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Open cloud powers business

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Both IT organisations and cloud service providers need an open cloud platform that enables them to easy build, deploy and manage cloud applications in a more agile, scalable manner to deliver customer-focused innovation, says CHEN KUN.

ICT innovation is reshaping virtually every aspect of life and work to create thriving, prosperous societies. For enterprises, big data analytics, mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving the next wave of digital business innovation, and cloud is the key enabler for this new era.

Organisations are no longer questioning whether they should use the cloud – they are well aware of the possibilities and are looking at how they can use it to achieve corporate goals. Most organisations move to the cloud to gain agility, flexibility and speed, but the cloud also plays an important role in reducing costs, with enterprises often achieving significant savings when running their services on cloud.

In fact, by reducing the complexity and costs associated with traditional IT approaches, the cloud is enabling enterprises to shift resources to strategic activities that create business innovation and value.

But as cloud choices are growing rapidly, critical decisions have to be made. Cloud requires careful planning and testing to ensure the deployment of high-performing solutions and services.

Hybrid Cloud Challenges

Enterprises can adopt cloud in two ways: private cloud and public cloud. A private cloud is a cloud platform built and owned by companies themselves, whereas a public cloud utilises cloud services rendered over a network that is open for public use.

A hybrid delivery model that combines traditional IT, private cloud and public cloud, is the most likely option as enterprises move to the cloud. A hybrid cloud offers maximum asset utilisation and cost-effectiveness, leverages IT security, and provides high IT availability and service flexibility.

However, most hybrid cloud solutions are isolated, homogeneous solutions. What’s more, public cloud within hybrid cloud is prone to security and network instability risks. Therefore, enterprises face challenges when deploying or migrating their service applications on a hybrid cloud.

The adoption of hybrid cloud has been slow in South Africa. Two of the major reasons are the concerns over the shortage of reliable infrastructure, such as energy which impacts communications, and sufficient high-speed fibre which are the foundations for using hybrid cloud. This, together with concerns of security and migration costs, causes companies to prefer using private cloud. However, with recent developments, these concerns are being addressed with more fibre being deployed, which will enable the practical use of hybrid clouds.

Demand for Cloud Service Brokerage

As enterprises move to the cloud, they are increasingly looking to cloud services brokerage (CSB), which provides third-party assistance to set up and run cloud services. The goal of CSB is to make the service more specific to a company, or to integrate or aggregate services in order to enhance their security, or to do anything which adds a significant layer of value (i.e. capabilities) to the original cloud services being offered. They offer at least one of three capabilities:

·         Cloud Service Intermediation: An intermediation broker provides value-added services on top of existing cloud platforms, such as identity or access management capabilities.

·         Aggregation: An aggregation broker provides the “glue” to bring together multiple services and ensure the interoperability and security of data between systems.

·         Cloud Service Arbitrage: A cloud service arbitrage provides flexibility and “opportunistic choices” by offering multiple similar services to select from.

As IT moves from on-premise to the cloud, CSBs will play an increasingly important role in helping companies efficiently navigate and deploy cloud services, particularly for mission-critical applications, where the company cannot risk issues with deployment. In fact, the global CSB market will grow from $1.6 billion in 2013 to $10.5 billion by 2018, growing 46.2 percent per year, according to MarketsandMarkets.

However, internal CSBs are also emerging within IT departments to deliver cloud-based services and ensure third party compliance with enterprise security and governance policies. Moving forward, effective brokering will be essential for cloud-enabled enterprises.

One trend that is easing the job of cloud service brokers is the increasing standardisation of services and platforms on which enterprise applications are being developed and deployed.

Open Cloud Drives Enterprise Transformation

Both IT organisations and CSBs need an open cloud platform that enables them to rapidly build, deploy and manage cloud applications in a more agile, scalable manner to deliver the ultimate customer-focused innovation. An effective cloud platform that is able to seamlessly run computing, storage, and network resources from different vendors on the same data centre, can help the integration and optimisation of existing data centres and service platforms, and enhancing service system reliability and IT operating efficiency.

Creating a healthy cloud ecosystem across the Internet industry through open, integrated, and innovative technologies and strong partnerships, is the foundation of the new cloud era. Huawei adheres to the principles of openness, cooperation and win-win partnership, and is committed to working with industry alliance partners to provide organisations with innovative cloud solutions that accelerate their cloud journeys.

* Chen Kun, Vice President of Cloud Computing, IT Product Line, Huawei Technologies

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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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