Archive for Styczeń, 2013

South African Cybercrime Set to Soar In 2013

By admin, 8 stycznia, 2013, No Comment

South Africa hosts the third-highest number of cybercrime victims in the world, behind only Russia and China

South African companies are warned that cybercrime is set to increase in 2013 and will place their profitability, their competitiveness and perhaps even their existence at risk.

An alarming fact is that South Africa hosts the third-highest number of cybercrime victims in the world, behind only Russia and China, according to the recently released Norton Cybercrime Report for 2012.

The report also shows that cybercrime is growing at rates never seen before. It states there are 556 million global victims of cybercrime per year, which equates to over 1.5 million victims per day, or about 18 victims per second. Furthermore, Norton puts the global price tag of consumer cybercrime at $110 billion.

“These statistics are astounding, but to put it in a local perspective, The South African Cyber Threat Barometer 2012/13 puts the total direct losses to cybercrime in South Africa between January 2011 and August 2012 at R2.65 billion. Of this, an estimated R662,5 million was not recovered,” says Hedley Hurwitz, MD of Magix Security.

With cybercrime growing unabated and little help from government to deal with it, it is up to business to tackle this problem. Hurwitz says cybercrime is set to increase in 2013 for four primary reasons.

More unemployment
The latest employment statistics show that unemployment is up and if the recent census data is correct, unemployment is even higher than the figures supplied by Statistics SA. More people without work quite simply means more soft targets for syndicates.

Internet and mobile access continues to grow
With more people online and accessing the Internet via their cellphones, companies have to continually add new security measures to protect themselves. However, the more complex the access and authentication controls, the bigger the loopholes and vulnerabilities that cyber criminals can take advantage of.

“The reality is that syndicates are at an advantage because they work full time focused only on finding ways to find and exploit vulnerabilities,” adds Hurwitz.

Insider threats grow
The primary threat to business is from insiders who are working for syndicates or for themselves. Most often it is middle and senior managers with access to sensitive information or corporate bank accounts that feel justified in stealing from their companies.
“If you’re under financial pressure and someone offers you R10 000 for a copy of your company’s client database, many people will comply,” notes Hurwitz. “It’s not like you’re taking the database, just a copy; nobody gets hurt and you get an unofficial bonus.”

SA lags in insider threat awareness
Insider fraud has always been seen as a cost of doing business, but with the realisation of the actual costs involved, companies are starting to pay attention to it. “In a perfect world, we can simply trust our employees,” says Hurwitz. “In the real world, however, trust must be earned.”

As revenues decline and business leaders are forced to focus on cutting costs, 2013 will be the year of increased focus on cybercrime in all its forms. “This is a risk companies will have to mitigate through a variety of means,” says Hurwitz. “However, in mitigating cybercrime, businesses will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of money they will save. In larger companies, the money saved can translate into millions of Rands added directly to the bottom line.”

Top six priorities for contact centres in 2013

By admin, 8 stycznia, 2013, No Comment

If contact centres aren’t preparing to embrace these six key trends, they have already fallen behind, says Ian Goss-Ross, CEO of Elingo.

Too many contact centres have relied on tried-and-trusted technologies for too long. But emerging trends and technologies that have been on the cards for a while are becoming forces contact centres can’t afford to ignore any longer.

In 2013, contact centres that have not yet prepared for, or adopted, these new trends will have to move fast to embrace them:

Mobile apps and self-service
Mobility is ubiquitous and people increasingly expect to be able to self help. While many companies have launched mobile apps, they may not have fully integrated them into their contact centre systems; therefore the apps are not delivering full value. Seamless integration into the back-end and contact centre is a challenge, and it is an important issue to address now.

Automation
Demand for self-help drives a need for automation. All the processes enabling self-service should be, or can be, automated. Herein lies another challenge for contact centres, in the implementation of automation in all their processes. Eventually interaction with live agents will fade away and fully automated processes will be expected. But automating all processes takes time, and in order to meet demand in a few years’ time, the planning and implementation needs to begin now.

Multimedia
In line with this, there will continue to be an increase in non-voice interaction and the true value of multimedia will be realised. Contact centres need to apply the same performance metrics to multimedia contact that they do to voice or any other channel.

Cloud vs. premise
A move to the cloud is a key consideration now. However, too many companies are holding back due to the misconception that entering the cloud has to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Few realise they can have both cloud and premise in a hybrid model for their contact centre deployment, and thanks to simplified and increasingly flexible solutions coming to market, now is a good time for contact centres to investigate their options.

Virtualisation and storage
Just because systems worked in the past, does not mean they will continue to work in future. Virtualisation is an imperative – contact centres must virtualise in order to stay competitive. There are multiple benefits, including rapid deployment of new products and services and more efficient upgrades and maintenance. Contact centres need to embark on a virtualisation strategy now.

