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VMware ‘pivots’ into cybersecurity company

At VMworld in Barcelona this week, VMware unveiled a wide-ranging vision of “intrinsic security” that sends a message to all major IT firms, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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VMware provided the following information on its new security offerings:

Carbon Black solutions

With the close of its Carbon Black acquisition in October 2019, VMware launched a new security business unit under the leadership of former Carbon Black CEO Patrick Morley. The business unit focuses on helping customers with comprehensive endpoint and workload protection and advanced cybersecurity analytics to help stop sophisticated cyberattacks and accelerate response times. As the first step on this journey, VMware will offer multiple new Carbon Black Cloud solutions to customers, including: 

  • Carbon Black Endpoint Standard: Next-generation antivirus combined with endpoint detection and response
  • Carbon Black Endpoint Advanced: Carbon Black Endpoint Standard combined with real-time endpoint query and remediation
  • Carbon Black Endpoint Enterprise: Real-time endpoint query and remediation combined with advanced threat hunting and incident response
  • Carbon Black Workload: new advanced cloud workload protection add-on for VMware vSphere
  • VMware Workspace Security: combines best-in-class behavior threat detection, next-generation antivirus, and digital workspace analytics and remediation solutions 
  • Carbon Black Endpoint Standard with Secureworks Threat Detection and Response: combines best-in-class next-generation antivirus and endpoint detection and response with an advanced security analytics application, expanding security telemetry beyond the endpoint and into the network and cloud

VMware also announced an enhanced partnership with Dell that will make Carbon Black Cloud, along with Dell Trusted Devices and Secureworks, the preferred endpoint security solution for Dell commercial customers. The enhanced partnership will bring Carbon Black’s advanced, next-generation endpoint protection to businesses of all sizes directly on-the-box.

Redefining Internal Data Centre and Multi-Cloud Security

VMware NSX was the first solution to make micro-segmentation both financially and operationally feasible, enabling customers to more easily prevent the lateral spread of malware inside the data centre. VMware is now introducing NSX Distributed intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS), taking the NSX platform’s Layer 7-capabable internal firewalling to a whole new level. NSX Distributed IDS/IPS is unique because it will take advantage of VMware’s intrinsic understanding of the services that make up an application and match IDS/IPS signatures to specific parts of an application. This means an Apache or Tomcat server will only get signatures relevant to it. The result will be much higher performance and accuracy through a lower false positive rate. VMware Service-defined Firewall with NSX Distributed IDS/IPS will allow customers to both micro-segment their networks and block internal traffic from stolen credentials and compromised machines.

NSX Intelligence was recently introduced as an advanced system to analyze workload traffic and automatically generate security policies. NSX Federation is a new capability that will enable customers to deploy and consistently enforce security policies generated by NSX Intelligence across multiple data centres. NSX Federation will help enterprises simplify disaster recovery and avoidance and share application resources across data centres. Converged operations will vastly simplify the overall security architecture and make it easier for customers to manage security policies, demonstrate compliance, and provide holistic context for security troubleshooting. This type of efficiency and flexibility cannot be matched by traditional “bump in the wire” appliances and is a major difference between legacy and proprietary hardware-defined systems and an open, scale-out software solution such as VMware NSX.

Click here to read more about edge protection, Secure State, and availability of the new products.

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Meet the accountant of the future

The accountant of the future will need a new set of skills, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, as he meets both the local users and the global creators of Xero accounting software

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Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca get a highrise view of London. Pic by Arthur Goldstuck

Meet Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca. They are not only partners in marriage, but also in a thriving accounting business. Buchule and Sivenathi are, respectively, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of SMTAX, which focuses on tax and accounting services for small businesses in the Western Cape, but includes the likes of Absa and Old Mutual among its clients. It employs 18 people and has 4,500 individual and business customers.

That’s not what makes the outfit remarkable. The startling feature of this business is that it has been structured to be a model accounting firm of the next decade. Even more remarkable is the fact that the couple both hail from rural areas where thoughts of the future tend to be about survival rather than blazing new trails.

Last week, they made their first trip out of the country, to attend Xerocon London 2019. This 2-day conference, hosted by the world’s fastest growing accounting software maker, Xero, attracted more than 3,000 delegates from the United Kingdom, Europe Middle East and Africa. A total of 57 Xero partners and users, mostly from accounting practices or suppliers to accountants, made the trek from South Africa.

