Archive for Grudzień, 2012

Surf in confidence with Kaspersky Lab

By admin, 11 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

The recently released 2013 range of Kaspersky Lab security solutions, including Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013, have been designed to combat the increase in malicious content that users need to deal with daily as a result of being more connected.

“Protecting yourself in this digital age has become foremost on the minds of many consumers the world over. South Africans are very security conscious and this has spilled over into the online realm as well. Increasingly, people are looking for solutions that are capable of protecting them while engaging with family and friends on social networks,” says Riaan Badenhorst, Head of Operations for Kaspersky Lab Africa.

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that in South Africa, the most featured security issues are related to spam, unwanted content, and viral infections. While fraudulent pop-up windows and data leaks are less prevalent, they should still be addressed to avoid any negative impact on users.

While South Africans do not feel the impact of mobile security issues as some other parts of the world yet, Badenhorst believes that this will be the next battleground in the fight for online safety.

“With the cost of Internet access and mobile devices making it more affordable for people to be connected anytime and anywhere, we have ensured that solutions like Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security meet the need for protecting users wherever they might find themselves,” adds Badenhorst.

Kaspersky Lab products have been designed to provide people with protection from malicious programmes, hacker attacks, spam, and spyware. Such products include Kaspersky Security for Android – designed to protect Android devices and the personal information stored on them. Kaspersky ONE – a one-licence solution to protect ones PCs, Macs, Android smartphones and Android tablets, as well as Kaspersky PURE 2.0 – a perfect security for all of one’s family’s PCs, identities, passwords, documents, photos and more.

“The latest range of Kaspersky Lab solutions provide users with an effective option to protect themselves while engaging in their online activities whether it be shopping, banking, browsing, or social networking,” concludes Badenhorst.

For more information on these products, please visit: http://www.kaspersky.co.za/internet-security

Quintica receives prestigious SunGard award

By admin, 11 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Quintica, the ICT and professional services company, has recently been awarded the SunGard President’s Club Award.

The award is given to partners of SunGard who have, through their efforts over a year, managed to achieve and exceed software sales targets on the business continuity solutions from the company.

“We are delighted to have attained this honour from SunGard as it highlights our efforts and successes in and around the sales of the SunGard business continuity solutions,” states Kerry Evans, managing director of Quintica. “This year we have actively driven the offerings into a number of financial and resource companies in South Africa and will continue to promote the SunGard solutions as an essential business tool in the coming years.”

SunGard is one of the world’s leading software and technology services companies, providing software and processing solutions for financial services, education and the public sector. SunGard also provides disaster recovery services, managed IT services, information availability consulting services and business continuity management software.

Going against the flow

By admin, 11 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Six years ago, Bruce von Maltitz and Jed Hewson were both working in the corporate sector – which had become a somewhat frustrating experience. “We could see where the technology was going, and realised that larger organisations were too large to deliver the niche services that were needed in the maturing hosted call centre market,” Von Maltitz explains. “We decided to take the plunge and become the best hosted call centre service provider in Africa – maybe not the biggest, but the best.”

The company is currently one of the leading providers of hosted telephony for contact centres in South Africa, providing affordable, pay-per-use access to world-class technology. ongoing support and consulting services to a number of large multinationals.

The company recently won the Frost & Sullivan award for Exceptional Entrepreneurship. Their advice for other budding entrepreneurs includes:

  • Remain agile

Part of the reason we moved away from the corporate environment is because we wanted to get rid of the red tape, rules and regulations that slow down large enterprises. We wanted to make it easy for companies to do business with us, and not the other way around.

  • Get your product offering right first

Initially, we spent most of our time and money developing a solid technology and making sure that the offering we were taking to market was complete. This helped us in the long run, because once we had the solutions in place, we could focus on growing our client base rather than adjusting the technology or fixing bugs. We were able to offer a working, complete solution to customers.

  • Be an expert

Our success comes from knowing our business inside and out. Strive to be the best at something, rather than a jack-of-all-trades. Keep your focus and grow your expertise. We found that being a niche, specialist provider trumps being the biggest in the business every time.

  • Know your clients

Our key differentiator is service. We sit down with our clients, discuss their situations, and offer insight into both technology and business – because we understand both sides of the coin. We aren’t in the business of dropping off a product-in-a-box and disappearing – we support our customers every step of the way.

  • Outsource what you don’t need

Part of our offering is the fact that we completely take care of the technology, affording the call centres the opportunity to focus on what they do best – running a call centre. We follow the same philosophy by outsourcing certain functions that we don’t see as core drivers for our success. That way, we can focus on keeping the clients happy, rather than motivating staff in various departments. A streamlined business is an effective business.

