Telecom Egypt and Nokia to build cloud infrastructure for IoT rollout in Egypt

Nokia and Telecom Egypt have announced plans to build the first cloud infrastructure in Egypt exclusively for Internet of Things (IoT) services. Telecom Egypt will use Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) as a Service as the platform to launch IoT services for the enterprise segment later this year.

Nokia WING enables operators like Telecom Egypt to offer IoT services to enterprises on a global scale. Telecom Egypt will be able to tap into the growing IoT market fast and cost-effectively due to the Nokia WING one-stop model, which includes a worldwide IoT Infrastructure-as-a-Service and pay-as-you-grow business model. WING enables Telecom Egypt to provide global IoT service at almost local prices as opposed to more expensive roaming prices.

As part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),Nokia and Telecom Egypt will also explore joint marketing initiatives and will work to accelerate the development of an IoT partner ecosystem in the country. A number of IoT use cases drive automation, which will help enterprises cut their operational expenses, enhance productivity and bring new services to market faster.

“We are excited to collaborate with Nokia for this IoT initiative. We have worked with Nokia in the past and we are confident that Nokia WING will enable us to bring world-class IoT use cases to our enterprise customers in Egypt and later in the region.” Adel Hamed, Managing Director & CEO of Telecom Egypt, said. 

 “We are pleased to announce this collaboration with Telecom Egypt to enable next generation of IoT services for Egypt and the African market. Our cloud-native IoT proposition and pay-as-you-grow business model makes it possible for Telecom Egypt to move fast to address the vast IoT market opportunity in Egypt.” Ankur Bhan, Head of WING business at Nokia, added.

Microsoft collaborates with Telecom Egypt to extend its global cloud network to Egypt

Microsoft Corp. and Telecom Egypt have announced their collaboration to extend Microsoft’s cloud network to Egypt.

Telecom Egypt will provide low-latency connectivity into and across Egypt to help enhance performance and increase reliability for customers of Microsoft services. The partnership will increase Microsoft’s reach to the large Egyptian market in addition to improving connectivity across North Africa and the Middle East.

Microsoft’s global network is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. It connects Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure of more than 100 datacenters, 135 edge node locations and more than 100,000 miles of fiber and undersea cable systems to deliver Microsoft services to customers.

The new point of presence in Egypt will benefit from a direct connection to Microsoft’s global infrastructure to enhance the delivery of numerous services for customers. Microsoft’s network investment will increase capacity and use the latest in network optimization for the delivery of Microsoft services in Egypt.

“Through our collaboration with Telecom Egypt, we are extending Microsoft’s global network in Egypt and improving connectivity across North Africa and the Middle East,” said Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure Networking, Microsoft. “We are continuously investing to increase the size, speed, reliability and intelligence of Microsoft’s global network to help enable the digital transformation of organizations and enterprises locally and abroad.”

Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Amr Talaat, minister of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt, said, “Our commitment to the industry comes in line with the government’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030. Egypt is spearheading a promising digital transformation strategy that will transform the society and the economy. We value collaboration that aims to empower local enterprises and accelerate transformation for business advancement.” The Minister also, on the occasion of this new relationship, emphasized that: “Egypt is capitalizing on its unique geographic location, which makes it a hub for digital businesses and datacenter activity due to the strong presence of submarine cables passing through both the Red and Mediterranean seas.”

Telecom Egypt’s global network was built over the years through investments in consortiums and private international submarine cable systems. Its reach and position as an international hub with tens of terabits per second lit capacity makes it the partner of choice for content providers.

Egypt’s distinctive geographic location on the Red and Mediterranean seas has enabled Telecom Egypt to connect more than 11 cable systems from the east and 13 from the west linked with the Red-Med Corridor consisting of 7 diversified highly reliable routes across Egypt.

“We are pleased to partner with Microsoft as it represents one of the first steps toward our strategic digital transformation plan,” said Adel Hamed, chief executive officer, Telecom Egypt. “Telecom Egypt’s geographical position and its digital infrastructure will enable major cloud providers such as Microsoft to enhance their reach to consumers and enterprises in Egypt as well as reach other markets.”

