Archive for Grudzień, 2012

Businesses embracing encryption to protect their most sensitive data

By admin, 13 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

According to B2B International survey conducted this year, encryption is the fifth most widespread protection technique. It’s a sharp rise from the results of a similar survey in 2011 where it barely crept into the top 10. It is also ranked second among the security measures which companies want to develop, with only protection against malware scoring higher. However, encryptions systems are notably absent from the top five most effective protection measures implemented by companies this year.

In effect, encryption is the final defensive barrier – even after a criminal has successfully forced his way into the company’s IT infrastructure, this last hurdle makes it extremely difficult to get access to important information. However most companies have not fully introduced encryption yet – just one-third of specialists (36%) use full disk encryption (also known as encryption of information arrays) and less than half of those specialists (44%) actually protect only critical information by this technology. As to encryption on external devices, e.g. USB drives; it is used by 32%.

The reasoning can be explained by difficulties companies are facing when implementing Data Protection systems – 34% of respondents consider them as too complex. “Encryption incorporated into a comprehensive security system for corporate IT infrastructure can be an effective way out, – says Nikolay Grebennikov, Chief Technology Officer at Kaspersky Lab. Our business solutions can provide flexibility and easily managed protection for all corporate network endpoints.”

The survey involved over 3,300 IT specialists in 22 countries worldwide and was conducted in conjunction with Kaspersky Lab. The participants represented all business sizes: small, medium and enterprise.

The full version of the report of the results of the survey by B2B International in July 2012 is available at http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/pdf/kaspersky_global_it-security-risks-survey_report_eng_final.pdf

 

IT departments in large organisations are not even doing the basics to protect sensitive information

By admin, 13 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Are you ready for POPI?

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) will soon be enacted into South African law and the latest draft has already been passed by the national assembly. However, many large and well known organisations are not even attending to some of the basics of information security, namely applying operating system security patches. This means that they are not compliant with pending regulations.

The reason companies are struggling with operating system security patching may be linked to bandwidth, according to sustainableIT director Tim James. “Security patching, updates and even software deployments are very difficult and often impossible in branch office environments,” James has said. “Large retailers and financial services companies that all have significant branch networks are impacted the most, often running on very little bandwidth. Unfortunately these are the very same organisations that hold the personal and financial information that the act is trying to protect. Are all of these companies doing the basics? The answer is absolutely not.”

The reason for this is that business traffic, line of business applications and any revenue generating activity is seen as sacrosanct and rightly so, particularly in tough economic times.

“The net result is that systems management traffic, the ‘stuff’ that gets security updates and the like down to branch offices is either de-prioritised – or not catered for at all. This means that updates don’t happen and point of sale, tellers and back office devices are not patched with the latest security updates,” James explains. “Forget the POPI act, this is hardly acceptable even without legislation. It is the elephant in the corner that has been avoided for far too long in many IT departments.”

Although it is unclear when POPI will be promulgated, its arrival is inevitable. Companies should particularly take note of Condition 7, relating to security safeguards. The condition states that “a responsible party must secure the integrity and confidentiality of personal information in its possession or under its control by taking appropriate, reasonable technical and organizational measures to prevent a) the loss of, damage to or unauthorized destruction of personal information; and b) unlawful access to or processing of personal information”.

It also calls on responsible parties to identify “all reasonably forseeable internal and external risks to personal information in its possession”, to establish and maintain appropriate safeguards against these risks and to “ensure that the safeguards are continually updated in response to new risks or deficiencies in previously implemented safeguards”.

“This means that if you are not updating your operating system security on a continual basis, you are not compliant,” James warns. “For companies that are found non-compliant, fines can be levied of up to R10 Million – which does not preclude civil damages running into millions, as well as the associated reputational risk and the impacts thereof. Any individual convicted of an offense under this act could face a jail term of 10 years. It makes sense to avoid this by any means necessary!”

But James goes on to say that company who have invested in the Microsoft System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM), can become compliant almost immediately (in terms of patching) with a simple add on.

