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BCX launches first pay-as-you-go for Windows Azure

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Business Connexion (BCX) has launched the first pay-as-you-go service for Windows Azure Pack out of its carrier-neutral, certified Tier IV data centre.

The solution combines enterprise-class control and compliance with a fully managed service and self-provisioning, providing clients with flexibility and increasing their agility in the market.

“There is no doubt that local markets are becoming increasingly competitive,” says Jacques Loubser, Managing Executive of Converged Infrastructure Solutions, at Business Connexion. “Technology in itself is also no longer a differentiator, but has rather become an enabler. This, coupled with a need to be more innovative and agile, is driving cloud adoption across the continent and is transforming the data centre.

“One of the biggest benefits of this solution lies is that it is hosted locally. It reduces latency, or the amount of time it takes for a data packet to travel from source to destination and solves the issues around data sovereignty,” says Loubser. Comparing the movement of data to travel, he says: “Travelling to an international versus a local destination will naturally take longer and cost more and the movement of data is no different.”

According to IDC’s 2015 Top 10 ICT Predictions for Africa security concerns are increasing due the increase in mobile device, data and access methods. IDC believes this will drive governments on the continent to address cyber security legislation and look at further country-specific data protection that could require in-country presence and hosting.

“Clients are increasingly prioritising dealing with a local partner as it creates a sense of comfort being able to deal with directly with a person where the data resides. It also simplifies the support process and eliminates the need to bring an additional support partner into the fold. They are also looking to consolidate the number of vendors they deal with.”

“We are also the first COSN partner to make the self-service control panel available in Africa. Through this panel clients that know what they want can purchase the technology they need online, simplifying the procurement process,” he says. The Windows Azure Pack solution can also be deployed in the client’s own data centre.

The launch of this solution marks a major milestone in the Business Connexion journey. “We have evolved from being a system integrator to cloud integrator and our vision is to, by 2020, become the cloud integrator of the Internet of Things,” says Loubser. “We apply the same consistent framework that Microsoft uses in their data centres in our own. What is key, however, is that we can manage the subscriptions and services through one single pane of glass. As the cloud becomes more commercialised and we add more services, this will all be managed seamlessly through one interface that is easy to use and provides transparency to the client,” he concludes.

As a control panel for Windows Azure Pack delivery, Business Connexion chose Odin Service Automation, a leading end-to-end cloud enablement platform. “Business Connexion is the first in the market to offer a fully automated smooth customer experience for ordering and managing virtual infrastructure from the local cloud based on Microsoft Azure. Coupled with top-notch data center facilities and Business Connexion industry expertise, it creates for a unique offering for the South African market”, says Alex Fine, Sales Director Sub-Saharan Africa at Odin.

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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