Telstra today announced the launch of the Whispir Conversation Platform, a cloud-based enterprise service that allows organisations to quickly reach and communicate with customers, employees and the community via SMS, voice, web, email, mobile data and social media networks.
Nathan Bell, Telstra Global Enterprise and Services, Director of Marketing, Portfolio and Pricing said Telstra currently offered the Whispir Conversation Platform to many of its enterprise and government customers in Australia and would be using this experience to deliver the service to new international customers.
“In less than two years, Whispir’s customer base has quadrupled to more than 1.6 million users and with today’s expansion, we see significant growth opportunities for this service, particularly when delivered over Telstra’s global network extending to more than 2,000 Points of Presence.
“From a major bank using the platform to communicate with staff about IT incidents, critical events and business continuity to a rail operator sharing targeted information about their train network with a local community, or a HR department coordinating the flow of information to job seekers in their network, Whispir can be used across complex operational environments within any industry and organisation, big or small.
“This is just one of many cloud-based applications now integrated into our global network and available on-demand, enabling customers to respond quickly to changing business priorities and better anticipate challenges ahead,” Nathan said.
Jeromy Wells, Chief Executive Officer at Whispir, said the scalable, intuitive and easy-to-use nature of the service, combined with Telstra’s global reach, would further accelerate Whispir’s international growth, particularly across key vertical markets such as banking and finance, media, transportation and emergency services.
“Organisations need to ensure that critical communications to customers, employees or the community is timely, consistent and delivered as efficiently as possible. Using the Whispir Conversation Platform, customers can send and receive content and information over any channel at scale, and make it personalised and actionable, including more than 50 language options and geographic targeting.
“In partnership with Telstra, we’re looking forward to continuing our global expansion and working with their international customers to transform and enrich the way they communicate with key stakeholders,” Jeromy said.
The Whispir Conversation Platform will be available in global locations from the end of August via a range of packages and pricing.
New Nodes Feature Access to NaviCloud Director, providing UK businesses with a more flexible, customisable, enterprise class, production-oriented hybrid cloud environment
LONDON – NaviSite Europe Limited, a Time Warner Cable company, today announced that they have launched two new NaviCloud Director nodes, located in Woking and Redhill, UK. NaviCloud Director™ is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform that leverages VMWare vCloud Director® 5.1, and is designed to provide businesses a flexible and versatile self-service platform well suited for cloud-based production applications. NaviSite provides customer access to VMware APIs and developer community. Customers also have the option of accessing the native vCloud Director user interface or can manage their cloud environment via the NaviSite designed AppCenter portal.
The NaviCloud Director platform addresses two key drivers for cloud adoption in the European marketplace. Firstly the announcement comes as the UK is seeing significant growth in the software development industry. As reported by the Telegraph, according to recent research commissioned by Google, software development will be worth over £30 billion to the UK economy by 2025, and is already thought to be responsible for close to 400,000 jobs across the country. NaviCloud Director allows this growing developer community to create, test and then dynamically publish these applications using the VMware API toolkit.
Secondly the UK Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) recently reported that by the end of 2015, around 80 per cent of UK organizations will run some kind of hybrid IT environment, combining in-house and cloud delivered technologies. NaviCloud Director lets customers connect it to existing physical or virtual environments using the VMware API connectors, enabling clients to move workloads offsite, create business continuity environments or use NaviSite as dynamic “burst” capacity during seasonal peaks.
“We are excited to announce our new UK cloud nodes as it means we can provide our European customers with even more flexibility in how they experience cloud computing,” said Sean McAvan, managing director, NaviSite Europe Ltd. “With the two NaviCloud Director cloud nodes, our customers can now spin up cloud instances using their software and tear them down when they’re done, without any manual intervention. And we can provide effective disaster recovery within UK boundaries, which is important for industries which require data to remain resident in either the UK or European Union. As the NaviCloud Director nodes are both within the UK, NaviSite has the capacity to offer compute resources with minimal latency, which means we can support applications that need near-synchronous replication.”
