[South Africa] Teraco welcomes VMware cloud

Teraco has announced that VMware Cloud is now available via VMWare Cloud Verified service providers in the Cape Town (CT1) and Johannesburg (JB1) data centre facilities. VMware Cloud provides the fastest and easiest way to migrate existing enterprise application workloads to the cloud. When you see the VMware Cloud Verified logo, you’ll know you can easily access the full set of capabilities of VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure.

Jan Hnizdo, CEO, Teraco, says that this collaboration will further expand business opportunities for clients already present within Teraco’s data centre facilities as they adopt a cloud-first approach for their existing and next-generation applications.

“With VMware Cloud now available within Teraco, enterprises can take advantage of private and secure multi-cloud connectivity, and quickly deploy hybrid cloud infrastructures. The premise of Teraco’s vendor neutral data centre offering is to serve local and global markets at the digital edge and through channels critical to the connected world we live in. VMware, as one of the world’s leading cloud providers, assists us in making our offering richer.”

Hnizdo says that through the Teraco cloud services ecosystem, the addition of VMware Cloud will further enhance the ability of service providers to deliver more innovative cloud strategies, ultimately delivering better business value and experience to clients. 

“The choice of Teraco’s digital infrastructure platform is critical for the enterprise when transforming and embracing digitalisation. It must enable scale, performance and security and assist in building digital architecture that provides resilient data centre services,” explains Hnizdo.

Together with Teraco, VMware’s expanded portfolio will enable service providers to deliver new cloud services for differentiation and, in turn, potential revenue growth, and create clouds that are developer ready and support modern applications.

Dave Funnell, Senior Manager Cloud Business at VMware, sub-Saharan Africa, says that VMWare is now being viewed as the ‘Switzerland of Cloud’ as it partners with the six major hyper-scalers as well as over 4,000 local cloud providers: “VMware’s goal is to continue being a strategic partner to our clients as they transform their business via accelerated application delivery. It encompasses providing the fastest and easiest way to migrate to the cloud, along with a platform for the management of the hybrid-multi cloud world that provides for both existing application environments, built on virtual machines, as well as the next generation built on containers. We provide freedom and choice to our clients as they adopt cloud, with the VMware Cloud Verified status providing confidence in the cloud provider they engage with.”

VMware Cloud within Teraco’s vendor neutral data centre facilities further supports the ambition to reach and assist the enterprise sector in developing and implementing successful cloud strategies: “We are excited to form part of the Teraco cloud ecosystem as we assist our clients in implementing their cloud journey” says Funnell.

www.teraco.co.za

CMC Networks and Neutrona Networks to provide cloud network services in Africa, Middle East and Latin America

Two of the most innovative carriers in the Southern Hemisphere, CMC Networks and Neutrona Networks, have reached an exclusive agreement to bring the benefits of additional scale and capabilities for customers doing business in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

“CMC and Neutrona have very similar operating models, offering world class solutions in historically difficult territories,” says Marisa Trisolino, CEO of CMC Networks. “This partnership reinforces CMC’s commitment to provide a one-stop approach servicing our customers’ needs on a global scale, while offering ‘second to none’ solutions that embrace next generation technology.”

“I’m excited by the opportunity to increase our ability to serve the world’s fastest growing digital marketplaces with the latest in ‘smart’ technologies designed to expand seamless connectivity for our global customers in these regions,” says Luciano Salata, president and co-founder of Neutrona Networks. “We have always viewed Neutrona as a ‘bridge’ into the Americas, and now that bridge just got a lot longer.”

Under the agreement, CMC will extend its footprint by adding more than 30 points of presence (PoPs) in Latin America. In return, Neutrona expands its reach with access to more than 100 PoPs throughout Africa and the Middle East. With the support of established “network to network interconnections” (NNIs) in Brazil and USA, both companies offer lower latency by providing a direct alternative to existing North American routes.

 They will also take advantage of cable systems that directly connect the Americas with Africa.

Each carrier’s respective SDN platforms, CMC’s C-RAN and Neutrona’s SHIFT, use complementary technologies enhanced by artificial intelligence to ensure applications are routed to meet required Service Level Agreements efficiently and without jitter, latency, and packet loss.

 The combined networks also allow real-time provisioning and activation for a seamless customer experience across three continents.

The new agreement promises to offer the world’s first intercontinental network connection across the Southern Hemisphere with the ability to scale to over 140 points of presence in 80 countries. It also brings together two companies who share similar philosophies.

