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Free e-learning platform reaches 200k in SA

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South Africans are taking to the Internet in greater numbers than ever before to gain workplace skills, according to new figures released by Alison.

The Irish organisation, which is one of South Africa’s largest free e-learning providers, has announced that the site has passed the 200 000 registered user milestone in South Africa. It also revealed that 57% of its users in 2016 were female, and that the site is most popular in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Mike Feerick, Founder and CEO of Alison, said: “South Africa has been quick to take up online learning, which is seen in almost 600 000 visits to our site in 2016. The feedback we’re getting from learners here suggests that they value the flexibility and breadth of subjects we can offer. It’s not a surprise to us that the majority of our South African learners are women; this reflects a pattern we have seen in other parts of the world.”

According to newly released figures for 2016, the most popular courses including Touch Typing TrainingDiploma in Project ManagementHuman Resources and Business Management & Entrepreneurship.  Other top courses South African learners took included Web Design, Workplace Health and Safety, Psychology and Customer Service.

Eric Corbett, Course Publishing Manager at Alison, said: “Increasingly, we’re seeing learners turn to us for skills that are vital to the workplace but don’t tend to receive much focus in schools – South Africa is no different. The range of free courses we’re offering is set to grow dramatically over the next 12 months, and we expect to grow our learner-base in South Africa in tandem with this.

“We would encourage students, jobseekers and workers who want to upskill to consider how a course might help them achieve their goals.”

Alison will celebrate its 10th birthday next month. The site currently boasts almost 10 million individual learners globally studying hundreds of courses. Alison is a for-profit social enterprise with a goal to drive the cost of all education and skills training to zero, headquartered in Galway, Ireland.

What They Say

What our South African learners say about Alison:

“There are so many great options that I am excited about. I’ve just completed the Microsoft Access 2010 course and I am enrolled for the ABC IT Suite course and for the Diploma in E-Commerce.” – Nadia du Plessis, Cape Town.

“It is so empowering… I apply Alison to pretty much every aspect of my life due to all the great courses and diplomas offered on the platform. Accounting is teaching to me look at my business in a different language, the language of numbers. HR has taught me about recruiting the best of the best that are aligned with my vision.” – J. J. Oosthuizen, Pretoria

“I learnt a lot about IT on Alison. I am so confident now that I have knowledge that I did not have a few years back, which I can now share with my kids or friends and family.” – Andreas Shabalala

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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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