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Treat your software upgrade like home renovation

Just as you wouldn’t move into a home and neglect to maintain it, the software that you depend upon daily isn’t something you install and forget about. Technology moves fast and quickly becomes dated. It’s critical that you maintain it through regular upgrades., writes MONIQUE WILLIAMS, Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager.

Technology from a decade ago can seem as old-fashioned as the pastel colours, chrome Formica tables, and linoleum flooring from the 1950s. And tech from just a few years ago can be like the shag carpeting, wood panelling, and indoor ferns from the 1970s.

Old technologies don’t just look dated. Often, they are unable to keep up with the needs of modern solutions and are more vulnerable to security risks. Unlike in the world of home design, once a technology is dated, it’s never coming back.

Therefore, upgrades are important. They introduce many fixes for security vulnerabilities, keep software integrations with your important systems running smoothly, and keep you current with cutting-edge technology, possibly even ahead of the competition.

To continue to build value in your investment and prepare for the future, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Record your recent upgrade project

Don’t let the dust settle on your last upgrade project without documenting it. While it’s still fresh in everyone’s memory, record your planning and testing and keep it as a reference for your next upgrade.

Schedule an internal “lessons learned” retrospective for all the people who worked on the project. Set an agenda to discuss what worked well and what you could have done better. Then, carefully compile your test plan from all your individual test cases. Add or refine any scenarios you may have missed, so your testing continues to improve.

Plan your next upgrade window

It’s a good idea to upgrade your solution at least every few years in order to take advantage of optimised features, improved performance and new capabilities.

Work with your internal stakeholders to set an objective. Sticking to a schedule allows you to actually budget for an upgrade, as you can earmark the next project for a predetermined fiscal period.

It also allows your team to form tribal knowledge around the upgrade since you do the project on a regular basis. Preparing and executing the project becomes much easier when your team is comfortable with the cadence.

Upgrading regularly and as close as possible to the recommended schedule ensures that server compatibility should remain between now and your next upgrade, lessening the need for added server migration projects.

Engage expert assistance and tools

Like home maintenance, sometimes a software upgrade is easier said than done, as you might not have the knowledge or abilities, and it would be better left to the pros. Reach out to a company that specialises in upgrades, understands the best methods for upgrading your specific system, and is available to step in and help for any phase of a software upgrade, from consulting to end-to-end upgrade services.

Just as there are tools for home renovations, there are a number of tools to assist an administrator or project manager as they make their upgrade choices, such as worksheets and system assessment tools. Using these tools can save a lot of potential headaches when you’re renovating your IT home during an upgrade.

In the end, whether you have expert help or upgrade your solution yourself, through learning from the past, some planning and leveraging appropriate tools, you’ll prepare your organisation for long-term success.

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Eugene Kaspersky posts from 2050

In his imagined blog entry from the year 2050, the Kaspersky Lab founder imagines an era of digital immunity

In recent years, digital systems have moved up to a whole new level. No longer assistants making life easier for us mere mortals, they’ve become the basis of civilisation — the very framework keeping the world functioning properly in 2050.

This quantum leap forward has generated new requirements for the reliability and stability of artificial intelligence. Although some cyberthreats still haven’t become extinct since the romantic era around the turn of the century, they’re now dangerous only to outliers who for some reason reject modern standards of digital immunity.

The situation in many ways resembles the fight against human diseases. Thanks to the success of vaccines, the terrible epidemics that once devastated entire cities in the twentieth century are a thing of the past.

However, that’s where the resemblance ends. For humans, diseases like the plague or smallpox have been replaced by new, highly resistant “post-vaccination” diseases; but for the machines, things have turned out much better. This is largely because the initial designers of digital immunity made all the right preparations for it in advance. In doing so, what helped them in particular was borrowing the systemic approaches of living systems and humans.

One of the pillars of cyber-immunity today is digital intuition, the ability of AI systems to make the right decisions in conditions where the source data are clearly insufficient to make a rational choice.

But there’s no mysticism here: Digital intuition is merely the logical continuation of the idea of machine learning. When the number and complexity of related self-learning systems exceeds a certain threshold, the quality of decision-making rises to a whole new level — a level that’s completely elusive to rational understanding. An “intuitive solution” results fromthe superimposition of the experience of a huge number of machine-learning models, much like the result of the calculations of a quantum computer.

So, as you can see, it has been digital intuition, with its ability to instantly, correctly respond to unknown challenges that has helped build the digital security standards of this new era.  

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M-Net to film Deon Meyer novel

A television adaptation of Deon Meyer’s crime novel Trackers is to be co-produced by M-Net, Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, and HBO subsidiary Cinemax, which will also distribute the drama series worldwide. 

Trackers is an unprecedented scripted television venture and MultiChoice and M-Net are proud to chart out new territory … allowing local and international talent to combine their world-class story-telling and production skills,” says MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment, Yolisa Phahle.

HBO, Cinemax, and M-Net also launched a Producers Apprenticeship programme last year when the Cinemax series Warrior, coming to M-Net in July, was filmed in South Africa. Some other Cinemax originals screened on M-Net include Banshee, The Knick and Strike Back. 

“Cinemax is delighted to partner with M-Net and ZDF in bringing Deon Meyer’s unforgettable characters and storytelling—all so richly rooted in the people and spectacular geography of South Africa—to screens around the world,” says Len Amato, President, HBO Films, Miniseries, and Cinemax.    

Filming for Trackers has already started in  locations across South Africa and the co-production partners have been working together on all aspects of production 

Deon Meyer, whose award-winning crime novels have been translated into more than 20 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide, serves as a supervising screenwriter and co-producer; British writer Robert Thorogood (Death in Paradise) is the showrunner. The team of South African writers on the project includes the Mitchell’s Plain playwright, screenwriter and director Amy Jephta (Die Ellen Pakkies Story) and local writer/directors Kelsey Egen and Jozua Malherbe. 

The cast for the six-part miniseries includes Ed Stoppard, Rolanda Marais, James Alexander and Thapelo Mokoena. 

Trackers will make its debut on M-Net 101 in October 2019 and will also be available on MultiChoice’s on-demand service, Showmax. The six-part drama series is produced by UK production company Three River Studios as well as South Africa’s Scene 23. 

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