“The ethos of both CMC and Neutrona is built around customer experience, digital transformation and innovation,” says Trisolino. “Each company is a regional leader in providing SD-WAN and access to Cloud services, so we are in an excellent position to drive collaboration and innovation in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.”

www.cmcnetworks.net

www.neutrona.com

Kaspersky named as Strong Performer in evaluation of cloud security solutions

Kaspersky has been named as a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Workload Security (CWS), Q4 2019. The company’s solution, Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security, received the status after achieving the highest scores possible in 13 criteria, including hypervisor protection, the scalability of hypervisor protection and the strategy around hypervisor protection.

The Forrester Wave is a guide for businesses that are considering their purchase options in a technology marketplace. By evaluating vendors and their products against a clear set of criteria, Forrester objectively ranks technology solutions to demonstrate the performance of their offering, strategy and market presence. Prospective customers can then compare different vendors independently, across a variety of metrics.

According to the Forrester report, ‘Kaspersky offers a versatile and technologically competent CWS solution. The solution provides comprehensive user management capabilities, has strong guest OS level support and has an effective remediation policy set against hardening standards’. The report also noted that the solution provides ‘one of the strongest memory protection and file integrity monitoring capabilities across vendors in this Wave’.

 “We are delighted to be named as a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave CWS evaluation. Receiving this recognition validates that our efforts are going in the right direction. Forrester Wave also recognised Kaspersky’s plans to develop API control for IaaS and PaaS with the highest possible score, which aligns with our priority to continue product development to meet the needs of our customers and partners. For instance, in the next product update, we plan to expand protection functions for Linux, as well as bring more management capabilities for data centers and managed service providers,” comments Sergey Martsynkyan, Head of B2B Product Marketing, Kaspersky.

Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security was launched in 2018 to provide customers with a combination of protection technologies and visibility for virtualization, private and public cloud environments. The solution offers multiple layers of protection including behaviour detection, exploit prevention and anti-ransomware, as well as various security controls – to ensure safety of data and workloads in the cloud. No less important is the seamless orchestration through the single console, to manage security of the entire cloud environment.

www.kaspersky.co.za

[Column] Nick Durrant: New app trends that will help businesses succeed in 2020

Mobile apps are reshaping all industries and business leaders need to quickly adopt the latest mobile app trends in order to succeed in 2020. It is also critical for businesses to integrate the latest mobile app development technologies in order to reach a wider target audience and more importantly, to gain growth.

The innovations in mobile app development will impact all the online digital business products globally. According to Gartner, by 2023 more than 25% of the mobile apps, progressive web apps and conversational apps at large enterprises will be built or run through a multi-experience development platform.

Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant says by merely implementing the right strategy will not necessarily ensure a higher success rate because the mobile app industry is changing rapidly. “So, to keep abreast with the ever-increasing customer demands, it is crucial for businesses to incorporate the latest mobile app trends.”

He says new technologies are gaining popularity making it more efficient to build and maintain apps such as the growing popularity of Facebook’s React Native and Google’s Flutter.

Here is a list of some key mobile app development trends to consider:

Application Performance Management (APM)

APM helps boost the overall app performance and has become a preferred tool of quality assurance testers for the app testing process.

Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM)

EMM helps streamline the mobile computing business processes, it’s a platform that enables businesses to securely authorise mobile devices that are being used by employees on the company network. It not only strengthens the security structure but also helps staff to be more productive by enabling the exchange of applications and data over mobile devices.

Beacon technology

Beacon technology is one of the biggest mobile app trends, it is being embraced by many industries for its location technology and proximity marketing functionality. Beacons are wireless transmitters that make use of Bluetooth technology to send signals.

5G technology

With speeds nearly 100 times faster than 4G, 5G technology will most likely be one of the top trends in mobile app development in 2020. Mobile companies like Samsung and Verizon are already launching their dedicated 5G-capable chips and LG is also planning to fuse 5G services into its devices. With such an array 5G services, mobile app developers need to design apps to take advantage of faster network speeds with enhanced performance.

Wearable devices

Wearable devices such as smartwatches, fitness bands and trackers have been around for some time already. They are changing the way people interact with smart devices. In a report by Statista, it claims a staggering revenue of $33 billion generated by wearable devices by 2019. Surprisingly, many apps still don’t integrate with wearable devices.

