Archive for Styczeń, 2011

Deadline looming for Electronic Employment Equity returns

By admin, 14 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Companies that haven’t submitted their Employment Equity reports manually by 01 October 2010, still have until 15 January 2011 to submit their reports electronically.

To encourage companies to convert to electronic submissions the Department gave companies intending to submit electronic returns more time and now they have just a few days left to do so.

Grant Lloyd, managing director of payroll and HR software specialist Softline Pastel Payroll, points out that companies with less than 150 employees but more than 50, who are required to submit only every second year, must send in their reports this year. Companies with more than 150 employees submit every year. In addition, please refer to the Annual Turnover Table (Schedule 4 of the Employment Equity Act) to determine if your company is classified as a ‘Designated Employer’.

“The Department of Labour’s annual EE Report for 2009-2010 highlighted a significant 30% increase in report submissions from 2007 to 2009,” says Lloyd. “It would appear that the no tolerance approach by the Employment Equity Commissioner has made an impact. The Director-General may apply to the Labour Court to impose fines on employers who do not comply.”

In July last year amendments were made to simplify the information required for the Employment Equity reporting process.

“This makes reporting easier and employers with payroll software that accommodates the amended reporting templates will find all of the information necessary to accurately complete the return resides conveniently in their payroll system,” says Lloyd. “This data can be automatically extracted and pre-populated into the required report formats.”

Deadline lloming for Electronic Employment Equity returns

By admin, 13 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Companies that haven’t submitted their Employment Equity reports manually by 01 October 2010, still have until 15 January 2011 to submit their reports electronically.

To encourage companies to convert to electronic submissions the Department gave companies intending to submit electronic returns more time and now they have just a few days left to do so.

Grant Lloyd, managing director of payroll and HR software specialist Softline Pastel Payroll, points out that companies with less than 150 employees but more than 50, who are required to submit only every second year, must send in their reports this year. Companies with more than 150 employees submit every year. In addition, please refer to the Annual Turnover Table (Schedule 4 of the Employment Equity Act) to determine if your company is classified as a ‘Designated Employer’.

“The Department of Labour’s annual EE Report for 2009-2010 highlighted a significant 30% increase in report submissions from 2007 to 2009,” says Lloyd. “It would appear that the no tolerance approach by the Employment Equity Commissioner has made an impact. The Director-General may apply to the Labour Court to impose fines on employers who do not comply.”

In July last year amendments were made to simplify the information required for the Employment Equity reporting process.

“This makes reporting easier and employers with payroll software that accommodates the amended reporting templates will find all of the information necessary to accurately complete the return resides conveniently in their payroll system,” says Lloyd. “This data can be automatically extracted and pre-populated into the required report formats.”

Burgeoning market for managed WAN optimisation

By admin, 12 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Expand Networks, a leader in optimising WANs for branch office consolidation and virtualisation, has appointed Comztek as its latest distribution partner in South Africa. Combining Comztek’s end-to-end networking portfolio with Expand Networks’ Accelerators, the partnership will address the burgeoning market opportunity for managed WAN optimisation and as-a-service solutions and enable resellers to capitalise on the upward trends for virtualisation, VDI and server consolidation in South Africa.

According to Dave Caygill, business unit director at Comztek, Expand Networks’ WAN Optimisation solutions – in physical, virtual and mobile form factors – are set to play a significant role in the company’s Networks division. He comments, “Expand is wholly complementary to our existing networking portfolio. As strategic IT initiatives such as VDI, virtualisation and server consolidation rise across every industry, WAN optimisation has become a key part of enterprise network strategies today. As an enabler for these initiatives, Expand will prove extremely compelling for our resellers as they strive to differentiate their enterprise services to win market share.”

In particular, Caygill believes Expand’s focus on virtualised traffic and distributed environments will become a highly relevant technology in 2011. “The Virtual and Mobile Accelerators offer something new to the South African marketplace and we are certain the relevance of these appliances will create strong demand amongst our customer-base moving forward. In addition, the partnership uniquely enables us to provide our resellers with the many opportunities surrounding WAN Optimisation as a Service through one of the leading experts in this field.”

Brandon Rochet, Expand Networks’ sales director, Sub-Saharan Africa: “Demand for our product range is booming in South Africa, especially in the retail and government sectors. This partnership puts us in the perfect position to bolster our distribution channel. With its strong technical expertise and extensive reseller-base, Comztek’s value-added approach is wholly complementary to our wider channel strategy.”

