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Cloud computing 101: 5 things you need to know

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These days you can run your own business from anywhere in the world, BrightRock executive director LEOPOLD MALAN shares his top 5 cloud computing tips.

1.       It’s time to join the bandwagon

Cloud computing is not as new to South African business landscape as you might think, with an increasing number of business owners signing up for cloud based products and services. According to South African research firm World Wide Worx, there was a 10% jump in SMEs in South Africa using cloud technology between 2014 and 2015 – bringing the tally to 39%.

 

2.       It’s not just a back-up service

Many people tend to associate cloud computing with data storage and transfer services like iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox, but it offers so much more than that. According to Ventureburn.com, South African companies utilise a range of cloud-based services, varying from email (83%), online backups (47%), online accounting (37%), project management (27%), to online CRM.

 

3.       Work anywhere, anytime

We’re moving into an era where we don’t have to be office-bound to do our work, and cloud computing is instrumental to this. Consumers of cloud technology are able to access information and services as long as they have sufficient internet connectivity. Under ideal circumstances, you also don’t need a desktop or laptop computer to access the cloud – up-to-date products and services are compatible with tablets and smartphones.

 

4.       Cut down on costs

Think of Cloud Computing as the new Outsourcing. If you have limited capital or resources, cloud computing is a fantastic way to cut costs. Systems like Quickbooks, Sage One, FreshBooks, Office365 and Abukai Expenses allow owners of small businesses to do big things with their admin. The affordability of some of these systems make them particularly attractive – some solutions are offered at monthly fees in the vicinity of R200 to R300, and there even are payroll systems offering integrated solutions at as low as R22 per month, per employee. That said, you need to do your homework before signing up for a cloud-based product or service: Just like optional extras on a new car, add-ons can prove to be costly – not to mention a lack of technical expertise on both ends of the cloud-based relationship, which brings me to my last point.

 

5.       Choose carefully

The cloud is one of the safer places in a world where data disappears thanks to viruses and theft. Should any problems arise, you have the added benefit of not being responsible for fixing it – systems issues lie with the service provider. Make sure that your cloud service provider has a proven customer service track record with experienced and knowledgeable technicians on the back-end who are able to assist you on a 24/7 basis. Also be extra cautious with sensitive or valuable data. One of the ways you can ensure that your data stays extra safe, would be to opt for a hybrid system that allows you to use both your servers and the clouds as a backup. This will also allow you to suss out the reliability of the service you opted for.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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