Mobile app developers must keep an option to integrate apps with wearable devices. They require a set platform to run e.g. Apple Watch requires WatchOS and Android smartwatches sync with WearOS. Wearable devices will also be less dependent on the smartphone, currently, it still needs to be kept close to the smartphone to function.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has seen a significant breakthrough in new technology in mobile application development. AI has not only made the mobile apps smarter, but it saves the mobile app development company a huge amount of time, effort and money. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the AI market will experience revenue growth of more than $47 billion by 2020.

Internet of Things (IoT)

By the end of 2019, global Internet of Things (IoT) sales were expected to reach $1.71 trillion and by 2020, the total number of IoT devices should reach 20 billion. This convenience has already become a mobile app requirement, developers need to make apps IoT friendly.

Augmented reality (AR)

In 2020, AR integration will be an essential step for the mobile app development industry. Google and Apple used AR platforms for adding AR capabilities to their apps. There are many apps like Ikea that are already using the technology to enhance the user experience. Snapchat and Instagram have already been using AR for some time already, the stickers and animations are only possible through the AR technology.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain technology is already been used by many payment apps for providing trustable and uncompromised safety during transactions. Blockchain has surprisingly entered the mobile payment market and is offering a more secured money transaction option for mobile users. Online banking and eCommerce has evolved enormously, but with the advent of Apple Pay and Google Wallet, customers are gradually shifting to m-commerce.

Payment gateways

Businesses need to integrate a payment gateway into their apps. Mobile giants like Samsung are working on enhanced scan and pay techniques to make mobile payments more convenient. Apple is also working on a peer-to-peer money payment system called Apple Pay.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Developed by Google in collaboration with Twitter, AMP is a lean version of HTML to accelerate the speed of mobile pages. AMP enables mobile app developers to create complex websites with fast loading speeds and high performance across all mobile devices.

Google has integrated AMP listings into its mobile search results, it has helped developers reduce web page loading time. With a good AMP score, businesses can now achieve a better conversion rate, reduce the bounce rate and increase user retention. It will also boost the user experience. Google will also soon be providing a mobile search box that will help users find mobile-friendly websites.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a key aspect of all mobile app developments and will continue to dominate this space. Business leaders should explore deception technologies to catch the staff that have defiled the company’s network. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has also increased the risk of mobile apps being attacked. It means mobile app developers need to work on the app security from the beginning and use a different approach.

Also, with more apps including a payment or money transaction feature, means a more robust security infrastructure. Developers now need to embed code encryptions, secure backend and API, and also include trusted payment gateways to ensure user safety over the app.

Chatbots

With nearly 5 million apps available, there are very few that have incorporated chatbots to facilitate better user experience. Businesses need to integrate this trend in their apps to ensure future growth, chatbots are crucial and welcomed by the users. Mobile apps that offer online shopping and food delivery services are integrating chatbots to help consumers get common queries answered without having to contact customer support.

According to Gartner, chatbots will be saving $8 billion for companies between 2018 and 2020. Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant are already much smarter and have many new features that help simplify people’s lives by assisting them in their day to day tasks.

Cloud technologies

To make the app function seamlessly across multiple platforms, businesses need to ensure that their apps integrate cloud technology in their app development strategy. Cloud technology will also ensure streamlined operations, reduced hosting and equipment costs and enhanced storage capacity.

Cloud computing integration also helps mobile apps store large amounts of data more efficiently to carry out complex tasks. Cloud storage platforms like AWS, Dropbox and SlideRocket have made it possible to run an app directly in the cloud, they help in increasing the reliability, speed, processing power and security of the apps and enable apps to deal with large amounts of data.

Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics can be used to make future predictions by analysing existing data, it uses techniques from data mining, machine learning, AI, statistics and modelling. Tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook have already enhanced the customer experience by integrating AI to use predictive analytics.

“The mobile app industry will continue to expand at a rapid pace and the competition will grow exponentially, especially amongst mobile app developers. It is therefore critical to understand the trends before developing a new app. One also needs to understand the benefits and limitations of every new technology in mobile app development,” he concludes.

Nick Durrant is the CEO of Bluegrass Digital, South Africa.

Retailers look to hybrid cloud as they search for flexibility

Nutanix, a provider of enterprise cloud computing, has announced the retail industry findings of its second Enterprise Cloud Index Report, measuring retailers’ plans for adopting private, hybrid and public clouds.

