Get a vault for your data!

It’s not often that we readily endorse a product or company. However, when the nature of work they engage in is considered ground-breaking and has a positive impact on our lives – it most certainly warrants a mention.

The rationale for considering such tech-driven projects as highly significant is neither due to ‘gut feeling’. Nor that it is simply fascinating and therefore must be an excellent product. This project actually has a value proposition for you!

We are indeed well into the information age and while we have written extensively about data, its importance to marketers and its fragility when used and abused by unscrupulous third-parties for their financial gain.

The issue of data security is however, quite a serious issue. You just need to pay attention to the news to become even more aware.

 

Data breach incidents

In Europe, the where security is supposedly more advanced, we have seen the likes of renowned airline British Airways, being hacked. Several hundreds of thousands of customers’ personal data compromised.

These were followed by hacks on other major airlines such as Cathay Pacific.  Aside from airlines, other business outfits have suffered a similar fate.

The perpetrators are getting a lot more brazen and very recently, a cable car, used as public transport in Moscow was hacked, leaving vulnerable passengers terrified and stuck high up in the air. And this probably to the amusement of the pranksters (hackers).  

Can you imagine the chaos and commotion that would be caused if their control systems of driverless cars were to be hacked? 

The digital intrusions get even more sophisticated.

This time, affecting the very wealthy:  private yachts are now being hacked and taken into the pirate waters, all via uniquely coded signals, reading data from their antennas!

 

Data security 

On the issue of data security, you often hear about extra protection but not just anti-virus and anti-phishing software. The more secure and heavily encrypted Blockchain technology is, however, making waves in the digital sphere.

It is mainly for the escalation of its once shining star by-product designed for discreet transacting – the Bitcoin.

Blockchain technology has also triggered several other technologies based on its digital cryptology technology to ensure that your information is kept safe from prying eyes while stored, used or transferred online.

Blockchain products such as cryptocurrencies, however, are not completely safe from hackers!

 

A solution

Zortrex400x400The company we chose to highlight uses a unique vault system and is called Zortrex. It has adopted one of such Blockchain technologies dubbed tokenization. It will be using it to ensure that highly sensitive data online is kept safe.

“Our tokenised solution would have protected their customers’ personal identification information (PII) details. Instead the hackers ran off with the date of birth; passport numbers; financial data etc,” says Susan Brown, Chairperson of Zortrex – relating to the British Airways incident.

 

Tokenization is the process of converting rights to real-world assets into a digital token on a blockchain.

Brown’s background in data privacy systems as well as her devoted passion for the protection of PII, financial and healthcare data led her to start up and chair Zortrex. 

 

The law

“Companies have disrespected your data for over 25 years, and if left unattended, there will be nothing left to protect,” Browns says.

Thanks to new laws like the European GDPR law which is now imposing the data protection, data breaches and abuse of customer data is now met with hefty financial penalties.

Companies now think twice about consent and how to use and share your data digitally. But is it enough? The simple answer is no.  

The authorities just do not have the resources to investigate every complaint nor to actively enforce all data breaches – yet.

We have ingeniously invented systems that automatically align with financial messaging, payments and securing information. All of which require data. 

“However, we should and need to go a step further to secure all the PII details with tokenisation so that in the event of a hack, the cookies and trackers will only be following a ‘useless’ token as there is no real identification on it,” Brown explains.

Zortrex would naturally like to tokenise all healthcare data so that vulnerable people living outside of major cities can also feel assured that their privacy is protected.

In a previous blog, we wrote about the new Internet of things (IoT). All those devices being built for it. They would all need  their IP addresses and the serial numbers tokenised for instance.

 

Using Blockchain

The application of the all-powerful blockchain is not limited to use in the financial sector and will be applied via the supply chain to all industries that deal with data – especially the most sensitive ones.

An angel investor or any investor for that matter looking to get onto the next best thing since Amazon would therefore be unwise to pass up the opportunity to back the Zortrex venture given its scope.

Furthermore, regulations are currently being implemented primarily in the pharmaceutical sector.

A tokenised supply chain such as what Zortrex offers would be ideal for this new law which is planned to be implemented by 2023.  A judiciary blockchain, for instance, would enable the police to “talk” to the prison service,  who in turn, will communicate with the legal sector or public health institutions (NHS).

Forensic evidence would in such instances be tokenised and kept secure (away from tampering) during legal hearings.  In another practical scenario, Smart Contracts (which are touted to replace lawyers) can spark off legal aid assistance.

You court cases will be heard quicker and be more efficient.  Protection registers can also be protected with tokenisation rendering it more secure.

Blockchain technology offers quality assurance making sure that no shortcuts are taken. The smart contracts specifically, trigger any possible malfeasance.

This will enable the monitoring and tracking of any data sharing to third parties once it is tokenised. The third party apps would only gain access to the data once the trigger has been activated.