  • Accept that it’s going to be expensive

Successful businesses are going to cost you money and the more successful you are – the more money it’ll take. When entrepreneurs start out, they tend to forget that. Yes, successful businesses make money, but you have to be prepared to keep plowing that money into the company to make sure it keeps growing and remains the best at what it does. Don’t expect to get rich quickly and don’t measure success by the amount of dividends you get paid. Be passionate about what you do and be willing to sacrifice if needs be – the rewards will come later.

1Stream has the capacity to effectively service start-up call centres with as few as 10 seats, as well as large multinationals such as Amazon.com and wonga.com. They have offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and can be reached on www.1stream.co.za

 

Niche outsourcing providers drive greater value, cut red tape

By admin, 11 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

By Gerrit-Jan Albers, Service Delivery Manager at RDB Consulting

Outsourcing has become a popular service model, particularly in the Information Technology (IT) space, as it can help to deliver greater cost efficiencies and high levels of service. However, a trend has emerged in recent years to move away from large multi-service outsource providers and towards smaller, specialist niche service providers. These niche IT outsource providers are providing a multitude of benefits to business.

This shift has occurred for a number of reasons, mainly due to the ability to drive greater value from outsource contracts. While each model has its own pros and cons, a more focused niche provider typically specialises in a specific area of IT outsourcing. This results in greater efficiency, better service delivery, a more granular view of the IT outsource service, and a significant reduction in the typical red tape associated with a basket of services from a single large provider.

Despite these benefits, larger IT outsource providers who offer a wide range of services have traditionally been popular, as they offer the perception of a ‘one stop shop’ for all of a company’s IT needs. This is an attractive concept, as it means that there is only one contract to manage for multiple services. A single contract decreases administration and the need to maintain relationships with multiple vendors. However, this single contract concept is also where the biggest detracting factor for multi-service outsourcing comes in.

The reality is that most large outsourcing companies only specialise in one or two areas and offer other services as an ‘add on’. This means that service levels are often inconsistent across the different services as skills levels within the provider are inconsistent. The challenge for businesses that are tied into multi-service contracts is to remove one of the services that they may not be satisfied with. This is a difficult and time consuming process and will require renegotiation of the entire contract. Engaging the services of specialised, focused service providers on the other hand, while it does require more maintenance of relationships and contracts, will ensure that service levels can be easily monitored according to specific services. If these service levels are not delivered according to the Service Level Agreement (SLA), contracts can easily be terminated and a new provider sourced.

While it may seem that outsourcing multiple services to a single provider will drive the greatest efficiencies, this is often not the case. Services are consolidated into a single contract and fee, which means that costs for each individual service are difficult to control. It is not possible to identify the individual cost of maintenance of each service unless the service provider is completely transparent and provides a granular breakdown.

With specialised contracts, this process is simplified and it is possible to easily manage and control spend on each service. This is becoming an increasingly important factor in light of King III recommendations and regulatory requirements, which require the justification of all IT spend and reporting to stakeholders on the effectiveness and value derived from each service.

Niche service providers also tend to be Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). They are more motivated to deliver as their livelihood hinges upon their reputation for service delivery. Terminating the services of a single service provider that is not delivering a particular service is also far easier than trying to terminate a single service from a large basket contract. This in turn motivates the niche outsource provider to deliver better services. If a small company loses a contract, the impact is far greater than that of a large company losing a single service contract. SMEs also tend to deliver more personal interaction, more personalised service and better turnaround times, as these companies are typically more agile with more flexible processes.

IT Outsourcing as a model for service delivery is here to stay and continues to grow in the current economic climate due to budget constraints and the ever-present need to deliver better services for lower IT spend. However, the one stop shop model is no longer as popular as it has been in the past and we will continue to see an uptake in services from more specialised, smaller outsourcing providers who deliver better service levels and greater cost efficiency.

DCC rolls out Crucial SSDs from Micron

By admin, 11 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC) is augmenting its extensive product offering with the inclusion of the m4 Series of Crucial Solid State Drives (SSDs) from world-leading manufacturer Micron. As part of the Micron stable, Crucial’s SSDs have garnered a solid international reputation for quality and durability, and DCC will be bringing this premium brand to South African businesses and consumers as the official distributor.

“Micron is pleased that DCC is now an authorised distributor in South Africa for the brand. DCC was our chosen choice due to their expertise in the industry, wealth of experience as well as providing customers with a range of quality products, support and services; delivering complete solutions by building and maintaining Information Technology infrastructures. Micron looks forward to working with DCC,” says Jayson Ramsammy, African Sales Manager at Micron.