The report found the vast majority of retailers, 88 per cent, identified hybrid cloud as the ideal IT operating model. It also showed many retailers, at 72 percent, are planning to move some public cloud applications back on-premises.

Retailers recognize that seamless customer experience is no longer a “nice-to-have” — it’s a critical factor in winning new customers and retaining existing ones — and flexible cloud infrastructure is critical to delivering it.

A recent IDC report noted worldwide spending on customer experience technologies will reach $641 billion in 2022, demonstrating it’s at the forefront of business leaders’ strategy. In line with broader IT industry trends, many retailers also recognize the full, long-term costs of the public cloud.

Additional findings of this year’s report include:

Retailers focus most on agility

Unlike in the broader IT industry, where cost is the top driver, retailers ranked the ability to accelerate IT deployments as the top factor in deciding the best cloud environment for each application. In order to adapt quickly to customer trends in an age of multichannel selling across many platforms, retailers are leading the pack in maximizing the flexibility of IT infrastructure to keep pace.

Security is top of mind

Data showed that security heavily shapes retail cloud deployment plans. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said security has significant influence on their future cloud deployments, with hybrid cloud specifically identified as the most secure.

As data privacy regulations continue to tighten and expand, retailers are at the forefront of looking for ways to efficiently manage customer data securely. Hybrid cloud operating models offer the security and flexibility retailers need to stay ahead of policy changes.

Retail leads in digital apps and IoT cloud deployments

Always innovating to keep pace with customers’ demands, retailers outpace averages in using the public cloud to run digital applications and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. They also run their business applications more often in the public cloud than other industries, with about 11 per cent current penetration of multiple public clouds and about 19 per cent penetration of a single public cloud.

“Staying relevant to today’s customers means having the necessary cloud infrastructure in place to embrace omnichannel retail experiences,” said Greg Smith, VP of Product Marketing, Nutanix. “Retailers use data to connect the e-commerce and in-store shopping experiences, and the only way they can do this accurately and efficiently is through flexible, scalable technology. The rise of selling on social media platforms also means integrating payment into the user experience, bringing security and protection of customers’ data to the forefront of retailers’ minds. Hybrid cloud provides the portability and control needed to bring retailers into the new era of customer experience.”

The 2019 respondent base spanned multiple industries, business sizes, and the following geographies: the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and the Asia-Pacific (APJ) region.

www.nutanix.com

Netskope extends its NewEdge infrastructure in South Africa

Netskope, a player in cloud security, has announced the opening of a dedicated data centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The new point of presence (PoP) is part of the company’s ongoing strategy to ensure its real time security solutions for cloud and web are delivered universally and consistently around the globe.

Netskope’s South African PoP further extends the company’s NewEdge infrastructure. NewEdge is the global security network that enables Netskope’s security cloud to deliver real-time, cloud-native security without the traditional performance vs security trade-off. It is one of the world’s largest and fastest security networks, ensuring that security is always on, always present, and never a roadblock.

This announcement signals significant growth for the company in the region. Netskope’s revenues in South Africa have doubled year-on-year, and the organisation is continuing to demonstrate commitment to the region through dedicated hiring of industry experts and partnership programmes. Today’s news follows the appointment of Tinus Janse van Rensburg as Regional Sales Manager, who joins Netskope from Cisco where he managed the organisation’s African cybersecurity business.

Andre Stewart, Vice President for EMEA and LATAM for Netskope commented, “With ever increasing data moving to the cloud, security needs to follow that trend. Netskope is committed to best of breed granular, contextual Cloud Security, and the only way to ensure low latency – below 45m/s – worldwide, is to own your infrastructure. NewEdge is about giving the end user the best security without compromise. Our Jo’burg POP means that our South African customers can take advantage of all our security portfolio and benefit from the best end user experience possible.

Netskope has long term plans for the region which is why we are happy to invest in the best infrastructure but also the best people. I am delighted to have Tinus join our team and the plan is to hire great talent to best serve our customers in the region.”

Grant Reynolds, Regional Sales Manager for Africa continued, “This is great news for our customers and partners in Africa, who are already benefiting from our Next Generation Secure Web Gateway which decodes the latest cloud services and web traffic to deliver comprehensive visibility, prevent advanced threats, protect data, and simplify security operations. We are ready for fast growth both in the region and worldwide. This is an exciting time both for Netskope and for the broader security industry.”