Taking a phased approach to IP telephony

By admin, 12 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Keeping up with the latest technology is one of the facets of a modern, successful business, as it enables improved business and reduced cost.

Leveraging this technology is one of the sources of competitive advantage in today’s market. One of the latest evolutions of technology is IP telephony, which allows organisations to leverage the cost advantages and convenience of running both voice and data on a single network.

This is according to Dawie Bloomberg, Business Services Director at The Webcom Group. He notes, “However, there remains a belief that to implement such a technology a forklift overhaul of the communications environment is required in order to migrate to an IP telephony platform.”

This may not always be the case, as a phased approach to the migration is possible in some cases, allowing organisations to move step by step into the IP telephony space, saving on large initial capital outlay and enabling the organisation to adopt this next level of technology in a manner which will suit their budget.

“One thing that needs to be clarified is the common misunderstanding of the difference between IP telephony and VoIP,” says Bryant Dennis, co-owner of Converged Telecoms, a Webcom Group partner. “These terms are often used interchangeably but in fact represent two distinct technologies.”

VoIP is an enabling technology that allows the transmission of voice over an IP network by converting voice to IP packets, transmitting this over the IP network and then converting the signal back to voice at the other end of the line. A VoIP solution can use traditional endpoints such as a desk phone to improve costs and return on investment when compared to traditional systems.

“IP telephony builds on the cost savings aspect of VoIP, with additional applications such as XML, run off an entirely server-based solution. An IP telephony solution eliminates the requirement of a traditional PBX, allowing for integration with operating systems, for example the Aastra platform can integrate with Microsoft Lync, using a server with switching software and endpoint devices which can be plugged directly into the network,” says Bloomberg.

If an organisation has an existing analogue PBX or a digital telephony system, a migration to full IP telephony without a forklift upgrade is still possible. The solution in place needs to be carefully examined to see if it is capable of migration, and if so then IP boards can be put into place and the solution migrated across. However, if the existing system cannot be directly migrated, then a third party solution or gateway needs to be used.

Establishing the viability of migrating the system should be given careful consideration and in most cases an expert consultant can help to do this in order to ease the migration process and ensure success.

“When an organisation wishes to retain their existing investment, a third party solution may be necessary. If the gateway route is selected, organisations need to understand the pitfalls of a mixed environment and understand that this is not the right solution for everyone. IP enabling a PBX does not mean the enterprise now has an IP server, and this route may create a hybrid environment which still runs traditional processes. That said, however, it is possible to phase in IP phones, then migrate the PBX to a server and so on, thus adopting IP telephony in a phased manner,” says Dennis.

One of the biggest pitfalls to creating a mixed environment is that often it can lead to capacity issues, for example when a non-IP device talks to an IP device internally it can take over the entire IP channel. If the operator is digital and the extension is IP-based this will take up a lot of traffic, since operators will scavenge the channels for internal calls, and implementing more channels can be a costly exercise.

“Organisations also need to look at the condition and age of the hardware as well as the availability of parts, since migrating a legacy system will not solve problems with maintenance and service but may in fact exacerbate them.

A gateway solution is nothing more than a workaround solution. This bolted on system may not deliver the same flexibility as a traditional PBX system, so organisations may end up migrating backwards instead of moving forwards,” Dennis adds.

“Migration, as long as it remains transparent, may be a good option, as a phased approach can deliver financial benefits in terms of spreading out the capital outlay required over a period of time. Organisations need to ensure that they have taken expert advice from qualified and experienced consultants to ensure that the migration runs smoothly and is the right option for their organisation” says Bloomberg.

The most cost effective manner of migrating to an IP solution is to ensure that the right platform and supplier is chosen, and then implement hotspots in areas where IP telephony will benefit the organisation. This means that if problems are experienced within these hotspots, the entire organisation will not be affected, and conflicts can be addressed in small spaces.

“Organisations can use hotspots to ‘test the waters’ to see whether IP telephony is the right solution for their business and to discover what needs to be upgraded on the existing infrastructure,” adds Dennis. “This way, the move to IP telephony is not the giant commitment rolling out the solution to the entire organisation would be, and if things do go wrong then it does not become a huge issue affecting the entire organisation.”