Additional key features of NaviCloud Director now available to UK customers include:
- Easy access through AppCenter, vCloud Director, and APIs
- Mix & match billing models for fixed costs or pay as you go
- Flexible network architectures allowing for optimal application configuration or regulatory compliance
- Ability to access and integrate with other NaviCloud and NaviSite Managed Services to accommodate complex applications and business needs
About NaviSite Europe Limited
NaviSite Europe Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of NaviSite, Inc., a Time Warner Cable company, is a leading international provider of enterprise-class, cloud-enabled hosting, managed applications and services. NaviSite provides a full suite of reliable and scalable managed services, including Application Services, industry-leading Enterprise Hosting, and Managed Cloud Services for organisations looking to outsource IT infrastructures and lower their capital and operational costs. Enterprise customers depend on NaviSite for customised solutions, delivered through a global footprint of state-of-the-art datacentres. For more information about NaviSite’s services, please visit www.navisite.com.
Company Offers Industry’s Most Comprehensive PCI Vulnerability Analysis, Reporting and Consultation
DALLAS – Masergy Communications Inc., a global leader in managed networking, advanced cyber security and cloud services, announced today that the company has successfully completed the rigorous Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) lab certification. As a company on the cutting-edge of security, this certification enables Masergy to help organizations protect and harden their networks from advanced threats.
The PCI Data Security Standard (DSS), endorsed by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc., requires merchants and service providers that store, process or transmit customer payment card data to adopt information security controls and processes to ensure data integrity. Participating payment brands require PCI DSS compliance reports by a certified third-party assessor for onsite audits of merchants and service providers that process payment card transactions. More information on the Council and the standard can be found atwww.pcisecuritystandards.org
As an ASV for its ninth consecutive year, Masergy’s Professional Services team has been helping merchants manage data security risks, evaluate the security of their systems that store payment account data and assist them in achieving compliance with the PCI DSS.
“The PCI Security Standards Council is committed to helping everyone involved in the payment chain protect consumer payment data,” said Bob Russo, General Manager, PCI Security Standards Council. “By participating in the ASV certification process, Masergy demonstrates they are playing an active part in this important end goal.”
Recent headlines detailing data breaches in retail, financial and healthcare industries underscore the critical need for rigorous data security standards and certification, and the availability of advanced security systems that continually monitor all potential access points in corporate IT systems.
Masergy provides the industry’s most comprehensive solution for PCI compliance assurance. The company’s detailed process includes network and application security assessments using a combination of multiple security scanning tools to discover vulnerabilities. These automated processes are supplemented with industry-unique manual testing processes.
The results are then cross referenced to ensure all potential system weaknesses are identified while maintaining an extremely low false positive rate. After applicable system changes and software updates are applied, Masergy reassesses the customer’s infrastructure to ensure vulnerabilities have been eliminated, and the changes did not introduce new risks into the environment.
“Masergy’s rigorous compliance assessment service provides in-depth consultation, end to end compliance testing and detailed technical and executive level reporting,” said the Chief Information Security Officer at a leading financial services firm. “Masergy is the only company that provides this level of service.”
Masergy’s complete set of Security Professional services include:
● Regulatory Compliance Testing
● Sophisticated Risk Management
“Masergy has offered these services for a decade and has developed a high level of expertise. We go beyond simple automated scanning and deploy advanced technologies, that deliver actionable insights to ensure that our customers are secure and compliant,” said Chris MacFarland, Masergy’s Chief Executive Officer.
About PCI Security Standards Council
The mission of the PCI Security Standards Council is to enhance payment account security by fostering broad adoption of PCI security standards. For more information, please visit www.pcisecuritystandards.org
Masergy owns and operates the largest independent global cloud networking platform for enterprises. Our managed solutions help businesses compete in the global marketplace with real-time analytics, global unified communications as a service (UCaaS), security as a service (SaaS) and software defined network control. Masergy's patented technology, customizable solutions and unmatched customer experience are why a growing number of global enterprises rely on Masergy to deliver performance beyond expectations. For more information about Masergy visitwww.masergy.com or follow us on Twitter@Masergy, Blog, LinkedIn and Facebook.
SAN FRANCISCO – IObit, the world's leading provider of system utility software, today released MacBooster 2. This major update to its well recognized all-in-one software for Mac provides more great features and comprehensive redesign with more intuitive and seamless feeling for Mac users.
Internet is riddled with potential malicious attack, and no computer system including Mac can completely immune to it. MacBooster 2 added security model to address this issue with greatly expanded malware database to detect and remove hidden virus, phishing attacks, spyware, malware, and other online threats including the frequently discussed Genio virus application, so Mac users' personal data and privacy are secured.