Netskope’s Security Platform uniquely ensures that customers have all of their data and policy enforcement occur in Netskope owned / leased high end, highly secure, data centres. The Netskope Security Cloud always maintains SOC-3 Type II, SOC-2 Type II, and SSAE-16 Type II certifications and is the longest-standing security cloud to do so in the market.

www.netskope.com

[South Africa] Swipe iX announces shift to cloud based digital solutions

South Africa software development company Swipe iX has announced that is shifting its focus towards cloud-based digital solutions.

With successful implementations for key clients such as Shoprite, Old Mutual and M-Net to name a few, Swipe iX’s CEO; Hendri Lategan along with the founding partners Deon Heunis (CTO) and Leo Redelinghuys (MD), elaborates on why the digital solutions agency is delving deeper into cloud computing and how these new categories of applications are transforming the playing field.

Lategan explains that they’ve fixed their gaze on cloud innovation and are focused on utilising cloud computing combined with emerging technologies such as machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Lategan adds “Swipe iX is not so much focussing on the physical migrations to the cloud, but more on the potential one may have for implementing and leveraging the power of cloud-based applications once there.”

He continues “While there is an absolute imperative for transferring key business functions and workloads to cloud-based infrastructures, where the real opportunity lies in the reinvention and innovation of these functions with the immensely powerful toolkit that will be made available to you.”

Deon Heunis, Swipe iX’s CTO and co-founder remarks, “Serverless architecture is evolving into a necessity rather than an amenity for key industry players, and that future competitiveness is dependant on the rate at which companies adopt and implement cloud computing.”

Due to the buzz surrounding cloud solutions, Heunis predicts that an influx of South African companies will shift towards cloud computing in an effort to streamline productivity, maximise efficiency, and gain a competitive edge.

Leo Redelinghuys explains why Swipe is zeroing in on cloud innovation and why it is uniquely positioned to leverage cloud services to accelerate business innovations for its core clients and beyond.

“Swipe iX has been culturally focussed on embracing emerging technologies since its inception and one of the key focus areas has been strengthening platform architectures through serverless infrastructure and continuous integration for improved scalability and security for our existing platforms.”

She continued, “Since the very early days of AWS making an appearance on the scene we have been keen on understanding how to best use these features and make the most of them. This has provided us with key learnings and experience along the way that has poised us to take our service offering to the next level.”

Cloud computing is the buzz topic in the IT industry, but at this point, the usefulness of this technology is by no means assumed simply by its implementation. It is in understanding and actively working towards the successful optimisation and implementation of these platforms that will bring its true potential to bear on solving real-world business challenges. Swipe iX offers its expertise to help businesses know where to start on their journey to the cloud.

www.swipeix.com

[Kenya] KCB picks Actifio to provide data backup and application development support

Actifio, the pioneer of multi-cloud copy data management software, has been chosen to provide comprehensive data backup and application development support for KCB Group, East Africa’s largest commercial bank.

The bank has placed the Actifio platform at the center of its DevOps and data management initiatives to assure stability and continuing business growth.

KCB Group Plc was established in Kenya in 1896. The bank has since expanded into Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia (Rep). The KCB Group Plc network includes 330 branches, 1,076 ATMs and more than 18,818 merchants and agents offering 24×7 services, including mobile and Internet banking.

Gabriel Kimanzi, KCB’s IT Risk and Security Officer, said, “We identified Actifio as our best data backup and recovery solution through a competitive process. Not only did Actifio closely match our primary criteria, but it also provides creative support for application development using application-aware data mounts. That is very powerful for us; a great benefit.”

Complex information technology is central to the operation of KCB’s banking business. Its technology needs to operate responsively and reliably to support bank business in seven countries while protecting the bank’s production and backup data centers. The bank needed to replace its complex and time-consuming tape-based process to eliminate unacceptable time delays and data recovery failures.

“The success rate of our old data backup system was horrible,” said Kimanzi. “We wasted too much staff time dealing with failures. It had become a major pain point and a real danger to the bank’s business.”

The KCB team recognized Actifio’s unique value in saving application developers’ time by using data virtualization to create database copies as needed without adding storage system capacity. “Actifio is a powerful tool for data protection and application development. Backup speed, simplicity of management, and excellent support were all factors in our decision,” said Christopher Tiren, KCB’s Chief Procurement Officer.

