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Act before it's too late

Data loss continues to make headlines around the globe with South Africa being the latest target. A database of more than 30 million South Africans has apparently been leaked online.

Xperien has warned that companies must act before it's too late. The company says this could be the biggest breach of Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act ever.

These data security laws mandate that organisations implement adequate safeguards to ensure the protection of company and personal information, especially when it comes to the disposition of redundant IT assets.

In an effort to protect personal information, the PoPI Act has been signed by the president and is now law. It sets conditions for how to lawfully process personal information.

The Act enforces companies to introduce strict measures and guidelines that will safeguard the processing, usage and handling of sensitive information. It places a strict onus on businesses when it comes to handling personal information about their clients, staff and customers.

The Information Regulator has published the regulations for comment and companies will only have one year from the commencement date to comply or face significant consequences.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says the leaked database apparently contains names and surnames, identity numbers, income, employer details, gender, ethnicity, home ownership as well as contact information.

He warns that if there is a breach, the financial implications can possibly cripple an organisation. "If found guilty, companies will face potential civil claims, fines and reputational damage."

“The PoPI Act will have serious consequences in the near future. It won’t be long before we start reading about companies that have been fined for non-compliance and this in turn will encourage other companies to adopt policies that will ultimately protect them from reputational loss,” he concludes.

Fog and Nature
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