The brand new UI design of MacBooster 2 brings out the simplicity of this program. The newly added System Status shows users' Mac health status straight forward in terms of junk files, performance, and security level, and all the issues can be fixed with only one click. As more than half of the Mac users complain that their Mac operating system slows down over time, MacBooster 2 continues to help users release RAM to increase the processing speed and re-organize login items to accelerate system startup speed. Meanwhile, MacBooster 2 specifically helps users find and delete similar and duplicated photos to leave more space for amazing things.
"MacBooster has accompanied our Mac users for more than a year, and we have received many good reviews from our customers." said Antonio Zhang, IObit's marketing director. "Comparing to the previous version, MacBooster 2 is faster, simpler, and securer, which allows users to enjoy their Mac even more. Most importantly, it is a totally free upgrade for old users."
About MacBooster 2
MacBooster 2 is an all-in-one system optimization and protection application for Mac which offers a number of features to boost, clean, and secure Mac. It releases RAM and re-organizes startup items to make OS X run faster. It can clear out unused files to free up hard disk space, protect Macs against the growing number of Mac viruses and malware, and help get rid of 3rd party applications that cannot be uninstalled easily. It's the ultimate tool to clean and boost Mac easily. To download the application, please visit: http://www.macbooster.net
Founded in 2004, IObit provides consumers with innovative system utilities for Windows, Mac, and Android OS to greatly enhance operational performance and protect their computers and mobile devices from security threats.
Leader in Unified Communications Educates Customers on Importance of Choosing the Right Cloud Voice Solution for Your Business CROSBY, Texas – Abletek, a leader in unified communications, announced today that the company has collected and documented the five telltale signs to look out for when selecting a cloud voice provider. With the appeal of enhanced office productivity and increased profitability, it's no surprise that this technology has taken off. As the benefits of cloud voice continue to stack up, many small and mid-sized businesses are wondering how to choose the right solution. Abletek outlines the five most important aspects to consider when evaluating cloud voice. Strong, Local Presence in the Business Community: Even before you consider the solution selecting the right company to install and service cloud technology is the first step. One of the most important factors to look for is a technology company that operates in the same area that you do. They have a foundational understanding of the market that you are in, they understand the culture, and can administer customer service very quickly. When your partner has a presence in your community you can instantly make changes and interact directly in case any issues ever come up. Inexperienced remote providers can often hide in the Internet abyss, so they don't have to deal with installation problems. Focus on finding a partner that is always willing to meet face-to-face and generate solutions to problems as they arise. Understand the 3 Critical Factors to Successful Installation: Businesses need to make sure that they are working with a technology company who is well educated in the technical side of a transaction. The 3 most important factors are Quality of Service, a Proper Router and POE Switches. Installing a communications system without paying attention to these aspects can instantly jeopardize performance and call clarity. This is where inexperienced companies cause the infamous jitter, latency and lack of redundancy that annoy many of today's users. When an inexperienced provider sells a boxed, "plug and play" solution, the system usually will not work properly. Without properly assessing the network and reorganizing it so everything is streamlined, users experience a messy network with lots of dropped calls in the short-term, and expensive re-installs in the long-term. More experienced providers understand the complexity and can actually streamline this intricate web of information to deliver better performing cloud voice technology and in some cases, reduce turn their phone system into a profit center. Offering a Premium/Low-Price Model. The problem here is that low-cost solutions usually do nothing for the business in the long-term, as they lack scalability. Business owners are usually prone to purchasing barebones systems, but in the long-term these end up being much more expensive, due to the shoddy foundation that low-price systems usually offer. As the business starts to scale, more features become necessary and communication infrastructure grows in complexity. Usually the low-price solutions are limited in their functionality, which means that as the business grows and demands more from their communications infrastructure, they won't be able to get this functionality. Simply put, these limitations usually lead to patchwork solutions that can't stand the test of time. Look for providers who assess your business needs in the long-term and refuse to take the quick cash to eventually leave you with a magnified problem later. Negotiation Power with the Carrier. Some of the best features of phone systems require successful integration with telecommunication carriers. Local providers have the ability to port numbers, allocate proper bandwidth and probe the network to determine whether the carrier can support the bandwidth demands you will be placing on them. This is another reason why only local providers are best suited for business interactions. Long-Term Contracts. Plainly put, only deal with companies that don't require long-term contracts. The fundamental reality of a long-term contract is that it favors an underperforming provider. This misaligns incentives and shifts the transaction in favor of the provider rather than the needs of the customer. Deal with a company that has enough faith in their ability to serve their customers so well that they propose a month-to-month, cancel-anytime agreement. This will eliminate a lot of providers from the equation but does wonders to ensure that your provider's incentives are aligned with your best interests. Most companies that get caught in those contracts find that they are virtually unbreakable. If you see a long-term contract, run. By focusing on these criteria, businesses can ensure that they are working with only the best providers, who will leave them with a more powerful, robust and efficient network to run their business. ABOUT ABLETEK Abletek is not your typical IT & communications company. We are a TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION PROVIDER and we care deeply about helping you maximize your productivity through effective Managed Services (MSP), IT, communications and related business technology solutions, and while a lot of companies may talk about increasing your productivity, Abletek actually delivers. ABLETEK will remove the burden of managing your network and communications infrastructures by providing everything needed to maintain your servers, workstations, laptops, Pocket PCs/PDA/Treo, Switches, Routers, Email, Printers, VoIP, SIP, Digital & Analog Communications systems and more. Leverage our team of dedicated professionals and proven technology management resources to: CONTROL & REDUCE YOUR COSTS. For more information on Abletek, call (713) 455.1888 or visit www.abletek.com.
