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Cisco, DiData, join forces to protect rhino with technology

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Dimension Data and Cisco have announced that they have joined forces on an initiative aimed at reducing the number of rhinos being poached in South Africa.

Believed to be the first technology solution of its kind, the two companies will deploy some of the world’s most sophisticated technology in an unnamed private game reserve adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park to monitor and track individuals from the time they enter the reserve gates, until they exit.

In phase one, Dimension Data worked closely with Cisco to gather information from the game rangers, security personnel, technology, and control centre teams. The first step was to create a secure Reserve Area Network (RAN) and install Wi-Fi hotspots around key points, which is completed.

Phase two of the Connected Conservation project will incorporate CCTV, drones with infrared cameras; thermal imaging, vehicle tracking sensors, as well as seismic sensors on a highly secure intelligent network. Dimension Data has also deployed the Reserve Area Network (RAN) using Cisco technology, which will be one of the first installations of its kind in the world.

Bruce Watson, Dimension Data’s Group Executive – Cisco Alliance said, “The goal of our end-to-end technology solution is to proactively intervene and stop people entering the reserve illegally – whether it’s cutting fences, being dropped onto the ground by helicopters, or simply driving in through the entrance gates. Over time, the solution will be replicated in other reserves in South Africa, Africa, and globally to not only protect rhino, but conserve other endangered species such as elephants, lions, pangolin, tigers in India and Asia, and even sea rays in the ocean.

Chris Dedicoat, executive vice president of Worldwide Sales for Cisco said: “We’re extremely proud to be a partner in the Connected Conservation efforts. Cisco and Dimension Data have applied their innovation to transformational cutting-edge technologies and have leveraged our synergies in the latest network, security, data centre, collaborative workspaces and hybrid cloud solutions. We hope the number of rhino will once again thrive in this protected game reserve.”

More about the solution

Phase One

Design and deployment:  Dimension Data’s Professional Services team designed and is implementing   the solution which will be operated on site as a managed service, utilising our cloud for data analytics and back up.

Reserve Area Network (RAN): At the beginning of the pilot phase in December 2015, a high-value,
point-to-point radio RAN was built and tested as a proof of concept to create a high security ‘net’ which covered the entire perimeter of the reserve. Collaboration through reliable communications for alerts and warnings and the ability to share live video footage across the reserve greatly enhances the team to counter incursions.

IT infrastructure: Remote locations posed enormous challenges, and limited bandwidth was one of

them. The Cisco team created a plan to build an IT infrastructure. Coupled with Dimension

Data’s range of remote network monitoring, routing and switching, and managed services, the solution

provides an unprecedented onsite capability for technology deployments, proof-of-concept test beds, and

rapid solution developments from which the broader conservation community will benefit. 

Wi-Fi and LANs at every entrance gate including biometrics and CCTV: Dimension Data is installing

Cisco Wi-Fi and local area networks at each gate, which improves and strengthens the communication

channels between security personnel and rangers in the reserve.

Phase Two 

Digital infrastructure and data analytics: Data is collected on every individual entering the reserve. This includes fingerprints of staff, contractors, suppliers, and rangers and trackers working in the reserve, ID numbers or visitor passports will be scanned, and registration plates of all vehicles entering the reserve will be captured.

·         Using predictive modelling, the analytics team is able to estimate when an individual or vehicle is expected to exit the reserve.

·         Digitising the physical security processes has established a more reliable sequence for allowing people in and out of the reserve, ensuring that the reinforcement is more reliable and accurate.

·         Data is analysed on an ongoing basis to enable better decision-making, future investments, and technology deployments.

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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