Khaled Abdel Kader, general manager, Microsoft Egypt said: “Microsoft is committed to providing world-class cloud services to enable and accelerate the digital transformation of organizations, businesses and people in Egypt. Our collaboration with Telecom Egypt and Microsoft’s investment in the country will further empower Egypt to achieve more through Microsoft services.”

The new enhanced network presence in Egypt will connect via Microsoft’s global network to transatlantic and trans-Arabian paths, which will improve connectivity across North Africa and the Middle East, including enhancing connectivity to the new Microsoft cloud regions in development in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

MTN, Eseye and AnyNet Federation partner to deliver globally connected IoT cloud solution

Eseye, a global provider of IoT services has announced a partnership with MTN, the leading Africa Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to deliver globally connected IoT cloud solution.

MTN have joined forces with Eseye and the AnyNet Federation, a new association of MNOs established specifically to meet the complex management and enhanced resilience requirements of the rapidly expanding global M2M IoT customer base.

The AnyNet Federation will initially focus on delivering significant global growth of cellular services onto Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. It aims to make the complex global landscape for IoT easier for AWS customers, by delivering a single cellular M2M solution that can be deployed seamlessly across major world markets.

‘This is a ground-breaking global collaboration. The AnyNet Secure is already the most feature rich and integrated connectivity solution for AWS, and the AnyNet Federation as a key way of delivering simplified connectivity on a global scale, whilst allowing customers buy and manage their connectivity from within AWS”  Nick Earle Eseye Chairman and CEO said:

“MTN is delighted to bring their networks across 12 markets to the support the objectives of the AnyNet Federation. We believe that through collaboration we can speed up the deployment of our customers’ global IoT and enhance their global business opportunities’’ MTN Group Enterprise Executive Oliver Fortuin added.

Using Eseye’s next generation, fully eUICC compliant AnyNet Secure for AWS SIM card, AnyNet Federation member customers will experience “out of the box” connectivity that integrates onto AWS IoT Core and is globally scalable. Cellular traffic destined for AWS is passed between different

AnyNet Federation partners based on the geographic location of IoT devices that are automatically provisioned and certified over-the-air. Regardless of which AnyNet Federation partner is delivering the data, the customer is billed through their account by AWS, and the MNO is paid for the services it delivers.

The launch of the AnyNet Federation and its initial AWS market focus comes as Gartner forecast the Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market will grow by 17.3% in 2019 to total $206.2B, up from $175.8B in 2018; and Statista state that 80% of enterprises are both running apps on or experimenting with AWS as their preferred cloud platform.

[Column] Mariam Abdullahi: Building the Intelligent Telco Enterprise -growth opportunities for African telecoms operators

While the telco industry may have seen its traditional revenue streams decline further in 2018, thanks in part to the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) services such as WhatsApp that offer low-cost alternatives to messaging and voice calling, the industry is still set for growth. According to the Africa Digital Outlook 2019 report by Ovum, mobile revenue in Africa is set to grow from $54.9-billion in 2017to $68-billion in 2022. While voice revenues are predictably declining as cheaper OTT services continue to gain popularity among cost-conscious consumers, mobile broadband and digital services revenue are set to more than double over the same period (from $13.1-billion in 2017 to $32.1-billion in 2022).

The pressures on traditional revenue streams has initiated an industry-wide goldrush for new innovations that can leverage the extensive infrastructure and data sets most telcos have access to. Modern consumers are demanding greater convenience and improved experiences from the brands and companies they support at a time when those same consumers are permitting brands to become more intimate with them through increasingly sophisticated omni-channel marketing initiatives. 

However, without a well thought-out and future-focused digital strategy in place, Telcos will struggle to adapt to their changing consumer and business landscape. In fact, I’d be so bold as to say that, unless Telcos can move fast to drive operational efficiencies, modernise and update their business models, we may very well see some of those slower on the uptake exit the market soon.

For African Telcos that have the correct digital tools and strategies in place, there are immense growth opportunities. In 2019 we will see more focus in four key areas, namely Digital Experience Management, Artificial Intelligence, Data and Analytics, and Cloud.

Digital Experience Management 

Customer experience will play a leading role in shaping the 21st century Experience Economy. Walker research even found that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiators by 2020. 

