Cloud usage drives cybersecurity spending, SANS 2020 report

The rapid migration to cloud-based technologies is the biggest disrupter worldwide of operations and a key driver when organisations plan their spending increases, according to the results of the latest SANS 2020 Cybersecurity Spending Survey.

“The SANS survey showed that rapid movement of corporate services and business applications to cloud-based technology is the biggest factor causing breakage in existing security architectures as well as driving most new security spending,” says John Pescatore, SANS Director of Emerging Security Trends. “Cloud monitoring and cloud security access controls were the top two spending areas, followed by spending to increase security staff skills to deal with new technologies, such as the cloud, and to keep up with changes in regulations as well as new threats.”

Slightly more than 50% of respondents ranked the increased use of public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) implementations as the biggest disrupter to security programs in the next 12 months. Based on that, 71% of respondents reported seeing a need to increase spending on cloud security monitoring, followed by cloud access security broker cloud-specific tools (53%), staff skills training (52%) and strong authentication (46%). 

Overall, 57% of respondents feel that out of people, process and technology, an increased investment in people would provide the biggest improvement to their overall security posture, followed distantly by process (19%) and technology (18%). 

“Managers see increased and refreshed skills in their existing staff as being significantly more critical than simply increasing headcount,” according to Barbara Filkins, SANS Analyst Program Research Director and author of the report. “The fact that respondents prioritise increasing staff skills significantly over increasing headcount to deal with ‘disruptive technologies,’ especially when faced with escalating privacy regulations—and fines—worldwide, is not surprising. Business use of IaaS and hybrid cloud requires re-architecting security controls and integrating with CI/CD methodologies.”

In a series of follow-up interviews with selected survey respondents, security managers recognise the need for “upskilling” to increase retention rates, which improves both effectiveness and efficiency. Increased skills around new technologies and new security techniques is also required to enable any use of security automation technologies, which were not highly cited for spending increases in 2020.

Strong authentication, the fourth most highly cited area of planned new spending, points to the recognition that the majority of damage from breaches and ransomware attacks in the past year were enabled by the use of reusable passwords that were easily captured via phishing attacks. CEOs and boards of directors are backing security teams in overcoming obstacles to implementing multifactor authentication.

The report can be downloaded from the SANS website

www.sans.org

[Column] Andrew Cruise: Mastering the complexity of multicloud in 2020

As enterprises’ demands look set to continue maturing in 2020, they are better able to distinguish between cloud platforms and identify which ones work best for their applications. “It’s no longer about moving to cloud, it’s about which cloud,” says Andrew Cruise, managing director at Routed, Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider.

“Now that market penetration of cloud, particularly internationally, has hit a critical mass, we see enterprises are much more confident about moving workloads than before when it appeared they would be on the bleeding edge. While there are still some concerns around uptime, performance and security, these are largely being addressed without any need to reinvent the wheel,” he says.

Multicloud is already broadly being achieved through SaaS applications like Salesforce.com and Office365, through utilising an enterprise’s own on-premise infrastructure, and via several other cloud platforms. “True multicloud however, involves IaaS from multiple providers across native hyperscale IaaS (or PaaS) as well as private cloud, both hosted and on-premise.” In order to successfully implement multicloud, Cruise notes that an enterprise would need to replace parts of their overall infrastructure estate, either by re-hosting workloads (lift and shift) into a hosted private cloud, or re-architecting applications in a cloud-native way to suit native hyperscale clouds. Secure connectivity, either through VPN, SD-WAN or private circuit, is also must.

He adds that because the biggest benefit of multicloud is the way in which it lends itself to a best of breed approach. “Not one single cloud can ever be the silver bullet to solve all an enterprise’s problems. Cloud only, hybrid cloud, or on-premise only solutions are already legacy and too restrictive. Utilising a hosted private cloud for traditional applications as an initial ‘lift-and-shift’ can make it easier to digitally transform by alleviating pressures on on-premise resources and allow them time to properly re-architect suitable applications in the native hyperscale cloud.”

