In this digital age where information can be linked and duplicated, protecting your information can never be overemphasized. Imagine you had a physical store where you sold valuables, what would happen if you left it unattended to? Your guess is as good as ours.

Data privacy simply put, is how data should be handled, based on how important it is. It can be applied to critical pieces of information such as bank account data, credit card numbers, medical records, addresses and locations, passwords etc. The list of information to be kept secure can be exhaustive, as it is any and everything that a person or business considers confidential.

As an individual, here are a few ways to protect your personal information online:

1. Avoid using public Wi-fi for financial transactions:

Public Wi-Fi can be convenient but dangerous as the connection is public, and accessible to anyone. Unsecured internet connections are easy proofs for hackers to clone your card and get away with it.

2. Adopt multiple passwords across different platforms:

Using the same password across multiple platforms, allows the single breach of one account to lead to the easy access of other accounts.

3. Use a safe browser:

It is very common to have unauthorized pop-ups when visiting a web page that will lead to insecure websites. Change your settings to block unauthorized third-party activity while surfing the web.

Best practices for business owners:

1. Implement a disaster recovery plan:

Waiting till you are hacked before having a disaster recovery plan in itself is a disaster. As a business, it is very important to have a back-up plan for your most valuable asset – your data. You can read our article on why your company needs a disaster recovery plan

2. Set up a Two Factor Authentication (2FA):

If any password is compromised, 2FA prevents just anyone from logging into an account by requiring a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to an email address or phone number.

3. Encrypt all data:

Data encryption is the act of translating data into a type of code or “cipher”, which can only be accessed and deciphered by specific users who have the decryption key. Think of it like a safe where your important information is kept, and only those with the combination can access it.

4. Eliminate inactive data:

Cyber thieves can’t steal what they can not see. Therefore, it is important to regularly identify data and applications no longer in use and fully take out in a secure manner.

5. Educate users in security awareness:

Never assume that employees know what information is confidential and can’t be shared. Educate them on all the ways to ensure data security and empower them with security tools to act as reinforcements.

6. Introduce access controls:

Not all employees need access to certain applications, even within an application, employees will not have equal rights to access select information. Once employees exit your business, ensure to remove their access.

Conclusion

On a final note, it is important for your company to take data privacy seriously as this can either hinder or aid the growth of your business. For more information, contact us today.

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For over a decade, Unity Bank Plc has served individuals, businesses, and the public sector of Nigeria’s economy in the areas of investment, savings, and other retail banking operations, from over 200 locations within the country and with its team of more than 2,000 employees.

In delivering optimal service to its customers, the bank has the obligation to ensure that responses to customer demands are right on time. This, to a large extent, helps to guarantee customer retention and secure word of mouth publicity which has proven to be the best form of advertisement, having the ability to increase customer loyalty by 16 to 24% according to the Wharton School of Business.

The impact of delays in service delivery goes beyond affecting public reputation but can also lead to loss of revenue, which was the case for Unity Bank. “Whenever there is downtime from our datacenter, there is always a major impact on the business group services running on the server. This directly impacts the delivery timelines of our services to our customers and invariably translates to a loss of revenue of over $10,000 per hour when the recovery process is not managed effectively.” said, Ugochukwu Aku, Head, IT Infrastructure, Unity Bank.

Although a lot of manual work was put into managing our applications at every event of downtimes, it wasn’t enough to meet the business objective.
In addition to this, the bank spent a lot of time and money on the procurement of additional hardware to meet the demands for hosting new products and services geared towards catering to the needs of its customers.

The problems encountered by Unity Bank pointed clearly to the need of hosting its core critical application on a cloud-based solution, one that Descasio had the requisite competency for providing.

Unity bank came to learn of this competency when Descasio approached them with an Application Modernization workshop which was set up in collaboration with Microsoft.

“During the online workshop, Descasio showcased the value of having a seamless solution that requires less human input and delivers in a timely fashion. Descasio also showed the flexibility and reliability of hosting our application on Microsoft Azure.”
“We reviewed Descasio’s proposition of migrating our application to Azure alongside other business continuity processes at the time and came to a conclusion that Azure presented more value.” Explained Ugochukwu.

The Result

Since the migration to Microsoft Azure App Services, Unity Bank has been able to meet several of its objectives. Primarily, they have been able to overcome the management burden that previously existed when the app was hosted in their on-premise infrastructure. This has translated to the provision of a more solidified service experience to customers and a huge reduction in losses as a result of downtimes.

Speaking on other benefits of Microsoft Azure app services to the financial institution, Ugochukwu said, “This solution really helped us in having successful app deployments. Unity Bank has also enjoyed easy scalability as they can now develop new applications and scale resources to meet the demands with ease and in no time. Ultimately the solution has helped us to improve our overall business performance at a reduced cost.

“Today, our IT team has more time to focus on other directly related bank projects as most of the previous issues we have had as regards applications sitting on physical infrastructures are now being taken care of.”

Commenting on the bank’s experience with Descasio, Ugochukwu said “Descasio was not picked based on preference or relationship, they were picked by the bank based on competency shown with the deployment of app services. We as an organization ensure to work with competent partners as this directly translates to the quality of service delivered to our client.”

“We have enjoyed great customer experience, an excellent display of product knowledge, and an utterly reliable service delivery from Descasio and will recommend both Descasio and Microsoft to all organizations looking to implement an effective, secure, and reliable IT solution as we have,” he added.

Not only is your business growing, but technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Which means knowing if it’s time to upgrade to a new IT system is key to protecting the future of your business. Here are four ways to know if your organization is ready for an upgrade.

Your Response Time is Lagging: If users are waiting too long for the system to respond – or if the system often crashes – then it is being overworked and overloaded. Downtime costs small-to-midsize businesses thousands of naira per hour and will hamper employee productivity.

Your cybersecurity is lax: According to the official cybercrime, report cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. A Symantec study found that more than a third of all reported targeted attacks in 2014 were against small businesses. The emerging patterns show that cybercriminals will often target small and medium-sized businesses because they usually do not have the expertise or resources to fend them off. If your websites are consistently down and your staff are not security conscious then you may have a problem.

You can’t grow: As the organization grows, and the data that you store also grows, so too should your systems. If you add new products or expand your client portfolio, then this necessitates the expansion of your data warehousing system. In turn, the reporting functionality within your software must be dynamic and keep up with the pace of your past changing and vibrant business.

Everyone is complaining: Grumbling from employees and customers about delays, clunky processes, and tedious manual tasks means you have a big problem and it is absolutely time to reevaluate your IT infrastructure. Innovative software such as Microsoft Office 365 can help streamline your workflow and automating other processes can help keep customers to employees satisfied.

Final note: Ultimately, without updating your technology, you risk falling behind to competitors, while paying too much to keep your old systems alive or disappointing your clients. To future-proof your business and stay productive, you’ll need to embrace more modern technologies. The cloud can offer your firm space to grow, reliable uptime, flexible working, and cost-effective billing. It’s the freedom you need to do your best work efficiently. Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team.