To meet the modern customer’s expectations regarding customer experience, Telcos should integrate the back-office with the front office and deploy the technology tools that will enable them to marry experiential data with operational data. In 2019, Telcos need to ensure they have a holistic view of their customers across the marketing, sales and service departments, and develop a deeper understanding of individual and B2B customers, their needs and expectations. 

Measuring end-to-end experiential data is an emerging discipline, with new innovative tools giving organisations unprecedented access to measurable experiential data. Qualtrics, which was acquired by SAP in 2018, is an experience management platform that enables the integration of operational and experiential data to give organisations real-time feedback from customers on key activities. Callidus Cloud’s DataHug, a forecasting and pipeline management solution that provides data insights into the likelihood of success in a sales cycle, also tracks the engagement levels of prospects to give sales teams actionable intelligence about how and where they can optimise sales activities.

Artificial Intelligence

The world witnessed an acceleration in artificial intelligence capabilities in 2018 as the much-hyped technology finally entered the mainstream. With AI now widely available and its maturity levels making it suitable for a range of industries, organisations are now faced with the task of determining where AI can add the most value, how to deploy and integrate it, and how to build toward a long-term horizon. To truly harness the power of AI, organisations need to set goals and objectives as well as continuously measuring effectiveness rigorously. 

In the telco industry, AI is useful in areas such as network optimisation (using AI to analyse the network status and implement predictive maintenance when needed); customer service (AI-enabled chatbots such as those on the SAP Conversational AI platform easing operational pressures by assisting customers with a range of well-defined interactions); and customer experience (an exciting and emerging application of AI, which can assist with integrating front-office and back-office records, pulling in external data sets, and developing offers – such as device or contract upgrades – tailored specifically to an individual customer’s preferences). 

AI can also point the way to new, non-traditional revenue streams. Kenya’s Safaricom has started setting itself up as a platform for a range of consumer and business services, for example by launching a new ride-hailing service called Little Cab that offers free Wi-Fi for passengers and offering M-Pesa users to access credit lines via Fuliza, an overdraft facility in partnership with banks which reported a borrowing of 6.2B Kenyan Shillings in just one month. By leveraging customer data and behaviour, the telco can introduce a broad range of non-traditional telco services that add value and convenience to the customer experience.

Big Data and Analytics

Mobile handsets are arguably the greatest sources of individual customer data available today. And Telcos are at the forefront of Big Data custodianship as subscribers use an array of data-generating apps and services all linked to their mobile phone. These present huge opportunities to Telcos who can quickly analyse vast amounts of individual customer data, build complex and multidimensional customer profiles, and develop individualised customer offers and experiences to deepen brand affinity and increase share of wallet. 

The Vodafone Group is a great example of a telco taking advantage of its Big Data opportunities following a recent partnership with SAP to co-innovate in a Big Data Margin Assurance project. By using value proposition, customer usage data and analytics, Vodafone operating companies are now able to identify margin leakages on products and services and optimise margin instead of following the older ‘Average Revenue Per User’ metric. 

However, it is worth noting the importance of trust. If Telcos are to take advantage of their Big Data opportunities, they must give customers assurance that they fully appreciate the responsibility of being custodian to customers’ most personal habits and preferences and take the necessary measures to protect and manage their data.

Cloud Computing

Cloud market giants had phenomenal 2018s, with Amazon cloud revenue up 49% in Q2 2018, slightly lagging market-leader Microsoft. This year looks no less exciting: Gartner predicts the global public cloud services market will grow by 17.3% in 2019 to reach $206.2 billion. Organisations are accessing more SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and other as-a-service offerings than ever before as they shift away from capital expenditure and reorder their IT spend as operational expenditure to enjoy cloud’s cost containment and convenience benefits. 

One of the key challenges of cloud adoption in Africa is related to the matter of data residency vs data sovereignty; in other words, who owns that data, and where is it allowed to be stored? This has made it critical that cloud services providers have in-depth in-country experience of the data sovereignty and residency laws of various African countries and regions. 

