Archive for Maj, 2012

Why companies need a content delivery network (CDN)

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

As the world faces more information overload and as we move increasingly into the cyber world, access to various types of information – from anywhere in the world – is becoming increasingly important as bottlenecks continue to plague users, said Jacek Dziembowski, a director of Antfarm, one of the country’s leading video streaming service providers – and the first SA company to design its own content delivery network (CDN).

“As the amount of information being relayed and downloaded around the world – including video content – continues to grow unabated, bottlenecks are becoming increasingly commonplace and company networks, and the Internet itself, are unable to cope with this increasing traffic,” said Dziembowski.”This is why CDNs are becoming vital in the cyber world – and why it is very likely that a lot more will be deployed.”

A CDN is a system of computers containing copies of data placed at various nodes of a network and, when properly designed and implemented, can improve access to the data it caches by increasing access bandwidth and redundancy – and reducing access latency. Data content types often cached in the CDNs include web objects, downloadable objects – media files, software and documents – applications, live streaming video and database queries.

In today’s Internet-focused world, both from a business and personal perspective, serious bottlenecks can occur – even with enterprise networks – and the only way to solve this problem into today’s high-volume information age is to deploy CDNs,” explained Dziembowski.

“One of the strengths of a CDN is it takes users from a centralised distributed content store to a distributed content store, that includes intelligence re-direction technology that transparently routes users to a content store geographically closer to a user, or one that best serves a user – and reduces problems such as buffering delays.

“In the early days of the Internet, when there was not such a large volume of information being sent and received –and downloaded – it didn’t really matter if users accessed just one web server. The Internet was not that over-taxed – like it is now.

“Web users today are demanding faster, higher-quality services from their media hosting companies. The explosion of broadband and the high demand for rich-media content and applications makes quick access and delivery a top priority.

“Nowadays,” he said, “a normal corporate network and server does not scale properly over the Internet and has inherent performance constraints. Scalability needs to be addressed on a national basis and, in some cases, on an international basis – with information flowing from an array of disparate – and distant – points of presence such as New York, to London, to Johannesburg to Sydney.”

Three benefits of a CDN

When it comes to CDNs a user will be directed to the nearest server where the copies of the data are stored as opposed to going to the same main server. The advantage of this system is that, with CDNs, bottlenecks can be avoided at the main server.

There are three main benefits of a CDN, which include faster downloads, content redundancy and data integrity.

When it comes to faster downloads, when a user makes use of a CDN he or she will be directed to the nearest cache server which will have a replica of the exact content of the original server. This will allow visitors to download files from the nearest mirror with the shortest distance.

When it comes to content redundancy sometimes a server may fail and will not function properly. However, with the availability of the CDN, a user need not worry as he will be directed to another server. It also means constant uptime of a user’s web-site or blog.

From data integrity point of view, when a user publishes new content all changes made will immediately be copied to the servers. This guarantees that a user’s files and information are always consistent in every server on the CDN.

Dziembowski said there are numerous international CDNs in operation around the globe, such as Limelight and Akamai, but, when it comes to South African companies, opting for local CDNs is “likely to be the best route”.

“Using a costly international CDN to handle Internet traffic in South Africa will be like hiring an oil tanker to deliver a few litres of oil, when just a small panel van or truck would suffice. So users need to assess what kind of CDN they require – and whether or not a local CDN supplier will suffice. In most instances, South African corporations will arguably find local CDNs will suite both their pockets and their overall efficiency requirements.”

Convergence trends to watch for in SA

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

By Tim Walter, Executive Head of Marketing at Nashua Mobile

Convergence is one of those buzzwords we have all heard numerous times over the past 15 years, but it is now a reality in many segments of the technology market. The lines between once-disparate services such as voice and data have blurred, while the boundaries between traditional IT and telecommunications are disappearing.

Now, telecommunications users increasingly expect seamless access to a range of data and applications using any number of devices – notebooks, tablets, desktops, smartphones – using whatever access technology is most accessible and affordable – be it Wi-Fi-, 3G, or ADSL – at a specific place or time. But the convergence revolution is just beginning.

Here are a few converged applications and technologies we can expect to become important in the next year or two:

1. 3G to Wi-Fi offloading
The move towards fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) – which is about having access to a set of consistent services through fixed or mobile access to fixed or mobile, public or private networks – is well underway. Wi-Fi offloading will be one of its next manifestations.