The Actifio benefits to KCB start with a powerful and affordable backup, test and development platform. The business has also gained simple, reliable, and consistent performance for data backup and recovery with unique value in time savings and self-service for application developers.

www.kcbgroup.com

www.actifio.com

[Column] Sandra Crous: Securing payroll data in the cloud

As with the majority of business software, HR and payroll solutions are increasingly available through the cloud as a pay-as-you-use model and are today, considered as mainstream as any other business application.

However, a fundamental issue for any user looking to move their HR and payroll systems to the cloud is the common, yet incorrect assumption that cloud solutions are somehow less secure than their on-premises counterparts.

There are several trends that are having an impact on payroll data security, says Sandra Crous, MD of PaySpace, a leader in cloud-based payroll and human capital management software. “As more and more solutions and goods go digital, the pace of change increases, and at the same time physical borders become blurred, as applications are accessed on mobile devices outside of the organisation, by those needing instant, anytime access.”

“We have seen a massive rise in the use of and delivery of online payslips, mobile self-service, the growing use of automation, and the consumption of payroll services via the cloud, due to their promise of high configurability, fast implementation and increased flexibility. However, on the downside, whenever you are dealing with data-sharing over the cloud as opposed to on-premise, the risk to data increases.”

Remember too, that as the use of tablets and smartphones to access business applications and systems remotely skyrockets, a company’s data might now be stored on a plethora of outside devices instead of within a single, on-premise network. In addition, this slew of devices are all attached to the Web, and many may not be pre-configured by the company with security in mind. Leaving security at the discretion of the employee is never advisable.

Without realising it, businesses are trading convenience for security. “Our reliance on cloud services has seen our dependency on third parties increase too and has obscured our view of the protocols and measures that are in place to guarantee data security. This can cause serious issues because once a company has signed up with a particular provider, they now have to deal with all the risks associated with compliance, legal, and of course integration with other systems.”

One way to ensure your data stays safe, says Crous, is to partner with the right cloud payroll vendor. “Ask them questions such, as to how they handle, and what they do with your data that they have access to. Also question them on their practices, to ensure they are legal and fully compliant with current regulation. Finally, when reading your SLA agreement, read the fine print too. Many unscrupulous businesses like to cloak how they might use your data in legalese that no one bothers to read properly.”

“A reliable vendor with a well-established brand will host your data in a secure environment,” she says. “Moreover, its solutions will also have an interface that is simple and accessible, as well as powerful mobile apps that enable your employees to work on the move. It will also be 100% transparent about data security and have this built-in from the ground up.”

She says PaySpace, for example, goes way beyond what most providers offer in terms of security. “We believe that security has to be considered at every level, from the internal user level, and application layer, to the facilities and network level, and in fact, are one of the few providers who are ISO 27001 certified.”

For the internal user, PaySpace’s security model is flexible, operating on a “need to know basis” and a “who you can see” basis, where the principle of least privilege is applied, users access is restricted  to selected screens or to  read-only access.”

At the application layer, PaySpace is powered by a single instance, multi-tenant architecture, in which all users and applications share a single, common infrastructure, but is logically and uniquely separated for each customer, with a TenantID in place to ensure that each user’s data is kept separate. “Moreover, all users have a unique email address and password, and all access to PaySpace as a whole is governed by the most stringent password security policies, and all passwords encrypted before they are stored within a database that is encrypted too.”

Crous says PaySpace also employs 128 bit encryption on every form within the system, the reports which are emailed to users are sent in a password protected zip file, and an audit trail exists at every stage for traceability purposes. “Finally, we use safe bank EFT transfer technology for financial account validations as well as communication with banks.”

At a facilities level, PaySpace stores its data at one of Africa’s most modern and state-of-the-art data centre facilities. “Our data is backed up every 15 mins to an offsite server, with a full back up happening every evening. In terms of access, public access is strictly prohibited, and the facility is monitored with live video surveillance 24/7/365.Physical access is controlled by access cards, with access to the facility restricted to Certified Technical Points of Contact. Biometric systems add a third layer of security, with fingerprint scanners used to restrict access and ensure only the appropriate individuals have access to the data centre.”

To ensure network security, PaySpace has proven security practices in place, a perimeter firewall that guards our network against malicious activity by scrutinising data entering or leaving the network. This protects us from DDoS and Zero-Day attacks, as well as malware and spoofing attacks, explains Crous. “We also have IPS in place to scan for any anomalous behaviours that might indicate an attacker is trying to infiltrate our network and block it immediately.”

Finally, she says PaySpace’s vulnerability scanning process protects its systems by pinpointing vulnerabilities that could be exploited by threat actors and reporting them immediately.

