Archive for Marzec, 2012

CIDA ICT Academy moves to new facilities

By admin, 29 marca, 2012, No Comment
  • Next step in a remarkable journey.
  • Almost 1000 students from disadvantage communities have been enrolled.
  • To provide the perfect platform to excel in training.

The CIDA ICT Academy has relocated to new premises in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg – a move which sees the academy consolidating and streamlining its facilities and operations, benefiting both delivery to its students and sponsors’ investment.

Previously situated in Commissioner Street, Johannesburg the new Lyndhurst campus for the ICT Academy undoubtedly represents the next chapter in its remarkable journey which has since its inception in 2003 – with an initial 121 students – enrolled almost 1000 students from disadvantaged communities.

Comments Mardia van der Walt-Korsten from T-Systems in South Africa: “We’re extremely excited about providing both the students and co-sponsors with a campus that sets yet another important benchmark for the country’s ICT training endeavours. The new facilities will provide students with the perfect platform to excel in their training, setting them firmly on a path to career success in the South African ICT industry.”
Since its inception, the academy has had a 95 percent pass rate which is higher than some profit-making training organisations and importantly above 85 percent employment in IT-related fields.

Inspired by the success of the CIDA City Campus, a non-profit higher education establishment founded in Johannesburg 1999, T-Systems in South Africa together with founding partners CIDA, SAP, Sun Microsystems, CompTIA, Cisco Systems, DEG and Outlearning established the ICT Academy. This included R4 million start-up funding.

Currently, four of the seven founding members are still involved with academy. The current partners – Microsoft, SAP, CompTIA, T-Systems and CIDA – offer financial contribution that is utilised towards rent, utilities and infrastructure, text books, tuition, exam fees and student lunches. Additionally, some of the country’s most prominent ICT players support the academy through workplace programmes.

T-Systems in South Africa has since 2003 continually invested R3.5 million annually towards the academy and also uses the ICT Academy graduates as one of the feeders to their Internship Programme. The programme has enrolled more than 250 interns since inception, of which 90 percent have been employed fulltime by the company. For those that have not gained permanent employment within T-Systems, the company’s learnership programme has assisted in finding positions for these interns at other prominent organisations.

SAP has been a long-standing partner of the CIDA ICT Academy in partnership with T-Systems. The software giant currently offers Business One training and certification to the SAP students. “We see the academy as a vital platform to promote relevant ICT skills for the African market,” says Siphiwe Sibanda, HR Director of SAP Africa. We have invested more than R 8 million rands in the academy since its inception and have made a contribution of R500 000,00 towards the development of the new ICT academy here in Lyndhurst.

However, in order to run a successful training programme such as the ICT Academy and learnership, it is important to remain abreast of what business requires from its technology partners and employees, and where the globe is heading with regards to ICT advancements.

As a result the campus features cutting-edge training resources which includes 12 computer labs with well over R10 million worth of equipment. “It is important that our students and interns are equipped with current training to ensure that they are sought-after and highly employable,” adds van der Walt-Korsten.

Citizenship lead at Microsoft South Africa, Vis Naidoo, echoes this: “We are delighted with the work these institutions do to ready young people for the job market. In broad, our citizenship programme at Microsoft is devoted to ultimately prepare students to become productive members’ of society and to contribute to the South African economy.”

Administrative costs are also kept low as students – who only pay 7 percent of what they would pay at similar institutions – are expected to contribute to the running of the campus, earning credits toward their final mark. These include computer maintenance, administrative work, marketing, market research and even cleaning and cooking.

The ICT Academy curriculum comprises 70 percent theoretical training and 30 percent learnership or workplace practical training where the students are placed at various ICT organisations. Furthermore, the academy offers softer skills training to overcome communication and cultural challenges.

The high standard of learning and credibility of the ICT Academy has also been recognised by the Media, Advertising, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA), previously known as Isett SETA. CompTIA has also added the ICT Academy to its database of corporate trainers, which is undoubtedly a feather in the cap of any local institution and again indicative of the standard of the curriculum.

