Providing security in the digital age, in an interconnected and cashless world

The world currently finds itself in an exciting space where technology continues to help us realise the vision of making our work and personal lives easier and more efficient, thus freeing up time so we can do all the things we find enjoyable and meaningful. At the same time, technology and innovation brings additional complexity as vendors, service providers and end-users alike have to manage the security of data and transactions in a virtual space.

A sector that is particularly affected, and transformed, by technological forces is the financial services sector.


Financial services and mobile transactions

Technology and innovation has meant that, amongst others, a simple mobile phone and mobile data can enable access to financial services as well as goods and services through e-commerce.  According to the World Bank’s 2017 Findex, globally, 52% of adults have sent or received digital payments in the past year, up from 42% in 2014.

The challenges and risks brought to the fore by new ways of transacting are articulated in UL’s discussion paper Mobile Payment Security which recognises that, “As mobile handsets become more prevalent as a tool for payments and banking, the security of sensitive data used becomes increasingly important. Considerations, such as how the applications and transactions are secured and delivered, and how the user is securely identified, are key concerns of the mobile payment ecosystem.  Payment solutions are being evaluated for risk management by banks investigating implementing mobile payment services.”

This connectivity and efficiency brings risk if not mitigated and managed.  The World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab in an article entitled The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond observes that, “One of the greatest individual challenges posed by new information technologies is privacy. We instinctively understand why it is so essential, yet the tracking and sharing of information about us is a crucial part of the new connectivity.”


What does all of this mean?

The developing world in general, and Africa in particular is a fertile ground for new technologies, innovations, products and services in the area of digital and mobile banking.

Sub-Saharan Africa is not unique in being a beneficiary of innovative technologies.  Mobile remains a vital tool for commerce with a penetration rate of approximately 43% according to a 2016 GSMA report entitled, “The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2017.” [i]  The number of registered mobile money accounts reached 280 million in March 2017.

It will be important for the sector – service providers and vendors – to be equipped to manage the complexities of the digital age while ensuring the security and integrity of corporate and personal data.


How can UL assist you?

Through the years, UL has acquired unique capabilities that allow it to:

  • assess the security environment,
  • measure risk associated with online transactions,

and then make recommendations about:

  • sensitive data storage,
  • mobile security measures and vulnerabilities in the ecosystem,
  • provide an assessment framework that compares the available hardware- and software-based solutions in the market today.


UL’s Identity Management and Security division  guides companies within the mobile, payments and transit domains through the complex world of electronic transactions.


With a focus on today’s realities and tomorrow’s needs, UL provides the trusted and critical security expertise that is required in an interconnected and cashless world. Governments and organisations rely on UL as a trusted partner.


UL has accreditations from industry bodies including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, JCB, American Express, EMVCo, PCI, GCF, ETSI, GSMA, GlobalPlatform, NFC Forum and many others.


For more on our work in this area


UL Africa will be at Seamless East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya from 3-5 September 2018.  UL’s Dean Zwarts will facilitate a seminar entitled, Next generation ecommerce.


Contact us or +27 (0) 10 822 3950 to discuss how we can help you secure your digital assets and brand reputation.


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