“Programs such as Nomad Enterprise from 1E can be used very effectively. SCCM’s native deployment technology (BITS) is not very bandwidth friendly and hence patching is often turned off to remote locations. Nomad replaces BITS as a content provider and is very bandwidth friendly, constantly backing off to business traffic to ensure that business operations are not affected,” he explains. “The key point here is that Nomad continually uses spare and available bandwidth to ensure that you can get what you need down to your branch sites as quickly as possible without any impact on the business. This is not possible with incumbent toolsets.”

In the United States, one of the largest retailers recently deployed Nomad for very similar reasons. For compliance purposes, they had to ensure that devices were constantly patched. This however was having a negative impact on their “just in time” business application and the net effect was that trucks in their distribution channel were leaving half empty, largely because business data was not arriving in time. By deploying Nomad, business traffic still takes priority but Nomad traffic ramps up dynamically when the business traffic ramps down, allowing systems management traffic to flow without any business impact.

The POPI act is going to place tremendous pressure on IT departments from a compliancy perspective. There have been many false starts with this legislation – but companies will only have one year to comply and the financial consequences and reputational risk could be dire. “ The time to act is now,” James concludes.

Bytes awarded Cisco Borderless Network certification

By admin, 13 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Bytes Systems Integration has achieved certification as an Advanced Cisco Borderless Network Architecture Specialized Partner. The new certification enables Bytes to sell and support solutions based on Cisco’s next-generation network architecture.

“With the advent of the cloud computing model and the concept of anytime / anywhere computing—a trend fuelled by the BOYD “bring your own device” phenomenon—corporate networks are truly becoming borderless,” says Patrick Hastings, divisional managing director: Advanced Technology Services at Bytes Systems Integration. “Creating and securing such networks depends on a robust, advanced communications platform as well as a flexible, next-generation network architecture. That’s exactly what Cisco Borderless Network Architecture provides.”

Hastings notes that as a Cisco Gold Partner, Bytes was happy to make the investment in obtaining this specialised certification. He says that it will position Bytes to develop and deliver the borderless networking solutions required by our clients.

“The network truly is the business these days, and the business has to be able to connect with employees, partners and customers wherever they are and whatever devices they might be using,” Hastings explains. “In addition, the increasing use of video content means that data volumes are growing exponentially. This certification is a vital tool in enabling us to craft network solutions to help our clients thrive in this new borderless business environment.”

3G offload onto Wi-Fi – a viable solution to data overload on mobile networks

By admin, 13 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

By Mark van Vuuren, Managing Director of Jasco ICT Solutions

Cellular phone usage has grown exponentially, and with the increased popularity of smartphones that can access the Internet and social media, which requires connectivity, mobile operators are finding themselves increasingly unable to cope with the sheer volumes of data traffic. Compounding this issue is the added burden of data from a variety of 3G modems, which also use up capacity. This not only affects the speed of data, but the quality of voice calls, since voice is also run on the 3G network. And this trend is not localised, but is something that is proving to be a challenge across the globe.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) has been seen as the solution to 3G data overload. However, red tape around LTE spectrum in South Africa has resulted in much of this spectrum remaining unallocated to telcos and thus unused, and the potential for this data medium is as yet untapped. This means that Telco operators need to look at alternative methods in the short- to medium-term to reduce data traffic on their networks, so that the integrity of voice calls can be preserved and customers retained. 3G offload onto Wi-Fi offers a viable solution for telcos to deal with the data overload on mobile networks, particularly in high traffic volume areas. Wi-Fi is an open spectrum technology which is designed specifically to handle data traffic, and the technology is available to offload data usage onto Wi-Fi, freeing up 3G and 2G networks for voice traffic and improving customer service quality.

LTE is in the process of being deployed, and there are some trials being run in South Africa currently. However, this robust 4G technology can not yet fully be utilised until the regulatory debate surrounding spectrum allocation can be resolved. In the interim, telcos need to look at alternatives to improving both data and voice quality on their networks, and one viable way of doing this is to offload a portion of data traffic onto an open spectrum technology such as Wi-Fi.

