Muhammad Ali, managing director of WWISE
By now most people know that artificial intelligence tools are based on machine learning mechanisms collating large amounts of information.
The integrity of data, information and controls related to confidentiality are the key aspects in how an organisation manages its governance risk and compliance. The organisation, in turn, is held accountable by the relevant country’s
Accordingly, it has become critical for every organisation to safeguard against its data being compromised. South African companies increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs of cyber criminals.
The State of Ransomware in South Africa report, released by IT security company Sophos earlier this year, reveals that 78% of local companies experienced ransomware attacks in a 12-month period.
In almost half the number of instances, system vulnerabilities were exploited by criminals. Credentials that were comprised also ranked as a major cause of attacks.
Cloud systems present their own challenges. Their ever-changing nature makes it difficult to be on top of whether data is being stored correctly, with the result that loopholes can be exploited.
A recent survey by cybersecurity software solutions company Check Point of 1 000 cybersecurity professionals showed that misconfigurations concerned almost 60% of respondents, as these left organisations vulnerable to attacks.
Another problem is that of multiple security solutions to keep criminals at bay. While well-intentioned on the part of a company, too many cloud security measures can lead to confusion and ultimately put the systems at risk.
The Check Point report recommends that organisations address cloud security challenges proactively.
The development of tools like cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPPS) will certainly assist this process.
These platforms perform an all-one-one monitoring function that protects cloud-native applications across development and production.
Another effective way to shore up cyber defences is by adhering to International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) guidelines, specifically ISO 27017, a tool that meets the requirements of entities providing cloud-based solutions.
The standard includes world-class methodologies and guidelines to secure the cloud services offered and is an extension of the ISO/IEC 27001:2022 standard.
While Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud dominate the cloud services space, software service providers running Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) should also consider this standard.
What is important to note is that ISO management systems should not be viewed in a negative light.
Instead, they should be regarded as an investment that protects a business from reputational damage and lawsuits in the event of a cyberattack or data breach.
For this reason, it is essential that qualified experts are tasked with implementation of the system. Skilled standardisation practitioners not only reduce the timeframe for implementation but also lower the risk of failures and costs associated with poor service.
With the assistance of these experts, governance is created within an organisation. A successful roll-out will align with strategic direction and create employee and user awareness.
It also will assist in creating client assurance and improving supplier performance, which will reduce losses and generate more revenue as the standards are often a requirement set out in tenders and client onboarding processes.
IT businesses, software solutions companies and any provider managing confidential information should adhere to the standard, particularly in light of the Protection of Personal Information Act in South Africa and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Companies would do well to review articles and join discussion forums about standardisation and how it streamlines processes in the short-, medium- and long-term. They should also note the repercussions of not implementing ISO 27017.
Landsdowne Property Group, Where Real Estate Dreams Become Reality.
Back in 2006, Landsdowne Property Group took its first steps into the world of real estate. It all started with a spark of inspiration from the company’s founder and current CEO, Jonathan Kohler. Fast forward to today, and this South African gem has blossomed into a national sensation with offices spanning across Gauteng, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.
What sets Landsdowne apart isn’t just its impressive portfolio; it’s the human touch it brings to the real estate game. You see, at Landsdowne, the Directors and Shareholders are not distant figures in a corporate hierarchy – they’re right there in the thick of things, day in and day out. When a service hiccup pops up, it’s not a faceless entity handling it; it’s the owners themselves who dive in headfirst, ensuring that issues are sorted, pronto.
With a whopping 15 years in the industry, Landsdowne Property Group isn’t just experienced; they’re seasoned pros. Their vast wealth of knowledge, a web of invaluable industry connections, and the tools of the trade make them your ideal partner to nurture and grow your real estate investments.
So, if you’re on the hunt for a real estate partner with personality, a dedicated team, and a CEO who sets the gold standard, look no further than Landsdowne Property Group. Your real estate dreams are about to become reality, courtesy of this remarkable human-centric enterprise.