“Solid State Drives have multiple benefits over traditional hard disk drive (HDD) technology, using flash memory to deliver vastly superior performance and durability. While HDD still leads the market in terms of volume and there is much debate around HDD versus SDD, solid state drives are undoubtedly the technology of the future and are fast gaining ground in terms of sales. For these reasons, we took the decision to bring SSDs on board as part of our product portfolio, so that we can continue to offer our customers the best and latest technologies,” says Zandré Rudolph, Retail Manager at DCC.

The Crucial m4 series caters for a wide variety of SSD users, from road warriors who are always on the go, to those who require super-fast data delivery or superior performance for intense applications such as design and gaming. The drives are available in a variety of capacities, from 64GB up to 512GB, and each capacity will ship from DCC in three configurations: SSD only; SSD with a 3.5” bracket for installation in a desktop PC; and SSD with a transfer kit to replicate and replace existing hard drives.

“These configurations cover all use cases, from installation in new laptops and desktops to upgrades of existing machines. With our transfer kit, users can connect the SSD to an existing PC or notebook using a USB cable and make a complete ghost image of the existing hard drive on the SSD, including the operating system. The hard drive can then be directly swapped out for the SSD and the computer will work as before, with greatly improved speed and performance,” Rudolph adds.

“Crucial SSDs have been designed to replace traditional hard drives. With fewer moving parts, there is less that could potentially malfunction, keeping data safer, and the benefits of improved speed and performance are well known. We look forward to growing this brand in the local market,” he concludes.

All configurations of the Crucial m4 Series SSDs are available immediately from selected retailers for a recommended retail price of R999.00 for the 64GB, R1 399.00 for the 128GB, R2 599.00 for the 256GB and R4 999.00 for the 512GB. Prices are inclusive of VAT.

Government of the Union of Comoros Privatization of Comores Telecom

By admin, 8 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Request for Expressions of Interest

The Government of the Union of Comoros (“GoC”), represented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, is privatizing Comores Télécom («CT »), its national telecommunication company. CT will undergo a restructuring of its activities via the transfer of its primary assets to a new legal entity (“Newco”) and 51% of the shares of the Newco will be sold to a strategic equity investor, or a group of strategic equity investors. The other shareholders will be GoC (34%), and CT’s employees (15%).

The strategic investor(s) will be selected through an international competitive bidding process.

Interested investors are invited to submit their Expression of Interest (“EoI”), which should include a presentation of their organization and a letter of motivation.

EoIs should be submitted in French or in English, clearly marked with “EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FOR THE PRIVATIZATION OF COMORES TELECOM”, and sent by electronic mail to the contact people designated hereafter:

Ministry of Economy and Finance
Mr. Oubeidi Mze Chei
Permanent Secretary
Economic and Financial Reforms Unit Moroni, Union of Comores abououbeidi@yahoo.fr

International Finance Corporation, IFC
Mrs. Ramatou Magagi Project Leader Washington DC, USA rmagagi@ifc.org

Canon SA hosts very successful 2012 Expo in Sandton

By admin, 8 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

A focused and targeted marketing drive, a double stream of expert speakers, and the promise of interacting with some of the latest photographic and printing solutions drew thousands of people to the recently hosted Canon SA Expo. The event, which was held over a three-day period at the Sandton Convention Centre, exceeded our expectations.

According to Canon SA’s Marketing Manager, Michelle Janse van Vuuren, most of the attendees, who included visitors from outside South Africa’s borders, were there for a reason. Whether it was to take advantage of the numerous show specials, catch a glimpse of the phenomenal top entries of this year’s Canon Photographic Competition or glean expert advice from some of the world’s foremost photographers.

“We were simply bowled-over by the calibre of the visitors who came to this year’s expo. They were all exceptionally well-informed and came for a purpose. It tells us that our finely-tuned communication campaign hit the spot in educating potential visitors on what to expect. Ultimately, we see our expo as a meaningful, interactive platform for people who want to purchase or already use our products and are as passionate about photography as we are. We certainly feel like we have achieved this with our 2012 expo. This was also evident at the Canon shop with increased sales of 13% from last year.”

“Each year that we host the expo, we take the key learning and apply it to the next one. The speaker workshops are becoming ever more popular and this year, our efforts to bring in renowned photography experts and the decision to host two speaker areas, were rewarded with capacity audiences at most sessions.”

“We’d also like to thank the speakers for their dynamic and informative presentations, as well as the hundreds of people who flocked tolisten to them,” says van Vuuren. Among the speakers were internationally-acclaimed photojournalist, Ziv Koren as well as wildlife photographer Brutus Östling.