Like other pioneers and visionaries, Brown’s futuristic hope that every child being born will have their name, date of birth, blood type data being tokenised, might seem farfetched. However, given the nature and rise of data breaches it is evidently necessary.

Zortrex wants to use their technology to put the hackers out of business! 

Tokenisation cannot be mathematically reversed and thus it will least it will stop the hackers for a while.

Scalability

For such high ambitions, the creators of Zortrex’s software have adequately ensured that the technology used is fully scalable. One stumbling block many Blockchain projects now face is what is referred to as scalability – which in tech terms, is the ability of a network or software to grow and manage increased demand.

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Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum specifically – which is used to build a lot of Distributed Applications, however, have massive scalability issues.

The growth in demand for DApps is crippling those systems. They need to investigate the incorporation of alternative technologies, upgrade or split their platforms to cope with such high demand.

Someone must take the first step in securing this data forever. You should be able to purchase what you want without being harassed by trackers and cookies.

The need for tokenisation is endless and further, down the line, celebrities and government official’s PII can be secured by it to protect them from damaging schemes, ‘bad press’ and scandals.

In a previous blog, we “prophesized” that data is the new commodity – like gold or oil. However, the actual value with that data will lie in its privacy, the ability to store it securely and unlock it only with legal permission by its rightful owner.

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Criminal mindedness

One fundamental and often ignored view within economics is that humans have the propensity to display irrational behaviour in the decision-making processes.

Based on this notion, one can conclude that we have a fundamental tendency to act corruptly and be generally criminally-inclined except maybe the virtuous few.

How advanced our economy or society is, depends on what measures or incentives we enforce to deter or punish criminals.

In most cases, we find that in countries where punishment is severe (e.g. in Central Europe or Nigeria), the criminals end up moving to less strict countries.

The economics of crime, especially violent crime experienced in countries like South Africa and Brazil, is something that requires adept research if anything is to be done.

In the US, studies were conducted to access the impact of legalized abortion on the level of crime. This was discussed in detail in a best-selling book by Levitt and Dubner’s called Freakonomics.

The study found that legalizing abortion (seen by many as legalized killing equivalent to death sentences) reduces the level of drug abuse and subsequently other criminal activity.

The real problem

Perhaps there is no relevance here but for instance, abortion is legal in South Africa yet a high crime rate prevails. So, what’s the problem then?

Part of the problem lies in the fact that the incentives/benefits of committing crime far outweigh the “costs” and chances of being caught and convicted by the judiciary.

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John Nash through his renowned works (well at least amongst economists), devised what he called “game theory” or “the prisoner’s dilemma”.

Cheating occurs through degrees of severity from a classroom test or examination all the way to the plotting and execution of murder or indirectly killing individuals by selling users addictive drugs.

Then you have your white-collar crime such as insider trading, corporate espionage (unlawfully acquiring recipes, formulas, and technologies from rival companies).

Or simply ‘cooking the books’ or siphoning off profits from a company’s coffers.

Nash’s rationale for such cheating behaviour boils down to the attitude of: ‘if I don’t, someone else will, and leave me with the short end of the stick – so given the option, I’ll always cheat’.

His explanation is one ‘formally proven’ reason for human ‘irrational’ behaviour – or rather, could we say it is rational if the outcome is to favour the decision-maker in the short or long term? This is instinct is innate in human behaviour of not such a few.

Crime and law enforcement

Back to the subject of crime: higher than usual levels has often been blamed on the poverty caused by poor and exclusionary fiscal, social and monetary policies.

There are of course more layers and underlying factors unique to the history of political climate and resource allocation.

Further studies (such as that in the Freakonomics book) need to be carried out such as the potential effects of police presence in deterring crime in the diagram below:

Police officers per 100,000 population by regions and sub-regions (medians)

Crime deterrant

Source: www.unodc.org

Also, highly recommended if you are a law enforcer, economist, government official, or student, is a book entitled Economics of Crime by Erling Eide, Paul H Rubin & Joanna M Shepherd.

This book covers the theory of public enforcement including probability and severity, fines and imprisonment, repeat offenders, incentives of enforcers, enforcement costs and enforcement errors.

It might shed some light as to how criminally-inclined people can be dealt with once and for all. Because as we know – whatever government is doing to fight crime now is clearly not really working!

“When crimes are left alone long enough to fester, a second economy is borne.”

The proceeds from a ‘secondary’ economy because of criminal activity never benefit society. Even though people like Pablo Escobar were seen by locals (in his Colombian town) as philanthropists, their assistance came at a price. Such contributions which are naturally tax-free generally are referred to in economics as ‘social ills‘.

A third market is formed – one comprised of the need to feel secure.

Dealing with the scourge

But fighting fire with fire (with more guns & police who are sometimes corrupt themselves) will not alone solve the problem.

Criminals simply become more aggressive when met with a more confrontational approach as seen in South Africa. The Jeppestown (Johannesburg) shoot-out in 2006 for example, left several police officers and criminals dead.