“The ICT Academy has also proven its sustainability and has been operational for eight years. We believe the academy is one of the ICT learning institutions of the future which is why it is imperative that we stay ahead of the curve with up-to-date facilities, theory and practical learning,” concludes van der Walt-Korsten.

Current certification courses include:
- CompTIA entry-level certificates (ICDL, A+) and Network+ course which is an entry level Microsoft based networking certificate (added to the curriculum in 2011
- CISCO CCNA and CCNP
- SAP Business-1 certificates
- Microsoft MCITP Server and Enterprise Security certificates

For more on the CIDA City Campus ICT Academy please visit: http://www.cidaictacademy.co.za

Poor Document Destruction may result in Corporate ID Theft

By admin, 29 marca, 2012, No Comment

Businesses that fail to implement effective document destruction practices face a higher risk of falling victim to corporate identity theft scams and as a result may be placing the organisation and its clients at risk of legal, financial and reputational repercussions.

This is according to Gianmarco Lorenzi, Managing Director of Cleardata – a group company of JSE listed Metrofile – who says that each year corporate identity theft costs US businesses approximately $48 billion dollars, according to the Federal Trade Commission. “In addition to this, latest statistics released by the 2012 Javelin Strategy & Research Identity Fraud Report reveal that identity fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes with the number of reported incidents increasing by 13% globally in 2011, affecting 11.6 million adults.

“While there are no local statistics, the fact remains that identity theft is on the rise globally and criminals are targeting businesses as they have realised that it is more lucrative and easier than exploiting individuals.”

Lorenzi says latest trends in corporate identity theft involve consumers receiving letters with official company letterheads stating that the account details for their monthly instalments have changed and the consumer must make payments to new account details. “The consumer, thinking this is an authentic business letter, then makes payments into the fraudulent account. The scam comes to light when the business contacts the customer to establish why payments are not being made, instigating reputational, legal or financial damage for the business as the customer wonders how their details were obtained by the fraudster in the first place.”

“Businesses need to realise that one of the easiest ways for criminals to conduct corporate identity theft is by going through the company’s rubbish. Most computers also have desktop publishing technology, which has made it far easier for fraudsters to scan and duplicate a variety of corporate documents – such as purchase orders, invoices, bank statements, cash and credit card receipts or even stock certificates – containing company logos.”

Lorenzi says business records of any kind should never be put into a general waste or recycling bin, where it may be accessed by criminals intent on identity theft; instead, all business records that are no longer needed should be shredded.

He says small businesses, especially those located in rural areas, may be at more risk, as they are often under the misperception that only larger organisations situated in urban areas are targets for corporate identity theft. “This is actually not the case. Businesses of all sizes and in all locations can be exploited and must therefore employ effective document destruction practices.”

“Those businesses not practicing sound document destruction are simply placing the organisation, including employees and clients, under unnecessary risk of identity theft and should seek the advice of a reputable document shredding company that has been certified by the National Association for Information Destruction (www.naidonline.org) to mitigate the potential threat to their business and reputation,” concludes Lorenzi.

 

Businesses lose up to 10,000 dollars for every data loss incident

By admin, 29 marca, 2012, No Comment

World Backup Day is not only a call to action for businesses to review their backup and security strategy but also a stark reminder of the value of business critical content. WD, a leading hard drive manufacturer, urges Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) to put together their own backup plan using its top five tips.

So why is backup so important to SMBs? Data is not only intangible and irreplaceable without a backup copy, but it is probably also the single most valuable asset of your business. The question is not IF you will lose your data, but WHEN. Whether it is due to accidental deletion by an absent-minded employee, intentional vandalism by a rogue vendor with access to your network, or a massive attack of thousands of infected computers, losing your data is a business reality. The question is, can you get your data back—and how fast?

According to a study carried out by Price Waterhouse Coopers a single incident of data loss costs businesses an average of $10,000¹. Gartner also reveals that 25% of all PC users suffer from data loss each year and that 80% of businesses that suffer a major data loss or failure for more than 24 hours close within a year ². Not properly backing up your data can result in data loss that can have a detrimental impact on business: damage to your brand, loss of customer trust, civil and/or criminal penalties, shareholder lawsuits, and more.