While the benefits of multicloud are impossible to overlook, enterprises need to think carefully about the best strategies for managing the complexity of multicloud environments. It is not possible to manage multicloud effectively on-demand, manually, without automation, says Cruise. Similarly, human expertise will always be required.  Any kind of one-size-fits-all thinking is bound to fail. Further, workload migration between on-premise and cloud and between cloud and cloud is non-trivial and the difficulties should not be underestimated. Unless one standardises on a single platform across multiple clouds, for example, VMware ESXi (which is available on local VMware cloud providers and on all the major hyperscalers too), the ideal of frictionless migration between clouds is a pipedream,” he says.

Andrew Cruise is the managing director at Routed.

[South Africa] iOCO joins Google cloud partner programme

South African integrator iOCO has become a Google Cloud Distributor Authorised Reseller (DAR), in partnership with Google Cloud’s distributor in sub-Saharan Africa, Digicloud Africa.

DARs demonstrate deep cloud solution development and delivery expertise, and have extensive certifications confirming their skills and knowledge of Google Cloud.

IOCO passed all formal requirements set out by Google Distribution for entry into the programme, and Digicloud Africa has verified its capabilities. iOCO has invested in further certifying and training its Google Cloud team.

Layer3 partners with Loriot to introduce IoT solutions in Nigeria

Nigeria-based company Layer3 and the global IoT company LORIOT have announced their partnership aimed at introducing new Internet of Things solutions in Nigeria, with market size estimated to reach $1 Billion by 2025. 

Layer3, as network provider and system integrator, will focus especially in the smartcity and smart building sectors providing innovative solutions to a growing market.  Layer3’s cloud infrastructure will allow private and public sector organizations to access and maintain control of the data generated by their IoT networks.

“This collaboration will bring the dream of smart offices and cities to life, by allowing devices, machines, and whole buildings to link into extensive data networks. Loriot, through its LoRaWAN technology, together with our cloud infrastructure and expertise will make this happen. We see enormous potential in Nigeria waiting for this change to happen.”  Shatse Kakwagh, Executive Director at Layer3.

LORIOT provides the operation and management software for a LoRaWAN® (Long Range Wide Area Network) network, ensuring peak performance, flexibility, high-security standards and compliance with local regulations.

The infrastructure enables IoT sensors to collect and transmit data, through LoRaWAN® gateways, to the application servers enabling IoT solutions across a wide range of sectors.

“Over the last months, we have been observing a growing interest in LoRaWAN technology in Africa.  For this reason, last year we upgraded our public infrastructure on the continent to offer better performance to our users. Starting a partnership with a local player, such as Layer3, allows us to support the next phase of this growth process and we expect to see new projects emerge and grow on a large scale in the coming months.” Added, Julian Studer, COO at LORIOT.

The ultimate aim of this partnership is to make IoT accessible to everyone, and create a truly interconnected future, powered by smart, cloud-enabled technologies.

www.loriot.io

www.layer3.ng

[Column] Johan Scheeper: Be data ready in 2020 by tackling key data issues

Data is an intrinsic part of business processes and also a source of competitive differentiation thanks to the potential of data analytics

Data is an intrinsic part of business processes and also a source of competitive differentiation thanks to the potential of data analytics. Data has become a mission critical business asset, which means that organisations need to be able to discover, protect and use it effectively and in a timely manner.

This concept is known as being ‘data ready’. While there are many factors affecting an organisation’s data readiness, three key issues will be prevalent in 2020: ransomware, multi-cloud environments and data compliance regulations. Tackling these key data issues can help organisations to be data ready in 2020.

Ransomware is rampant

Ransomware is a threat to each and every business today. In fact, it is so prevalent that an attack has become a matter of ‘when’ and no longer ‘if’. High-profile data breaches were a common theme in 2019, and many attacks caused several days of service outages.

A new malware threat called ‘wiper’ is also becoming increasingly prevalent. This malicious software does exactly as the name suggests – rather than holding data to ransom by encrypting it, it actually erases it from its storage media. This changes the game completely.

A data wipe is not about money, it is completely malicious and an outright hostile attack. Paying the ransom or de-encrypting ransomed data by other means is not an option. If you do not have an effective backup and recovery solution in place, and you are ‘hit’ by a successful wiper attack, your data is gone.