Social media
Many companies are still unsure about where social media should fit in; but there’s a growing acceptance that social media is an important channel and it is gaining traction. As such, it needs to be treated like any other channel, with the same queuing, routing, recording, forecasting, and performance metrics requirements.

To meet these new challenges effectively, contact centres need to take action now. Despite challenges in doing so, there will be considerable ROI in it for them.

Finding the business value behind the big data buzz

By admin, 8 stycznia, 2013, No Comment

By Gary Allemann, MD at Master Data Management

Big data is without a doubt the latest industry buzzword, and like all buzzwords it is the subject of much debate, misunderstanding and hype. While harnessing big data may provide advantages and something of a competitive edge in certain circumstances, the reality is that not all organisations need it, and often the technical challenges of harnessing, storing and analysing this data outweigh any potential benefits at present. Understanding exactly what big data is…and is not, linking this in to the business strategy of an organisation, and finding the right way of harnessing the information this data contains, are key in avoiding the hype and finding the real business value behind the buzz.

The first thing that organisations need to understand about big data is that the term does not refer solely to volume. The data explosion is one factor to be considered, but sheer volumes of business data do not present additional challenges to existing analytics and storage solutions. Big data refers not only to data volume, but also data velocity, or the speed at which data is generated, the variety of data generated, and the unstructured nature of much of the data and its sources, particularly from social media. These factors all add up to increased complexity when it comes to gathering, storing and above all analysing data, as traditional software and tools simply are not equipped to deal with it.

From a storage perspective, big data does indeed mean that if organisations want to use this data, they will need to store masses of additional information, which comes with corresponding cost implications. Ultimately, however, the issue is not so much with the storage of this data, but rather with its analysis. In order to analyse big data, software and tools need to be able to draw information from data sources (such as video, Twitter feeds and other unstructured sources) that are typically not supported by traditional tools.. Trying to find relevant content and analyse it in a meaningful way requires tools other than traditional business intelligence.

Organisations also need to ask themselves one very important question: do I need big data? The major benefit of analysing such data is to gain a better insight as to how a brand, company or product is perceived in the market from various perspectives, as social media information is unsolicited, which makes it more honest and accurate than typical survey data. This data is also useful to help tweak positioning based on market perception, run more effective marketing campaigns, and gain more effective customer insight.

However the reality is that not all organisations need this information for the effective running of their business. Big data has benefits in a business to consumer market model, particularly with regard to large customer base enterprises such as retail and banking. The cost of gathering and analysing the data needs to be weighed against the benefit that this will provide, and in truth the cost currently outweighs the value received in many instances. At the end of the day, data must add business value, otherwise it is an unnecessary expense to analyse it, and big data is no different.

When it comes to harnessing the benefits of big data as well as decreasing the complexity involved with this, the cloud offers the ideal solution. Cloud-based outsourced aggregator services for big data are able to leverage economies of scale by offering big data analysis to multiple organisations, which means that specialised tools and software can be used that are designed for this purpose.

For enterprises using this type of service, they will gain a snapshot overview of market perceptions on social media, rather than a granular view of each and every insight. This means that organisations do not have to pull in and store endless data from multiple sources, reducing the need for data storage. It also means that general sentiments can be gathered rather than individual views, which in the case of big data makes this information meaningful and relevant, so organisations can actually use it to gather insight. These solutions are gaining traction, but it is still very early days for big data and there is no doubt we can expect growth from this market space.

At the end of the day, big data, like any data, needs to add value to a business. While there are tools and services emerging to help organisations deal with the vastness and complexity of the data, if the analysis of it will not deliver business value in line with strategy, then investment into the hype will not deliver returns. Before jumping on the big data bandwagon, organisations should first ensure that their data excellence strategy supports their business needs, and then use this as a starting point to understand whether the cost of big data outweighs the potential benefits. Businesses should always be driven by the goal of creating shareholder value, an initiative that data should support. If data is not delivering value, it is irrelevant, and big data is no different.

UC is key to improving service delivery in healthcare and education sectors

By admin, 8 stycznia, 2013, No Comment

The central role of government is service delivery to its customers, namely the citizens of South Africa, and two of the primary directives of government are education and healthcare. However, delivering these services presents a number of challenges, particularly in remote and rural areas. One of the major challenges is a shortage of skills when it comes to both medical and educational practitioners, and addressing this has typically involved a lot of travel as skilled persons move around the country conducting workshops and lectures in an effort to impart knowledge transfer.

However, this is neither the most efficient nor cost effective method of service delivery. Government needs to examine the potential of advanced technology in an effort to fully utilise skills and ensure skills development and transfer can take place more effectively. Unified Communications (UC) technology, including video collaboration, offers a solution to the challenges of service delivery in both healthcare and education, delivering multiple benefits to both government and citizens, while at the same time addressing social development in the form of upskilling of people in remote areas.