One of the challenges around maintaining supply of data in line with ever-increasing demand is that market pressures around data costs are driving pricing down, which means that revenue streams are practically flat but that capacity needs to continually grow. Operators are therefore faced with the conundrum of keeping up with demand in a market that is not profitable given current models. Wi-Fi access points provide a solution to this challenge as well, as the cost of deployment is far lower than the cost of creating additional 3G capacity, with the added benefit that Wi-Fi uses unlicensed bands so there is more spectrum available and operators can more easily acquire additional frequency. Evolution in Wi-Fi technology too has made it more applicable to large areas, and even for outdoor coverage, and the upcoming 802.11ac standard is set to increase the speed, range and coverage of Wi-Fi enabled devices.

Wi-Fi began with very small capacity of 50 kilobits, and we are now up to 600 megabit speeds. The new 802.11ac standard will increase this to 1.5 gigabits, with devices already being tested and commercial roll-out of this standard set for 2013. This makes Wi-Fi even more applicable, taking it from a hotspot technology to a solution that can deliver full mesh networks to encompass wider indoor and outdoor areas. Layer 3 routing on the new standard improves networking capability and network protection. The upshot of this is an improved customer experience and the ability to deploy coverage over wider areas.

Cloud technology also adds to the viability of Wi-Fi networks in a commercial sense, as a large proportion of the controlling and network management tools can now be delivered as a cloud services, meaning that multiple access points can be delivered using a centralised controller. This means that a controller is not needed for every site, further driving down the cost of deployment. Controller-less technology also allows for instant access points to be created, reducing the cost of rollout. In terms of management solutions, this also means that a single management platform can be used for multiple access points.

This in turn enables remote management, further driving down costs. However, it is important to bear in mind that this requires an open standards management tool that provides cost effective access for multiple-vendor solutions with different Wi-Fi protocols. In this way, existing investment into Wi-Fi technology is protected, and a migration to newer protocol devices can be conducted without the need for a rip and replace approach, which raises costs. New protocols and technology make Wi-Fi an increasingly viable option for wide area data coverage.

Wi-Fi data services also present an opportunity for fixed line operators to compete against mobile operators, by deploying Wi-Fi hotspots to pull traffic onto their network. This technology is particularly effective in congregated areas such as shopping malls, business parks, central business districts and even sports stadiums. Public access Wi-Fi technology is gaining traction internationally, for example in Sweden where fixed line carrier TeliaSonera has more than 25 thousand Wi-Fi access points and up to 15% of data traffic is carried via Wi-Fi. While this is not necessarily related to 3G offload, this example proves the viability of Wi-Fi as an option for data access.

The exponential growth of data usage is something that is only set to continue, which means that there is no single medium that can handle the sheer volumes of traffic that will be required in years to come. Wi-Fi networks are just one way of offloading data from congested networks to ensure service can be delivered all around. There are opportunities aplenty for new players to get involved in providing data capacity for increasing demand, without taking away from the core business of existing operators.

3G offload onto Wi-Fi is a technology that can viably be integrated as part of network rollouts to deal with rapacious demand for data. However, as with any new solution there are challenges involved in incorporating multiple technologies onto a single network. The customer requires continuous quality of service, a seamless handover, and single billing for data no matter what technology is utilised. Carriers looking to implement 3G offload need to ensure that their solutions will seamlessly hand the user off between 3G and Wi-Fi, and that operators can easily incorporate this into billing. Integration and backend should be seamless, otherwise adoption rates will be low and investment will be wasted. A sound business model for charging of Wi-Fi data roaming also needs to be built to ensure profitability for operators as well as high levels of customer services.

With intelligent hardware and software that provide open standards technology to integrate with existing servers and billing, and centralised cloud management that ensures a Wi-Fi network becomes a part of the existing service, carriers and operators can easily leverage the potential of 3G offload. Working with a partner that can deliver a fully integrated solution, from planning and installation to deployment, backend integration, support and maintenance, further simplifies this process. Using 3G offload onto Wi-Fi to deliver a portion of data requirements can result in cost reductions of up to 60% on traditional 3G deployments, leaving room for profitability as well as improved customer service.

