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!
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!
The 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Before we delve further into its meaning and use in the cyber world, perhaps some background context is required.
The use of online or mobile applications software or “Apps” has boosted the way you consume products and services online. Companies jumped onto the bandwagon when they discovered that we mostly use Smartphones for the Internet – a lot more than on desktops.
App developers were then subsequently sought after to create mobile Apps for practically anything. What started as something mainly for gamers moved quickly onto Apps for any commercial activity.
We now use Apps (the Internet) for shopping; fitness; travelling; online bookings and banking. Developers now create customised software to help with anything.
There is now an App store for every significant tech provider – Microsoft, Google and Apple to mention a few. This has naturally fattened their pockets and created an additional stream of income from an eager market.
The ‘catch’ for using mobile apps is that though it costs you nothing to download, using them still require some form of ‘registration’. You can do this by providing personal data or linking to an existing account such as your Facebook or Google account.
The benefit to App providers
The Apps, which are also embedded in social media, create a data goldmine for marketers to study and track your browsing habits. Through them marketers can gain valuable insights into your interests and then customise their products/services to sell to you.
Data mining has become more lucrative and more accessible with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. Ever notice how after browsing online or having a conversation or a chat application like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, you go online afterwards, and you see Ads displaying the items you discussed?
Creepy isn’t it? Well, that is the future of Web 4.0 for you!
Luckily for us, there is a school of knowledgeable and security conscious programmers who are not ‘giving in’ to the way the Internet has become a centralised cesspool for marketers to harvest data from.
Social media platforms, search engine providers and mobile application providers facilitate them immensely with this.
The impetus behind a distributed application system is that it serves to distribute plough some of wealth garnered from your data via application providers back to you – the end user.
Imagine getting paid to surf the web for hours. The way you get paid for taking on a survey, partaking in a social experiment, donating an organ or sperm?
This is the way distributed apps are touted to work: by rewarding you for the use of specific applications (in a peer-to-peer review like setting) with cashable tokens. Seems only fair right?
Now you can imagine how companies like Cambridge Analytica would react to having to pay you for their use of your data. There will be reluctance and resistance but if they could pay companies like Facebook for the use of data, why not pay us directly?
Joining the DApps revolution is a no-brainer. Companies at the forefront of building and supporting DApps will end up getting a more substantial chunk of the market.
DApps will primarily provide you with the use of payment (remuneration) systems. These are specifically known as Smart Contracts and Proof or Work systems.
One often hears the phrase “technology is your friend” To what extent the friendliness/support is, in being a most effective “companion” to assist you to cope with your daily activities or business plans depends on how you embrace it.
Life can be chaotic. Which so much to do it is easy to frequently miss appointments; have to wait till you get to a PC to respond to emails or fail to remember contacts details. The worst is having to ask people often for their contact details/ business cards.
If that’s the case, you are getting it all wrong and definitely need this friend!
Electronic mail has not entirely replaced postal services; however, in the coming years, all indications are that it will.
The need for emails
Emails are on a progressive, disruptive path to eliminate postal services. It will, over and above its current instant delivery capability, also facilitate and encourage the acceptance of digitally signed documents.
A digital signature is an electronic, encrypted, stamp of authentication on online information such as e-mail messages, macros, or electronic documents. It confirms that the information originated from the signer and has not been altered, rendering it legally binding.
Most financial companies and legal institutions in most developed countries already accept digitally signed documents.
Naturally, you need special software to digitally sign a document to attach as a PDF to an email. Such an action authorises approval by yourself without having to pick up a pen to append a signature or having to be physically present.
We can now easily get in touch with our contacts: be it in the office or lounging around a park, watching your children play; even on board/at the underground train station.
For those needing an essential CRM tool to just help with email contacts and plug into an existing sales app, you can do so with a useful add-on like Outlook Customer Manager.
There are indeed other advantages to assist with decluttering emails. To alleviate the frustration of unimportant mails getting in the way of the ones you need to access frequently, a clutter service offered by Office 365.
Additionally, to avoid retaining important attachments, and clogging up space on your mailbox, you can with a click, save large file attachments to your cloud storage.
With all that relevance of emails, it is critical that you source the best one – even if it costs a bit more than the (free) webmail services provided by Outlook (Hotmail), Gmail and Yahoo.
Naturally, with a paid service, you should be almost freed from the scourge of spam and malicious items like phishing and viruses embedded in documents. In some cases, they are screened even before landing in your mailbox.
You can, for instance, use In-Place Hold(also known as Litigation Hold) to place user mailboxes ‘on hold’ and preserve mailbox items permanently.
This feature is especially crucial for those in the financial and legal sectors – requiring emails and its contents to be preserved for a minimum of 7 years typically.
Security is the central factor that has kept the postal service in business. Well at least for now.
Here is a checklist when shopping around for a good email solution:
• A decent sized mailbox – with archiving ability – 50GB is the new standard size (don’t get short-changed!).
• Should sync emails, calendar and contacts onto multiple devices – and it must always work!
• SMTP is now the standard and preferred Email Protocol so if you are still on POP3 or even IMAP – run away!
• Customizable domain (a .com or .net or any other you have bought), with the option to add more domains plus few email aliases. (info@ …sales@ etc).
• Sync to an active directory – to keep user profiles and allow for ease of single sign-on or extra security features like two-factor authentication(This prevents unauthorised people from accessing your emails by pairing to your phone via an SMS code).
• The mailbox (since you are storing contact details or using it along with a CRM or ERP solution) should be GDPR-compatible.
• Finally, it should provide the ability to add features in future, like extra archiving space, advanced threat protection and enterprise voicemail (phone to email) capability. These are signs of a good email solution/offer.
Preparing yourself to use the solution can be free if you have the time. Most software suppliers like Microsoft (via Office 365) for example, have support sites with primary training material and “how-tos” on their websites.