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Video communications prevents digital dislocation

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A new study has revealed that organizations are embracing video more effectively with their workers to help prevent digital dislocation between companies and workers.

Organisations are embracing video to help them communicate more effectively with their workers, according to new independent research commissioned by BT and Cisco. Coupled with the proliferation of cloud computing and mobile, these developments are helping to prevent ‘digital dislocation’ between organisations and their employees.

The study, which included respondents from South Africa, found that technologies such as video, cloud and mobile are becoming critical platforms for communication across large businesses – from executives through to employees. Eight-five percent (85%) of local respondents thought desktop video would really add value and be useful, while eighty-one percent (81%) of local IT decision makers said they wanted video on their work-smartphone or tablet.

The findings suggest that more work is needed to reduce “digital dislocation”, whereby employees feel disconnected due to lack of face-to-face interactions with colleagues. Seventy-six percent (76%) of local IT decision makers complain about time wasted trying to contact colleagues, and three quarters want simpler ways to share information.

These struggles reflect changes in the modern workplace in recent years, with initiatives such as bring your own device (BYOD) and flexible working driving the need for more innovative communication and collaboration technology. The research reveals that over half (67%) of employees now work ‘flexibly’, either on the go, at client sites or from home, while eighty-seven percent (87%) want more simple ways to share information with colleagues and collaborate more easily when on the move for work. Similarly, the research finds that in South Africa, fifty-seven percent (57%) of workers want to use their own devices at work (over 47% globally).

Better collaboration tools are increasingly being seen as the solution, with eighty percent (80%) of employees wanting to use collaborative tools more often.

To address this demand, BT and Cisco are announcing an upgrade to the BT One Cloud video technology platform. The new set of enhancements further simplifies scheduling a video call conference using Outlook. They also make it easier for almost any type of video user to join a conference using any device or application, including TelePresence and Skype for Business – whether they are located inside or outside of the organisation.

Oliver Fortuin, managing Director, BT in Sub Saharan Africa, says: “As the mobile workforce continues to grow locally, it is easy for employees to get trapped inside specialist departments and divisions or drop off the map while working out of the office. But staying connected has never been so important and is vital to an organisation’s success. Using effective collaboration tools, employees can share information and make faster, better decisions.”

Scot Gardner, vice president, Global Service Provider Europe, Middle East and Africa and Russia (EMEAR) at Cisco says: “Businesses are under extreme pressure to prevent against ‘digital dislocation’, streamline processes and improve productivity in a variety of locations across countries and even continents. By adopting cloud, mobile and video technology, like the BT One Cloud video technology platform, companies can ensure that they have simple and seamless communication throughout their organisation, avoiding siloed departments and ultimately, creating an inclusive and connected culture, regardless of geography.”

In order to facilitate these new technologies, many IT managers are looking at cloud services to help stretch their budgets and replace outdated legacy systems. Globally, the research reveals that those organisations that have rolled out a cloud technology beyond trial have benefitted, with average total operating costs falling by twenty-five percent (25%). At the same time, they have seen a thirty percent (30%) increase in employee satisfaction directly following implementation of cloud based collaboration technology. Crucially, far fewer IT decision makers view security as a barrier to using cloud based collaboration, down to fifty-two percent (52%) globally from sixty-eight percent (68%) three years ago.

Concludes Fortuin; “As organisations become more familiar with cloud services, there is increasing trust and confidence in their security. At BT we’ve noticed that organisations leading the trend by using cloud collaboration tools are already experiencing great results – saving money and delivering better customer experience.”

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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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