The ability to recover from a malware attack involves more than Disaster Recovery (DR). Manual backups and attached storage can also be infected, which means that having multiple backups is no longer enough. Being data ready in the case of malware means we have to think differently about business continuity.

It is imperative to have strategies in place to detect anomalous behaviour within data storage as well as backups and archived, so that attacks can be identified quickly and suspicious behaviour can trigger alerts to notify the correct people.

The key to a data ready recovery system is rapid, frequent and separated backups that allow you to bring key systems back online immediately while you ascertain where an attack came from, isolate it and remove it.

Managing data in multiple clouds

Most organisations already exist in a multi-cloud environment, even if they are unaware of this fact. Whether it is a hosted Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, Office 365 or some form of cloud storage like Google Drive or iCloud, these solutions are frequently found in the makeup of businesses. On the other side of the coin, there is also no organisation that is completely 100% in the cloud.

This multi-cloud hybrid scenario creates the need to be able to move data between systems. There are many reasons why data may need to be moved, either between clouds or between the cloud and the premises. The underlying common factor is that business models need change, so data architecture needs to be able to adapt. This is part of data readiness – the ability to drive economies between cloud and on-premises solutions to maximise cost and benefit while minimising risk.

This, in turn, requires central visibility into all data across all of the various areas of storage. It is critical to data readiness to have a central management layer or platform in place to consolidate the view of data across the organisation. Without this visibility, it is impossible to migrate data to leverage the best provider or location to meet changing business needs.

Meeting compliance requirements

Data is becoming increasingly regulated and it is not enough to know that you have the data, you also need to understand the purpose for which it was collected. Companies must have a record of the consent from the consumer to use the data for its intended purpose and the ability to comply with the ‘right to forget’ should the consumer request this. This is an imperative of all data privacy regulations.

Data readiness means having a way of consistently knowing where data is, what type of data it is and the sensitivity of the information. This requires specific tools, as manually identifying sensitive data is simply not possible given the volumes of data in business today. It is also important to enable search and discovery to enable the ‘right to forget’ and then prove that the data has been removed, including from backups.

Be data ready in 2020

It is absolutely essential today to know what data you have, the purpose for which it was collected, and that it is adequately protected and can be recovered in the event of a data loss event. It is also critical to ensure that backups are protected and that they are tested to ensure that data recovery is possible.

Data readiness enables business agility by ensuring that data is available at all times in the right location to the right people. This means that your data can be leveraged to create business value. However, it is impossible to manage what you do not know exists.

Essentially, the ability to deal with pressing issues such as ransomware, the multi-cloud and compliance boils down to data governance and effective data management, which lie at the heart of data readiness.

Johan Scheepers is the Country Head at Commvault in South Africa. 

Microsoft and Genesys partner to provide enterprises with new cloud services

Microsoft is teaming up with Genesys to provide organisations around the globe with new cloud services for contact centres that will enable them to deliver superior interactions for customers. 

With the omnichannel customer experience solution, Genesys Engage™, running on Microsoft Azure, enterprises have the security and scalability they need to manage the complexities involved with connecting every touchpoint throughout the customer journey.

Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will be available in late 2020. To accelerate adoption, the companies are providing Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure through a joint co-selling and go-to-market strategy. Customers will benefit from a streamlined buying process that puts them on a clear path to the cloud.

With its multi-tenant architecture, Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will give customers the ability to innovate faster and improve their business agility. In addition, by running the Genesys customer experience solution on this dependable cloud environment, enterprises will be able to maximise their investment in Microsoft Azure through simplified management and maintenance requirements, centralised IT expertise, reduced costs and more. These solutions make it easier for enterprises to leverage cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies so they can gain deeper insights and provide tailor-made experiences for their customers.

Nemo Verbist, senior vice president of Intelligent Business and Intelligent Workplace at NTT Ltd one of the top five global technology and services providers for the world’s largest enterprises and a partner of both Microsoft and Genesys said, “Many of our customers have standardised on Microsoft solutions, and Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure gives them an additional opportunity to take advantage of their investment. Together, these solutions provide enterprises a secure and powerful foundation to communicate with their customers in creative and meaningful ways.”

