Archive for Październik, 2010

Take the fight to Cybercrime

By admin, 11 października, 2010, No Comment

Norton delivers the industry’s number-one online threat-detection rating, fastest performance and new, free Norton Power Eraser

With 65 percent of consumers worldwide falling victim to cybercrime , the need to choose the strongest, most comprehensive protection available is more important than ever. Norton from Symantec has released Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security 2011, the only suite to achieve a 100 percent protection score in a new third-party test from Dennis Labs . Advancing the Norton commitment to releasing only the fastest and lightest security products in the fight against cybercrime, the 2011 products have been carefully engineered to exceed already industry-leading performance and protection benchmarks. Norton goes even further by providing a free tool to consumers, Norton Power Eraser, that aggressively targets and eliminates fake antivirus or ‘scareware’ applications.

‘Today’s cybercriminals are not standing down; consumers need the very best protection to stay safe online,’ said Kara Rawden, Senior Marketing Manager Middle East & Africa, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec. ‘The Norton 2011 products are the highest quality we have ever built and the market’s most comprehensive protection with value-added tools for protecting customers from today’s ever-evolving threats.’

Norton does more: protection, performance and free tools

New product features, performance enhancements and free tools mean that Norton does even more than the competition to help prevent users from being victimised by cyber thieves.

Protection

According to new third-party test data from Dennis Labs, Norton placed first in real-world threat-detection tests and was the only vendor to achieve a 100 percent protection score. This is Norton’s second year in a row to secure that distinction.

Notably, Dennis Labs recently had its real-world security-testing methods reviewed by the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organisation (AMTSO) and received a 100 percent compliance. Additionally, in recent testing conducted by AV-Test.org , Norton 2011 was best of twelve competitive security offerings in both detection and remediation of threats. Norton has also received top scores in detection and remediation in evaluations by the independent security-testing organisation AV-Comparatives .

The following advanced features of the Norton 2011 products help to deliver its unmatched protection:
•    Reputation-based security instantly checks when and where programs originated to identify and stop new malicious programs faster than ever. Norton’s reputation system also allows users to determine if their overall download behaviour is more or less risky than that of today’s 58 million Norton Community Watch members.
•    System Insight 2.0 with new proactive performance alerts monitors all running applications and now alerts users if any program is overusing system resources and slowing them down; users thus know when they can make changes to improve computer performance.
•    Download Insight 2.0 delivers the most aggressive reputation-based protection yet, checking every downloaded file for safety before it is allowed to run.
•    SONAR 3 brings a new level of behavioural security to Norton 2011,  providing true ‘zero-day’ protection against new and emerging threats that are specifically designed to evade other security features. With its improved classification techniques, SONAR 3 identifies suspicious software based on its behaviours and automatically handles any decision making on behalf of the user.
•    Norton Bootable Recovery Tool conveniently allows Norton users to boot a PC into a safe state when a system is so deeply infected with a rootkit or other troublesome malware that installing security software or even properly starting up becomes impossible. New this year, the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool wizard automatically creates a CD/DVD/USB bootable device in a quick and easy way. Learn more about Norton Bootable Recovery Tool and download it here.

Performance

While providing the industry-leading protection of Norton Internet Security 2011, these products are the world’s fastest and lightest security product. According to new third-party testing data from PassMark Software , Norton Internet Security 2011 proved best in a field of well-known security offerings, being first in overall performance among security suites.
•    Norton Internet Security 2011 performs 65% better than the competitive average of PassMark scores
•    Norton Internet Security 2011 scans 61% faster than the competitive average
•    Norton Internet Security 2011 has the fastest installation time of 41 seconds

Additionally, Norton Internet Security 2011 outperformed the competition on everyday PC activities like browsing the Internet and copying files, such as photos or documents, from one location to another. Compared with Norton 2010, the new Norton had 25 percent less effect on browsing the Internet and better than 60 percent less effect on copying files.

Norton offers free tools

Because every infected machine poses a risk to the broader online community, Norton is offering powerful free tools for consumers, regardless of the security they use, to provide all computers with a deeper level of protection. While these tools are available to everyone, Norton customers benefit from the fact that they are already integrated into the 2011 product.