Says Anamika Budree, Western Digital Country Manager, South Africa: “Having a backup strategy is not only crucial for larger enterprises. Many small businesses don’t expect the worst case scenario of losing all their data through fire, flooding, cybercrime, corrupt data or damage to hard drives. The results can be devastating if this information cannot be retrieved.”

Whether they’re personal or professional, digital content and important files are invaluable and often irreplaceable if lost or compromised. WD has put together some tips for SMBs that want to reduce the risk of data loss

1. Keep your data and applications backed up
Often, businesses do not consider backing up their applications when they devise their backup solution. They back up the data files they create, but they often do not think to back up the installed software and operating system files. It is important to create an image of your servers and computers to make sure that the data, applications, and operating system can be completely and seamlessly recovered to their “pre-disaster” status.

2. Point of recovery time – what lifespan of data is the most important?
Backup systems are quite flexible regarding how much historical data they can recover. Do you always need to recover the last six months of data? Is having the most recent weeks’ worth of data all you really need? The point of recovery date and time are an important consideration.

3. Online or on site – you should not only backup the data locally, but also keep a copy in off-site storage to ensure faster data disaster recovery times.
You may want to also consider cloud services found on NAS drives like WD Sentinel which offers users the ability to connect to a “public cloud” storage provider, giving businesses an economical and integrated disaster recovery solution against earthquake, theft and fire or water damage. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, an SMB could lose everything if its place of business were compromised. WD Sentinel also performs automatic daily backups so all of the files on up to 25 computers in your network are backed up and protected and offers complete data protection with built-in hardware and software redundancy for all of the connected devices in the network.

4. Test. Test. Test – The only thing worse than not backing up your data is not properly backing up your data.
Imagine that a disaster strikes your neighborhood and all your business data is completely destroyed. If you go to recover your data and find out your backups are corrupted, the wrong files are backed up, or some other terrible scenario has occurred, what will you do? Test your backups to make sure that your data is properly backed up.

5. Don’t forget your servers – Your business data is not just what’s in the “My Documents” folder
The data in your email server, application server, and any other servers you use (including your website and hosted data) must be backed up as well.
References
¹Price Waterhouse Cooper Study 2008: Information Security Survey
²Gartner Research Group

VoIP quality and reliability? No problem.

By admin, 29 marca, 2012, No Comment

BY BRUCE VON MALTITZ, DIRECTOR OF 1STREAM

Rubbish in, rubbish out
VoIP is often blamed for quality or reliability issues with phone and call centre systems, but in reality it is completely ready for carrier-class communications.

As evidence of their belief in their own technology, it is common for cloud-based call centre hosts to have end-to-end VoIP installed in their own environments. In addition, carriers around the world are increasingly interconnected via VoIP.

The truth is that any number of other technology-related issues could be the reason for your call centre system experiencing problems – VoIP need not be the reason.

If, however, a call centre skimps on the VoIP solution, access or implementation, problems are very likely to crop up. As with anything, you get out what you put in.

Maybe it’s the system
It is one thing to shop around for price when the system you’re buying is a commodity, but quite another to go for gold and get the cheapest one there is. Don’t do it.

Maybe it’s the provider
Look into the credentials of your provider. Has it done anything worth mentioning for anyone? You don’t want to risk having your application hosted on a single sub-standard server.

The same concerns are applicable on the client’s side of the implementation, especially with on-site installations; your system can fail when proper site readiness or change management is overlooked.

Maybe it’s the line
Choosing ADSL as your connectivity option is another way of skimping on technology. ADSL is quite simply not voice-ready. Use it and you’re not assured of voice quality.

In short, VoIP is not the problem. When you’ve eliminated the call centre system, integrator, line and site issues, chances are you will have identified any quality or reliability concerns.

Quality bandwidth is NOT expensive
If ADSL is not the answer, the next step up is a leased line or fibre. Isn’t quality bandwidth terribly expensive then? In a word, no.