“Large contact centres receive an exceptionally high volume of inquiries across a growing list of channels and platforms. One of the biggest challenges is connecting the details of every interaction across all channels to ensure each customer has a seamless experience,” said Kate Johnson, president, Microsoft U.S. “By leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud and AI technologies, Genesys is helping enterprises create a seamless customer journey with Microsoft’s trusted, secure, and scalable platform.”

“We are thrilled to give large enterprises the opportunity to run their mission-critical customer experience platform in the cloud environment they already know and trust — Microsoft Azure,” said Peter Graf, chief strategy officer of Genesys. “Together, we’re making it simpler for even the most complex organizations to transition to the cloud, enabling them to unlock efficiencies and accelerate innovation so they can build deeper connections with customers.”

The companies are also exploring and developing new integrations for Genesys and Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure Cognitive Services to streamline collaboration and communications for employees and customers.

www.microsoft.com

www.genesys.com

[Column] Stephane Duproz: The rise of data centres in Africa

Data centre market in Africa is poised on the brink of hugely accelerated growth, driven by several factors, including a soaring demand for cloud services.

Now and again, a new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solution sees a combination of factors unite to create a ‘perfect storm’ of demand – one that is exacerbated by the various vendors’ inability to keep pace with it. One such industry is the multi-tenant colocation data centre market in Africa, which is poised on the brink of hugely accelerated growth, driven by several factors, including a soaring demand for cloud services, pressure by regulators to bring African content back to Africa, a surge in media content markets and improved broadband around the continent.

“Data centres are at the heart of economic growth in Africa and without them, developing rich and self-sufficient ICT ecosystems cannot happen,” says Stephane Duproz, the CEO of Africa Data Centres. “These facilities are the lifeblood of every business and the foundation of the internet itself, with thousands of networks and connections meeting there.”

He says the continued and sustained investment in connectivity and broadband in Africa are putting foundations in place for true African digital transformation. “For example 2018 saw mobile penetration reach 44% in Sub-Saharan Africa, which in turn, saw the demand for data for personal and business use reach all-time highs. Add to this the ready availability of affordable smartphones and more reasonable data plans and you’ll see why Africa is hungry for all things digital.”

Building data centres is the one way that Africa can meet the growing requirements for storage and networking that are key to fulfilling Africa’s digital transformation dreams, adds Duproz. “Keep in mind that a slew of new technologies including analytics, IoT, artificial intelligence and cloud are fueling the demand for rapid, high-availability services, and infrastructure that is local, not situated in Europe or the United States.”

Despite the clear need for more data centres, he says Africa remains the greatest untapped market for data centre providers and considering the continent is made up of more than 50 countries and a population of over a billion, this needs to change. “Most of Africa’ citizens are of the age where they want to go online, learn, communicate and consume digital services.”

Durpoz says data centres have to deliver IT services and provide storage and networking to a skyrocketing number of networked devices, users, as well as business processes. “It’s no surprise then that demand for data centre colocation services in Africa has been unprecedented, driven by the factors I mentioned above, as well as the need for digitisation in Africa. Africa wants to go digital and it wants to do it now. The continent needs servers, power, broadband – and as much of it as possible.”

At the moment, Duproz says the demand for co-location data centres in Africa is rising more rapidly than supply. “More modern colocation facilities in Africa will not only help meet the continent’s needs but will help to connect the various regions to the broader global data economy, which in turn will drive economic and social development.”

During the past couple of years, he says several cloud infrastructure and data centres have been built in many growing African markets. “However, this is just a start. The desire for more data centres for Africans is skyrocketing, and concurrently, many global companies are looking to the region for data centre development and support.”

According to him, this is important, because the data centre market on the continent is crucial to the integration of Africa into worldwide networks. Look at the hyper-scale cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Azure, Huawei and Google. They all have global cloud services built upon a wide network of self-built data centres, but the lack of Africa-based data centres is creating latency issues and inhibiting the growth of their hyper-scale offerings on the continent.