In the healthcare sector, harnessing the power of UC, along with collaboration tools such as video and data, means that skilled doctors are able to consult to clinics and hospitals in remote areas via video conferencing, and even share files such as x-rays, patient charts and histories across geographic boundaries. These doctors can also conduct workshops from a central location, and collaborate with nurses and doctors in other areas in diagnosing patients for faster, more effective treatment. Surgeons can even direct surgeries with video collaboration tools in operating theatres, and converged technology can enable scans like sonograms to be linked directly into the video collaboration solution.

“In remote areas where nurses are often charged with running clinics, but are unable to diagnose conditions, can collaborate with a doctor in one of the major cities for faster diagnosis and treatment. With sophisticated collaboration tools now available, all the nurse would need is a smart device, like a tablet, in order to communicate. In this way, skills that are typically only available in the private healthcare sector can cost effectively be made available in the public healthcare sector as well, and more immediate solutions can be found to medical problems without the need for travel. This addresses government’s mandate for improved healthcare as well as more efficient practices and a reduced carbon footprint,” says Alain Schram, Chief Operating Officer at Kathea.

In the education space, the challenges are similar – a shortage of skilled educators, particularly in rural and remote areas. UC and video collaboration can be used in a number of ways to improve service delivery in this area. Using video collaboration, lectures can be delivered from a central point to multiple locations, with potentially thousands of students using high quality video. Documents can be shared and distributed, such as lecture notes and worksheets, and messaging systems can be used for students to ask questions during a lecture, which a moderator can accumulate and then pose to the lecturer when relevant.

“Lectures can even be recorded and then made available using video on demand, which means that students can go back to the lecture if they missed something or catch up on a class they were unable to attend. An entire recorded curriculum, complete with notes, can be built up and broadcast to multiple students. These lectures can even be broadcast over smart televisions to large audiences in community centres or even homes. Video on demand also enables the recorded lectures to be dubbed into other languages, so students can receive home language education without the need for the teacher or lecturer to speak the language. The possibilities for education are endless,” says Stanton Naidoo, Country Manager for Polycom South Africa.

“Using UC, it is even possible to conduct collaborative lectures with experts from across the country or even the world. On top of this, presence is another feature of UC that is applicable in both the healthcare and educational spaces. Using presence management as part of a UC implementation, people can be grouped according to their specific skills, it becomes easy for nurses, students or even lecturers to identify the skill they need and a person who is available to attend to their query on the fly. This caters to an increasingly dynamic environment which suits both education and medicine,” adds Schram.

Using UC and video collaboration in healthcare and education has never been a more viable solution. Thanks to widely available 3G, the imminent rollout of LTE, and improved codecs that enable higher quality video to be broadcast over less bandwidth, these tools are now a reality. Even satellite communications have become increasingly affordable, extending the potential of UC further into even the most remote areas. However, one consideration that government needs to bear in mind when it comes to UC implementations is the importance of an open standards-based solution.

“With regard to telemedicine, or UC in the healthcare space, it is simply not feasible to roll this out in a proprietary fashion. Hospitals and clinics contain a lot of legacy equipment that needs to link into the UC solution, and a rip and replace strategy cannot be taken due to budget constraints. In the education space, an open approach ensures that a variety of platforms, endpoints and collaboration software can be utilised, for best of breed solutions,” says Naidoo. “An open standards approach also ensures that users can collaborate regardless of the platform they are using, be this a smartphone, a tablet, a PC, a notebook or a specifically designed UC endpoint. Adopting an open standards-based approach ensures that more people can collaborate easier and more cost effectively.”

Both education and healthcare are critical to the future of South Africa, and thus are top of the list when it comes to improving service delivery. Adopting UC and collaboration technology will enable government to deliver better services to more people, in a more cost effective manner, while reducing travel costs and carbon footprints. By adopting an open-standards solution, best of breed systems can be implemented which integrate seamlessly with legacy equipment, making the most of current investment while paving the way for future technologies. The future of government lies in embracing technology to enable better, more cost effective service delivery across multiple sectors.

DCC delivers WD’s My Passport Edge 500GB portable hard drives to the local market

By admin, 8 stycznia, 2013, No Comment

Distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC) is now delivering the latest version of Western Digital’s My Passport Edge portable hard drives for PC and Mac. The 500GB My Passport Edge features a USB 3.0 interface for fast read / write speeds, a sleek and ultra-slim design to enhance mobility as well as security features that protect the content on the hard drive.

The My Passport Edge for Mac complements popular MacBook computers and MacBook Air computer designs and is compatible with Apple Time Machine for seamless operation straight out of the box. The My Passport Edge (for PC) incorporates Western Digital’s SmartWarem, automatic backup software, ensuring all personal files are backed-up and protected in the event of computer loss or theft.

