By Yusuph Kileo
Organizations in all sectors of industry, commerce, and government are fundamentally dependent on their information systems (IS). There is a growing number of cyber threats out there to ignore the risks — from distributed denial of service (DDoS attacks), and ransomware to phishing, it could cost you your livelihood.
Systems can quickly cease to function should the information technology (IT) ever come to a halt with growing cyber risks that need urgent and coordinated action to mitigate with a robust cybersecurity solution.
What should be done to safeguard our organizations and prevent cyberattacks?
Have the right skillset in place — It all begins with having the right people with the right skill set to help protect your organization from falling victim to cyberattacks. The ones who can quickly recover data and systems when exposed to cyberattacks. When your organization lacks the right skill set, it becomes harder for it to prevent cyberattacks, detect any attack attempts, and respond to any cyberattacks.
Train your staff — Humans are the weakest link to the security chain. The most common way cybercriminals get access to your system and data is through your employees. This is why employee awareness is vital. One of the most efficient ways to protect against cyberattacks and all types of data breaches is to train your employees on the threat landscape and how cyberattacks can be prevented, and inform them about how cyberattacks can impact your organization.
Keep your software and systems updated or patched — When systems and software are not updated, they become vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals exploit those weaknesses to gain access to your network. Once they are in — it’s often too late to take preventative action. To counteract this, it’s smart to invest in a patch management system that will manage all software and system updates, keeping your system resilient and up to date.
Control access to your systems — One of the attacks that you can receive on your systems can be physical, having control over who can access your network is really important. Somebody can simply walk into your office or enterprise and plug in a USB key containing infected files into one of your computers allowing them access to your entire network or infect it. It’s essential to control who has access to your computers. Having a perimeter security system installed is a very good way to stop cybercrime as much as break-ins.
Create good and strong passwords — Having the same password setup for everything can be dangerous. Once a hacker figures out your password, they now have access to everything in your system and any application you use. Having different passwords set up for every application you use is a real benefit to your security, Strong passwords and changing them often will maintain a high level of protection against external and internal threats.
Manage access — Having managed admin rights and blocking your staff from installing or even accessing certain data on your network is beneficial to your security. It’s your business, protect it. Failure to do that, employees can install software on business-owned devices that could compromise your systems.
Ensure Endpoint Protection — Mobile devices, tablets, and laptops that are connected to corporate networks give access paths to security threats. These paths need to be protected with specific endpoint protection software.
Install a Firewall — There are so many different types of sophisticated data breaches and new ones surface every day and even make comebacks. Putting your network behind a firewall is one of the most effective ways to defend yourself from any cyberattack. A firewall system will block any brute force attacks made on your network and/or systems before they can do any damage, something we can help you with.
Secure your Wi-Fi — With the growing use of Wi-Fi technology to connect our devices, any device can get infected by connecting to a network. If this infected device then connects to your business network your entire system is at serious risk. Securing your Wi-Fi networks and hiding them is one of the safest things you can do for your systems. With wireless technology developing more and more every day thousands of devices can connect to your network and compromise you.
Backup your data — We often say, “The single biggest thing that will defeat most of the cyberattacks is having a regularly updated backup”. In the event of a disaster (often a cyberattack) you must have your data backed up to avoid serious downtime, loss of data, and serious financial loss. Where do you do your backups? — How often? It is strongly recommended to keep backups offsite where attackers can’t find them.
It can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to protecting your business from cybercrime and cyberattacks. There’s so much information out there that it can become overwhelming, especially when the info is conflicting. but when you have the right people, process, and technology in place preventing cyberattacks will be easier.
Regardless of the above preventive mechanism discussed in this article, one should know that there is no one solution fit for all and no one can fully prevent cyberattacks in full capacity.
Lastly, cybersecurity is everyone’s business and organizations should not forget to invest heavily in disaster recovery plans to make sure in the event of a cyberattack business can get back to normal as soon as possible.
How Digital Solutions are Impacting Health Insurance
By Kennedy Ochieng
Health insurance in Kenya has significantly metamorphosed operationally and gone up in leaps and bounds due to technological innovations and solution-oriented approaches towards solving the healthcare problems of its citizenry by insurance providers. It has been posited that the future of healthcare in Kenya lies in digital solutions.