Telcos have a mandate to provide near-100% uptime, have extensive infrastructure and understanding of the various regulatory aspects that could impact cloud services. There is immense potential for Telcos to become private-managed cloud providers for data that is bound by data residency and sovereignty laws and enable Africa’s high-growth businesses to more easily scale to new markets or geographies without transgressing any local laws.

Mariam Abdullahi is the telco industry Lead at SAP Africa

[Column] Christian Mahnke: Migration is no longer about adopting a cloud-first approach

The cloud first approach made popular in 2018 is no longer hailed as the answer to cloud domination. Instead, migration in 2019 will be more carefully considered and measured.

The cloud first approach made popular in 2018 is no longer hailed as the answer to cloud domination. Instead, migration in 2019 will be more carefully considered and measured.

 A forced approach towards cloud is not ideal. While insight into cloud has improved and uptake is on the rise, lessons have already been learnt and the approach for 2019 is to only migrate what is suited to the public cloud. A hybrid approach will also continue to drive cloud adoption throughout 2019. 

The benefit of legacy application migration is to not only increase agility, but more importantly, it must provide both business and operational efficiency. If migration doesn’t make financial sense, then it shouldn’t happen. Furthermore, migration should ensure the infrastructure is reliable and has greater scalability, resulting in an improvement in overall agility as well. 

While many enterprises are realising these benefits as opposed to a cloud-first gamble, the question still remains in terms of legacy applications and what to do? Is moving them more beneficial than them staying on premise? 

While new applications, or those developed with the cloud in mind, can benefit from cloud technology and will perform better in a cloud environment, the same cannot be said for legacy applications. 

There are four main factors affecting the success of legacy application migrations:

Lift and shift approach: in some cases, legacy applications may just “lift and shift” into the cloud without much effort. Even if the legacy application performs no better in the cloud, a cloud hosted legacy application might fit well into the organisation’s cloud strategy, which wants to host all their applications – old and new – in the cloud.                                                                                               

Refactoring: this involves a more advanced process of re-architecting, and recoding, certain parts of an existing application to take advantage of cloud native functionality. In this way, organisations can take full advantage of cloud-native features to maximise operational costs in the cloud. This is probably the most time-consuming and resource intensive option but ensures the lowest monthly spend of all migration options.

Break-up and re-assemble: in some cases, the migration of monolithic legacy applications into much smaller micro services could be seen as a challenge on its own. Applications might have to be broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks and then re-assembled for cloud use, a process which is obviously fraught with all sorts of integration/migration/assembly challenges, but what other option is there when faced with migrating a large legacy application.

Leave it alone: this is not a migration strategy, but rather “best to leave it alone option”. Not all legacy applications should be migrated into the cloud or stuck into containers or micro services. We should remember that some legacy applications are more than 10 to 20 years old, they were developed in a pre-cloud era, they were developed using COBOL and FORTRAN, and they were not developed to benefit from cloud native frameworks or functionality. Many were huge applications, developed over years and enhanced many times over, some losing its sophisticated coding standards and slipping into the world of spaghetti code, deeply entwined with their databases or operating system, with many external interfaces, or licensing restrictions, that they cannot be moved anywhere, never mind into the cloud. 

Some organisations assume that moving applications into the cloud will automatically increase performance but have then been disappointed when this did not happen. Latency issues can occur when applications and data are split, or hosted in separate environments, and response times can be affected because some applications require excessively high I/Os which may not be available in the cloud. Some legacy applications simply won’t function better in the cloud. 

Migrating legacy applications into the cloud is no easy task. There are many options and partnering with the right company to ensure your approach is a success is vital.

Christian Mahncke is Business Development Manager at Routed, Cape Town, South Africa.

Utimaco and Astel sign distribution partnership for HSMs in the Africa region

Astel, a leading provider for IT infrastructure and office automation solutions on the African continent, and Utimaco, the global number two in Hardware Security Modules (HSMs), have announced a distribution partnership for the Africa region.

HSMs by Utimaco provide the ‘Root of Trust’ to a wide range of industries, encompassing financial and payment services, the automotive industry as well as cloud and IT services in the public sector.

Over the last 35 years, Germany-based Utimaco has built its market leading position through highest quality products and support, a comprehensive partner network and a steady focus on compliance.