Namibia’s Citizen Connect TV White Spaces project is the largest yet in terms of area served, with sizeable portions of northern Namibia connected
WINDHOEK, Namibia – MyDigitalBridge Foundation in partnership with Microsoft and Adaptrum, with support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)-Namibia, has successfully trialed the Namibian TV White Spaces (TVWS) pilot project. The intention is to provide a blueprint of broadband internet connectivity countrywide. Called ‘Citizen Connect’, the pilot consists of a network deployed over a 62km x 152km (9,424 km²) area covering three regional councils: Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati, and connecting 28 schools in northern Namibia. This makes it the biggest TVWS project of its kind in terms of area coverage.
Namibia, like most sub-Saharan African countries, is facing a digital divide. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) country profile shows that only 13.9% of the population is using the internet. “Our mission is to facilitate appropriate private-public sector (PPP) initiatives to ensure the underserved and un-served communities in Namibia are included in the technology landscape,” says Dr. Hylton Villet, Chairman of MyDigitalBridge Foundation, which architected and deployed the network with support of Microsoft and Adaptrum.
“This pilot project came at the right time for us to answer to the challenges of internet access, or the lack thereof, to all our citizens,” says Hon. Dr. Moses Amweelo, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on ICT. In 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution recognising internet access a basic human right. In his final State of the Nation address in March 2014, his Excellency, President Pohamba of the Republic of Namibia, specifically highlighted the importance internet will play in transforming and modernising the Namibian economy.
The deployment of TVWS technology in Africa falls under Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, which launched in February 2013 to actively enable African economic development using relevant, affordable and accessible technology. “Internet access is a fundamental pillar in Africa’s leap forward towards a sustainable knowledge economy. We are seeing first-hand the direct impact of TVWS delivering affordable access to communities and business. The unlimited potential of broadband is enabling large scale development of human capital, the establishment of e-commerce services in the small and medium business ecosystem and the delivery of government services such as education and health care to the community.” Says Fernando de Sousa, Microsoft’s General Manager for Africa Initiatives.
In collaboration with local public and private sector partners, Microsoft 4Afrika is currently piloting TVWS projects in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Ghana. In addition to these on-the-ground deployments, Microsoft is advocating for laws and regulations that promote more efficient and effective spectrum utilisation as a member of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance.
This Monday at the University of Namibia’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos Campus in Ongwadiva, Namibia, the trial demonstrated the following to the Namibian Parliamentary Standing Committee: The connection of three regional offices, 28 schools and seven education circuit offices, all with a link distance of 8km to 10km (with two links at 12km). Typical speeds range from 5Mbps to 10Mbps with the help of the Adaptrum ARCS 2.0 TVWS radios and provided users access to a wide range of voice, video, and data applications. Monday’s two hour demo included high-resolution Skype video conferencing from three locations, each connected to the Internet with the help of Adaptrum’s TVWS technology.
“Adaptrum is thrilled to be piloting our latest generation TVWS wireless broadband system in Northern Namibia. By covering such a large geographic area, this project is showcasing this technology’s ability to enable low-cost high-speed broadband access in rural areas, helping to close the digital divide,” said Haiyun Tang, Chief Executive Office of Adaptrum.