“Choosing the right provider means it is possible to harness all the benefits of the cloud without compromising security. Do your research, and make sure your cloud provider is adequately addressing all security risks.”

Sandra Crous is the Managing Director of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software, PaySpace.

[Column] Garsen Naidu: Scaling collaboration cloud service in the workplace

When it comes to scaling a cloud service (and more specifically) a collaboration cloud service – what must-haves comes to mind?

For me, it’s a vendor and service that has experience with millions of users, millions of calls and meetings, billions of messages, 99.999% reliability, and a whole lot of geek talk. These are crucial factors if you are choosing a collaboration cloud service for your business. But there are a few more facets you need to think about.

Enabling your teams and employees to make the best of any and every workspace in today’s ‘work-anywhere, work-anytime’ era is a big one and can be a competitive advantage. And this is why a collaboration experience that scales to different workspaces and devices is so important.

Collaboration is about of getting things done, together. It’s important to think about where the work gets done, what tools your teams use to get work done and how time, context, and continuity affect their work. The collaboration experience needs to transcend the physical workspaces we occupy, the gadgets and devices we use, and how work gets done over time. It’s enabling fluidity in form factors and workflows.

When your experience does not scale…
Here’s an all-too-common scenario: You’re sitting at your desk working on your laptop, getting ready to join a meeting. Three other people, sitting just a few feet away from you, also need to join the same meeting. So why not just go into a conference room? Easier said than done these days.

So now, you are all walking around the office, carrying your laptops, looking for an empty room or available space. While you all search the floor trying to decipher which rooms are reserved, you finally, settle on a huddle space, put your laptops next to each other and get the dreaded, “meeting join” echo.

And as with almost every meeting and collaboration situation, someone grabs a dry-erase pen and starts whiteboarding on a wall-board while another person provides audio commentary of what’s being written to the remote participants.

As you get closer to the end of the meeting, someone else gets the bright idea to point one of the laptop cameras at the board itself and then someone says, “Let’s take a picture of this board and email or post it in shared space.”

Why do we do this to ourselves?
Of course, you have ways to get around these; you can set up a “stitched together” video conferencing room – with iPads, USB-connected cams, and stuff from seven different vendors. You can have someone send help, spend an entire day stitching it together and then leave sticky notes and printouts on the wall with instructions. This is what you get when you don’t have a solution that can scale your workspaces and the way we meet today.

Now, imagine what it’s like when your collaboration cloud experience scales…
Actually, you don’t have to imagine what it’s like – it’s already possible with Webex. In fact, many of our customers have already started the workplace transformation journey with Webex and are seeing the benefits of cloud collaboration that actually scales. A poll conducted on Businesstech and Wystalk revealed that 14% of South African employees’ organisations use collaboration tools like a channel of communication.

Imagine a collaboration cloud service that scales

On a PC, iPad, or mobile device, simply click the green Webex “Join” button to start a live meeting. You realise four other colleagues sitting in the same area need to join, too, so you all simply move over to an adjacent huddle space.

In the room, the Webex video device, which supports video, audio and screen share, immediately recognises everyone in the meeting. The meeting is connected and displayed on the 55-inch screen with a single swipe of a finger. No dongles, no cables, no echo, and (even better) no one else needs to click anything. Everyone is automatically in the meeting, with laptops connected, ready to collaborate.

What if one of your colleagues needs to take the rest of the meeting in her car? Easy. She just swipes the meeting back to her mobile phone (with no disruption to anyone else) and walks to her car. Once inside and the engine has started, her Webex meeting automatically shifts into “driving mode” like any phone call.

And what’s a brainstorming meeting without some whiteboarding?

Simply walk to the Webex Board in the room and start ideating with everyone in the meeting – including remote participants. At the end of the meeting, you now have a digital copy of the whiteboarding session saved to the cloud, which you can later access on your phone or PC to resume where you left off – from any meeting space or even a different city altogether.

And, yes, the person who took the meeting from her car also has the whiteboard available by the time she logs back on as well. Webex provides a truly connected experience for everyone in the room and gives remote people easy instant access to the same material.

Scaling the experience means making the most of the workspace – including the screens and phones – to effectively participate, collaborate, and contribute with zero disruption, wherever you are and wherever you are going; being able to pick where you left off and always in the most natural way.

Garsen Naidu is the General Manager of Cisco South Africa