This is reflected in numerous certifications, including the recently achieved Common Criteria (CC) EAL4+ certification for its CryptoServer CP5 HSM, FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and Physical Security Level 4.

Yuvraj Jobanputra, CEO of Astel, said: “For African organizations, digital information and electronic transactions play an increasingly significant role in their daily business operations. This development goes hand in hand with strict data security regulations looking to minimize the risk of cyberattacks. Utimaco’s flexible and cost effective HSMs provide our customers with both the needed hardware security and extensive regulatory compliance. With this new partnership, we further strengthen our position as a leading distributor for IT infrastructure and office automation solutions on the African continent.”

Stefan Auerbach, CEO of Utimaco adds: “This partnership marks an important step into the region for Utimaco, bringing us another step closer to our local customers in order to be able to cater for their needs in an even more efficient manner. It is a great match and complementary for both organizations. Astel’s reach across Africa allows us to further expand our global footprint, arming customers in the area with leading state-of-the-art hardware security to better protect themselves. We look forward to the unique opportunities this cooperation will bring.”

[South Africa] MTN selects Oracle Cloud Applications to drive digital transformation

MTN has chosen Oracle Cloud Applications to drive one of the largest digital transformations in the global telecom industry across all its core business operations.

South Africa based mobile telecommunications major; MTN has chosen Oracle Cloud Applications to drive one of the largest digital transformations in the global telecom industry across all its core business operations. The implementation will help MTN drive efficiency, scale operations and integration across its local and regional operations.

“MTN and Oracle partnered in 2018 to complete the design of the Oracle Cloud Applications. 2019 focuses on finalising the build and deploying across our markets,”  said Belinda O’ Neil, Executive Boost, MTN.

The Oracle suite of cloud applications will also help MTN improve working capital through efficiencies in inventory management and reduce obsolescence. The implementation will drive further productivity through automation, self-service, IoT and mobile application capabilities; besides also enhancing management visibility across all business operations for real time performance measurement.

“With clear signs of economic recovery across key African markets, MTN’s decision to undertake large scale digital transformation will be instrumental in achieving strategic business objectives,” said Arun Khehar, Senior Vice President – Business Applications, ECEMEA, Oracle. “We are confident that the deployment of the Oracle Cloud enabled digital core will help MTN deliver value for all stakeholders and create differentiation needed to achieve market leadership.”

Under this initiative, MTN will implement Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); Supply Chain Management (SCM); Enterprise Performance Management (EPM); Customer Experience (CX); Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Oracle Service Cloud solutions. 

[Column] Andrew Sordam: Cloud computing unlocking rapid innovation in Africa

Digitalisation is permeating every industry, with cloud computing rapidly becoming an essential component of business transformation.

Africa is a continent pulsating with energy and this carries over from its beautiful cultures to business and innovation. Digitalisation is permeating every industry, with cloud computing rapidly becoming an essential component of business transformation.

Powered by the energy so infused on the continent, there is a focus on consolidation and a persistence as organisations drive digital transformation forward and improve the quality of ICT services. The speed of development in each region of sub-Saharan Africa is astounding.

Oracle has been present in Africa for the last thirty years and has been investing heavily in the continent from the very beginning. We believe in investing in the human capital of the countries where we do business in order to address the growing ICT skills gap.

This places Oracle in an exciting position. We are able to contribute meaningfully towards the roadmaps of innovation and transformation. Organisations across the continent are embarking on innovative digital transformation initiatives which is incredibly exciting, being able to participate in projects that are driving the continent forward in ways we can only imagine.

ICT is a large contributor to African society, with mobile connectivity enabling many enterprises to reach their customers like never before. Mobile and digital capabilities have given companies across the board new tactical strategies, such as fintechs using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to get a leg-up on traditional banks.

Companies in Africa can emerge from a situation where they have had more rudimentary applications and business processes to where they have unleashed the power of cloud technologies which makes it easier and far more efficient to automate services.

According to the IDC, overall spending on ICT in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) is set to grow 2.5% year on year in 2019 to reach $213 billion. Group vice president and regional managing director for the META region, Jyoti Lalchandani, adds that progressively more organisations experiment with emerging technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things to drive innovation and improve their customer experience. He says that the most important task facing the region’s decision makers is the development of an effective digital transformation platform that can sustain and scale business operations. 