“The next steps are to enhance the network’s operational efficiency and to trial video teaching, e-content distribution and peering between the connected sites. We envision video streaming mathematics classes using one qualified teacher to reach 20 to 30 schools,” says Paul Rowney.
“This pilot project is ambitious by any standard and can only be realised with the support and contributions from a large stakeholder community. I call on all stakeholders to continue to collaborate in an effort to ensure that we afford all Namibians the right of internet access for purposes of education, health and government services” says Dr. Moses Amweelo.
Natural catastrophe events in the United States accounted for three of the five most costly insured catastrophe losses in the first half of 2014, according to just-released Swiss Re sigma estimates.
In mid-May, a spate of severe storms and hail hit many parts of the U.S. over a five-day period, generating insured losses of $2.6 billion. Harsh spring weather also triggered thunderstorms and tornadoes, some of which caused insured claims of $1.1 billion.
The Polar Vortex in the U.S. in January also led to a long period of heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures in the east and southern states such as Mississippi and Georgia, resulting in combined insured losses of $1.7 billion.
Ed. Note-Today, I continue my three-part posts on risk assessments. Today I take a look at some different ideas on how you might go about assessing your risks.
One of the questions that I hear most often is how does one actually perform a risk assessment? Mike Volkov has suggested a couple of different approaches in his article “Practical Suggestions for Conducting Risk Assessments.” In it Volkov differentiates between smaller companies which might use some basic tools such as “personal or telephone interviews of key employees; surveys and questionnaires of employees; and review of historical compliance information such as due diligence files for third parties and mergers and acquisitions, as well as internal audits of key offices” from larger companies. Such larger companies may use these basic techniques but may also include a deeper dive into high risk countries or high risk business areas. If your company’s sales model uses third party representatives, you may also wish to visit with those parties or persons to help evaluate their risks for bribery and corruption that might well be attributed to your company.
Another noted compliance practitioner, William Athanas, in an article entitled “Rethinking FCPA Compliance Strategies in a New Era of Enforcement”, took a different look at risk assessments when he posited that companies assume that FCPA violations follow a “bell-curve distribution, where the majority of employees are responsible for the majority of violations.” However Athanas believed that the distribution pattern more closely follows a “hockey-stick distribution, where a select few…commit virtually all violations.” Athanas suggests assessing those individuals with the opportunity to interact with foreign officials have the greatest chance to commit FCPA violations. Diving down from that group, certain individuals also possess the necessary inclination, whether a personal financial incentive linked to the transaction or the inability to recognize the significant risks attendant to bribery.
There’s bad news for SAP’s HANA: The majority of SAP’s American User Group is skeptical that the Big Data platform is worth the costs.
ASUG recently surveyed its member on SAP HANA adoption. It received more than 500 respondents, with 93 percent identifying themselves as ASUG members.
Three-fourths of SAP customers said they have not purchased any SAP HANA products because they can’t identify a business case that will justify its costs. Ranked well below this concern (at 40 percent) were concerns about skill set, a roadmap and upgrade issues.
ASUG membership can also include SAP partners, whose responses were separated out from customer survey results. Still, partner results share a similar concern. The top factor partners say could lead to more HANA purchases would be “better business case guidance.” (As one reader pointed out in the comments, the SAP Innovation Awards might help here, since the list provides nearly 30 use cases.)
WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Regional Office in Oakland, California, is monitoring the situation following the U.S. Geological Survey report of a 6.0 magnitude earthquake that occurred this morning six miles south southwest of Napa, California. FEMA remains in close coordination with California officials, and its Regional Watch Center is at an enhanced watch to provide additional reporting and monitoring of the situation, including impacts of any additional aftershocks.
FEMA deployed liaison officers to the state emergency operations center in California and to the California coastal region emergency operations center to help coordinate any requests for federal assistance. FEMA also deployed a National Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT West) to California to support response activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.
“I urge residents and visitors to follow the direction of state, tribal and local officials,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “Aftershocks can be strong enough to cause additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.”
When disasters occur, the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.
Safety and Preparedness Tips
- Expect aftershocks. These secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures and can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.
- During an earthquake, drop, cover and hold on. Minimize movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place. If indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and exiting is safe.
- If it is safe to do so, check on neighbors who may require assistance.
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Cellular and land line phone systems may not be functioning properly. The use of text messages to contact family is the best option, when it is available.
- Check for gas leaks. If you know how to turn the gas off, do so and report the leak to your local fire department and gas company.