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MWC: BlackBerry launches security consulting service

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BlackBerry used Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week to announce the launch of a new Professional Cybersecurity Services practice.

The services are intended to expand BlackBerry’s security portfolio by offering organisations new consulting services, tools and best practices to assess and thwart ever-changing cybersecurity risks.

BlackBerry says its Professional Cybersecurity Practice is intended to address a market demand resulting from cybersecurity being a persistent and increasing business risk for organisations that depend on mobile endpoints that connect through networked and cloud-enabled platforms. It is estimated that data breaches currently cost the global economy more than $400 billion every year. Some industry sectors, such as automotive, are being forced to grapple with cybersecurity threats for the first time as cars become more connected, intelligent and self-sufficient. As cybersecurity threats become more pervasive with increasing Internet connectivity, there is a greater demand for more robust defensive tactics to combat these risks.

Cybersecurity consulting is currently estimated to be a $16.5 billion annual global business that is forecast to grow to $23 billion per annum by 2019. As such, cybersecurity consulting represents a natural market opportunity for BlackBerry, it says, since it already securely manages hundreds of millions of mobile endpoints and provides critical systems software for more than 60 million connected cars.

BlackBerry’s new cybersecurity consulting services and tools, combined with BlackBerry’s existing security solutions will help customers identify the latest cybersecurity threats, develop risk appropriate mitigation strategies, implement and maintain IT security standards and techniques and defend against the risk of future attacks. BlackBerry’s new global Professional Cybersecurity Services practice will address:

·         Strategic Security: best practices in IT operation ranging across enterprise mobility management and cloud services.

·         Technical Security: technical assistance for infrastructure and product development lifecycle.

·         Automotive and IoT Security: security consulting services as the rapid commercialization of IoT solutions makes security and privacy a top priority.

·         Detection, Testing and Analysis: threat detection and mitigation penetration testing, vulnerability assessment and incident response analysis. This includes forensic services, business security status via IT health checks, training, regulatory compliance and security breach management through incident response.

As part of the new Professional Cybersecurity Services practice – and aligned with BlackBerry’s core emphasis on securing mobile communications across all platforms – BlackBerry acquired UK-based Encription Limited, which brings years of cybersecurity consulting experience to the organization. The acquisition of Encription was completed on February 19, 2016. Specific terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Encription’s specialties range from deep technical skills in software security to hardware capabilities. This includes industry-leading assessments in penetration testing, mimicking the techniques of malicious hackers to ensure organizations are aware of cyber risks posed by criminal hackers and how to address them. Additionally, Encription has been entrusted by one of the UK government’s highest security standards with the CESG CHECK IT and ISO/IEC 27001 certifications. This adds another significant security certification to BlackBerry’s portfolio in order to meet the stringent standards and requirements for countries the company serves.

“BlackBerry is the gold standard when it comes to security and we’re always evolving to maintain this high standard as the complexity of enterprise mobility and security increases,” said John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. “We recognize that security vulnerabilities are a top risk concern for public and private sector organizations alike. The creation of our Professional Cybersecurity Services practice and acquisition of Encription reinforces our commitment to providing customers the industry’s most secure mobility solutions and helping them to assess and mitigate risks.”

BlackBerry has provided the world’s most secure mobility solutions for more than two decades, and has earned more than 70 government certifications and approvals – greater than any other mobile vendor. BlackBerry is also the trusted mobility partner of all G7 governments, 16 of the G20 governments, 10 out of 10 of the largest global banks and law firms, and the top five largest managed healthcare, investment services, and oil and gas companies.

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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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