We can expect to see hand-off of 3G traffic to Wi-Fi campus area networks becoming a reality in South Africa as users look for ways to save money on their data bills and operators look to optimise traffic on their cellular networks. With congestion on 3G networks in urban centres growing as data prices fall, many users are having a poor user experience with cellular connectivity.

With the necessary technology rapidly maturing, the time is becoming ripe for the operators to offer 3G to Wi-Fi offload as an option to their subscribers. The complications of billing for services are being ironed out and we can expect to see hotspot operators and cellular networks coming up with some interesting business models of Wi-Fi offloading in the months to come.

2. TV-on-demand and video-on-demand
The broadband revolution is going to reach a television set near you, and sooner than you think. Although South Africans have so far been starved of video-on-demand options such as Netflix and Hulu, we can expect that to change soon.

Already, we are seeing televisions with Internet connectivity shipping in South Africa and it is only a matter of time before we start to see services to go with them. Broadband costs need to fall a little and infrastructure needs to be upgraded to make TV-on-demand and video-on-demand a reality, but there are some positive changes underway.

3. Cross-industry payments
Telecommunications service providers are in an ideal position to serve as billing agents. They can offer a converged bill for services like electricity payments, toll fees, train tickets, music and more, allowing a consumer to get just one bill from one provider for a range of services. This will turn the mobile phone into the payment channel of choice for many consumers and the companies they deal with every day.

Closing words
Though convergence has long been spoken about, the technology only recently started to reach maturity. With the investments that network operators are currently making in high-speed cellular data services, national telecommunications links and international submarine cables, we can expect to see more exciting services come down the line.

Kaspersky Lab and ITU Research Reveals New Advanced Cyber Threat

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab announces the discovery of a highly sophisticated malicious program that is actively being used as a cyber weapon attacking entities in several countries. The complexity and functionality of the newly discovered malicious program exceed those of all other cyber menaces known to date.

The malware was discovered by Kaspersky Lab’s experts during an investigation prompted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The malicious program, detected as Worm.Win32.Flame by Kaspersky Lab’s security products, is designed to carry out cyber espionage. It can steal valuable information, including but not limited to computer display contents, information about targeted systems, stored files, contact data and even audio conversations.

The independent research was initiated by ITU and Kaspersky Lab after a series of incidents with another, still unknown, destructive malware program – codenamed Wiper – which deleted data on a number of computers in the Western Asia region. This particular malware is yet to be discovered, but during the analysis of these incidents, Kaspersky Lab’s experts, in coordination with ITU, came across a new type of malware, now known as Flame. Preliminary findings indicate that this malware has been “in the wild” for more than two years – since March 2010. Due to its extreme complexity, plus the targeted nature of the attacks, no security software detected it.

Although the features of Flame differ compared with those of previous notable cyber weapons such as Duqu and Stuxnet, the geography of attacks, use of specific software vulnerabilities, and the fact that only selected computers are being targeted all indicate that Flame belongs to the same category of super-cyberweapons.

Commenting on uncovering Flame, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, said: “The risk of cyber warfare has been one of the most serious topics in the field of information security for several years now. Stuxnet and Duqu belonged to a single chain of attacks, which raised cyberwar-related concerns worldwide. The Flame malware looks to be another phase in this war, and it’s important to understand that such cyber weapons can easily be used against any country. Unlike with conventional warfare, the more developed countries are actually the most vulnerable in this case.”

The primary purpose of Flame appears to be cyber espionage, by stealing information from infected machines. Such information is then sent to a network of command-and-control servers located in many different parts of the world. The diverse nature of the stolen information, which can include documents, screenshots, audio recordings and interception of network traffic, makes it one of the most advanced and complete attack-toolkits ever discovered. The exact infection vector has still to be revealed, but it is already clear that Flame has the ability to replicate over a local network using several methods, including the same printer vulnerability and USB infection method exploited by Stuxnet.

Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert at Kaspersky Lab, commented: “The preliminary findings of the research, conducted upon an urgent request from ITU, confirm the highly targeted nature of this malicious program. One of the most alarming facts is that the Flame cyber-attack campaign is currently in its active phase, and its operator is consistently surveilling infected systems, collecting information and targeting new systems to accomplish its unknown goals.”