“It was really about seeing how other accountants on other continents operate in terms of how they think and where their headspace is at,” Buchule told us during Xerocon. “Also, being our first time out of the country, it was to see the culture of other small businesses outside of South Africa. 

“London’s quite different in that regard, but it’s been a really a great learning curve, and we were pleasantly surprised to find elements that look like South Africa, where we can say, at least you’re doing something right. The banking environment is quite unique, as it’s been a really good learning curve in terms of where banking might go to in the future of South Africa if they follow the same trend.”

Buchule comes from the “dusty streets” of Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, while Sivenathi grew up on a farm in a deep rural area near Mthatha.

“I had no idea about technology or the rest of the world or how it could impact the economy in general,” she said. The two met at the University of Cape Town, where she was studying to be an actuary, and he completed a Masters degree in tax. She decided to put actuarial science behind her, however, when the opportunity arose to join Buchule’s business. But her skills helped transform the business.

Said Buchule: “When Sivenathi came on board we did the modeling of the business, and we said that in order to in order to automate the whole bookkeeping journey, we would need to turn closer and closer towards ‘x’, meaning fully automated bookkeeping. We looked at the journey of how long it will it take for us to get to time ‘x’. And then we said, OK, once we get there, what then?

“It was a big realization that when we do get to time ‘x’, the most important thing will be the human touch. That will be the differentiator. So we then spent our time developing that.”

Visit the next page to read more about the Xerocon 2019 event.

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Takealot reveals startling numbers for Black Friday

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Takealot has revealed startling numbers for expected bumper sales this holiday season, beginning next week, and peaking with Black Friday.

South Africa’s leading ecommerce group expects to ship at least one order every second, with roughly 10,000 boxes leaving their warehouses every hour, this shopping season. 

Black Friday was first introduced to South Africa by Takealot in 2012, and has since become an important day in South Africa’s annual retail calendar. It has been a record-breaker for both retailers in the Takealot Group: Takealot and Superbalist. Takealot’s Black Friday gross merchandise value (GMV) grew 125% from 2017 to 2018, with orders up 127%. Superbalist’s Black Friday GMV has grown on average around 50%. This year, CEO Kim Reid is anticipating the biggest Black Friday yet, a culmination of months of tech and operational business-wide focus to prepare for increased predicted traffic and shopper volumes.

ABSA bank estimates that two out of three South Africans participated in Black Friday sales in 2018. And FNB reports in 2018, Black Friday transaction volumes grew by 16% compared with 2017 and anticipates a 15% increase in transactions over the sales period in 2019. 

Successfully meeting this massive growth in orders has been a key focus for the Takealot Group. CEO Kim Reid says throughout the year they have been working to scale operations across multiple areas within the business. “After expanding our Johannesburg distribution centre (DC), our warehouse storage space now stands at 75 000m2. We house over 3.7 million items at any given time, and have opened 47 Takealot Pickup Points in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga for order collections and returns, with more to open in the coming months.” 

Takealot Delivery Team delivers to more South African homes than any other courier company in the country. On a monthly basis, they carry out over 1.6-million deliveries,  with this number expected to increase to over 2-million during the shopping season. More than 4,500 drivers currently deliver for the Takealot Delivery Team; a number that is growing every month. The Takealot group anticipates they’ll travel over 4,000 000km from Black Friday until 24 December. “To put that in context, it is the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe over 100 times” says Reid.

Takealot.com’s Blue Dot Sale is a five day sale period which starts on Black Friday (29 November) and sees a range of new deals throughout the weekend as well as on Cyber Monday (2 December) and Takealot Tuesday (3 December), with up to 60% off thousands of items. For the first time, takealot.com will also be giving their shoppers early access to some of its Black Friday deals, starting on 24 November. Fresh new app-only deals will be added daily. 

The Superbalist Showdown will run from 29 November to 3 December, with up to 70% off more than 15 000+ items. Superbalist shoppers will also have early access to Black Friday deals on selected days throughout November, with Superbalist’s Black Friday Spoilers – 24 hours to shop deals that they say won’t be beaten on Black Friday. 

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