One of these free tools is Norton Power Eraser, which aggressively targets and eliminates the latest threats, including fake antivirus or ‘scareware’ programs. Fake antivirus programs imitate legitimate software and provide a way for cybercriminals to swindle consumers out of huge sums of money. Norton Power Eraser is freely available online and as a link within the 2011 Norton products. Learn more about Norton Power Eraser and download it here.

Additional free tools Norton offers include Norton Safe Web Lite, a downloadable toolbar that identifies risky sites in search resultsbefore users click on them. Facebook users can protect themselves with Norton Safe Web for Facebook, which scans current Facebook news feeds to see if they contain links that are unsafe. Norton also offers a free tool for parents and youngsters – Norton Online Family – which helps youngsters stay safe online while encouraging open communication with their parents about their online activities.

Pricing, availability and compatibility

Norton Internet Security 2011 and Norton AntiVirus 2011 are available now for purchase in South Africa and on the Symantec online store here.

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for Norton Internet Security 2011 is R899 for a three-PC license, which includes a one-year service subscription to use the product and receive Symantec’s protection updates. The suggested retail price of Norton AntiVirus 2011 is R499 for a three-PC license, which includes a one-year service subscription to use the product and receive Symantec’s protection updates.

Norton 2011 products support Microsoft Windows XP (32-bit) Home/Professional/Tablet PC/Media Centre with Service Pack 2 or later, Microsoft Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) both for Starter/Home Basic/Home Premium/Business/Ultimate editions. Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus 2007 or later users with a valid product subscription are eligible to receive the latest product updates via the subscription service model. For more information, visit the Norton Update centre at http://updatecenter.norton.com.

Warning: Phising SAs big problem

By admin, 11 października, 2010, No Comment

Despite the increase in Trojan viruses in Europe, in South Africa phishing attacks are still the major threat to financial institutions and other large corporations operating web-based portals which are accessed by high volumes of clients.

Karel Rode, Principal Consultant of RSA, the Security Division of EMC Southern Africa, says: “We believe that Trojans have yet to take off in South Africa because phishing attacks continue to be successful and are cheap to operate. However, we expect Trojans and other downloadable malware to become a serious threat as distribution methods evolve.”

A Trojan is malware which appears to perform a desirable function for the user prior to run or install, but instead facilitates unauthorised access of the user’s computer system. In essence, it is a harmful piece of software which looks legitimate. Users are typically tricked into loading and executing it on their systems.

Rode explains that Trojans collect user credentials, and use trigger lists (for example, user log-in and bank name).  for specific logins and even collects  domain logins, ). User log-ins to company domains, VPN gateways, Gmail and Facebook are also useful information for Trojans.

One example is Man-in-the-Browser attacks(MitB), a trojan which infects a web browser and has the ability to modify pages, change transaction content or insert additional transactions, all in a completely covert fashion invisible to both the user and host application.

Through the Cybercrime Intelligence collected by its RSA FraudAction team, RSA has built up a substantial information base. “This enables us to identify a potential threat and approach the people or companies which have been targeted so that remedial steps can be taken,” Rode says. “Corporations must guard against the loss of internal log-in credentials, as fraudsters are no longer making the big money from banking logins and credit card theft. Corporations across the board need to be aware that these attacks can significantly compromise sensitive information.”

RSA is able to protect its clients using a risk-based engine with a step up authentication method. Called RSA Adaptive Authentication, the solution is customised for each organisation. It constantly evaluates the interaction between users and the organisation’s website, identifying any anomalies which may occur. If the risk score for a user’s device or actions reaches a certain level, the user is challenged for additional authentication details.

“This layered approach protects against multiple threats, including identity take over, account take over and account compromise – within multiple layers and multiple channels,” Rode says.

RSA has the credentials to help organisations protect themselves and their customers against Internet security threats. It was the first company to offer risk-based authentication as well as the first to offer both risk-based authentication and strong two-factor authentication in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment (in the cloud).

Other firsts for RSA include its eFraudNetwork, a global shared repository of fraud resources, mutual authentication via site-to-user authentication, a 24×7 Phishing takedown service, and a 3D Secure service protecting millions of cardholders shopping at eCommerce sites.

AfricaCom congress at it’s Best Yet!

