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Time to flip the security switch

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The constant worry of virus outbreaks, malware and cyber espionage are often overlooked by business mangers, despite their CIO’s warning’s. KIBBY, REGIONAL Director at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa, believes the time is now for management to take heed of the malicious software out there and pay more attention to security.

The shuffling feet and the groaning voices echoing in the virtual dark of the organisation are not the zombie apocalypse. No, the moaning shouts of pain are the soundtrack of the cyber security conundrum. Where business leaders remain in the dark, scratching for insight into the real issues behind the security warnings and IT decision makers wave wildly on the other side of the room, desperately trying to get someone’s attention. In spite of consistently worrying outbreaks, statistics and attacks, cyber security remains plagued by a lack of understanding, limited internal resources, poor planning in the event of a breach and no cross-silo communication.

A recent survey by VMware found that organisations are under increased risk of serious cyber-attack with almost one fifth of IT decision makers (ITDM) in South Africa expecting to be hit within the next few days and 49% believing their organisation is vulnerable to an attack. These are scary figures made even scarier by the fact that 52% of respondents felt there wasn’t a plan in place to address a security breach, and that only a small number of people within the business even knew such a plan existed.  In fact, the research found that 43% of organisations which have a plan in place only have a few people aware of its existence and 10% either don’t have a plan or don’t know of one.

Added to this, there is a perception among IT decision makers that their board or C-Suite does not pay the right amount of attention to cyber-security and the issues which surround it. There is a reason – senior management doesn’t know how much of an issue it really is.

While IT experts can assess the threats and challenges without breaking a proverbial sweat, they need to communicate these more clearly. IT has to sit down and explain security birds and bees to the C-Suite so that all parties can come together to ensure there is planning and prioritisation around cyber security. It is a topic which must become a standard feature of the boardroom agenda and the IT decision maker is responsible for putting it there.

The survey found that many ITDMs were as guilty of not prioritising the cyber security story as the C-Suite thanks to limited budgets and allocation being pulled back across a number of silos. This included 23% cutting on mobile security, 18% reducing spend on threat monitoring and 24% dropping the budget on encryption investment. In light of the current economic conditions and a market that redefines the concept of mercurial, flat budgets are expected, but security has to remain a priority as the cost impact of a breach can be astronomical.

Budget constraints aside, security breaches are already significantly outpacing the amount spent on security. Ad hoc approaches to solutions are no longer capable or prepared enough to cope with the cyber onslaught. The statistics bandied about in media and research papers are all telling the same tale – cybercrime is rising, it is more organised, it is more targeted and nobody is sacrosanct. Every organisation, from the small business to the enterprise to the mega-conglomerate, is vulnerable to an attack.

The ITDM has to turn on the lights so the C-Suite can see what they’re up against and provide them with the right levels of support. Protecting critical assets and company reputation must remain a discussion point for both business and IT leaders and plans have to be put in place to ensure the organisation, from the top down, is aware of what needs to be done in the event of a breach.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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