A forklift upgrade may seem like the ideal solution as organisations can immediately see the benefits in terms of reduced maintenance and service costs, as well as the advantage of not operating in a mixed environment.

However, this approach is costly and there is a risk involved with how an IP solution will function with other existing applications and equipment. If a strong business case is not built and applied a forklift upgrade may cause more problems than it solves.

“Ultimately the decision to migrate or forklift is wholly dependent on the existing infrastructure. If the system is not migratable then it should not be migrated, end of story. And while a gateway solution may be a temporary fix, customers need to be aware of the risks associated with this, including the possibility of becoming locked in by a proprietary solution that cannot be maintained by anyone else,” adds Dennis.

IP telephony is billed as the future of communications and many organisations are looking to migrate to this infrastructure. However, the fact is that not all organisations are ready for IP telephony and this move requires careful consideration of all factors involved, otherwise it could end up being a costly and pointless exercise.

Kaspersky Lab compares corporate anti-virus software

By admin, 11 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management solutions, has announced that its corporate products have demonstrated excellent results in tests conducted by AV-Comparatives.

The tests carried out by AV-Comparatives, a respected antivirus software test laboratory, assessed popular corporate IT security products from eight developers. Four of Kaspersky Lab’s business products were tested: Kaspersky Administration Kit 8.0, Kaspersky Security 8.0 for Microsoft Exchange Servers, Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows Servers 6.0 Release 2 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows Workstations 6.0 Release 2.

The tests were designed to assess each product’s usability, ease of installation, management capabilities and functionality.  All the Kaspersky Lab solutions passed the tests with flying colours and were awarded AV-Comparatives’ Seal of Approval. The experts found that Kaspersky Lab’s products are well designed, offer effective protection and are highly recommended for use in corporate networks.

The convenience and user-friendliness of Kaspersky Administration Kit’s console came in for particular praise from AV-Comparatives. Using the console’s intuitive interface, even inexperienced users can effectively manage all of the available security tools, plus Kaspersky Administration Kit is compatible with computer networks of any scale and complexity. The installation and configuration wizards in Kaspersky Lab’s products also drew acclaim from the experts – these wizards provide a detailed, real-time visualisation of the entire process of protection deployment. The wizards allow users to quickly and easily install and configure all of the solutions, both locally and remotely.  Another unique feature of the products is that they allow IT security system deployment using Active Directory group policies.

Kaspersky Security 8.0 for Microsoft Exchange Servers reliably protects networks against malware and spam and contains powerful tools to configure updates, generate reports and predetermine responses to certain system events. The system administrator has the flexibility to regulate the scan depth of web and mail traffic for various user groups, allowing the system to operate according to any specific corporate requirements. The product demonstrated a 99% spam recognition rate, which is among the best of the eight products tested.

“Once again, Kaspersky Lab has released an excellent corporate IT security package that can be recommended across the board,” the experts at AV-Comparatives concluded in their report.

For details of the tests and test results, please visit: http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test/corporate/corporate_review_2010.pdf

Local wireless solution provider CEO doing well in Dakar

By admin, 7 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Comsol founder and CEO, Iain Stevenson, is holding up well in the middle stages of 2011 Dakar rally.  With a fall and a bruise here and there and fatigue setting in, he still seems in good spirits and focused on the finish line, according to Iain’s brother Hugh, who posts regular updates on Iain’s website.

“It looks like Iain is taking on the Dakar much like he takes on business, with dedication and perseverance” says Darren Morgan, Sales Manager of Comsol Wireless Solutions. Morgan adds “We are extremely proud of his accomplishments thus far and will be supporting him all the way.”

Iain finished stage five in 113th place with a tumble and a damaged GPS system which cost him some time.  This however, is not an issue for Stevenson as his focus is purely on completing the race and not chasing podiums, as mentioned before he started the journey.

Iain is part of the Miles for Smiles campaign in which he hopes to raise awareness and funds for the charity.  “Iain is a very generous person and it is not surprising that he wants to create as much awareness as possible for this cause” says Marketing Coordinator, Elriza Paul.  “We (Comsol) are watching every waypoint, recording every move and supporting him in every dune he conquers.”

Iain also has a following in Argentina/Chile consisting of wife (Hayley), brother (Hugh) and other family members and friends.