Firstly, bandwidth accounts for only a percentage of your technology investment in a call centre, which in total makes up only 7-10% of your total costs.

Secondly, a leased line is not as expensive as it looks. Do the sums: At R3500 a month, a primary rate interface (PRI) ISDN line offers 30 channels. By comparison, a 1Mbps leased line costing less than R3500 per month offers 40 channels (presuming a voice call requires roughly 25Kbps).

Which cost is greater?
Ultimately, bargain basement shopping for VoIP is neither necessary nor worth it. While it can only save your call centre a miniscule portion of your total costs, it can have a very destructive effect on your competitive advantage, and even your sustainability. The rubbish dump is full of companies that wish they’d been available to take telephonic orders.

Spend a reasonable amount on proper bandwidth and other technology, and it can be trusted to do its job – which is to make your people (your greatest cost and the key to your call centre’s success) more productive and effective, and to make your operations more efficient.

The question is not the cost of quality bandwidth, but the cost of skimping on something so mission-critical.

 

Kaspersky Lab Spam in February 2012 – Spammers have holidays too

By admin, 29 marca, 2012, No Comment

In February, spammers continued with their January mass-mailings devoted to St Valentine’s Day. The numbers of unsolicited valentines peaked on February 12th at 0.2% of all spam messages. In English-language spam, messages emerged offering Easter presents and holiday symbols. Interestingly, we have observed an English-language mass-mailing that exploited the date of 8 March, or the International Women’s Day, which isn’t a popular holiday in English-speaking countries. Curiously, the fair sex were offered “male-only” pills as a present.

Over the period in question, 2.8% of all e-mail contained malicious files, which is 1.5% lower than last month. For the second month in a row, the United States topped the list of countries with most mail antivirus detections, although the number for the US has declined slightly compared to January. Russia has left the Top 10 countries with the most Kaspersky Mail Antivirus detections, giving its place to Brazil. India has moved from the 4th to the 6th place after losing some 1.5% and being overtaken by Germany.

“The decreasing share of spam containing malicious attachments is most probably a passing phenomenon,” comments Maria Namestnikova, Senior Spam Analyst at Kaspersky Lab. “It is very unlikely that spammers would give up participation in malware distribution partnership programs, especially at a time when the level of contract spam in the Internet domains of the developing countries is decreasing due to the economic crisis.”

The ranking of spam “states of origin” has seen virtually no change. India holds tightly on its leaders’ status, Indonesia and Brazil are next on the list. All in all, the 12 positions are taken by the same players as in the previous month, although some have swapped places.

The number of antiphishing detections is up 3.5% on sites aimed at stealing the credentials of social network users. Facebook users were the most popular target for phishers in February. At the same time, online stores and auctions saw a 3% drop in the number of detections. Amazon, the popular online store, has ceded some ground after being a leader in January.

The complete version of February 2012 spam report is available at www.securelist.com.

Smartphones to supercharge Self-Service in SA

By admin, 29 marca, 2012, No Comment

The rise of the HTML5 Web standard, paired with the growing penetration of smartphones into South Africa, will help to bring rich Self-Service applications to a mass market via their cellphones. This will give South African consumers the flexibility and convenience to interact with companies wherever they are using highly interactive mobile services, says Consology co-founder Kevin Meltzer.

Many companies – including banks and telcos – already enjoy major business benefits by allowing customers to transact with them, perform routine service tasks, manage their own accounts and conduct research through Web-based Self-Service systems, says Meltzer.

But the fact that online Self-Service has addressed mostly consumers with Internet connected PCs has limited its reach in a country with low internet penetration. That picture is beginning to change as the number of smartphones in consumers’ hands ramps up, with some estimates placing penetration at between 18% and 22%.

Meltzer says that with a range of low-cost smartphones on the market and low-cost mobile data bundles, the mobile phone is opening up a vast new Self-Service market. Using the cellular industry as an example, Meltzer says customers could be allowed to activate mobile services, check their airtime and data bundles, view a bill, order a new handset, and update their details from their handsets.