IS cuts contact centre costs by 45%

By admin, 12 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Internet Solutions (IS), in partnership with 1Stream, a hosted contact centre provider, today announced the launch of cloud-based contact centre technology offering organisations capital and operating cost savings of up to 45%.

Hosted IP Contact Centre (HICC) is a software-as-a-service or pay per use model, offering access to a complete range of multi-media applications that route, record and report on any contact centre activity. HICC complements and extends existing IS hosted IP PBX offerings, and being cloud-based, contact centre operators are not responsible for upgrading nor managing the technology.

“Internet Solutions has always chosen quality products to take to market, and we’ve always been committed to service delivery and support,” says 1Stream director Jed Hewson. “It was an excellent fit for us.”

Internet Solutions provides hosting and remote services to more than 80% of the companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and 1Stream has built its reputation as a niche provider of hosted technology. Both parties believe that coupling the 1Stream technology with Internet Solutions’ extensive channel to market will further grow the contact centre industry in South Africa.

“We were attracted to the 1Stream product for two reasons,” says Wayne Speechly, executive of communication services for Internet Solutions. “Predominantly because 1Stream has spent years perfecting its technology, but also because it is focused on customer support and takes an active consultative role with its clients.”

“In many ways, there has been a natural progression towards this agreement,” says Bruce von Maltitz, director of 1Stream. “We’ve been delivering services from within the Internet Solutions environment for years, and this formalises a long-standing relationship.”

HICC is available nationwide from Internet Solutions.

LG brings scanning convenience to South African market with innovative mouse scanner

By admin, 12 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

LSM-100 saves time, space and creates a whole new way of capturing images

LG Electronics (LG) today introduced their new mouse with a built-in scanner, the LG LSM-100, to the South African market.

“We are excited to bring this innovation to local market,” says Tim Park, head of IT business unit at LG Electronics South Africa. “LG LSM-100 offers an array of functions that blend surprising innovation and user convenience.”

Operating the LSM-100’s scanning function is far more convenient than on conventional scanners. While holding the Smart Scan button on the left side of the mouse, the user can simply swipe the mouse over the material to be scanned. The scanned image can then be saved in a variety of file types – PNG, JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PDF, XLS and DOC – or dragged and dropped into the desired application.

The LG LSM-100 is also equipped with LG’s Optical Character Recognition technology, which converts scanned text into a Microsoft Word document that can then be edited and manipulated as the user sees fit. By eliminating the need to retype text from print media onto the screen, Optical Character Recognition saves users a great deal of time.

The mouse’s compact size belies its big-sized capabilities. Because it’s not limited by a frame, the LG LSM-100 can scan page sizes up to A3, larger than most conventional portable scanners. Additionally, the scanning technology itself has been upgraded to handle faster pass-over rates, meaning that scanning an A3 sheet can be done smoothly and quickly.

The LG LSM-100 is also a top-end mouse. The laser sensor is accurate and durable, and the stylish design lends itself to easy, smooth motions as well as providing an ergonomic, comfortable grip.

This device will be available at selected retail stores before the end of the year.

Get Savvy this Holiday Season with Lenovo

By admin, 12 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

The ultimate doers guide to the festive season

The season of giving is just around the corner and if you are adding to your worry lines on what special gift to get your loved ones – worry no more. This year Lenovo has launched a range of fascinating products that will make your family and friends love you even more. Just don’t expect the same kind of treatment, unless they are gifting you with some hot technology that will have everyone raving.

Best for your geeky yet stylish friend
The highly anticipated Lenovo Yoga and Lenovo ThinkPad Twist make the perfect gift for a friend who encompasses both beauty and brains. Designed for Windows 8 these funky devices are redefining the future of PCs and the term ‘being mobile’.