By admin, 9 października, 2010, No Comment

Africa’s communications landscape has changed drastically in 2010, most notably thanks to investments and acquisitions by major operator groups, and to the launch of new submarine cables which are vastly improving capacity.

It is these market changes that will form the backdrop to discussions and learning at Africa’s largest annual congress and exhibition – the 13th annual AfricaCom (www.comworldseries.com/africa).  Taking place in Cape Town on 10-11 November 2010, AfricaCom is designed to equip the 4,000 attending African operators, solutions and technology providers with all the contacts, insights and predictions they need to ensure they are one step ahead, not only of the competition but also of market changes.

This year’s brand new conference programme features 40+ hours of market insights delivered in a mixture of strategic keynotes, interactive panel discussions, roundtables, breakfast briefings and special focus sessions. Coming under the overarching umbrella of “Driving the Next Stage of Growth in African Telecoms“, the conference programme has been broadened to span all aspects of Africa’s telecoms ecosystem including some new “hot” technologies yet to hit the market. Special Focus sessions include Efficiency and ROI Strategies; LTE; VAS; Marketing, Pricing and Loyalty; Mobile Money; Fibre Optics; Broadband Data Services; WiMAX; and Capacity & Wholesale.  With so many sessions to choose from, AfricaCom is the only event telcos need attend to stay abrest of future and recent market dynamics.

To ensure that delegates learn from the cream of African telecoms, a record breaking 100 visionary speakers will be present.  Headling the conference are 40+ CxO level operator and ISP representatives including regional heads for MTN, Vodacom, Orange, Zain, Etisalat, Expresso Telecom. In addition, leading international telecom solutions vendors will present on the latest products and technologies to improve services to the consumers.

Co-located to the conference is a 250 stand exhibition featuring some of the world’s leading solutions and technology providers.  An opportunity for delegates to see, touch and try some of the latest products to hit the market.

With over 4,000 senior level attendees from across Africa and beyond, the networking opportunities at Africa Com 2010 are un-paralleled.  This is a must-attend for anyone working in or looking to do business in this region’s telecoms sector.  For more information, visit www.comworldseries.com/africa

The event also includes an exhibition of over 250 telecommunications companies showcasing their solutions in an environment where networking is key. Various zones are dedicated to it in order to facilitate meetings, with a meeting rooms village and relaxing coffee areas.

Attendance is FREE to African operators, FREE exhibition only passes are available and, as a My Broadband Reader, all other companies can claim a special 25% discount off the full conference prices

Register conference online quoting VIP Code: AF10PMBZ
https://commerce.informatm.com/events/africacom-i0g8k-media.html

Register exhibition only online quoting VIP Code: AF10PMBZ
http://africa.comworldseries.com/congress/register

Top Ten Tips for Developing BlackBerry Smartphone Applications

By admin, 8 października, 2010, No Comment

BlackBerry App World™ provides developers with a channel to reach over 50 million BlackBerry® smartphone users across the world. It has opened a whole new world of possibilities for BlackBerry customers and developers alike.

There are already over 10,000 applications available to download, and on average, 1.5 million applications are being downloaded every day.  If you are looking to develop an application for the BlackBerry platform, here are the top ten questions you should consider:

1.    Does it just work?

The best applications should “just work” regardless of how complex the programme is. Users should be able to use the basic functions of the application without having to open a manual or check a user forum.

2.    Will it pass the traffic light test?
Users should be able to use an application’s features in the time it takes for a traffic light to turn from red to green. For example, in the BlackBerry® Messenger application it is possible to scan a few messages and even type a quick response in a matter of minutes.

3.    Does it anticipate users’ actions?

Applications must be intuitive and should be developed by anticipating exactly how they will be used. It is important that they have clear layouts and intuitive icon placement to ensure that users can navigate and employ its functions quickly and easily.

4.    Does it integrate with the BlackBerry experience?
BlackBerry smartphone users will be most at ease and impressed with applications that take advantage of the overall BlackBerry experience. For example, a mobile social networking application that uses the device’s camera to take a photo and uses the integrated GPS to give it a location-based tag is much more valuable than an application that does not utilise any of the device’s native features.

5.    Will it minimise battery drain?
Developers should ensure that applications do not degrade the overall performance of the device, in particular the battery life.  Even if the application is crucial to the user it will not be seen as a viable option if it drains the battery life of the device significantly.