Says Meltzer: “Though companies have been able to offer mobile Self-Service using options such as USSD and Interactive Voice Response, these are not as feature-rich and engaging as their Web offerings. The limitations of cellphones and feature phones traditionally restrained what companies could do with mobile Self-Service.”

“With their larger colour displays and friendly touchscreen or Qwerty keyboard input methods, smartphones allow for deep interactivity and functionality simply not possible on other mobile channels. The rapid growth of South Africa’s tablet market is also spurring demand for mobile access to Self-Service solutions, ” says Meltzer.

Meltzer believes that HTML5 rather than native mobile apps for the different mobile operating systems will turn out to be the optimal platform for creating Self-Service solutions for the South African mobile consumer. With HTML5, it finally becomes possible to offer friendly and attractive interfaces across a range of devices due to the app like experience that the mobile web can now deliver. This also means that developers do not need to write different apps for different platforms at great expense, says Meltzer. It’s also a great way of providing a consistent experience to users irrespective of the device they are using at a given time.

“The functionality that HTML5 supports is starting to offer rich mobile experiences which are similar in look, feel and navigation to native apps. The advantage however is that you are creating your application offering just once for the entire smartphone and tablet population rather than custom-developing for every platform,” says Meltzer.

Some additional benefits the cellphone offers as a Self-Service channel include portability, location awareness, ubiquitous connectivity and higher market penetration, says Meltzer. To make the most of these advantages and to ensure rapid adoption of the mobile service channel, companies need to design HTML5 applications that cater for the mobile user’s needs and the devices that they carry.

Growth and Share for Ruckus Wireless in Both Enterprise and Carrier Markets

By admin, 28 marca, 2012, No Comment

The growth of Ruckus Wireless globally creates opportunities in local Wi-Fi market.

Ruckus Wireless recently announced that it has again been recognised as the fastest growing Wi-Fi supplier within the worldwide market for enterprise wireless according to Gartner’s newly published Market Share: Enterprise WLAN Equipment, Worldwide, 4Q11 report. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Ruckus achieved the highest year-over-year revenue growth of all wireless LAN suppliers worldwide, growing over 134%. In fact, this growth has been continuous as in Q4 of 2010 Ruckus saw 181% growth in vendor revenue and unit shipments of WLAN coordinated access points, which grew to 289% growth over the same period in 2011 – increasing its sequential quarterly market share from 3.7% to 4.9% worldwide.

In addition, the company has garnered the top market share spot in the carrier Wi-Fi space, according to a new industry study on the wireless market, from internationally acclaimed research firm Dell’Oro. In this report Ruckus was identified as the 2011 market leader with a 26.7% share of service provider Wi-Fi mesh node shipments (over 26 000) in the emerging carrier Wi-Fi space, for the second year in a row.

“The growth Ruckus Wireless has been experiencing globally can be attributed to two key factors – the massive increase in data traffic and the increasingly large and loyal base of value-added resellers and distributors – both highlighting equally significant expansion opportunities for our local business footprint into the future,” says Michael Fletcher, Sales Director of Sub Saharan Africa.

According to a local Mobility 2011 research project*, conducted by World Wide Worx, 39% of urban South Africans and 27% of rural mobile users are now browsing the Internet on their phones. “Given this massive uptake of mobile devices and smartphones in South Africa, local network operator giants are seeing the same key benefits that global players are pursuing in supporting Wi-Fi alternatives to ensure improved network availability and sustainability,” continues Fletcher. “This, coupled with our increasingly active reseller and distributor initiatives, will drive our African growth strategy and I look very forward to what the next few years hold for us and the continent from a Wi-Fi perspective.”

Robert Mustarde, VP of Marketing for Ruckus Wireless commented on the international growth; “Given our late entrance into the enterprise wireless LAN market, our growth is a remarkable achievement by anyone’s standards. Our hope is to continue this fast growth as the market sends a very clear message that they want Wi-Fi that simply delivers more reliable wireless connections, capacity and insane performance. Whether it’s a hotel, school, hospital or mobile operator, vanilla Wi-Fi doesn’t cut it any longer.”