You can follow Iain’s progress on www.iain-stevenson.com as well as on Facebook. To support Miles for Smiles, please go to www.milesforsmiles.co.za

Truncated Twitter Links a Malware Threat

By admin, 6 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab presents its review of malware activity on users’ computers and on the Internet for December

In December 2010, the company’s analysts once again recorded a high level of malicious activity. Kaspersky Lab products blocked over 209 million network attacks in the month, prevented over 67 million attempts to infect computers via the web, detected and neutralised over 196 million malicious programs and registered almost 71 million heuristic verdicts.

Social engineering and the exploitation of vulnerabilities in legitimate software remained the main methods employed by cybercriminals, though it appears they never cease to hone their skills in other areas. They certainly didn’t pass up the opportunity of jumping on the ‘shortened URL’ bandwagon. Users are increasingly using Internet addresses that have been shortened with the help of special URL shortening services, and they don’t always know that malicious links may be lurking among them. In December the top trends on Twitter’s main page included a number of entries with links that had been shortened using popular services such as bit.ly and alturl.com. After several redirects these links eventually led to infected websites.

In another development, the authors of fake antivirus programs have been busy perfecting their tactics, so much so that two of their creations made it into December’s Top 20 malicious programs detected on the Internet – in 18th and 20th places. Genuine antivirus programs are now so effective at detecting their fake counterparts when they attempt to download to users’ computers that the cybercriminals have moved their wares to the Internet instead. In the latter scenario these rogue programs don’t need to be downloaded to a computer; users just need to be lured to a fake antivirus website, which is a lot easier than bypassing real antivirus protection.

Representatives of the Trojan-Downloader.Java.OpenConnection family remain extremely active. Instead of using vulnerabilities in a Java virtual machine these Trojans employ the OpenConnection method of a URL class – standard functionality of the Java programming language. Two representatives of Trojan-Downloader.Java.OpenConnection were among the Top 20 malicious programs detected on the Internet in December in 2nd and 7th places. At the height of their activity the number of computers on which these programs were detected in a 24-hour period exceeded 40,000.

Topping the list of web-based threats, well ahead of its nearest rival, was the adware program AdWare.Win32.HotBar.dh. As a rule, this program is installed along with legitimate applications and then annoys the user by displaying intrusive advertising. For the first time ever a malicious PDF file that makes use of Adobe XML Forms has made it into the Top 20 online threats. When a user opens the file Exploit.Win32.Pidief.ddl, a script exploit is launched that downloads and runs another malicious program from the Internet. Exploit.Win32.Pidief.ddl occupied 11th place in December’s rating of threats emanating from the Internet.

December also offered virus analysts the chance to monitor cybercriminal activity as it adapted to a new Russian Internet domain. November 2010 saw the beginning of domain name registration in the .рф (Cyrillic abbreviation for the Russian Federation) zone of the Internet. Online scammers turned out to be most active in the new domain, registering sites that were used to spread malicious programs and make enticing offers of a fraudulent nature. Three types of malware were detected most of all: fake archives resembling music, film and other media content; dummy programs masquerading as useful services for the Odnoklassniki social networking site; and script Trojans that redirected users to malicious web pages.

Intel’s newst laptop brings ‘Eye Candy’ to masses

By admin, 6 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Intel® Core™ Processor Features Create New Visual Experience, Lifestyle

With more than 1 million computers selling each day, Intel Corporation introduced its game-changing 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor family today at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas. Intel highlighted several surprising new features, services and partnerships that combine to deliver an entirely new visual experience with processor graphics built in. More than 500 desktop and laptop PCs are expected from all major OEMs worldwide throughout the next year.

New features include Intel® Insider™, Intel® Quick Sync Video, and a new version of the company’s award-winning Intel® Wireless Display (WiDi), which now adds 1080p HD and content protection for those wishing to beam premium HD content from their laptop screen to their TV. The company also revealed working with CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama* Digital Media Entertainment, Image Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment*, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution*.

“The new 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processors represent the biggest advance in computing performance and capabilities over any other previous generation,” said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager, PC Client Group, Intel. “The built-in visual capabilities enabled by these new processors are stunning. This, combined with improved adaptive performance, will revolutionize the PC experience in a way that is obvious for every user to see and appreciate – visibly smarter performance.”

New Visual Experience for Today’s Lifestyles

The 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family is the first “visibly smart” microarchitecture to combine visual and 3-D graphics technology with performance-leading microprocessors on a single chip. Incorporating the newly architected Intel® HD Graphics on each 32nm die enables significant graphics performance improvements over previous-generation graphics for both HD media processing and mainstream gaming. The chips improve performance and yet still offer great battery life and the ability to design thinner, lighter and more innovative laptops and all-in-one PCs.

