Seventy per cent of consumers agree that their major concern in the case of autonomous vehicles is that the car could be hacked and their safety endangered, while 56 per cent believe that wirelessly connected vehicles offer benefits. Source: Deloitte 2021 Global Automotive Consumer Study


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DATA PROTECTION Data commoditisation has spurred new requirements for its protection


outh African businesses are facing an ever-growing threat to the security of their data as criminal sophistication increases and the number of possible points of access to networks grow, making it essential for organisations to review their approach to the protection of their data. Organisations have for many years taken the security and protection of their data seriously and implemented backup and recovery solutions or business continuity plans that incorporate data recovery in a time of crisis. However, in the face of highly advanced ransomware or malware attacks, these solutions are no longer enough. As data has become monetised, businesses need to evolve their approach by incorporating a clear resilience plan that will help them reduce the risk of vulnerability exploitation and business downtime in the face of a breach or disaster. For so many organisations, especially in the South African context, the idea that they could be held to ransom for their data is a concept that seems so far removed from reality. However, the reality is that South African companies are at a far higher risk than they believe. According to international cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky, South Africa was the third




most targeted country globally for ransomware attacks last year. This is backed by the data provided by Sophos, another security vendor, that showed that 24 per cent of businesses in South Africa had been hit by a ransomware attack during 2020 and only 24 per cent of those organisations were able to restore data from their current systems.

TECHNOLOGY AND A NEW APPROACH These figures illustrate that even with technology that provides a recovery point or sophisticated disaster recovery solutions, some criminal activities have not yet been accounted for. A cyber-recovery solution is a technology that could assist businesses in not only preventing an attack on critical data, but also enable them to recover quickly from any attack. GlassHouse implements Dell’s Cyber Recovery Services (CRS), part of the PowerProtect suite, to provide customers with several key ways to protect their data. The first is that the data is “air-gapped”, meaning data is not exposed to an external network environment, and second, it maintains an immutable copy of your data. The solution accomplishes this by using sophisticated and intelligent analytics to scan your data, identifying anomalies,

The value of an organisation’s critical data will only grow over time, and businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they mitigate the risk in the same way as any other asset on their balance sheet.

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Mike Styer, country manager of GlassHouse South Africa

and preventing them from passing into your “air-gapped” data copy. While having these technologies is a step in the right direction to protecting your data, there are two other factors that businesses must consider within their resilience planning. The first is ensuring that IT security is no longer solely responsible for the prevention of cyber-attacks. This must now become the joint domain of data management, IT security and business risk and compliance functions and they must support each other to provide true resilience. The second key factor is that resilience must have board-level decision-making. The value of data is such that it could affect both businesses and their customers and once a breach has occurred, a company’s board must make some difficult decisions. The value of an organisation’s critical data will only grow over time, and businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they mitigate the risk in the same way as any other asset on their balance sheet.

➔ Scan this QR code to go directly to the Glasshouse website. For more information: 083 212 4647

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