Kaspersky Lab’s experts are currently conducting deeper analysis of Flame. Over the coming days a series of blog posts will reveal more details of the new threat as they become known. For now what is known is that it consists of multiple modules and is made up of several megabytes of executable code in total – making it around 20 times larger than Stuxnet, meaning that analysing this cyber weapon requires a large team of top-tier security experts and reverse engineers with vast experience in the cyber defence field.

ITU will use the ITU-IMPACT network, consisting of 142 countries and several industry players, including Kaspersky Lab, to alert governments and the technical community about this cyber threat, and to expedite the technical analysis.

Further details can be found in the Flame FAQ prepared by Kaspersky Lab’s security researchers at Securelist.com: http://www.securelist.com/en/blog/208193522/The_Flame_Questions_and_Answers

Department of Communications to host the inaugural ICT INDABA in the African continent 04 – 07 June 2012

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

The Department of Communications will host its first ever ICT INDABA conference which is an African focused international ICT conference that will identify the challenges and seek solutions to capitalise on the potential of the ICT sector to bring about long-term socio-economic development.

This will be a platform that will provide dialogue amongst the world’s ICT experts focusing on the developing and underdeveloped conditions including utilisation of technologies to enrich lives of people in these conditions.

The INDABA is hosted by the South African government in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and world leading companies, such as MTN, Vodafone, Telkom SA, and many others.

Details of the event on the 04 – 07 June 2012:

Time: 08H00
Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)

For more information please visit www.ictindaba.com/2012/

Sugar, Spice And Everything Nice: That’s What The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats Is Made Of

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

Play with more stuff! The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats brings more stuff than ever seen before in a stuff pack to the world of The Sims 3. With three spectacular new venues plus a vast range of décor items, furniture, fashions and hairstyles, The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats gives you lots of new ways to indulge your Sims with a splash of Katy Perry’s vibrant style. The three all-new, pre-built venues are fully themed and ready to be placed in your Sims’ town. Start transforming the lives of your Sims and discover the fun that awaits with the addition of these sweet new locations.

First, take your Sims for a refreshing dip after basking in the sun at Patty’s Natural Baths, the whimsical new pool venue complete with bubble gum lounge chairs and a slippy slide made of licorice.

Next, stroll over to the Bonbon Lawn Park for a day outdoors on the candy-coated playground equipment decked out in delicious style.

Your Sims can even kick back and spend some quality time at the sugar-filled Cake Pleasure Dome, the town’s charming local hangout, which is packed full of sweet surprises and a newly themed arcade machine.

The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats

The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats

Dive into the world of The Sims 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats and sink your sweet tooth into this stuff pack, available June 8, 2012. Visit www.thesims.com/katyperry for more information. All assets can be downloaded from info.ea.com.

Realise the benefits of outsourcing through active provider governance

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

The East Africa Outsourcing Summit will be held in Nairobi from 5 to 6 June 2012. The event is hosted by international business-to-business conferencing company, Kinetic Events in proud partnership with the Kenya ICT Board and KITOS.

Once a business process outsourcing provider has been selected, the contract negotiated and the process commences; many organisations believe that the heavy-lifting is now behind them and watch as their BPO relationship fails to deliver the results. This in return, results in the organisation losing trust and loyalty within the outsourcing sector.

The key to to creating, sustaining, and enhancing outsourcing value, is establishing provider governance as a core component of your outsourcing strategy. Although governance and relationship management could potentially be an investment with the expectation of a return on that investment, failure to establish an effective governance model could lead to disappointing service levels and deteriorating outsourcing value. Strong provider governance relies heavily on planning, effort, structure, and communication, all of which are critical in realising the benefits provided by properly managed outsourcing.

In recent years, with a global spotlight currently on the East African outsourcing sector, the Kenyan government has recognised the economic potential afforded by technology and innovation. In the Kenya Vision 2030, The Kenya ICT Board aims to move the sector forward with various key initiatives.

Kenya’s business process outsourcing industry has gained momentum, positioning the country as a potentially viable near shoring opportunity for surrounding continents. Kenyans are not only consuming the rapid movement, they are creating, and they are innovating, with two distinct advantages within the industry; great people and great location.

