By Yusuph Kileo
Mobile security is at the top of every company’s worry list these days, nearly all workers now routinely access corporate data from smartphones, a trend that’s grown even more prominent thanks to the ongoing global pandemic.
According to Zimperium, a mobile security firm, some organization reaches 60 per cent, and that number is only bound to keep climbing as the world acclimates to our new remote-work reality.
Our mobile devices have direct access to our organization’s sensitive data, meaning data in our mobile devices are very important for the operations and financial wellbeing of our business.
Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels, universities, and other public places are convenient, but often they’re not secure. If you connect to a Wi-Fi network and send information through websites or mobile apps, someone else might be able to see it.
Public Wi-Fi Isn’t Secure
When you’re at home, you can take steps to keep your home wireless network secure, like using a strong router password, limiting what devices can get onto your network, and turning on encryption, which scrambles the information you send over the internet into a code that can’t be read by others. But when you’re using your favourite coffee shop’s Wi-Fi, there’s not a lot you can do to control its network security.
Why does it matter? If the network isn’t secure, and you log in to an unencrypted site or a site that uses encryption only on the sign-in page, other users on the network can see what you see and send. They could hijack your session and log in as you. New hacking tools, available for free online, make this easy, even for users with limited technical know-how. Your personal information, private documents, contacts, family photos, and even your login credentials could be up for grabs.
A scammer also could use your account to impersonate you and scam people on your contact lists, or test your usernames and passwords on other websites — including sites that store your financial information. If a scammer gets your personal or financial information, they could steal your identity.
When you sign on to public Wi-Fi, you may also be sharing your data with the companies providing the Wi-Fi. Many public Wi-Fi networks such as in airports and hotels will also prompt you to install a “digital certificate” to use their internet. They may do this to scan your traffic for malware, but this also allows them to read your traffic, even if it’s to a site using https (which encrypts information).
Ways To Encrypt Your Information
While there isn’t much you can do to make a public Wi-Fi network more secure, you can do some things to help keep your data secure on public Wi-Fi:
Connect to websites securely: If you see https in the web address, you have a secure connection to the website. But using https does not mean a website is legit. Scammers know how to encrypt sites. They know that people assume https means a website is safe — so they’ve started adding it to their websites as well. So, your data is encrypted on its way to the site, but it won’t be safe from scammers operating that site.
Consider using a VPN app: Some virtual private networks, known as VPNs, offer encryption. Learn more about VPN apps and what to know before you download one.
Use your mobile data: Your mobile data is usually encrypted. If you’re on the go, don’t have the option of using a secure website, and have no VPN encryption, consider using your mobile data instead of Wi-Fi. This is a good option when you’re putting personal information into apps since it can be hard to know if they’re encrypted.
Protect Your Information When You Use Public Wi-Fi
Don’t access your personal or financial information. Always assume a public Wi-Fi network isn’t secure.
Log in or send personal information only to websites you know are fully encrypted — To be secure, your entire visit to each site should be encrypted (meaning that the URL starts with https) — from the time you log in to the site until you log out. If you think you’re logged in to an encrypted site but find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out right away.
Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts — When you’ve finished using an account, log out.
Don’t use the same password on different websites — It could give someone who gains access to one of your accounts access to many of your accounts.
Pay attention to warnings — Many web browsers alert you before you visit a scammy website or download malicious programs. Don’t ignore those warnings. Also, keep your browser and security software up to date.
Change your device’s settings so it doesn’t automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi — That way, you have more control over when and how you use public Wi-Fi.
Install browser add-ons or plug-ins that can help — For example, Force-TLS and HTTPS-Everywhere are free Firefox add-ons that force the browser to use encryption on popular websites that usually aren’t encrypted. But they still don’t protect you on all websites. Look for https in the URL to know a site is encrypted.
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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