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Local cloud traffic to quadruple in next 3 years

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The fifth annual Cisco Global Cloud Index (2014-2019) forecasts that Middle East and Africa cloud traffic will more than quadruple by the end of 2019.

From a regional perspective, the report found that MEA is expected to have the highest cloud traffic growth rate at 41 percent by 2019. Several factors are driving cloud traffic’s accelerating growth and the transition to cloud services, including the personal cloud demands of an increasing number of mobile devices; the rapid growth in popularity of public cloud services for business, and the increased degree of virtualisation in private clouds which is increasing the density of those workloads. The growth of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections also has the potential to drive more cloud traffic in the future.

“The Cisco Cloud Index highlights the fact that cloud is moving well beyond a regional trend to becoming a mainstream solution, with cloud traffic expected to grow more than 30 percent in every worldwide region over the next five years,” reveals Vernon Thaver, CTO of Cisco South Africa. “South African enterprise and government organisations are moving from test cloud environments to trusting clouds with their mission-critical workloads. At the same time, consumers continue to expect on-demand, anytime access to their content and services nearly everywhere. This creates a tremendous opportunity for cloud operators, which will play an increasingly relevant role in the communications industry ecosystem.”

In addition to the rapid growth of cloud traffic, Cisco predicts that the Internet of Everything (IoE)—the connection of people, processes, data and things—will have a significant impact on data center and cloud traffic growth. Today, only a small portion of this content is stored in data centers, but that could change as the application demand and uses of big data analytics evolves (i.e. analysing collected data to make tactical and strategic decisions).

New technologies such as SDN and NFV are also expected to streamline data center traffic flows, such that the traffic volumes reaching the highest tier (core) of the data center may fall below 10.4 ZB per year and lower data center tiers could carry over 40 ZB of traffic per year.  To help put things in perspective, 10.4 ZB is equivalent to:

·         144 trillion hours of streaming music: Equivalent to about 26 months of continuous music streaming for the world’s population* in 2019

·         26 trillion hours of business web conferencing with a webcam: Equivalent to about 21 hours of daily web conferencing for the world’s workforce in 2019

·         6.8 trillion of high-definition (HD) movies viewed online: Equivalent to about 2.4 hours of daily streamed HD movies for the world’s population in 2019

·         1.2 trillion hours of ultra-high definition (UHD) video streaming: Equivalent to about 25 minutes of daily streamed UHD video for the world’s population in 2019

Here are some of the MEA (including SA) key highlights from the Cisco Cloud Index:

·         Data center traffic will grow 4.0-fold, up by 32% from 2014 to 2019

·         Cloud data center traffic will represent 86% of total data center traffic by 2019, compared to 61% in 2014

·         Consumer will represent 61% of cloud data center traffic by 2019, compared to 30% in 2014

·         7.1% of data center traffic will travel between data centers by 2019, compared to 7.1% in 2014.

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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