“The all-aluminium exterior protects the drive and its contents from everyday bumps, especially for mobile users. The My Passport Edge is perfect for the road warrior needing to store important documentation, students who need a convenient way to carry school work between home and campus and parents who want to save their important documents and precious memories,” says Richard Makwela, Western Digital Product Specialist at DCC.

This ultra-compact, high capacity travel companion transfers files in blazing fast speeds with USB 3.0, automatically backs-up your files and software and secures your files from unauthorised access with password protection and hardware encryption.

My Passport Edge and My Passport Edge for Mac 500 GB portable hard drives feature a 3-year limited warranty and are available from selected retailer outlets. The My Passport Edge and My Passport Edge for Mac retails for approximately R900.00 inclusive of VAT.

For more information, visit www.drivecon.net

Riverbed closes acquisition of OPNET Technologies, Inc.

By admin, 3 stycznia, 2013, No Comment

Acquisition extends industry leadership in Application Performance Management

Riverbed Technology, the performance company, announced that it has closed its acquisition of OPNET Technologies, Inc. Through this acquisition, Riverbed is now the leader in the converging application and network performance management markets. The Riverbed Cascade business unit and OPNET will be combined into the new Riverbed Performance Management business unit and will be led by General Manager Paul Brady.

The OPNET acquisition builds on Riverbed’s strong heritage and experience in delivering solutions that improve the performance of technology for business. OPNET has built its success on application performance management (APM) and is recognised by a leading analyst firm as a leader in the magic quadrant for APM. By combining market-leading APM with leading-edge network performance management (NPM), Riverbed is now able to offer customers performance management solutions that diagnose both application and infrastructure issues. Whether the problem is server, application, or network-based; in a virtual, physical or cloud infrastructure; or, using mobile or fixed clients, Riverbed performance management solutions will help application and infrastructure teams identify the problem and deliver actionable insight for solving the issue.

“Customer satisfaction, employee productivity, business agility, and the bottom line all hinge on business-critical applications working as expected,” said Jerry Kennelly, Chairman and CEO at Riverbed. “The application and the underlying infrastructure on which it runs are tightly coupled, but previously were managed in fragmented technology silos. Through the OPNET acquisition, Riverbed is the only company that provides customers with the solutions needed to manage and optimise all aspects of both application and network performance in a single portfolio of products, ensuring high performance, very fast problem resolution, and an enhanced end-user experience.”

Organisations that deploy Riverbed performance management solutions in concert with Riverbed optimisation and acceleration technologies will benefit by not only diagnosing and troubleshooting performance issues, but will also have the solutions within their infrastructure to remediate them. Riverbed is the only company that offers organisations of all sizes solutions focused explicitly on improving application performance by diagnosing and resolving performance issues, regardless of end point or application type.

Applications and user experience are at the heart of what IT delivers.  However, IT organisations are challenged to truly measure application performance and provide a consistent and reliable user experience. Problems in any component of application delivery can impact performance and without a comprehensive and integrated performance management solution, problem identification and resolution are slow and difficult. In addition, IT teams often lack the tools, expertise, and time required to turn the vast amounts of raw data they receive into actionable insight. To speed problem resolution, IT teams across functions need solutions that deliver performance data relevant to their roles.

Riverbed Performance Management will allow IT organizations to:

Collect the complete performance picture: Gathering all necessary performance data: end-user experience, clients, servers, application code, database, network – across diverse technologies and deployment models, such as cloud, web, Java, .NET, virtualization, wide area network (WAN) optimisation, and software-defined data centers (SDDC).

Automate analysis and expertise with analytics: Turning raw performance data into actionable intelligence to automate problem identification, business impact and root-cause analysis in real time. Information and workflows are tailored to the needs of different audiences – application support teams, server management teams, network managers, database administrators, and application developers.

Communicate broadly and effectively: Providing business-focused dashboards to triage issues according to business importance. Detailed and flexible reporting enables the communication of critical performance information among all IT teams, as well as line of business managers.

“We are excited by the opportunity created by joining the Riverbed team,” said Marc Cohen, Chairman and CEO of OPNET and SVP, Riverbed Performance Management, Sales & Field Operations at Riverbed. “In addition to joining a world-class technology company that has a clear vision of the importance of APM, we now have the opportunity to bring our market-leading APM solutions to the global Riverbed distribution channel.”

About Riverbed

Riverbed delivers performance for the globally connected enterprise. With Riverbed, enterprises can successfully and intelligently implement strategic initiatives such as virtualization, consolidation, cloud computing, and disaster recovery without fear of compromising performance. By giving enterprises the platform they need to understand, optimize and consolidate their IT, Riverbed helps enterprises to build a fast, fluid and dynamic IT architecture that aligns with the business needs of the organization. Additional information about Riverbed (NASDAQ: RVBD) is available at www.riverbed.com.

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