It’s time to get ’smarter’ about crime and look to the accuracy and conclusive study of human behaviour and the use of incentives.

As crimes continue to ravage communities, cities and countries, we can question why government officials have relatives who own or have stakes in security companies.

It basically places less of an ‘incentive’ for officials to do much about crime.

So, conceivably, those with such vested interests in the third economy would need to be weeded out of the system for crime to be curbed.

That would be the first major step in order to bring about some rationality to society.

Life hacks using tech

We often do things out of routine without considering if there is an easier way to achieve the same result quicker and even more effectively. In a larger company or organization, this is the job of the business analyst.
What if we applied this to other daily activities and tasks that shape the way we live?

This would give us more time to partake in of the things we love.

It’s hard enough for most working-class adults to spend most of their days in the week behind a PC. This is usually followed by hours behind the wheel in traffic or commuting via public transportation.

This makes the task of going shopping or even attending a doctor’s check-up after an 8-hour work stint more of a burden or chore. Worse over if you must queue further to get the service.

This very example came to mind when a relative complained about having to go from one doctor to another. When referred to a specialist they had to then book another appointment by calling that specialist’s practice.

Now granted, this is basically a ´first world problem’. Because having a specialist attend to a back problem after your doctor recommends it during an initial check-up is a luxury. One that third world citizens could only dream of having in the first place!

Problem solving scenario

So, in the case of the referral to a specialist, a simple unified medical system can resolve this. A CRM database linking all the medical practitioners including their schedules can save you the time taken to arrange the new appointment.

This system would also have a secure high-tech scanning and attachment add-on so that X-rays, scans, diagnoses and the attending doctor’s notes can be attached. All for the attention of the specialist.

The times for the new appointment can be chosen quickly while the patient is at the doctor’s practice.  When convenient, you could then go to the specialist directly.

The concept explained

This is one very basic and rudimentary example of how an automated, centralized software solution can help schedule appointments.

To achieve maximum optimization the system would clearly require several tests before implementation.

Too often systems analysts and developers do not consider the end users. The user experience (UX) is the most crucial aspect of software development and should be the first step in building an automated system or it will never achieve its purpose.

It doesn’t have to be used as a national health solution. This is because centrally planned systems, as mentioned in a previous blog, can lead to inefficiencies.

It would need to be localized in order to make the system easier to maintain and be updated with contact details.  This especially when information can change on a weekly or monthly basis.

Naturally, and for decades, health insurance companies have utilized card systems to document patient visits to practitioners. This also helps you and practice to easily claim back medical costs.

But this only serves a singular function and is laborious to run. What is being proposed in this blog post is something to resolve this in a more secure and decentralised manner.

Application and security

Cloud security has become a huge requirement and will be a necessity for all businesses and services in the very near future. Europe, for instance, is implementing compliance laws for storage of data under its new GDPR regulation.

Countries like Sweden also have similar compliance laws to handle financial (with a lot of  banking going mobile) and medical data stored in the cloud.

So, security would become less of a concern for businesses when it comes to data storage and automated CRM systems in the future.

Shopping and housing convenience

The burden of shopping can also be alleviated with initiatives such as cashless processes. We first saw this introduced in Asia (China) and now adopted in the West through Amazon’s new cashless´ and cashier-less grocery stores.

While shoplifters might not see the innovation in this ‘new method’ of shopping; it saves you time spent queueing to pay and will invariably help resolve the scourge of shoplifting.

It will, however, require more reliance on technology for surveillance, to monitor and track the scanning of the goods and keep a database of records on a server.

This helps you with the inventory management and other back-office processes and is managed by an automated ERP solution (and not a person).

smart-home-3096219_640We are still waiting for massive roll-outs of the so-called smart houses equipped with smart chips that help regulate temperature, turn off energy-consuming devices when not in use.

Some are even equipped with fridges that remind you when food is expiring or simply needs to be replaced.

Designing such systems would naturally require careful observation into the various steps needed to reach the desired result. Details in every step from how you go from point A (selecting a product); to point Z.

Point Z being you walking out of the shop with a fully paid item. All without using cash or the need for a cashier.

Tweaking the solution

The system analyst’s job would be to engage or even simulate the processes using different test subjects and not just the best practice.

There is the possibility that you might forget to pay for the milk after checking out of a security area. That could result in an embarrassing scenario for all.

These are just two examples of countless scenarios that can help us benefit from the use of automation and AI.

There are many other subtle examples such as in the motor industry. This includes the use of computers to diagnose a ‘sick car’.

There can be a solution for every bottlenecking problem. Addressing this is now has become a new field of study. Computerisation and the use of robotics to handle manual labour and repetitive blue-collar jobs will be new highly lucrative career paths.

Many new start-ups already exist purely to develop system automation.

Welcome to the future!