With over 12,000 customers and 4,500 solutions partners worldwide, Ruckus’ customer base crosses almost every vertical market in every region of the world with some of most prestigious companies such as KDDI, The Cloud, Towerstream, China Unicom, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, KLIA International Airport, Delhi University, the City of San José, Baruch College, Universidad del Valle de México, Satilla Medical Center, Georgia World Congress Center, Balboa Park, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Ziff Davis Publishing and South African Peermont Hotels.

Viruses – now also infecting mobile devices

By admin, 28 marca, 2012, No Comment

By Fred Mitchell, Symantec Business Unit Manager at Drive Control Corporation


The world has become increasingly mobile over time and technology has evolved so that cellphones have become smartphones, along with tablet PCs and other mobile devices allowing always on connectivity. Such devices have revolutionised the way we work and have grown exponentially in popularity in recent years, largely due to the fact that these mobile devices all feature Internet connectivity, opening the ‘Pandora’s box’ so to speak. This connectivity opens up new avenues for cybercriminals with malicious intent to exploit users. Therefore, security applications for mobile devices can be regarded as the next killer app.

In the cybercrime industry, as with any profitable business, the smart enterprise goes where the customers are. As more users migrate onto a variety of mobile platforms, from BlackBerry to Android, Windows Mobile, Apple Mobile OS and even tablet devices, cybercrime is increasingly targeting these platforms as methods for the perpetration of a variety of malware, including viruses, spam and spyware, all with the express purpose of making money.

Enter the virus killer app for your mobile device

Users are now vulnerable to viruses that can shut down their smartphones; identity theft as a result of spyware and the entire gamut of threats that were once the exclusive realm of computers. As a result, mobile security is becoming increasingly important for users to protect themselves from falling victim to malicious activity.

Aside from the threat of malware, the increasing trend towards mobility along with tools such as push email functionality also means that more and more personal and business information is now stored on highly portable devices. The greater the levels of portability, the greater probability that the device, and the information it holds, may be lost or stolen. Having personal and business critical information falling into the wrong hands is undesirable for obvious reasons, and the ability to remotely wipe the device in the event of it being misplaced is another strong reason as to why mobile security is so important in today’s world.

When looking for a mobile security solution to protect devices such as smartphones and tablets from malware and to ensure personal information does not fall into the wrong hands, there are several features to look out for, which take care of security in the event of loss or theft and also help to prevent malware attacks from causing problems on the device and prevents cross-infection of other devices.

Remote locking capability is one crucial feature, which lets you remotely disable a lost or stolen phone to prevent strangers from accessing private information. It also prevents thieves from actually using the device, so that they cannot run up large phone bills at your expense. This, combined with SIM card locking capability, which instantly locks your phone if its SIM card is removed so thieves cannot use it with a different SIM card, ensure that even if your phone is stolen, the thieves will not profit from it as the device is effectively rendered unusable.

Remote wipe is also critical, as this lets you actually erase all of the information contained on your phone if it is lost or stolen, including contacts, text messages, call history, browser history, bookmarks, and any data on the phone’s memory card. Mobile threat protection will detect and remove malware such as viruses and other threats without affecting phone performance, and download threat protection will automatically scan all files and app updates for threats.

Aside from these now vital security components, a comprehensive mobile security solution also lets you block calls and text messages from specific phone numbers, perfect for getting rid of annoying spam SMS’s and unwanted callers.

Mobile devices are increasingly common, which makes them more and more vulnerable to attack. Protecting all of the personal information stored on your mobile device is of the utmost importance to prevent all too common issues such as identity theft, and mobile security is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity for both consumer and business users in the modern world.

Eyeris Mobile makes boardroom-quality video conferencing portable and affordable

By admin, 28 marca, 2012, No Comment

Vox Pureview, the conferencing and collaboration specialist within the Vox Telecom group, says its new Eyeris Mobile Application is the first affordable app that offers boardroom-quality video conferencing, no matter where the participants are.

