In light of the fact that the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Bill will become legally enforceable in the near future, data protection has never been more important. However, many organisations have focused their efforts on protecting data stored on their servers and have not included notebooks, PCs and even mobile data storage media into a comprehensive data protection strategy.
These devices have always been more difficult to protect, and as a result are often forgotten. Given the mobile nature of much of today’s workforce, this oversight could see organisations falling foul of the POPI Act and facing the penalties of non-compliance. An even greater concern is the possibility of confidential and sensitive corporate data in the public domain after a notebook is lost or stolen.
Beachhead Solutions from local service provider Altonet offers the ideal solution to protecting data at the source, on hard drives, flash drives and even optical drives. These innovative first-in-class encryption and security tools deliver ultimate protection, access control and rights management to protect data on PCs and mass storage media.
“One of the principles of protection of personal information as outlined in the POPI bill states that security measures need to be taken to protect personal information against loss, damage and unlawful access.
“And POPI does not only apply to human resources or sales information, but any data that could contain information relating to race, gender, age, health and so on, the personal opinions of a person, confidential correspondence, even data which contains a person’s e-mail address of telephone number. This means that POPI applies practically unilaterally to any business in any sector,” says Gareth Tudor, CEO of Altonet.
“The penalties of non-compliance are applicable to both companies and individuals deemed to be responsible for data breaches. For organisations the penalties include payment of damages to civil class actions and fines of up to R10-million.
“For the individual, the consequences include jail sentences of up to 10 years, personal fines and even being fired. POPI is not something that any business can afford to take lightly, and one of the biggest challenges involved in securing data is ensuring that data which is mobile and liable to loss or theft is adequately taken care of,” he adds.
Beachhead Solutions enforce encryption of data and provide a platform to manage security policies across PCs, notebooks and portable data storage devices, including external hard drives, flash drives, CDs and DVDs. From rights management and access control to compliance with data protection legislation, the software incorporates innovative and sophisticated security to ensure data is protected from the start.
The core Beachhead solution is a cloud-managed PC encryption and security tool which is licensed on a subscription basis. Beachhead Media is an additional plug-in module which provides tools that allow administrators to determine who may write data to what devices under what conditions, and ensures access control and encryption of this data when allowed.
Encrypted data is password protected, and following access management rules can be forced into quarantine should the device containing the data go missing. Drives can even be remotely wiped if necessary to prevent data falling into the wrong hands. These and other measures work to protect confidential information and enable POPI compliance.
“Ultimately an all encompassing data protection strategy is good business practice, but when POPI comes into effect this will also be legally enforceable. Furthermore, the loss of PCs and notebooks due to theft in South Africa is a stark reality.
“Organisations should therefore take steps as soon as possible to prevent their customer information falling into the wrong hands, and to ensure that all devices are protected, from PCs to storage media.
“Data is currency in today’s organisation, and it needs to be protected, not only for compliance purposes but to maintain the competitiveness and reputation of the organisation itself. Beachhead Solutions can help businesses to develop comprehensive data management and protection across their organisation,” Tudor concludes.