CEOs and CIOs on the continent have the cloud at the centre of their digital transformation strategies, knowing full well that without automation they will either be out of business, or be steering an organisation with flawed reporting. The ability to harvest, store and sort big data is a critical element of business competitiveness.

Business leaders are seeing first-hand how the cloud is an enabler for innovation. Although we are progressively seeing an increase in movement to the cloud, a smart bet would be on many organisations going the route of cloud at customer. Oracle Cloud at Customer is designed to enable organisations to remove one of the biggest obstacles to cloud adoption—data privacy concerns related to where the data is stored.

In our experience, while organisations are eager to move their enterprise workloads to the public cloud, many have been constrained by business, legislative and regulatory requirements that have prevented them from being able to adopt the technology. Oracle Cloud at Customer provides organisations with choice regarding where their data and applications reside and a natural path to eventually, and easily, move business critical applications to the public cloud.

On the continent there is no illusion about the importance of putting in place foundational infrastructure, and various industries are consolidating in order to tap into the power of automation, AI, machine learning and more. A traditional brick-and-mortar operation can transform into a customer-focused, smart, reactive, relevant enterprise.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) partnered with Oracle in order to solve problems that had hampered the country’s revenue collection. A cumbersome and painful tax filing system meant the compliance rate was terribly low. The KRA’s vision is commitment to the concept of customer centricity. The implementation and rollout of iTax powered by Oracle Service Cloud, Policy Automation, Social Cloud and Marketing Cloud has brought the authority that much closer to achieving this. The end result is collecting more revenue to drive the development of the country, while also empowering its staff to serve customers in a digital era.

Digital transformation has meant there needs to be a coordinated approach to addressing the skills shortage as well as the risks that technological disruption is causing, such as cyber security. We have put in place numerous initiatives to help address this challenge, with programmes across sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and more.

In 2017, Oracle Academy and The Global Peace Foundation of Kenya signed an agreement that will allow our academy to support 24 public high schools in Kenya. As part of this, Oracle will train 180 teachers over three years to start teaching our Oracle Academy Java and Database courses. Driving the focus towards closing the skills gap is vital for big technology companies such as Oracle.

A similar example is found in Nigeria, where Oracle Academy has announced a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education in that country, where the ministry will introduce our Oracle Academy computer science curriculum across 10,000 academic institutions, reaching 1,5-million students. To complement this, the Academy will facilitate the upskilling of 4,000 educators.

In South Africa, our Oracle Graduate Leadership Programme, launched in 2014, helps youth develop specialised IT skills required to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution. The programme has delivered eighty-four graduates to date and creates a future skills pipeline for our company and our partner community in the region.

There must be action behind rhetoric. Companies must put their visions and strategy into action and together we will unleash the immense potential of this continent. There used to be a saying about dreamers: “their head is in the clouds”. How appropriate that the dream of a technologically competitive Africa, which is unfolding at a rapid pace and is not fantasy but proven reality, also resides in the cloud.

Andrew Sordam is the Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa at Oracle

[Column] Anton Jacobsz: Moving to cloud? Take note of common security needs

The claim that cloud computing is radically transforming the way organisations (both big and small) do business, for better, agile and faster results, has become fact

The claim that cloud computing is radically transforming the way organisations (both big and small) do business, for better, agile and faster results, has become fact. However, there are still numerous scares denting the confidence of decision makers to shift workloads to the cloud, and security in the cloud continues to have an impact on the “shall we stay on premise or go hybrid or settle in the cloud” conundrum.

“Since the dawn of cloud computing, securing workloads in the cloud has been top of mind for business and technology developers. Data – no matter where it is stored – needs to be guarded for obvious reasons. At the present moment though, I believe that it’s more of a risk not moving into the cloud as, quite simply, the cloud is an integral part of digitisation. The move can no longer be an ‘if’ choice for organisations, but rather a boardroom conversation that starts with ‘when’,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director at value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited Africa.

He explains that Networks Unlimited Africa anticipated the rapid rise of cloud when it made the decision to offer its customers throughout Africa solutions from RSA, a global cybersecurity leader who offers business-driven security solutions that uniquely link business context with security incidents.