Another reason the continent can benefit from interconnected, carrier and cloud-neutral data centre facilities, is because they enable public sector entities in Africa to harness the benefits of information and communication technologies, as well as the economies of scale that the cloud provides.

Ultimately, Duproz says, what the continent needs is a vision of a pan-African network of carrier-neutral data centres, and that is precisely what Africa Data Centres is doing and is currently the largest operator in this space. “I believe this is the way of the future because we can offer services in all the countries in which we are present to any international customer who wants to come to Africa. We have one aim, and one aim only and that is it to digitalise Africa and interconnect our data centres all over the continent to drive true digital transformation.”

Stephane Duproz is the CEO of Africa Data Centres.

[Column] David Bunei: Stay ahead of those data security woes

The very factors that have helped to make Kenya such a motivated and major African player in the Digital Age have also made local organisations in the public and private sector vulnerable to security threats and compliance issues. The good news is that, next-generation cloud infrastructure and applications are mitigating these concerns with their autonomous capabilities, ensuring a higher level of security than ever before.

In 2018, Kenya’s economy lost Sh29.5 billion to cybercrime and related activities, up 40% from the previous year. The Communication Authority of Kenya also reported that in Q4 2018, the number of cybersecurity threats in the country jumped 167% to 10.2 million from 3.8 million in Q3.

Faced with such intimidating figures, many enterprises – especially those in high-risk sectors such as Government and Banking – are investing heavily in cybersecurity measures or carefully exploring digital transformation, the very process that will help them to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively.

At Oracle, we have been integrating security into our solutions and protecting our customers’ sensitive data for decades. Oracle solutions have multi-layered security built-in and integrated, whether talking about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Autonomous Database, SaaS applications as well as our traditional on-premises infrastructure and applications. Of course, with more customers moving to cloud, we have intensified our focus on security, taking advantage of developments in AI, and related machine learning, to protect customers’ sensitive data and ease their security burden.

Last year at Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, attendees were able to learn more about the role Oracle’s Generation 2 cloud has in underpinning a wide variety of new cloud services such as Oracle’s Autonomous Database.  Autonomous functionality is very important to cybersecurity as a large percentage of system breaches are the result of not being able to respond to events, self-patch or self-tune to mitigate against compromises or outages. Secure by design – in fact, having security architected into every layer– Oracle Generation 2 Cloud is designed to configure, manage and secure systems for the customer, based on their requirements. Human error is removed because processes are no longer manual, and patches are applied automatically in the background while running to avoid downtime. The same applies to data encryption, backup and a general enforcement of security policies.

As an example, Oracle Data Safe was just one of several next-generation cloud security services introduced at OpenWorld this year. Data Safe helps organisations protect their databases more effectively in a way consistent with best practices. Data Safe can identify sensitive data and mask it for use in partner or development environments. It also alerts on risky users and system configurations, and proactively monitors database activity to spotlight and respond to suspicious access attempts. After all, data is at risk from both external threats and those – whether accidental or deliberate – within organisations.

Such cloud-embedded simplification of security tasks for businesses is particularly relevant in Kenya, where there were only 1,700 skilled cybersecurity professionals in the country in 2018. Generation 2 Cloud security measures help to fill a noticeable gap and keep organisations safe.

The narrative around cloud and cybersecurity is also changing worldwide. Security in the cloud is now being recognised as secure, or more secure, than what can be achieved on-premise by 72% of those surveyed in the Oracle and KPMG Cloud Threat Report 2019. Security is now named as the biggest benefit to cloud by 66% of C-level executives, putting it ahead of both cost and scalability.

Data security is also closely linked to compliance in terms of handling personal information. Oracle’s second-generation cloud security solutions are designed to keep sensitive data safe and out of sight on Oracle cloud databases thanks to automatic encryption, advanced access controls, always-on separation of duty, data masking and redaction. It’s one of the reasons, Rakuten Securities, Japan’s largest online financial brokerage company, chose Oracle Database Security to address their strict regulatory requirements, while efficiently managing social security and tax ID numbers for 2 million customer accounts across a complex network of disparate systems.