6.    Does it capitalise on “push”?

Successful BlackBerry smartphone applications should capitalise on RIM’s innovative push technology. Push technology means that BlackBerry smartphone users never need to go looking for new information – instead it comes to them.  This functionality changes the way users interact with their mobile device by reducing the frequency with which they have to seek out new information.  A successful push application also uses the wireless network judiciously, only delivering information when necessary or when users call for it.

7.    Does it use wireless access judiciously?
An application that judiciously employs wireless resources will frequently provide a better overall experience to the user and put less strain on the operator’s network.  For example, a mobile weather application that is set to update itself every hour should only send or receive data if the current weather conditions have changed.  For example, a mobile weather application may update itself every hour, even if they current conditions haven’t changed in days. This represents inefficient use of the wireless network, as there is actually no need for that data to be sent.

8.    Does it work offline as well as online?

For applications that require internet access, developers must consider how the programme will be used during times when the user is in an area with little or no coverage.  Therefore, BlackBerry smartphone applications should utilise push technology to ensure that vital information is stored locally on the device so a wireless connection is not essential for its use.

9.    Does it have a responsive user interface?

The best BlackBerry applications have user interfaces that are speedy and responsive to user commands.

10.    Does it utilise device specific features?
Developers should write applications with a specific device model in mind as they are usually more attractive than applications that provide few or no custom features.  In a similar vein to the GPS photo tagging, an application that uses the device’s native GPS feature to determine the user’s location when searching for local amenities will be much more valuable than one that requires the user to enter their postcode or city name.

If you are interested in getting more information about how to submit an application on BlackBerry App World you should visit www.blackberry.com/developers.

You will also be able to find more valuable information at the upcoming BlackBerry Innovation Forum that is taking place in Johannesburg on 21st October, 2010. The event is a perfect opportunity for businesses across all sectors and industries to find out how they can benefit from smartphone technology.

BlackBerry Curve goes purple

By admin, 8 października, 2010, No Comment

Research In Motion (RIM) has announced the availability* of the BlackBerry® Curve™ 8520 smartphone in a smart new royal purple finish. The BlackBerry Curve 8520 in royal purple is your connection to the people, places and things you care about most, in a fresh new colour.

For people who like to be connected, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 in royal purple provides easy mobile access to email, messaging (IM, SMS, MMS) and popular social networking sites (including Facebook®, Twitter® and MySpace®) and features a highly tactile full-QWERTY keyboard for comfortable, accurate typing. It also features rich multimedia capabilities and access to music, games and other mobile apps for entertainment on the go.

In addition to providing customers with the industry’s leading mobile email and messaging solution, the BlackBerry Curve 8520 in royal purple is designed to be efficient and convenient. It has an innovative touch-sensitive trackpad, which makes scrolling and selection smooth and easy for a great navigation experience. It also features dedicated media keys, smoothly integrated along the top of the handset, giving customers an easy, convenient way to control their music and videos.

Step up to the new BlackBerry Curve 8520 in royal purple and discover what life is like on a BlackBerry smartphone.

Key features of the BlackBerry Curve 8520 in royal purple include:
•    Full-QWERTY keyboard and touch-sensitive trackpad for reliable, responsive typing and navigation
•    256MB Flash memory and a 512Mhz next generation processor for enhanced performance
•    Premium phone features including voice activated dialing, and Bluetooth (2.0) support for hands-free use with headsets, car kits, stereo headsets and other Bluetooth peripherals
•    2 MP digital camera with zoom and video recording
•    Advanced media player for music, pictures and videos, with dedicated media keys and a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, plus BlackBerry® Media Sync, which makes it easy to quickly sync music from iTunes® or Windows Media® Player with the smartphone**
•    BlackBerry® Internet Service support for access to up to 10 supported email accounts, including most popular ISP email accounts such as MWEB, Yahoo!®, Windows Live™ Hotmail® and Gmail™; and  BlackBerry® Enterprise Server support, which provides advanced security and IT administration features for corporate deployments
•    Expandable memory via hot swappable microSD/SDHC memory card slot, supporting cards of up to 32GB ; a 2GB card is included
•    Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
•    Quad-band world phone: EGDE/GPRS/GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)


Trojans Dominate Cyber Threats in 2010

By admin, 8 października, 2010, No Comment

•    The malware distribution techniques in the spotlight this quarter include clickjacking, BlackHat SEO and 0-day attacks

•    95% of all email in circulation was spam, and 55% of global spam originated from just 10 countries

•    Android smart phones are being targeted by hackers, thanks to their widespread popularity

Global IT vendor Panda Security has published its quarterly report on global virus activity. This third quarter has once again seen Trojans in the spotlight, as 55% of all new threats created were in this category.

