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Cloud storage strengthens biz

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Archiving records has been considered an uphill battle for organisations for decades. While the format of these records have changed from paper to pixels, the battle is far from over. Cyber resilience expert at Mimecast, NICK SAUNDERS, provides some benefits of cloud archiving.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way and organisations that have made the switch from an on premise to cloud archive, have found that archiving can actually simplify how they do business, rather than causing unnecessary stress. Good archiving allows you to find specific records as and when needed, and helps you comply with stringent data storage regulations, such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

But organisations need to see an archive as more than just an old storage box that’s an unwanted necessity, and rather as something they can get value out of. Well-organised, easily searchable and secure records are a business competitiveness booster– and here are just four reasons why by Nick Saunders, cyber resilience expert at Mimecast:

  1. Higher Productivity

Huge volumes of unstructured email data are like the proverbial haystack when your employees are looking for a specific needle of information. Easy access and functional searchability are therefore a must for any email archiving solution. With less time spent trawling through records, or waiting for IT departments to locate specific documents, employees are free to draw insights from email histories and apply them to current issues or opportunities. And enabling access to archives via the cloud and mobile devices when employees are on the move, improves day-to-day efficiency.

  1. A Rock-Solid Plan B

Cyber-attacks, natural disasters or unavoidable downtime – there’s no shortage of ways that businesses can lose email for even a few hours and face significant losses.  Having a tamper-proof email archiving system in place insures your business against data loss, should your primary email system be compromised. In the event of an unexpected outage, cloud-archived email records mean your organisation can be up and running again in minutes. Simply put, no disaster recovery or digital business continuity plan is complete without a solid email archiving solution in place.

  1. Regulatory Compliance

POPI has driven organisations to sort out their data practices and avoid hefty penalties from mismanagement of sensitive personal information. And, come May 2018, businesses with customers in the EU will have to be compliant under the EU GDPR. Both regulations require strict adherence to many aspects of data safety, and a complete and reliable archive can help organisations when a compliance issue arises. Furthermore, e-discovery functions of an archive will allow organisations to speedily and accurately sift through terabytes of email threads – significantly strengthening how organisations respond to regulatory queries.

  1. Lower Maintenance Costs

Maintaining traditional archives on site rather than in the cloud is a costly exercise, requiring significant, recurring resources to keep them regularly updated. This could tempt IT departments to skip the tasks of implementing important patches and fixes in their system, which only results in additional maintenance costs further down the line. A cloud-based third-party archiving partner will take the manual work out of the equation, keeping records perfectly up to date, and at a lower cost than if a business had to do it alone.

As the data avalanche continues, email is set to become a bigger and more business-vital repository of information than ever before. Businesses would be wise to begin their email migration to the cloud sooner rather than later, through cloud providers like Mimecast who can do it better, faster, cheaper and more effectively.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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