With financial losses, fines and reputations at stake, it is critical for companies to ensure the security of their data and resiliency of their systems in the face of continually evolving threats and regulations. With Generation 2 Cloud, the burden shifts from enterprises to Oracle, and with Oracle’s embedded AI doing most of the work, customers have the chance to really innovate instead of expending so much time and manpower on patches and staying up to date with defensive measures. Cloud services are a viable option for the most critical enterprise workloads. Fears around data security should never hold an organisation back from exploring this path to greater, immediate business value.

David Bunei is the Managing Director for Oracle Kenya.

41 billion missing IoT devices: The biggest prediction miss in the history of IT?

41 billion IoT connected devices have failed to materialise, potentially representing the biggest missed prediction in the history of IT, Eseye a leader in ubiquitous global IoT connectivity, has uncovered.

In 2010, Ericsson predicted that 50 billion devices would be connected by 2020, a prediction echoed by Cisco in 2011. Yet, despite the enthusiasm for IoT, current estimates identify the true figure to be closer to 9 billion, with many of those being mobile phones. Eseye has subsequently identified six key challenges that IoT must overcome in 2020 to reach its potential.

It’s now clear that successful IoT deployments are much harder than previously thought and substantial complexities have been glossed over. This is borne out by recent research from Cisco Systems which has found that more than 75% of IoT deployments fail. A lot of the damage happens before the devices even go live, however. Microsoft estimates that 30% of IoT projects fail at the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage, while eight out of ten IoT projects fail before they are even launched, says Gartner.

From hardware design and testing to connectivity, data management and global technical support, there are many obstacles to overcome. The six challenges for IoT to overcome in 2020 as identified by Eseye, are:

  1. Hardware needs to become relevant again

In IoT deployments 80% of the data and processing is at the ‘edge’ of the network. This is where the ‘things’ and sensors are and where data is captured. However, to make sense of it all, without the expense of having to back-haul the data into the heart of the network, it needs to be processed on the edge. To deliver successful deployments organisations need a strong understanding of how to optimise IoT hardware from circuit boards to firmware.

  1. Bundled silicon to speed up deployment

The incorporation of secure IoT connectivity into silicon at the point of manufacture will go a long way to streamlining the IoT deployment experience. Bundling IoT capability at the silicon level significantly simplifies the setup and deployment of IoT devices. The real game-changer is that once the device is activated it should automatically connect to any network in the world, providing as close to 100% coverage anywhere in the world, and start provisioning data to either their on-premise solution or any one of the hyperscale cloud providers.

Eseye and Gemalto recently launched Intelligent Cloud Connect, in response to this challenge. The solution enables customers to develop and manufacture a single IoT product SKU for any application, which then connects out-of-the-box to any mobile network in the world, while offering seamless and secure data provisioning to AWS IoT Core.

  1. Localisation of devices to maintain uptime

A key precursor to the widespread adoption of IoT is the ability to quickly and simply connect devices anywhere in the world. Some suggest this exists through global roaming, yet a growing number of MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) and regulators are implementing permanent roaming restrictions which could mean that after three months an IoT device could be taken off the network. For IoT customers with fixed devices around the world, this may result in the inability to use some networks beyond the short term unless they use a localised eSIM. As roaming falls out of favour organisations will need to turn to global ‘super’ Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO’s) whose strategy is to localise connectivity wherever possible, in order to effectively deploy IoT devices anywhere in the world.

  1. Overcoming the consumer centricity of eUICC

The Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC) – often referred to as eSIM – was going to negate the need to migrate profiles between SIMs, enable everybody to work together and open a world of opportunities. Unfortunately, it has created a number of implementation challenges for business IoT use cases, as it was designed with the end consumer in mind, rather than industrial users. Profile management and network switching must be driven by service provision rather than the profitability of an MNO. The best way to do this is for the profile management algorithm to be implemented in an abstracted and MNO agnostic switching platform – not by the MNO’s platform. Only by doing this can a single pane of glass management capability, single global invoice and single support service be delivered for an Enterprise’s total global estate of IoT devices.