Infection via email, traditionally the most popular vector for spreading malware, has declined in favour of more modern methods: use of social media, such as the clickjacking attacks using the Facebook “Like” button, fake Web pages positioned on search engines (BlackHat SEO) and exploits of 0-day vulnerabilities.

In addition, Google’s Android operating system for smart phones has come into the line of fire. Various threats have appeared recently, aimed above all at racking up phone bills or targeting the geolocalization function of the terminals.

Malware info

55% of new threats created this quarter were Trojans, most of them banker Trojans. This is in line with the general increase in these types of threats that Panda has witnessed over the last two years.

With respect to spam, 95% of all email circulating across the Internet during the last quarter was junk mail. Some 50% of all spam was sent from just ten countries, with India, Brazil and Russia at the top of the list.

This edition of the report highlights the record levels of threat distribution through new channels”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations.

There has also been much talk of two serious 0-day flaws in the code of Microsoft’s operating system. One of these could have been exploited to attack SCADA systems (specifically, nuclear power stations), although this rumor is yet to be confirmed.

the arrest of the creator of the Butterfly botnet kit, source of the notorious Mariposa network that impacted 13 million computers around the world.

And finally, the latest and hopefully last scare of this third quarter: a worm called ‘Rainbow’ or ‘OnMouseOver’. A vulnerability in the code of Twitter allowed JavaScript to be injected, enabling a series of actions: redirecting users to Web pages, publishing javascript on the user’s timeline without their permission or knowledge, etc. Twitter however resolved the problem in just a few hours.

Android: in the firing line of hackers

Over these three months Panda has also witnessed what could be the beginning of a wave of threats targeting smart phones, as it seemed that hackers have started lining up Android, Google’s popular operating system. Two applications have been developed specifically for this platform: FakePlayer, which under the guise of a video player, sends SMS messages generating a hefty phone bill for victims without their knowledge; and TapSnake, an app disguised as a game which sends the geolocalization coordinates of the user to an espionage company.

‘With the rise in social networking attacks and banker Trojans, we encourage users to always be vigilant when using the web, for personal or professional reasons. This coupled with good malware and virus protection, like Panda’s, is the best way to stay safe’, concludes Matthews.

You can download the PandaLabs quarterly report from http://press.pandasecurity.com/press-room/panda-white-paper/

For more information about Panda, visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/.

Free WiFi at Tech Ed

By admin, 7 października, 2010, No Comment

Free WiFi for Tech-Ed Africa? You’d better believe it, thanks to an agreement between Microsoft and MTN Business that will effectively see a 50Mbps international pipe being bolted onto the side of Durban’s ICC for the duration of the event later this month.

Tech-Ed Africa 2010, Microsoft’s premier event for IT professionals and developers, runs from 17-20 October at Durban’s iconic International Conference Centre (ICC) – and is expected to attract 2 500 hard-core geeks for three days of in-depth workshops, demos and insights from an array of top local and international speakers.

MTN Business’ participation means users will be able to access websites and applications using the WiFi provided, as well as take part in presentations that will be done using video conferencing. Microsoft will be splitting the connectivity between free browsing and streaming international presentations.

“We’re proud to demonstrate our highly resilient, low latency technology capabilities to such a tech-savvy audience,” said Angela Gahagan, Managing Executive at MTN Business. “We look forward to making their experience at Tech-Ed a fantastic one.”

Tech-Ed delegates will also get the unique opportunity to get hands-on and personal with the two jewels in Microsoft’s consumer crown, the upcoming Windows Phone 7 and the controller-free Kinect gaming system.

Katrien De Graeve, a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft BeLux, will be showcasing the Windows Phone 7 platform for developers. She plans to make her sessions interesting, practical and above all hands-on.

