Ever-increasingly, society 'lives' a digital existence as the internet and digital technologies shape how we work, shop, communicate and unwind.
And as our society grows in digitisation, so too must regulations that strive to protect our online safety and privacy. This burgeoning regulatory environment is empowering and necessary. Still, for businesses across every industry, the ongoing complexity of staying compliant poses a challenge.
All of this drives the adoption of regulatory technology (RegTech) to simplify compliance and mitigate the time, effort, and cost of keeping up to date with changing legislation.
Charl du Plessis, founder and CEO of Cowrie SA, is passionate about the role of RegTechs in supporting businesses and individuals, "In this rapidly evolving and interconnected global landscape, we must implement the necessary measures to safeguard our personal, business and confidential information."
The security and privacy of information
According to the 2022 Africa Cyberthreat Assessment report from INTERPOL, South Africa has the third highest number of cybercrime victims worldwide, costing the country R2.2 billion annually.
With that alarming statistic, it is clear why the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) is so crucial and why contraventions to the Act are viewed as seriously as they are, with fines up to R10 million and possibly 10 years in jail per incident.
It is also a perfect example of how RegTech companies can simplify regulatory compliance for companies and individuals.
"We understand the necessity of compliance and appreciate the complex requirements of the Act [POPIA]. Meeting all 8 principles can be challenging for most organisations, so Cowrie assists by enabling stringent, ongoing and auditable regulatory compliance.
Through our platform, this commitment is evident. The adherence is not just an obligatory task but a core part of our offerings, ensuring we deliver a trusted and reliable service," says du Plessis.
PoPIA includes the provision for establishing an Information Regulator, whose duties, among others, are to monitor and enforce compliance with the Act.
Demonstrating ongoing compliance, however, used to be nearly impossible – businesses don't continuously operate at full audit readiness as it is prohibitive; work efficiencies would fall while costs would rise.
"Cowrie empowers regulatory compliance through permissioned access to personal or business information. We safeguard data and ensure transparency in compliance through our comprehensive audit logging of all activities and permissions - a testament to our commitment to privacy, security, and trust."
The audit logging is managed at an operational level and is indelibly linked to every action performed on the account. Whatever type of audit a business or individual faces - financial, trust or regulatory – proving compliance is as effortless as sharing access to a tamperproof audit log.
Understanding the real value of personal information
Open finance refers to accessible financial systems that allow for the secure sharing and integration of financial data and services.
It is an exciting way to increase financial inclusion, foster competition between businesses, accelerate innovation and give South Africans the benefit of personally tailored products. But most importantly, it empowers everyone with the benefit of informed decision-making by providing a complete view of all financial accounts.
And while South Africa does not yet have legislation to implement open finance, the need is evident. And businesses in the financial sector need to be agile enough to adopt it quickly, as it means customers can share their financial information with financial apps, providers, and tools – in fact, with anyone or anything they choose.
Cowrie believes that individuals must have full control of their information for financial freedom and because it is theirs. To support this philosophy, Cowrie uniquely makes information interoperable. Data is now portable, though only with the owner's permission, which is the essence of Cowrie's approach to consent management.
Through Cowrie, individuals can quickly and effortlessly enable access to owned information with any business for any purpose.
Explore the freedom of secured and managed information that is always under your control - create your personal account today, free for a limited time only.