“Eyeris Mobile bridges the gap between formal corporate video conferencing and informal, consumer-level video chat applications,” says Vox Pureview’s Gene van der Walt. “Formal video conferencing has historically been very expensive. It could cost hundreds of thousands of rands to set up a couple of boardrooms, and even then most companies could only talk between branches. Breaking out of the corporate ecosystem was extremely difficult.”

Smaller companies who couldn’t justify the expense, resorted to informal video conferencing with services like Skype, he says. “This is a huge market – but the informal and formal video conferencing environments still couldn’t talk to each other. There was still a gap in the market for applications to link corporate boardrooms with team members who are out of the office or with partners, clients and suppliers who don’t have the same boardroom setup.”

“Eyeris Mobile is a hosted software application that will link the smaller corporate executive to his client who uses traditional boardroom systems,” says van der Walt. “No matter what platform you’re using, in a boardroom, in your office or on a mobile, we can connect multiple parties into the same video conference.”

Van der Walt says Eyeris Mobile can be downloaded to a desktop, laptop or mobile phone and set up within minutes. “It works on any Apple or Android phone or tablet. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can connect straight into the boardroom for a serious video conference.”

Vox Pureview will launch the service as a free app to Vox customers, who can then buy bundles of video conferencing time for a monthly fee. Prices start at R300 per month for the View120 package, which includes 120 minutes of conferencing time. At the top of the range, the View1000 packages includes a thousand minutes (over 16 hours) of conferencing time, as well as three user licences, for R1,800 a month.

The service is hosted in South Africa, says Van der Walt, which makes for lower costs as well as higher quality. “With a service like Skype, you’re using public internet resources that are shared with millions of other people. Your call is also being routed via overseas servers, which means a long round trip that further degrades quality. It’s also less secure. With Eyeris Mobile, you get the best of both worlds: Boardroom quality and security, at local bandwidth costs, anywhere in South Africa.”

South Africans still have an edge in global markets

By admin, 28 marca, 2012, No Comment

South Africans should be more self-confident about their ability to innovate in the IT solutions space, says Mike Steyn of Aspire Solutions: “We operate in a vacuum a lot of the time. It’s only when you go to the international conferences that you begin to realise that in some areas we are actually way ahead of our counterparts in the rest of the world.”

“Everywhere we have been to benchmark ourselves, people have been blown away by what we have been able to achieve compared to overseas counterparts, in less time and for less money,” he says. “In the domains where we are good, we are very, very good.”

Steyn says the very fact that South Africans don’t always have access to the latest and greatest technologies, or the most cutting-edge skills, can be an advantage: “We don’t have huge budgets or a large pool of talent, so we have to be extremely efficient with what we do have,” he says.

“Our willlingess to take ownership of a problem also seems to be unusual – we are much less bound by formal roles and structures than our colleagues in the EU in particular. South Africans tend to be willing to grab a project by the scruff of the neck and do whatever it takes to solve a problem. This ‘let’s fix it’ attitude that we take for granted at home really stands out in global markets.”

Stereotyped perceptions of Africa continue to work against us, however, he says. “Even when people see what we can do, there’s still a reluctance to hire South Africans because their bosses won’t believe we can do the job. Combined with our geographical distance from key markets, that is a real challenge to overcome.”

Going into projects with overseas partners is a useful entry point, says Steyn – but he cautions that South African companies should not be content with staying “at the bottom of the food chain”.

“You have to fight to get close to the end client,” he says. “You need to be there to ask the right questions and propose the best solutions. That’s crucial to the success of a project, of course; but it’s also a way to overcome negative perceptions.”

Steyn says a recent project with a major EU client was “a real eye opener for me. They were very wary of us at first, but once we had convinced them we knew what we were talking about and could do the job, we ended up driving the project. Our willingness to talk back and take the lead is a huge asset.”

The areas where South Africans do best are not always the sexiest or most media-friendly, notes Styen. “We’re not going to lead the world in designing new iPad apps and social media tools,” he says. “But when it comes to designing and implementing workable, cost-effective solutions to real business problems, we still have an edge.

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