The Public Technologist

Issue 03 2017

Embracing integrated risk management (IRM) enables public sector ICT decision-makers to put in place critical elements ensuring all processes operate and run smoothly. Having IRM programmes in place, along with the will to implement them throughout the organisation, will play a key role in delivering services to South Africans.
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IRM should be a critical aspect of business operations. The example should be set by senior management laying the framework, setting the rules, giving mechanisms for the rest of the organisation to comply with it and abiding by them themselves.

We need to be delivering good quality services to South Africans and digitalisation is crucial in this regard. Relying on the paper-based systems that we have used for years will only get us so far; we need proper procedures in place or the consequences will be disastrous.

One aspect that is a contentious issue for the public sector is moving data to the cloud. In South Africa, the cloud’s growth and popularity is being recognised by international vendors looking at our country as a destination for hyperscale datacentres.

With PoPI coming into effect next year, it will be interesting to see how the public sector approaches the cloud. According to Gartner, data has become a key asset in the digital era, or Fourth Industrial Revolution; some even refer to it as ‘digital currency’. Thanks to the rise of digital products and services that generate such data, which can include sensitive information such as a user’s location or their identity, it is crucial that companies that hold that data do so carefully. This plays a key part of the risk management approach.

With the growth of data, increasing numbers of cases are reported of organisations being subject to hacks, data being hijacked and ransomware attacks. This can lead to that sensitive data being sold off to the highest bidder, if the data owner isn’t willing to pay the amount demanded. Again, IRM is important in order to address such challenges. Recent ransomware attacks have shown that organisations are vulnerable; we need to rise up and meet this challenge head-on. Cyber-crime is undoubtedly on the increase and we need to be fully prepared and up to speed in tackling this. It’s essential to having adequate cyber-security elements in place to combat this. The issue of data protection doesn’t exist in a vacuum, of course. Data breaches are devastatingly common internationally and there are differing legislative approaches to tackle them worldwide.

In this edition of The Public Technologist, we look at the issue of IRM within the public sector, the impact it has and where it intersects with technology. This is the official publication of the Public Sector ICT Forum, which focuses on providing a platform and opportunity for decision-makers within the public sector ICT space to come together, engage and discuss relevant and pertinent topics.

Let’s engage for excellence.

Mandla Mkhwanazi


The Public Technologist

Issue 02 2017

The Public Technologist

Issue 01 2016