  1. Utilising Hypercloud

Cloud had its challenges with security. One of the biggest risks in IoT is the edge of the network and the massively expanded threat perimeter. The good news, however, is that several hyperscale cloud providers, such as AWS, are deploying standard security managed services features that audit the configuration of devices, monitor connected devices and detect abnormal behaviour to mitigate these security risks. Eseye predicts that that 2020 will see at least 40% of new large IoT projects deployed in a hyperscale cloud platform.

  1. The need for a ‘Star Alliance’ Federation model for IoT

With MNOs under pressure from complexity busting hardware, and with increased pressure on their commercial models, there is a growing need for them to compete for and deliver global IoT projects. A more commercially favourable and collaborative approach is required, such as a ‘federation of MNOs’, or to put it another way the ‘Star Alliance’ of the airline for IoT to prevent them from becoming a commodity. Much like the Star Alliance where you would buy a single air ticket, travel around the world and pay once, if one MNO sells a global deal in one country, each MNO in the federation needs to then deliver the traffic requirements in their own country.

Nick Earle, CEO of Eseye, comments: “41 billion missing IoT devices is a monumental miscalculation and arguably is one of the biggest misses in the history of IT forecasting! The two questions that must be asked now, however, are why this happened and what can be done to rectify it? In our view, the ‘why’ primarily comes down to organisations underestimating the complexities of IoT deployments. “The intricacies involved in creating specialist IoT device hardware, establishing access to global connectivity and the ability to manage vast amounts of data effectively and efficiently, are just some of those complexities. This was recognised by Gartner when it predicted in 2018 that 75% of IoT projects would take twice as long to deliver. Removing the complexities and barriers to IoT development and deployment will see a greater uptake on a global scale. We predict that 2020 will be the year that global IoT rollouts will take off, provided our six key challenges to IoT success in 2020 are overcome.”

[South Africa] Skynamo receives $30million investment from Five Elms Capital to scale operations

Software investor, Five Elms Capital, is investing $30m in Skynamo, field sales app and management platform provider.

Skynamo will use the investment to accelerate adoption of its field sales mobile app and cloud-based management platform, while scaling up operations to improve service to its rapidly growing customer base in the US, UK and Southern Africa. Skynamo serves its customers from its South African and London offices and has chosen Atlanta as its US headquarters.

Skynamo increases sales rep productivity and effectiveness by digitizing paper-based processes, automating administrative tasks, and enabling easy access to customer and product information in the field. GPS technology provides managers with a real-time view of sales activity and sales rep effectiveness in the field, so they can coach their reps remotely. Field sales teams using Skynamo typically double – and in some cases triple – the number of customers they visit per week and increase revenue by up to 20% in the first year.

Skynamo integrates with ERP and accounting software such as Sage, Acumatica, SAP, Xero and Quickbooks to provide field sales reps with the latest product and customer information and order history while on the road or onsite at a customer. Skynamo’s integration capability streamlines the ordering process and improves order accuracy, order fulfillment and time to invoice for field sales teams on the road.

“We’ve backed Skynamo because we are convinced it has the perfect combination of strong value proposition and a relentless culture of delighting both customers and employees to become the leader in field sales technology,” says Fred Coulson, Managing Partner of Five Elms.

Unlike other CRM and sales automation applications, Skynamo is a mobile-first application designed to provide a better end-user experience for mobile users. Mobile-first design ensures data entry is easier – improving the volume and quality of data collected in the field. Offline capability enables users to continue working on their mobile devices even without internet access.

“Field sales reps have been left out in the cold by the technology industry for far too long,” says Sam Clarke, CEO of Skynamo. “By putting all time-saving functionality and accurate information in the palm of their hands via our mobile app, Skynamo transforms sales teams from order-takers to value-adding consultants to their customers.”

“The field sales industry is in a state of disruption; both businesses and field sales professionals need to adopt new technologies to survive the digital shift,” says Stephanie Brown, Partner at Five Elms. “Skynamo is the best platform to help field sales teams become more knowledgeable by providing quick and accurate answers while onsite with customers.”

www.skynamo.com