Kenya is confident of its position within the IT industry and has revealed its intention to become the information and communication technology, and business process outsourcing hub of choice for Africa by 2030.

The strategic summit will explore the alignment of people, process and technology; offering insight into the solutions available to contact centres today, assisting companies in the negotiations and selecting the tools best suited to their needs. Attendees will be able to engage in interactive conference sessions and educational workshops designed for quality time and interaction with peers.

For more information, to apply to attend, comment or photographs, visit www.eaosummit.com or contact Shaunei Meintjes on +27 21 555 0866 or shaunei@kineticevents.net. Follow @ITLeadersAfrica and @KineticEventsSA on Twitter for daily updates and news feeds.

Customer contact strategy is the next important frontier for online marketers

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

By Richard Mullins, director at Acceleration

Your customers today seamlessly move between a range of electronic channels, engaging with your business through social media, display ads, search, email and many other points of contact as they go. If your business can’t keep up with them, you are by no means alone.

Most brands today still operate their online marketing in silos, with little connection between the different channels they use to communicate with and market to their customers. They drive campaigns in isolation, not looking at the ways that the same customers have interacted with them across different channels.

Often, different teams are responsible for managing different channels, and customer data from different touch-points and systems are not consolidated into a single view of the customer. Most marketers are not looking at the overall story of customer conversation across all channels, but are instead looking at each chapter in the story separately.

This means that most businesses are losing out on opportunities to boost the overall performance of their marketing by tracking customer engagement at each point of contract and then tailoring content at each point to the customer’s need in that context. We should no longer assume that a customer had a single point of entry into our business, but rather that he or she followed a process of conversion that involved a number of steps across multiple channels.

Thus, if you start looking at interactions across all these channels in a holistic manner, you can drive better return on investment from every customer contact point you use. You can begin to understand how each touch-point contributes to a conversion, and deliver the correct content for the stage that the customer is at in the lifecycle at each point of contact.

Whereas what used to matter to us what that we were consistent in our messaging at each touch-point, what is really important now is that we engage with the customer in a manner that is relevant to his or her context. We should understand the conversion funnel and where the opportunities lie to acquire and influence customers.

For example, if a customer searched for a product and visited the Web site without buying the item, the next ad we serve should be a remarketing ad with a discount or some other incentive geared towards getting the customer to convert. But if the customer bought a product after the initial search, the next ad should be geared towards up-selling or retention.

Getting this right isn’t easy. It depends on putting the right workflow and technology in place to track and analyse customers across a range of channels so that we can understand content and engagement options for each channel and how it relates to the broader strategy.

It demands that we put processes in place to deliver the right content to the customer based on their engagement at a given time and touch-point. Customer contact strategy are emerging as one of the most important aspects of our online marketing as we try to manage marketing across a growing choice of channels.

Number of the Week: 33% of Users Store Personal Correspondence on Poorly Protected Mobile Devices says Kaspersky Lab

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

Even though users store most of their data on personal computers, more and more people are transferring personal files to their smartphones and tablets. However, these devices tend to be significantly less well protected than PCs, putting that information at a greater risk of loss. This trend was picked up in a worldwide survey of almost 9,000 users conducted by Harris Interactive in March 2012.

According to the results of the survey, 33% of users exchange emails with friends and relatives using their mobile phone or tablet. At the same time, almost twice as many users (59%) use their computer for keeping in touch. Far fewer people currently use mobile devices for work-related correspondence – only one in five uses a mobile device to store business mail.

The survey of smartphone and tablet users demonstrates that such devices are generally much more vulnerable to cybercriminals than personal computers. 16% of tablet owners and 18% of mobile phone users have no protection at all for their data. More than a half of those surveyed use only basic safeguards such as passwords and PIN codes that offer no protection against infection or data interception.

Threats of this kind can be handled with the help of dedicated mobile applications. Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security, in addition to reliable protection against information theft via malware, also ensure data stays safe even if the device is lost or stolen. Unfortunately, this kind of sophisticated software is only used by 28% of smartphone owners and 44% of tablet owners. When it comes to traditional desktop or laptop computers, 85% of users have security software.