Canon also showcased the biggest-ever range of products and solutions, giving visitors a chance to interact with them and speak to experts who were on hand to give advice.

In the Gallery, expo visitors were able to peruse the best entries to this year’s prestigious Canon Photography Competition, which was great exposure for the entrants. “We received thousands of entries of a very high standard this year and the top ten entrants in each of the four categories were showcased in the Gallery. It was a super opportunity for the public to see the high level of talent that exists here in South Africa,” says Janse van Vuuren.

The public was invited to vote for their favourites on the Canon Expo website (www.csaexpo.co.za) or during their visit to the Gallery, however voting has now closed. One winner per category will be announced on 15 January 2013.

For more information please visit the Canon SA Expo website at www.csaexpo.co.za or www.canon.co.za

Ultimate Music Creation Accessories for Apple Mobile Devices from Gammatek

By admin, 8 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

IK Multimedia acclaimed iRig now in SA

Gammatek’s recently appointed distribution of IK Multimedia exposes musicians and gadget enthusiasts to a series of world-class music creation apps and accessories for Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.

Available immediately is IK Multimedia’s acclaimed iRig product range which includes the iRig MIX, iRig STOMP, iRIG MIC, iRIG MIC Cast, iRig iKlip and DJ Rig for iPad. Additionally, all products are compatible with the newly introduced iPhone 5.

IK Multimedia specialises in providing music production tools with great sound quality and a realistic look and feel. With over one million installations worldwide, the company’s products have been adopted by musicians of every level to gain access to high-end, studio-quality gear from their computers or mobile devices.

“Providing world-class music creation apps and accessories to SA musos is definitely an important milestone in our product delivery to the country. We are thrilled to be partner of IK Multimedia which is known for its innovation and ability to develop products that takes music to the next, awesome level,” comments Zev Cherniak from Gammatek.

Techno makes music
Looking at the products, the iRig MIX is the first iOS (Apple mobile device operation system) mobile mixer for DJ and live musicians, and includes a full line-up of professional features such as a crossfader, separate channel faders, EQ, cue, a master volume and more. It makes a great hardware front end for IK’s DJ Rig app and can also be used in any other applications where a small portable mixer is required.

The DJ Rig for iPad app mobile DJ mixing to a completely new level, providing a comprehensive suite of professional DJ mixing tools, all in one convenient iPad app. DJ Rig for iPad offers numerous new capabilities that have only been available on professional DJ software for the Mac and PC.

With DJ Rig for iPad, mobile DJs will possess the virtual equivalent of a full professional DJ setup – two turntables or CD players, a DJ mixer, a DJ multi-effects unit, a phrase sampler and more, all in a portable package to take their spin to the next level, anytime and anywhere.

DJ Rig for iPad is a fully self-contained DJ environment that can be directly connected to a sound system, but even more functionality is available when it’s used in tandem with the iRig Explains Cherniak: “When used together, DJ Rig and iRig MIX provide a comprehensive DJ setup that packs all the features the most demanding DJs need – all in an ultra-light combo rig which can be set-up and running in seconds.”
iRig was the first guitar-and-bass interface adapter for the iPhone. It offers an affordable price and full compatibility with IK range of effects-processing apps such as AmpliTube, AmpliTube Fender and AmpliTube Slash, as well as a multitude of other apps including GarageBand.

iRig STOMP is the first stompbox-style guitar and bass interface that allows guitarists and bassists to integrate their favourite signal processing apps into their live setup and other effects.

Another first is iRig MIC, a handheld mic designed for vocals and recording for iOS audio apps like IK VocaLive and iRig Recorder and many others. Featuring real-time monitoring and a three-level gain switch, it deftly handles everything from singing to speeches to instrument recording.

Additionally, iRig MIC Cast provides users with an ultra compact, low-profile mic designed for recording podcasts, interviews, lectures, and other spoken-word material. It offers flat frequency response and direct pick-up pattern for recording without background noise.
Lasty, the iKlip is a universal mic stand adapter for iPhone and iPod touch, makes it easy to securely clip the iOS device to a microphone stand for live performance and practicing. Not only does it work with the iPhone 5, but every other existing iPhone and iPod touch model.

IK Multimedia’s iRig products are available from selected retail stores.

Untested backups give a false sense of security, says Veeam

By admin, 7 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Backups may be worthless if they’re not tested, says Warren Olivier of Veeam – and the consequences could be dire, especially in virtualised environments.

“People sometimes have a false sense of security because they’re running backups, and getting confirmation that the backups were successful,” says Olivier, Territory Manager at Veeam. “But your backup software is only as good as its last restore. When last did you test that you could actually restore a machine from your backups? You could be backing up a serious problem that won’t reveal itself until the day you need to restore – and then it’s too late.”