Lenovo Yoga
The Lenovo Yoga’s revolutionary turning point allows you to seamlessly switch from using the device as a laptop or a tablet. With a screen size option of 13 or 11 inch, this device can transform into a media-friendly tablet with rich audio-visual features like Dolby® Home Theatre® at the flip of the hinge. Talk about making life easy!

Lenovo ThinkPad Twist UltrabookTM
The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist UltrabookTM can transform a full performance UltrabookTM into a convertible tablet with a twist to the top. Packed with 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors, up to Windows 8 Pro, optional 3G3, large storage space and the ThinkPad brand’s legendary keyboard, quality and reliability features, who said you can’t have it all?

Best for Dad – ThinkPad X1 Carbon
So everyone is talking about “the UltrabookTM”, the ultra-responsive and ultra-sleek laptops inspired by Intel. However your dad is not budging from his tired and trusted old PC citing; “lack of security in gadgets these days”. What better way to prove him wrong than with the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, the lightest 14-inch UltrabookTM. Not only does it promise the security ensured by the ThinkPad range it also offers other amazing features like multi-gesture glass surface touchpad, HD face-tracking camera, dual array microphones and Dolby-tuned audio for crisp and clear sound. Help your dad manage his work life and personal life with ease!

Best for the entire family – Lenovo IdeaCentre A720
The Lenovo IdeaCentre A720 is the ultimate gift for your family. You Know why? The IdeaCentre A720 has been credited with bringing families closer together and ensuring peace in every household. How is that possible? Because it is has something for everyone. It is stylish, comes with a 27 inch razor thin screen that boasts a 10-point multi touch function and is perfect for family holiday games. Gather the family, swivel it around via its futuristic and innovative design enabling the whole family to see the screen from any angle, -5o to 90o (meaning no one is left out) and try your musical skills on the digital piano. Festive cheer at its best!

Best for the Go Getter
Lenovo’s IdeaPad S series laptops are the perfect give for everyone. These trendy, colourful, compact machines are ideal for entertainment, online chats and other personal everyday use. This is the device for the doers amongst your friends and family. Stylish and affordable, the IdeaPad S series laptops measure less than one inch and run on Intel’s 3rd generation Core™ i3 or i5 processors, providing up to 500GB hard disk storage capacity offering plenty of space to store music, movies and documents.

Mindjet re-envisions mobile for professionals

By admin, 12 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Mindjet has announced the availability of its purpose-built app for mobile team and project management, Mindjet Tasks. The redesigned app has been completely reconfigured so that professionals can, with a swipe of a finger, manage team projects and tasks, at any time and from any location. The app is immediately available on iTunes and will be updated for iPad and Android devices later in Q4.

The age of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is here: Nine out of 10 workers carry a smart phone at work(1), and 80 percent continue to work after leaving the office (2) . Increasingly, these team-centric workers have been accessing mobile devices to check in on projects and e-mail, whether they were in meetings or on the road. Yet, effective team communications and project management have been missing.

With more teams working virtually, increased coordination and real time updates are critical to keep activities on track − whether it’s managing marketing campaigns, recruiting new hires or planning project launches. Mindjet Tasks empowers the distributed workforce with a mobile hub to manage projects, tasks and teams in an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. With Mindjet mobile, teams can now innovate and execute on their best ideas, together, from their smart phones.

“Our research shows that most organisations are concerned about meeting the evolving needs of inherently mobile roles, such as sales and field service,” says Chris Silva, an analyst with Altimeter Group. “These groups have distinct needs around not just consuming information on devices, but also creating and sharing information. The companies that deliver upon these productivity needs stand to capture a broad, dedicated user base.”

With the latest release, Mindjet advances its popular mobile app, overhauling the user experience and adding features such as:

  •  Mobile team and project modules that enable project and team management from the mobile device;
  •  Instinctual gesture controls for easy updates, task tracking, comments and team management;
  •  Ability to share information and plans, assign priorities and track tasks with multiple team members regardless of location;
  •  Real-time updates on documents, progress and plans, including team comments;
  •  Patent pending auto-prioritisation of tasks to keep you and your team on the right track; and
  •  Instant connection with Mindjet web and desktop to update or add to your latest ideas and plans.