And it’s not just correspondence; other personal information can also be at risk. Passwords and account information are saved on mobile devices and tablets by 17% and 18% of users respectively. At the same time, most respondents (58%) consider the loss of this information one of the most serious threats.

Online services are less popular than local data storage. The survey shows that online data storage services are most often used to exchange personal (21%) and work-related (20%) documents as well as for storing multimedia data – photos, audio and video (20%). At the same time, 28% of respondents never use online data storage systems.

The full report on the survey by Harris Interactive for February-March 2012 is available at http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/pdf/kaspersky_lab_consumer_survey_report_eng_final.pdf.

Samsung Enhances Enterprise Mobility

By admin, 28 maja, 2012, No Comment

Driving a more flexible and connected mobile workforce

Gartner* recently predicted that worldwide enterprise IT spending is projected to increase from $2.6 trillion in 2011 to $2.7 trillion in 2012. While a 3.9% annual increase is not seen as much compared to previous years, interestingly enough, it points to the focus on strategic technologies – of which one is enterprise mobility.

“Today enterprises are looking for solutions that provide flexibility and connectivity for their mobile workforces, ensuring that users are able to operate efficiently on the move,” says Paulo Ferreira, Head of Enterprise Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “As more employees are empowered with mobile access to enterprise systems, applications and data through their device of choice, the requirement for IT to support and secure the widening array of device types can be extremely complex, yet very necessary.”

Cost savings, flexibility and productivity
It is estimated* that 900 million media tablets will be purchased by 2016 – one for every eight people on earth and that by 2014 private app stores will be deployed by 60% of IT organisations. This means that nearly 63%** of enterprises are looking to mobility for cost savings and close to 50% are responding to employee demand for the flexibility that mobility provides.

“Employees are looking for seamless and secure wireless connectivity – one that ensures interoperability with variety of client devices and of course, reduces operational expenditures,” adds Ferreira. “Samsung has been working to meet increasing demands from our enterprise customers and have worked to enable higher productivity wherever they are.”

Tailored to the business environment
Samsung has worked with the very best partners in harnessing the power of their products so as to increase functionality and connectivity for enterprise customers. The expansion of Samsung’s enterprise mobility offering encompasses a suite of innovative solutions targeted at the increasing needs of mobile workforces. Examples of these include horizontal solutions for security (mobile device management, encryption), virtualisation, unified communication (such as VoIP solutions) and collaboration, messaging and line of business applications (including enterprise IM, CRM, BI, push email etc).

Further to this, Samsung boast a range of products that enable the functionality of these solutions from mobile phones to tablets and notebooks and of course, as an extension of this is the full backing of a business brand that is at the forefront of change and anticipates what future needs will be, enabling them to tailor solutions for the business environment.

“Samsung has a strong commitment to enterprise customers, driving a more flexible and connected mobile workforce. Developed in collaboration with industry-leading partners, Samsung’s enterprise mobility solutions have been designed to improve productivity and profitability,” concludes Ferreira.

 

* Gartner, IT Spending Forecasts, 2011
** Infographic: The growth of Enterprise Mobility, Xcube

All smiles for the community of Vosloorus as MTN Business and the Qhubeka project make a difference

By admin, 25 maja, 2012, No Comment

 Since 2011 MTN Business has been working in partnership with the Wildlands Conservation Trust and Qhubeka, to empower rural communities and children across South Africa. Over the past 12 months, as part of the MTN Business Qhubeka product offering, MTN Business with customer Etana Insurance, have raised funds to the value of over R35 000, and yesterday, MTN Business Qhubeka benefited the lives of the broader community in Vosloorus, by handing over 20 bicycles to children in the area, all of which was aided through the funds raised.

 The MTN Business Qhubeka product offering differentiates MTN Business by allowing businesses the opportunity to embark on a social responsibility initiative while simultaneously addressing their communications requirements. This enterprise solution offers voice, data and ISP solutions, customised to the corporate, where a portion of the total spend is contributed towards the Qhubeka initiative.

Says Angela Gahagan-Thomson, Managing Executive of MTN Business; “MTN Business is privileged to be part of the broader Qhubeka initiative aimed at mobilising communities, changing lives and building a sustainable future. Yesterday, by handing over the Qhubeka bikes towards the continued development of such a project, we are another step closer to realising this objective.”

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