The risk is significant, he says. “Of 500 companies VMWare surveyed in 2010, 43% had experienced a data loss within the past two years, and failed recoveries cost them an average of over R3.5m (US$ 400,000) a year. Yet only 2% of backups were ever tested.”

Antivirus updates, operating system upgrades and patches are among the most common causes of recovery failures, says Olivier. “These changes require a system reboot, which could result in an inconsistent operating system or application state. Machines suffer from this issue all the time: You reboot and get to a blue screen or application problem, then have to roll back to the last known good configuration, or try and restore from a successful backup.”

“That’s fine if you reboot immediately after the upgrade and your last known good configuration was yesterday,” adds Olivier. “But reducing the amount of downtime and rebooting machines less often is one of the primary benefits of virtualisation – not to mention a top requirement in most SLAs. You could have been running for weeks or months with a problem quietly incubating, waiting for a reboot to commit the changes that will mess up your server.”

Olivier says he’s seen at least one client lose months of data to exactly this kind of hidden trap. “His backup software told him the backups were successful, and they were – but the restore wasn’t. To make matters worse, those assurances gave him a false sense of security and he was careless in the reboot process, thinking he could always do a recovery if there was a problem. Sometimes a false sense of security can be far worse than no security at all.”

“The only way to manage your risk is to test your backups,” says Olivier. “Everybody would like to, but in most cases it’s just too expensive, too time consuming or even physically impossible. It takes hours to rebuild a machine, import the backup and try to restore – and if it doesn’t work, you may have to go back a day further and test again. It’s not feasible, economically or physically, to test backups made on physical media in a physical environment.”

But everything changes in virtualised environments, says Olivier. “If you’re running a virtualised environment, you definitely shouldn’t be using backup tools designed for physical hardware. Rather use the opportunity to take a flexible approach to backup and replication. Treat the entire virtual machine as a file, which it is, and take advantage of the resulting flexibility and portability. The hidden advantages of virtualisation go far beyond the typical reductions in the cost of cooling, power and hardware.”

Veeam’s backup and replication tools make the testing process automated, incredibly fast and economically viable, says Olivier. “We can restore a machine in 20 seconds and have you at the logon screen in two minutes. That changes the whole game: suddenly testing every backup, every day is entirely feasible.”

The process can be entirely automated, he adds. “Few people want to babysit their backup and recovery jobs, so an automated process that delivers a high-level report meets their requirements. There are also compliance requirements around backups, and this makes it easy to meet those requirements.”

5 Things to Consider When Selecting a Satellite Internet Provider

By admin, 7 grudnia, 2012, No Comment

Although satellite Internet has been available to certain markets for years, there has been an influx of new satellite Internet providers into the South African market place this year.

“Satellite Internet can provide amazing opportunities for those in areas without access to Internet, or a viable backup solution, but you have to consider certain things to ensure you get the service you need,” says Jacques Visser, YahClick product manager at Vox Telecom.

Ensure you are getting access to Ka-band
Most providers can only give you access to Ku-band or C-band Satellite Internet which is more expensive and exposes you to issues such as rain fade, atmospheric weakening, problems with low elevation angles and limited coverage.

Ka-band satellites transmit highly focused, overlapping ‘spot beams’; providing coverage over targeted areas, which means faster speeds, more reliability, smaller dishes and lower costs for the end user.

Ensure the price is right
Providers should be able to offer you a range of packages depending on your needs. If you are a big business who needs uncapped, unshaped Internet access, you need a package with a price tag to match; as is the case if you are small business who only needs to check your mail and use Internet telephony or a home user who only checks mail and uses Facebook. There are high quality, fast, basic packages available for under R200.

Ensure you are getting maximum value
Make sure benefits such as unlimited uploads, a Free Zone, built-in speed tests and real-time consumption metres come standard from your supplier.

Ensure there are reputable installers & support nearby
Where the installers and support staff are located can affect how long they take to install your hardware or respond to technical problems.

You ideally want to know that your suppliers and support staff are in your area and focus on your area, so that you can ensure they are not always out of town and out of reach.

Also, confirm that they are reputable and well trained and therefore able to provide you with the quality of support you need without needing to pass you on to different departments and endless managers.

Ensure it can support voice
Access to high-quality Internet can provide outlying areas with IP telephony. Areas that currently use party-lines or suffer from high instances of copper theft, can now access reliable connections and communications. Ensure that your provider can give you access to a voice-prioritised channel at a low cost.

“Fast, reliable affordable satellite internet is available now,” says Visser. “You just need to know the right questions to ask.”

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