“With so many workers now carrying smart phones and continuing to keep up on projects and e-mail outside office hours, an application like Mindjet Tasks allows them to improve productivity but retain creativity,” says Bruce Skjolde, channel manager for Mindjet’s Emerging Markets. “As an intuitive, easy to use application, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips as well as the ability to collaborate with colleagues and team members, ideal for those executives always on the go.”

To download a free copy of the new Mindjet app with Tasks go to iTunes. To learn more about Mindjet Tasks go to www.mindjet.com/mobile.

Sources:

1.  SAP Enterprise Mobility Survey (http://www.slideshare.net/sap/mobility-12788540)
2. Good Technology (http://www1.good.com/news/press-releases/current-press-releases/161009045.html).

Nokia Siemens Networks gains significant LTE share in Q3

By admin, 12 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Market research firm Infonetics Research attributes Nokia Siemens Networks a strong second place in LTE infrastructure market share in its latest Q3 report. According to Infonetics, Nokia Siemens Networks achieved the largest increase for LTE market share in the third quarter of 2012, growing from 13% to 21.5% and nearly closing the gap with the market leader.

The three largest LTE deployments by revenue size in Q3 2012 occurred in North America, Japan and South Korea, says Infonetics. Nokia Siemens Networks’ share increase reflects the company’s strong position in every major account in Japan (NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank Mobile) and South Korea (KT, SK telecom and LGU+) as well as the T-Mobile rollout in the US.

In the combined 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure market, Nokia Siemens Networks maintained the second place it achieved one year ago with the completion of the acquisition of Motorola, reported Infonetics. However, the company continues to gain in North America through the T-Mobile USA W-CDMA and LTE rollout, adding one percentage point over the second quarter of 2012, also reports the market research firm.

SEACOM empowers Tembisa youth with problem-solving tools

By admin, 12 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Youth at Tembisa Secondary High School have empowered themselves with a range of potential solutions to the socioeconomic issues affecting their lives following the success of a mentoring programme called the SEACOM Solution Quest. The programme, launched on the 23rd of July, was hosted at the school by SEACOM to celebrate the third anniversary of SEACOM‘s founding.

The Solution Quest saw SEACOM employees work with Tembisa Secondary scholars to help them create their own interventions to address the largest challenges they face in their day to day lives. Every three weeks for three months, SEACOM staff in joint teams with students from Tembisa High School sought out solutions to major issues facing their impoverished community.

The winning group, as voted by their peers, identified a solution to tackle the problem of poor life skills among Tembisa Secondary students through the development of a life skills programme. This will involve ongoing contributions from SEACOM’s staff.

Says SEACOM CEO, Mark Simpson: “The SEACOM Solution Quest is a powerful way of mentoring the scholars as well as involving our entire team in a corporate social investment project. It is a sustainable approach that yields great results because it empowers the beneficiaries with the tools and skills to solve their own problems. We see this as a true social partnership rather than a donation – one that has the potential to make a real difference for the Tembisa scholars in the long term. The SEACOM staff, who have given of their time and effort during this program, have enjoyed working with the wonderful student group and can be very proud of the work they have done and the outcomes achieved.”

Students said that the initiative provided them with a hands-on opportunity to solve the social issues that they face, made them feel motivated and accountable, and gave them a foundation for personal growth into the future.

The Solutions Quest programme was also supported by Cheesekids, the Cause-Activation organisation best known for its Mandela Day campaigns. Cheesekids developed and project managed the initiative alongside SEACOM. Cheesekids’ founding member Shaka Sisulu said: “We are very pleased at the various outcomes this project has borne and we have seen a marked difference in the engagement of the students. We look forward to extending this type of programme to other schools in different locations”.

Project Facilitator Seth Naicker echoed this sentiment, stating they had been “very impressed at the commitment of SEACOM staff to holding hands with our young learners and figuring out solutions for change together.”

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