RTMS auditors in bid to raise safety awareness amongst truck drivers in South Africa
South Africa faces a pressing road safety challenge, with a disproportionate number of accidents involving heavy vehicles, particularly trucks. In an effort to address this issue and promote safer road conditions, it is imperative to raise safety awareness among truck drivers across the country.
To promote safe driving amongst heavy vehicle truck drivers, certifications solutions company JC Auditors (JCA) will participate in a series of road shows in collaboration with industry partners, dedicated to raising awareness among heavy vehicle truck drivers and promoting safe driving behaviours.
The first event will be hosted at the Highway Junction Truck Stop on 4 October 2023, targeting an audience of 2 000 drivers.
During this event, drivers will not only be treated to delightful surprises and giveaways, but will also receive a crucial safety message emphasising the importance of responsible driving. The Highway Junction team are spearheading this event, with the JCA team providing driver safety resources and support.
For the second year, JCA will partner with the Reinhardt Transport Group (RTG) for their “Safer Roads” road shows, which will take place in various locations, including Komatipoort, Steelpoort, Rustenburg, Brits and Richards Bay.
This collaboration will enable the dissemination of vital road safety information to a broader audience of truck drivers across these high-volume routes.
In addition to these road shows, JCA will host its third Annual Driver Day at Highway Junction, which will encompass driver health checks and the highly successful one-on-one driver motivational talks.
This event further recognises the challenges faced by truck drivers and aims to express appreciation for their demanding profession. Each driver will receive a token of gratitude as a gesture of recognition for their commitment to one of the most challenging jobs around.
“The JCA team strongly encourages all stakeholders in the road safety ecosystem to consider and implement initiatives that elevate the professional status of drivers,” says Managing Director Oliver Naidoo. “By collectively addressing the issues faced by truck drivers and promoting safer driving practices, we can work towards improving South Africa’s lamentable road safety record.”
JCA is committed to fostering a culture of road safety and believes that these road shows, in collaboration with industry partners, are a meaningful step towards making our roads safer for everyone.
“South Africa’s trucking industry plays a pivotal role in the nation’s economy, facilitating the transportation of goods that are essential for daily life,” continues Naidoo. “The significant increase in freight volumes proportionately increases the safety risk exposure, hence the need for greater awareness and adherence to safety protocols among truck drivers.”
In this regard, Naidoo highlights some key factors the road freight sector should consider:
High Accident Rates
South Africa has one of the highest road crash rates in the world, and a significant proportion of these accidents involve heavy vehicles. The consequences of these accidents are often devastating, resulting in loss of life, injury, and damage to property.
Road accidents involving trucks have a substantial economic impact, causing delays in supply chains, increased insurance costs, and damage to infrastructure. These costs ultimately affect businesses, consumers, and the overall economy.
Truck driving is a demanding profession, often requiring long hours on the road, exposure to adverse weather conditions, and significant physical and mental strain. Ensuring the well-being of truck drivers is not only a safety concern, but also a matter of basic human rights. The increasing truck crime statistics and social unrest incidents make the situation even worse.
To address these challenges, there is a growing need for comprehensive safety awareness programs targeting truck drivers. These initiatives should include:
Education & Training
Providing truck drivers with access to training programs that focus on safe driving practices, defensive driving techniques, and understanding road conditions. This should not be purely classroom based which has limited impact, but should use personal, innovative, and consistent means of engaging with the drivers to bring about the desired shift in safety culture.
Mental & Physical Health Support
Offering resources and services that address the mental and physical health of truck drivers, including stress management, nutrition, and regular health check-ups, especially for drivers with chronic illnesses.
Implementing advanced safety technologies such as collision avoidance systems, fatigue monitoring, and using telematics data to enhance driver safety.
Encouraging collaboration between government agencies, the trucking industry, and local communities, to create a collective commitment to road safety.
Recognition & Appreciation
Recognising and appreciating the contributions of truck drivers who undertake one of the toughest jobs in the country, often under challenging conditions.
