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Burkina Faso to connect public to the cloud

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Alcatel-Lucent will provide the government of Burkina Faso with cloud networking technology that will enable it to develop new digital public services, such as e-government, e-learning and e-health. 

Alcatel-Lucent will supply the West African nation with its NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation), Cloudband and IP platforms, which will be integrated into the ‘G-Cloud’ infrastructure to being built around virtualised network resources from cloud nodes in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, and five provinces.

Approximately 400 buildings in 13 regional urban centres will be connected through a 513Km fibre-optic IP/MPLS wide area network. Backhaul will be provided by an 800 km fibre-optic transmission system that will become part of Burkina Faso’s National Fibre Optics Backbone.

Alcatel-Lucent and the Ministry of Development of the Digital Economy and Posts as well as the National Agency for the Promotion of ICT (ANPTIC) in Burkina Faso, are celebrating the ‘G-Cloud’ project launching. Their excellencies, Mr. Yacouba Isaac ZIDA, the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso; Dr. Nébila Amadou YARO, the Minister of Digital Economy and Post and Mr. Bo Jensen, the Danish Ambassador to Burkina Faso, were among the local and national dignitaries who attended a ceremony on 12 November  in Ouagadougou.

The project is part of an ambitious IT and telecommunications strategy being administered by the country’s Ministry for Digital Development (MDENP – Ministère du Développement de l’Économie Numérique et des Postes), and intends to enable connectivity between public departments and municipalities via an e-government platform – an integral element of Burkina Faso’s Economic and Social Development Strategy, SCADD (Stratégie pour une croissance accéléré et un développement durable).

The network will support the anticipated increase in future demand for digital services to the health, education, justice, immigration, parliament and other sectors in the coming years. Under the agreement with MDENP, Alcatel-Lucent will support network and infrastructure operations to be installed by 2017. Financing for the project is being facilitated by the Danish government through the Danida Business Finance agency, whose contribution to the project amounts to Eur 30 million (19.9 billion FCFA) with a direct grant subsidy of Eur 15.5 million (10 billion FCFA).

Key Facts:

•     Alcatel-Lucent is integrating its Cloudband Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) platform, with its IP/MPLS platforms.

•     Alcatel-Lucent will deploy a high-speed, high-capacity network with links between locations and data centres by using its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS). The 1830 PSS offers exceptional capacity, performance, agility and intelligence for the transport of very large amounts of data over long distances and can support a mixture of 10G, 40G and 100G channels on the same fiber pair, helping ensure support for future needs as demand grows and offers rapid deployment and necessary flexibility to spur economic development.

•     Alcatel-Lucent will ensure a seamless transfer of knowledge by its operational support to the teams of MDENP in order that they can take over the full network operation responsibility by the end of the contract.

•     Alcatel-Lucent also will provide a training and development program for more than 100 government employees.

Quotes:

H.E. Mr Nébila Amadou Yaro, Minister, Ministry of Development of the Digital Economy and Posts, said: “The G-Cloud network will allow the distribution of applications and resources at all times, wherever necessary, while providing consolidated cloud and network management. This will allow the system to be operated as a unique virtual environment. This project will have many positive impacts for Burkina Faso, including micro and macro-economic growth, and increasing the efficiency of health and education services.”

Alpin Verlet, Head of Alcatel-Lucent activities in West and Central Africa said: “Alcatel-Lucent is proud and happy to build this project, the first ‘Government Cloud’ in the region, for the Government of Burkina Faso. This project will soon become a very strong exemplary project, showing how a forward thinking government is using the Cloud technology to provide its citizens with access to government’s services.”

Bo Jensen, the Danish Ambassador to Burkina Faso, is excited about the project: “The objectives pursued by the project are in line with the national development strategy and sectoral strategies.  It is an innovative approach using state of the art technology to pursue poverty alleviation and good governance. It aims mainly at building up a more efficient and transparent public administration, reducing corruption through online service, contributing to enhancing business climate, thus stimulate economic growth and job creation, among others”. He also added: “We believe that this project will support the government decentralisation process and promote deconcentration of public services. In addition, we strongly believe that this project will lead to more transparency and improved public financial management. It is in line with Danida’s support over many years to the Ministry of Economy and Finance through budget support.”

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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