Software Africa Newsletter - May 2021

Online Business Tip ~ Autodesk Tip ~ Excel Tip ~ Job Hunting Tip

Rick's Editorial

Welcome.  The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act goes live on 1 July.  That's under two months away.  Will your company be ready?  Read on...

There's an Excel for Engineers Webinar next week, facilitated by Rick.

We also have a business tip.  Could your logon and password have been in a data breach?  See below...

If you use any Autodesk product, you need to know about the changes.  Another Excel Macros tip in our series?  Of course.  Finally, words of wisdom or otherwise from Computius.

From The Small Business POPI Compliance Course:

Today on the weekly course webinar with Peter Carruthers, he took us through a sample doctor's consulting room.  You may not be a doctor, but we small businesses have much in common.

We looked at data exposure, both for data theft and data destruction – both get you in trouble with POPI.

This doctor used paper files, that were visible to patients in Reception.  A little Social Engineering (like asking the single Receptionist for a glass of water) would give a criminal time to grab a file or several.  Or they could put a flash drive into the PC on the Receptionist's desk and install malware, such as ransomware or a keystroke logger to pick up passwords.

And what if the data were only on paper?  Or on a server sitting in the open behind Reception?  A business like this is nothing without its customer list.  A fire or a burglary could wipe out the business if they didn't have an off-site backup.

These things are worth looking at even without POPI.  But with POPI, a lack of data security can also expose you to massive fines and even jail sentences – which would also close the business.

It's worth being prepared:

Click here to join the Free POPI Compliance Webinar by Small Business POPI expert Peter Carruthers.  It's online this Wednesday, at 8 pm SA Time. You will understand what you need to do to comply - within 60 minutes. It's simpler than it seems.

Excel for Engineers Webinar, May 2101

Microsoft Office Excel is (pardon the pun) an excellent engineering tool.  Not only does it have all basic mathematical functions, it has advanced statistical function, matrix manipulation, charts, and much else.  Are you, as an engineer and scientist, using it to the full?  Are you even aware of what it can do?  Many of us are self-taught and have gaps in our knowledge.  Fill those gaps on the online Excel for Engineers training next week: two full days of personal attention in a small class.

Course Dates : Thursday and Friday 13-14 May 2021

Price: R4,999 plus VAT.

Facilitator: Rick Raubenheimer

You get 2 CPD Points with ECSA.  Run by CPD Africa in collaboration with Software Africa.  Book here now.

On-Line Business Tip #49 – Has Your email Been Exposed?  Many Have!

Click here to see which of 540 breaches exposed your email address (and possibly password), along with 10 billion other email addresses.

You can also check the rest of your organisation’s emails to see which have been exposed.

It is worrying that the above data is available for anyone to find and see on your business. The reputational risk associated with this is dire. The POPI Act is in effect on 1 July 2021. If this breach is still active on your side, then your business owner could face serious fines. Even possible imprisonment.

Below is the list of SA data breaches recorded and what was exposed:
- EThekwini Municipality 2016 - 81,830 compromised accounts, exposing emails, names, birthdates, IDs, passwords, utility bills,...
- Experian SA 2020 - 1,300,000 accounts exposing email addresses, IDs, names, addresses
- Ster-Kinekor 2016 - 1,619,544 exposed email addresses, names, and passwords
- Master Deeds 2017 - 2,257,930 exposed email address, IDs, phones and physical addresses
- Viewfines 2018 - 777,489 exposed email addresses with IDs, names, passwords and phone numbers.

The POPI Information Regulator will do some research when you report a data exposure. Expect them to check if your email address was exposed before. If it was, they will ask if you use unique passwords at every site and device.

The POPI Act demands you take "reasonable" steps to protect the information under your care. You are “unreasonably” negligent if you do not use unique passwords for every site, app and device.

What should you do?

Autodesk Announcements

3-year Subscription Discount Reduced to 5% Beginning 7 November 2021

Starting November 7, Autodesk is reducing the promotional discount on 3-year subscriptions from approximately 10% to 5%*. By choosing a 3-year term, customers already benefit from 3 years at the same price. With this change, you will continue to get this price security at a slightly lower up-front discount.

This change will affect:

This change will not affect:

*Resellers remain free to set their own prices.

Excel Tip #198 – Basic Coding 11: Conditional Statements, Continued (ElseIf)

We are busy with our macro to process a list of telephone numbers into a uniform format.  In the last issue, we learned how we get a program to make a decision. For this we use the If statement.

An extension of the If ... Then ... Else structure is:

If (condition) Then
  (do something)
[ElseIf (another condition) Then
  (do something different)]
[Else
  (do something else)]
End If

You can use as many ElseIf statements as you like in between the initial If block and the final Else block, which is still optional.

Only one of the If / ElseIf / Else blocks, the first one that meets the criteria, will execute in any given run.

We now have all the information we need to build our code. We will start that in our next instalment.

Finish Covid-19 Lockdown with a New Skill!

You can use this time to learn simple Excel macros.  Do repetitive work in a flash, instead of repeating the same boring stuff manually.  Save hours not working late, and spend more time with your family...  The Software Africa Quick 'n Easy Turbo-Start Excel Macros course is now online.  The lockdown, discount has ended, but it is still a bargain.

PS: How to save 99.3 % on POPI Compliance...

From Peter Carruthers:

In May 2005, I hosted a small-business community online. A new law was pending, deadline end-August. Lawyers were charging outrageous fees to help people comply. This was the infamous PAIA - the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

My crowd asked me if there was a simpler solution that we small-business owners could use.

There was. It cost R200 instead of R5000.

As the deadline drew near the R200 price stayed constant. Lawyers hourly prices rocketed as demand for their time increased.

The same thing is happening as we near the POPIA deadline of June 30. (That's the Protection of Personal Information Act.)

Yesterday, I saw a service selling small-business compliance for R17,000. Per month! That's R204,000 per year.

Hell, my small-business POPI compliance project needs an investment of 0.7% of that price. Yep, you read that right. You could save 99.3%.

Click here to join my Gratis POPI Compliance Webinar, online, at 8 PM SA Time. You will understand what you need to do to comply - within 60 minutes. It's a lot simpler than it seems. And you'll see why the price can be so low. I'll also explain the 99.3% you will save.

As June 30 looms, the noise will get louder, and the prices will rocket. Don't let the distraction alarm you into doing something expensive.

Click here: Complimentary Online POPI Act Training for Small Business Owners. This one you can do at any time.

If you're not the owner of the small business you're in, send this to the Owner.  They will thank you later.

Computius Say:

Computer Scientist: someone who fixes things that aren't broken.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith, Catherine, and Rick

Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa

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