Digital solutions and platforms have enabled customers to connect with healthcare providers in ways they could not do in previous years. Digitization has mitigated the risk of high operational costs borne by insurance companies regarding back-office operations. Manual processes are automated, and this has led to increased efficiency.
One of the notable digital platforms that customers use in Kenya today to access healthcare services is M-TIBA. This platform is available to both retail and private health sectors. Users have reported a better customer experience on mobile platforms that deal with healthcare. Some industry reports indicate that over 37per cent of Kenyans use their mobile phones to access healthcare. This is evidenced by the numerous payments made via M-PESA for NHIF payments and monthly insurance premium finance payments. Customers can access healthcare virtually through virtual cards, replacing physical biometric cards.
Internet penetration in Kenya is about 90 per cent, whereas mobile phone penetration is at 133 per cent, according to the Communications Authority. This proliferation of mobile phones and computing devices creates an opportunity for stakeholders in healthcare to invest heavily in healthcare solutions. The uptake of technology has led to freeing up congested health facilities, and hospitals are able to focus on dealing with critical cases only.
Digital solutions are here to stay in the long run. They not only reduce operational costs and cater to patients’ needs, but they are also a sure way of increasing penetration of healthcare services at large. Patients can participate actively in the healthcare delivery process collaboratively with service providers.
One significant impact of digital solutions on health insurance is the ability to provide personalized healthcare services to customers. With digital platforms, insurance providers can track customers’ health records and provide targeted health interventions based on their individual needs. This not only improves the quality of healthcare services provided but also leads to cost savings for insurance providers by reducing unnecessary medical interventions.
Another advantage of digital solutions in health insurance is the increased transparency in the delivery of healthcare services. Digital platforms allow customers to access real-time information on their insurance coverage, including benefits and costs, making it easier for them to make informed decisions about their health. Additionally, digital solutions provide insurance providers with more accurate data on healthcare utilization patterns, which can be used to develop better healthcare policies and programs.
Digital solutions also offer significant advantages for healthcare providers. With the use of electronic health records, healthcare providers can easily access patient information, resulting in better diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. Additionally, digital solutions can help healthcare providers optimize their workflow, leading to improved operational efficiency and increased patient satisfaction.
Finally, digital solutions in health insurance have the potential to reduce healthcare disparities by making healthcare services more accessible to marginalized communities. With the use of mobile health platforms, individuals living in remote or underserved areas can access healthcare services, improving their health outcomes and reducing the burden of disease in their communities.
Why your business will need digital marketing in 2023
By Sharon Makiti
Be it a startup or an already established business, creating a cutting-edge product or service is not enough if word about it does not reach the target consumer.
This explains why household companies like Coca-Cola and mega businesses like Safaricom will spend valued sums of their revenues towards promoting, introducing and relaunching their products and services. Some of these companies go to an extent of holding highly publicized and star-studded events to launch new products and services.
In the wake of highly volatile uncertainties bedevilling the current economic environment, most startups which are small and medium-sized businesses may lack budgets for advertisements, threatening their products and services into obscurity.
In this case, investment in digital marketing holds the key, which has proved to be a gem for ventures like AirBnBs, taxi and food apps among others. Digital marketing has transformed and grown these investments from being used by a limited number of people into successful businesses patronized by thousands of consumers.
Digital marketing encompasses various techniques and methods of using digital channels to advertise products and services to target consumers. This includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media marketing like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others, mobile marketing, email marketing and online marketing like pay-per-click adverts.
The channels used for digital marketing are cheaper than any other form of marketing like TV ads and newspapers. The majority require your business to have an account and save for the paid adverts, the rest of the adverts will be shared for free.
Your business will need digital advertising because you need to build trust with your customers. Digital marketing allows you to have real-time, one-on-one, and personalized communication with your customers. Consistency and timely response are the keys to this relationship, you gradually build trust with your target audience.
Additionally, the internet has levelled the ground for marketing, allowing small and medium businesses as well as startups to reach a global audience, unlike when using multinational channels like radios and television stations which are highly-priced.