“In a high risk world, organisations cannot afford to let their guard down,” continues Jacobsz,

“And, we are positive that making RSA solutions available to our customers on the continent will aid their transition not only to the cloud but also into the macro digital marketplace.”

RSA holds the accolade of being named a “Leader” in four Magic Quadrants by Gartner: 2017 Magic Quadrant for Business Continuity Management Program Solutions, Worldwide; 2017 Magic Quadrant for IT Vendor Risk Management; 2017 Magic Quadrant for IT Risk Management Solutions; and 2016 Magic Quadrant for Operational Risk Management Solutions.  The company also protects millions of users around the world, and helps 90 percent of the Fortune 500 companies thrive in an uncertain, high-risk world.

Jacobsz adds: “At Networks Unlimited Africa, we are especially pleased RSA enables customers’ cloud adoption plans through its strategy to ensure that its security technology operates is built to scale in the cloud environments that customers deem important.”

The realities surrounding security in the cloud have been documented in the white paper titled, ‘RSA & The Cloud: Opportunities, capabilities & challenges when considering security and the cloud’.

The paper highlights the three common requirements of businesses moving into the cloud and states: “As enterprises move applications and data to the cloud, every CISO (chief information security officer) is concerned about how their workloads will be secured, the same as if they operated on-premises. They know they don’t get a free pass from hackers just because the data is in the cloud. Threat actors view this as another potential attack vector to be exploited in this new, expanding and highly porous attack surface area of the modern enterprise. The bottom line is that enterprises have the same needs to provide (1) threat detection and response, (2) identity and access management, and (3) enterprise risk management for their assets in the cloud.”

The RSA paper expands on these issues and explains:

“Detecting threats in the cloud: When it comes to security monitoring, customers can’t ignore the cloud as a potential threat attack vector. While it certainly differs from on-premises deployment of security capabilities, the assets still need to be secured. Therefore, enterprises need to have endpoint-to-cloud visibility of all enterprise threats.

“Ensuring people are who they claim to be in the cloud: With so much critical data moving to IaaS and SaaS applications, the CISO needs to have a high degree of assurance that users are who they claim to be when accessing cloud resources.

“Providing insight into ‘who has access to what’ in the cloud: With so many applications, the enterprise needs to ensure that users have the right entitlements to both cloud and on-premises apps, based upon their role. Why is too much access a problem? As identity is such a consequential attack vector, limiting what data and apps a threat actor can gain access to using stolen credentials reduces an organisation’s risk and exposure.

“Understanding risk and compliance of the cloud: A major challenge to any organisation’s cloud strategy comes with tracking how the business is utilising cloud services and its relationships with external providers.”

Concludes Jacobsz: “The paper makes for a thought-provoking read. What stands out, in particular, is the sentence: ‘Security software that can’t operate from the cloud will be left behind’. And being left behind in the digital marketplace…well, that just spells disaster.”

Anton Jacobsz is the MD of African value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited.

[South Africa] Airlink embraces cloud software solution to boost operations

Airlink recently completed its implementation of the TRAX eMRO cloud software solution. eMRO caters to every aspect of aircraft maintenance management.

South Africa based Airlink has been on a modernization strategy. It recently completed its implementation of the TRAX eMRO cloud software solution. eMRO caters to every aspect of aircraft maintenance management.

 It is deployed via any web browser and allows users to stay connected from any work location. With true offline capability, eMRO automatically synchronizes when connected.

Airlink is a feeder network airline aimed at linking the smaller towns, regional centers and hubs throughout the country. It is in a strategic alliance with South African Airways and South African Express Airways and serves 38 destinations in 9 countries on the African continent.

The fleet of 59 aircraft includes Embraer ERJs, Avro RJ85s, and Cessnas. Recently, Airlink became the first South African airline to acquire Embraer E-Jets (E-170s and E-190s).

Airlink will next move into Phase 2 of its modernization plans and employ the TRAX eMobility web-based and iOS apps. The combination of eMRO and eMobility software products will allow the Airlink team to be truly mobile in its maintenance operation. TRAX congratulates Airlink team on their accomplishment.