“I want to show all the capabilities of the phone. In these sessions, we will actually build sample applications end-to-end. After all, Tech-Ed is as much about fun as it is about learning,” said De Graeve.

Windows Phone 7 is a completely new offering when compared to Windows Mobile 6.5: the new device offers a music player, social network integration, Xbox Live games, Office applications, as well as the typical e-mail and contacts integration.

The highly-anticipated Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways, with full body play – no controllers. Microsoft believes the natural, intuitive interface will herald a new era in how people interact with devices in the future.

Borderless Networks get a boost

By admin, 7 października, 2010, No Comment

Latest innovations provide high performance, high density solutions for cloud, virtual desktop and wired-wireless environments

Cisco announced today new products and services across all the functional elements of its Borderless Network Architecture — the switching, routing, security, and wireless portfolios. Notable additions include the highest-performing and high-density Catalyst switch, Adaptive Security Appliance firewall and compact ASR 1000 router in their classes; new entry-level 802.11n wireless access points for smaller businesses; and new and enhanced smart services offerings.

Additionally, a new network service was announced to accelerate application performance physically and virtually (Application Velocity Network Service).  For more information on the Application Velocity Network Service announcement, click here.

Key Highlights: The new products and professional and technical services Cisco announced today extend the Borderless Networks portfolio to address the growing need for high-performance, reliable and secure application delivery from a smaller number of consolidated data centers to a growing number of wired and wireless endpoints, while optimising overall resource utilisation and footprint.

High Performance/High Density Innovations:
•    The Cisco Catalyst 4500E Series switch, the industry’s most widely deployed modular platform, raises the bar in performance for campus switching by delivering 848 Gbps of system bandwidth and the highest density of 384 Power over Ethernet Plus (PoEP) capable ports.
•    The Cisco ASA 5585-X Adaptive Security Appliance delivers MultiScale performance in a compact 2 RU form factor. Ideal for mission-critical data centers, it provides a security system that sets the bar for performance with eight times the performance density of its competitors.
•    The Cisco ASR 1001 router is the industry’s most compact edge routing solution at 1RU and the highest performance router for its size.  The Cisco ASR 1001 supports an on-demand performance upgrade from 2.5Gbps to 5Gbps as well as incremental services on-demand.
•    The Aironet 1040 Series Access Point expands Cisco’s mobility portfolio and accelerates adoption of 802.11n by providing enterprise performance with an entry-level price, reduced operational complexity and a competitive feature set.

End User Security and Energy Saving Enhancements:
•    AnyConnect 3.0 further expands network endpoint capabilities with new IPSEC IKEv2 support in addition to SSL and DTLS, an integrated 802.1X supplicant, and 802.1AE MACSec support.
•    EnergyWise can deliver even more cost savings by rapidly growing Cisco Developer Network (CDN) partnerships to include leading data center physical infrastructure provider, APC by Schneider Electric, and smart power distribution unit (PDU) manufacturers including Cyber Switching, Raritan, Server Technology and WTI.

Deployment and Optimisation Innovations:
•    SBA Enterprise, a series of prescriptive blueprints to help simplify a phased approach to planning and deployment, lets customers with up to 10,000 connected devices deploy Borderless Networks using Cisco tested and validated solutions.
•    CiscoWorks LAN Management Solution 4.0 provides a comprehensive and fully integrated management tool with intuitive work centers to automate workflows and ease deployment for Borderless Network services such as EnergyWise and TrustSec, in addition to simplifying monitoring and troubleshooting the network.
•    Cisco is also announcing new and enhanced smart services to help customers realise the full value of their network investments. The new Cisco Smart Net Total Care Service, which scales to large enterprises, provides  IT professionals the unique ability to see exactly what is going on in their networks, allowing them to increase operational efficiency, reduce risk, and lower support costs on a proactive basis.

Webcom strengthens ties with Converged Telecoms

By admin, 7 października, 2010, No Comment

Following a renewed focus on providing full service end-to-end converged communications solutions, The Webcom Group has once again strengthened its ties with Converged Telecoms, specialists in converged voice solutions and VoIP.