Voestalpine VAE SA (VAESA) Awarded a Prestigious Three-Year Contract by Transnet Freight Rail for Turnout Sets
Leading provider of railway infrastructure solutions, VAESA, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a significant three-year contract by Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) to manufacture and supply TFR’s demand for turnout sets and components annually.
This collaboration is a testament to VAESA’s commitment to delivering high-quality railway products and services that enhance South Africa’s rail network.
TFR’s decision to award VAESA with this game-changing contract from a rail network infrastructure perspective, underscores the company’s reputation for excellence and innovation within the railway industry.
“We are delighted to have been selected by TFR for this significant contract,” says Pulane Tshabalala Kingston, VAESA’s Chief Executive Officer.
“This partnership between ourselves and TFR aligns perfectly with our mission to provide cutting-edge railway solutions that contribute to South Africa’s transportation infrastructure progress. Our team is dedicated to delivering products of the highest quality that meet the stringent standards set by TFR.”
Local Production a Boost For The Economy
The turnout sets and components for this project will be manufactured at VAESA’s state-of-the-art Isando facility in Johannesburg.
The facility holds a unique history, as it was acquired 26 years ago by voestalpine Railway Systems, part of the voestalpine group, a distinguished Austrian-listed metal company renowned as the unrivalled leader in turnout technology globally. In 2021, Mirai Rail Corporation, a black woman-owned company, acquired a controlling interest in VAESA.
“As the only facility of its scale in sub-Saharan Africa, our Isando facility stands as a testament – not only to the company’s dedication to advancing railway infrastructure and technology on the Continent, but also to our commitment to local manufacture in South Africa,” says Tshabalala Kingston.
“In this regard, it is important to note that our facility has the capacity to comfortably meet both TFR’s demand in terms of the awarded contract, as well as our other customers’ demands. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the security of supply for our customers, as we understand how important this is.”
“It is noteworthy that this is the first substantial turnouts contract to have been successfully awarded in the last five years – and explains TFR’s significant maintenance backlog.
This award is an important and positive step forward by TFR, which will go a long way to resolving cycle time issues, creating jobs, bolstering the revenues of users on the rail network and ultimately contributing to our overall economic growth,” continues Tshabalala Kingston.
Turnouts are a critical component of modern railway infrastructure. They let trains change tracks smoothly, without needing to stop.
Turnouts allow trains to be re-routed to avoid congestion, delays, or maintenance work. Additionally, rail turnouts enable the creation of sidings, which are essential for freight trains to pass each other on single-track lines.
Empowering Communities & Driving Economic Growth
According to Tshabalala Kingston, the significance of the contract goes well beyond VAESA, casting a positive light on the entire perway industry.
“This award heralds a much-needed turnaround that will breathe new life into various facets of the industry – including job prospects and the livelihood of downstream suppliers, who provide essential components like nuts, bolts, chairs, and fishplates. The positive impact of this award extends across the industry, as it revitalises not only VAESA, but also the network of companies that support its operations.”
Already, VAESA has supplied TFR with 18 complete turnout sets. These were installed in July this year during the annual shutdown of the coal line that runs from Lephalale in Limpopo, through Mpumalanga, to the Port of Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal.
The turnouts were installed on the Ermelo, Vryheid, Ulundi and Richards Bay lines. As of January 2023, the coal line had a number of clamped turnouts, which hurt the ability of coal mining companies to evacuate their export coal.
Replacing 18 turnouts has been heralded as a game-changer, significantly improving cycle times and overall turnaround time in the TFR Ermelo yard – ultimately halving the overall cycle time.
“The awarding of this contract and the successful engagement and participation in the yearly coal line shutdown, through collaborative efforts with various stakeholders, serves as undeniable evidence of what is possible when all stakeholders come together with a common purpose, ” concludes Tshabalala Kingston.
“It benefits the manufacturing industry at large and users of the various rail corridors. Equally important, is that it will increase tariff revenues for Transnet – given the greater operational efficiencies achieved, allowing for more volumes to be transported between the coal mines and the Port of Richards Bay. This impact of the award cannot be underestimated – it has the capability of contributing to the re-awakening of the South African rail renaissance.”