New processor graphics technology will focus on the areas where most people are computing today: high-definition (HD) video, photos, mainstream gaming, multi-tasking and online socializing and multimedia. Enhanced visual technologies such as next-generation Intel® HD graphics are built into every 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor. For consumers, this means a dramatically improved PC experience, with better overall power management, greater efficiency and great battery life.

Additionally, a surprise new feature of the next-generation PC and laptop processors, Intel® Insider™, will give consumers access to movies on their PCs in full high-definition that were not available before. To explain the importance of this feature, Eden invited Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Home Entertainment Group president on stage. Tsujihara explained, “Warner Bros. sees the PC as one of the most broadly available and versatile platforms for delivering premium digital entertainment, and now that Intel has made it more secure, we’re able to provide new releases and popular catalog titles in full HD to the PC through our WBShop* storefront and from partners like CinemaNow* on the same day as DVD and Blu-ray* releases.”  Eden used a clip from the feature film “Inception”* from Warner Bros.* and demonstrated how easy it would be to get the movie from CinemaNow* and watch it in full HD on a laptop.

In collaboration with Hollywood and Bollywood studios along with leading content distributors such as CinemaNow*, Dixons Retail plc*, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment*, Image Entertainment*, Sonic Solutions*, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment*, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution* and others, Intel creates a protected environment for the distribution, storage and playback of premium content. This enables content owners and video services to release more movies in high definition. Commercial distribution of HD premium content using the Intel® Insider™ technology is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2011.

Building upon this Intel® Insider™ innovation, Eden then showed how consumers can now also use Intel® WiDi 2.0 to beam content such as the “Inception” film to their big- screen HDTVs. Additional  Intel® WiDi 2.0 improvements include support for 1080pHD as well as protected content either streaming from the Internet or played locally from a Blu-ray or DVD playeriii.

Another unique element of the visual experience built into the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processor family is Intel® Quick Sync Video.  This built-in hardware acceleration takes the wait out of editing and sharing videos with astonishing performance that completes in minutes what used to take hours. Now faster than ever, consumers can edit, convert and share videos with friends and family. Intel estimated that a 4-minute HD video that used to take 4 minutes to convert to play on an iPod* would now take just 16 secondsii.

The power of the 2nd Generation Intel Core processors for immersive mainstream gaming was demonstrated with a teaser from Valve’s* Portal 2*, one of the most anticipated game releases of 2011. Eden did the demonstration with precision Hydra motion controllers from Razer* using Sixense* MotionTouch* technology.

Smart Performance, Energy Efficiency and Intelligence Merge

The Intel® Core™ i3, i5 and i7 processors also include the enhanced Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0. This feature automatically reallocates processor core and processor graphics resources to accelerate performance, giving users an immediate performance boost when and where it’s needed.

Other new chip features include Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), Intel® InTru™ 3-D, and Intel® Clear Video Technology HD. Intel InTru 3-D enables immersive stereoscopic 3-D to 3-D-capable HDTVs or monitors via HDMI 1.4, making movie excitement almost come out of the screen.

Intel® AVX increases performance for such demanding visual applications as audio processing and professional video image editing such as stitching together multiple photographs. Intel® Clear Video improves the visual quality and color fidelity during video playback for a spectacular screen experience.

To make it easy for users to find a 2nd Generation Intel® Core™-based system that is just right for their particular needs, Intel is also announcing a wide array of SKUs including Intel vPro™-enabled processors.

The chips are made on Intel’s 32nm manufacturing process on the company’s second-generation high-k metal gate transistors. These unique advantages further boost performance; reduce power consumption for better battery life and smaller designs, and lower overall manufacturing costs.

Intel announced more than 20 processors, wireless adapters and chipsets, including new Intel® Core™ i7, i5 and i3 processors, Intel® 6 Series Chipsets, and Intel® Centrino® WiFi and WiMAX adapters. More than 500 laptop and desktop PC platform designs are expected from all major computer makers worldwide based on these products.

The quad-core-based systems (four processors inside one chip) will be available on Jan. 9 with additional dual-core versions in February. Video, benchmarks, photos and more details are available at www.intel.com/newsroom/CES.

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