Compared with other forms of marketing, digital marketing is affordable for upcoming, startups as well as small and medium businesses with thin to no budgets. When you compare the returns received from this form of marketing, it is easier to monitor and measure the success of your marketing.
This may be through the number of views for a YouTube video or the conversion rates. Other platforms like Facebook allow you to know the number of people who have seen your post, unlike when you have placed an advert in a newspaper.
For the survival of any business this year, embracing digital marketing is the way to go. Other benefits include interacting with audiences of different ages and meeting their expectations, remaining relevant, especially in the current competitive business environment as well as building an easily sustainable brand reputation.
How Kwara is driving SACCO growth
By Lenin Lumumba
The SACCO sector worldwide has grown their membership by 13 per cent annually in the last three years. Kwara’s clients however have grown their membership base by over 70 per cent annually in the period September 2020 to September 2022. In this article, we take a closer look at what Kwara is doing that has resulted in this acceleration of growth compared to the averages.
Firstly, we focus on the Kwara core banking system. So far, more than 125 SACCOs have transitioned or migrated to Kwara’s Core Banking system. Several staff members have shared that “Kwara’s core banking system is fast, has no downtime and overall has made it much easier for our SACCO to operate” as well as stating that “What has made Kwara truly stand out however is the fast, reliable and high-quality support. This support is the best in the market!”.
Notably, Kwara shows full transparency on the 99.99 per cent uptime enjoyed by Kwara clients. Besides industry-leading availability and world class support, the Kwara product has also focused heavily on automation, security and compliance.
With an automated accounting module and full SASRA reporting compliance, we have spoken to several SACCOs who have succeeded in being able to comply with increasing compliance requirements and even been able to secure licensing either as Non-WDT or as DT SACCOs, as a result of upgrading to Kwara. They note that that reporting used to take up a major portion of their staff resources in the past, but that they are able to now focus on member support and growth instead.
In addition, Kwara is a fully certified Data Controller and Data Processor and complies with Kenya’s DaProtection Act, which is an important factor for SACCOs who join a cloud-based platform for the first time. This has all led Kwara’s customers to (a) fully serve their members at all times, (b) access free and fast support immediately when needed and (c) spend less time on manually reconciling and creating reports for compliance, which in turn has led staff to focus more on the member.
The fact that multiple SACCO members say that Kwara has really improved their SACCO services and speed may be a good indicator of why Kwara’s clients are seeing such steep membership growth.
Second, we spoke with users of Kwara’s mobile channels. Members that can access the Kwara App and USSD state that the mobile banking experience is “Quite fast, very user friendly and easy to understand.” and that downloading statements, applying for mobile loans, depositing money and seeing their balances has become “Fast, you get the information within a fraction of a second. Can recommend every SACCO to use the app. It’s so good.”
Kwara’s focus on the member has led many members to refer their SACCO to their friends. In addition, Kwara has made it easy to join a SACCO for the first time. This is used widely by SACCO staff who note that through the Kwara App, it has become easier to recruit members. Where they previously needed to go around with paper forms which few people liked to fill, they can now simply direct prospective members to the Kwara App where they can find the SACCO. After applying via the Kwara App, where all the necessary forms and information can be filled, SACCO members get approved via Kwara’s core banking system and can start saving right away.
But Kwara has not only spent resources on the mobile banking application. They have also launched a USSD application that allows members to view their balances, apply for instant loans and easily deposit money and repay loans. This also allows members that do not have access to smartphones or a strong internet connection to access SACCO services from their duka, home or office. A user says: “The idea is superb. I like the instant loans, it is the only thing that helps the ordinary man here, especially now when the economy is poor.”
Lastly, we note that the interactions with SACCO staff and members show a deep appreciation for the Kwara team. Whether equipped with a Kwara Champion T-shirt, a Kwara bottle or writing with a Kwara pen, many people who have interacted with Kwara say that the friendliness of staff and true care for their financial success has made them believe that Kwara has their best interest at heart.
While an interview with Kwara CEO shows that the company still has many goals with and for the sector, it is undeniable that through Kwara, SACCO staff have been able to focus more of their time on serving and growing the membership base and that members of Kwara’s clients have been able to easily access their SACCO services, wherever they are.
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