Established in 1999, Converged Telecoms has emerged over the last two years as a specialist provider of AASTRA products, the PABX solutions that previously fell under the Ericsson stable. The company is dedicated to delivering technology and services around this highly focused range of products, enabling them to become experts in the AASTRA product range and peripheral devices. Converged Telecoms also specialises in tailor made Service Level Agreements and maintenance plans around the solutions they deliver.

“This strategic partnership enables us to strengthen our service offering to our customers, by allowing us to bring in best of breed solutions in areas that we do not ourselves specialise in. Converged Telecoms are experts in the field of PABX, VoIP and converged voice solutions, with a proven track record. By partnering with them we are now able to offer our customers a total converged communication solution from the network through to data and now also voice technology,” says Glen Miller, CEO of the Webcom Group.

The companies have a long standing history and the business model of Converged Telecoms ties neatly into the Webcom service offering and philosophy of offering best of breed solutions and value added solutions to clients. Both organisations are focused on building long term relationships with clients and believe in adding value, not simply dropping boxes.

Says Bryant Dennis, owner of Converged Telecoms: “This partnership offers benefits to both us and Webcom. From our side we gain access to Webcom’s established customer base as well as their reputation and experience within the government sector, an area in which we have not been active in the past.

We are a leading vendor of the AASTRA products and can offer Webcom access to specialised services and a unique skill set which they do not have internally.”

Recently there has been a resurgence in focus on the convergence space within southern Africa as a result of the availability of more and better quality bandwidth. This will only increase as more and more bandwidth is freed up, and organisations will be able to really take advantage of the cost savings and other benefits of converged communications.

“There is a lot of functionality that can be bolted on to the back of an IP PABX, which requires converged voice and data as well as the right networks.

By partnering with Converged Telecoms we are able to offer this functionality through end-to-end converged communications infrastructure. We have put ourselves in an excellent position to take advantage of the increasing demand for this type of service that the future is sure to bring,” Miller concludes.

Employee happiness when times are tough: The Microsoft way

By admin, 5 października, 2010, No Comment

How do you keep your employees happy when times are tough? It’s all about employee engagement and open communication, says Microsoft SA managing director Mteto Nyati, whose company was this week named the best small company to work for in South Africa in the 2010 Deloitte Best Company to Work For Survey.

Microsoft was also named best employer in the Information Technology sector. McDonald’s SA won the large company category (more than 2500 employees) and Flight Centre was named best employer in the medium company category (for 301-2500 employees).

The survey, now in its 11th year, sees employees rate their employers across 13 dimensions, including leadership, transformation, communication, rewards and management style.

“The fact that these awards are effectively determined by our own employees is a testimony to our ability to listen and act on employee feedback, create space for our employees to contribute to our growth and a culture of providing a challenging workplace in which our people feel they are making a real difference to the lives of others,” said a delighted Nyati.

David Conradie, Director of Human Capital at Deloitte, said companies which excel in the survey see participation as an essential part of their HR strategy rather than a once-off event. All the 2010 category winners have participated in the Deloitte Best Company to Work For Survey for a number of years, and have consistently ranked as top performing employers.

“These organisations tend to score consistently well despite prevailing economic conditions,” said Conradie.  “Leading companies realise that engaged and loyal staff are their strongest assets and invest in an employer brand strategy regardless of the marketplace.”

Survey findings are a barometer of employee sentiment. The year saw levels of employees’ satisfaction decline noticeably compared to 2009 scoring lower across all dimensions surveyed.

“While the foundations of a positive employment experience remain the same, negative economic conditions have undoubtedly had an impact on overall levels of employee morale and engagement,” says Conradie. “This decline was in evidence across the board – regardless of size of business.”

This year, the area of reward and remuneration was an area of high concern to employees. While South Africa has officially pulled out of recession, the recovery has been uneven with some sectors struggling and others performing well. Conradie believes that it is this lack of uniformity and inevitable comparisons that lead to rising levels of employee discontent regarding this critical aspect of their employment.

Microsoft SA’s HR lead, Jabu Ndhlovhu, said a key element of the company’s strategy had been to use turbulent market conditions to its advantage.

“We had to find a way to create a lean, effective organization that could not only compete effectively under these circumstances, but provide a working environment which challenged our people and made them feel part of something bigger,” said Ndhlovhu.

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