" ITREALMS: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

71% of IT decision makers concern over insufficient wireless protection,

The new survey from Fortinet, the global leader in high-performance cyber security solutions, reveals that insufficient wireless security is a concern for 71 per cent of the Information Technology Decision Makers (ITDMs) reports ITRealms.

The report added that the aforementioned outcome was discovered, as it was hardly surprising given that 29 per cent of the enterprise wireless networks put in place for internal employees, do not have the basic security function of authentication in place.

A significant 16 per cent and 21 per cent of enterprises respectively, overlook firewall and anti-virus security functions when it comes to wireless strategies. Other security measures deemed critical to core infrastructure protection, such as IPS (deployed by 39 per cent), application control (35 per cent) and URL filtering (41 per cent), play a part in even fewer wireless deployments.

When considering the future direction of their wireless security strategies, 56 per cent of ITDMs said they would maintain focus on the most common security features – firewall and authentication while demand for more security is emerging with 22 per cent prioritizing complementary technologies – IPS, anti-virus, application control and URL filtering – to guard against the full extent of the threat landscape.

Other survey highlights include:

•    South African ITDMs said the biggest risk to their organisations of operating an unsecured wireless network is the loss of sensitive corporate and/or customer data, with 69 per cent citing this as a concern against 48 per cent of global respondents.

The next highest risk, service interruption, was cited by 16 per cent of ITDMs, followed by industrial espionage (7 per cent), non-compliance to industry regulations (5 per cent) and damage to corporate reputation (4 per cent).

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Sage survey says SMEs are struggling to innovate in Africa

The world’s small and medium business owners are struggling to innovate due to competing business priorities and a lack of appropriately skilled employees according to a new global survey by Sage (http://www.Sage.com).

Nearly a third (32%) of small business owners around the world has neglected the development of a new business idea. The problem stems from a lack of time, despite small business owners working over 40 hours a week (as shown in the Sage global research revealed last week (http://www.apo.af/MHGm5F).

Some 42% attribute their long hours to the unavailability of appropriately skilled employees. South African entrepreneurs are finding this particularly tough, with 57% saying that improved skills amongst the workforce would help release that necessary time.

The development of new ideas was ranked as the most common area of neglect, with customer contact, staff development and bill payment also on the priority list. In a small number of countries, including the UK and Germany, entrepreneurs have said they would rather spend time on innovation than on general office administration.

But innovation isn’t the only thing to suffer as a result of time-poor entrepreneurs. Over a third (38%) of those surveyed say that time pressures result in losing customers and clients. In South Africa, nearly half (49%) report losing customers, a client or a new business opportunity at least once because they were too stretched to service the business.                                                              

However, small business owners are open to solutions to help them devote more time to innovation. As well as improving skills amongst employees, better administrative processes and technology were highlighted (by 51% of respondents) as useful in releasing more time. Brazilians rank this much higher, with 69% saying this would help.

Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage comments: “Small businesses around the world are the true heroes of the global economy and we need to support them in helping them find the time to develop and grow. When so many businesses create a dream business from a great idea, it’s heart-breaking to see business owners forced to let that innovation fall by the wayside. We know how hard they work, and we want to help entrepreneurs carve out some time to keep their innovative spark alive.”

“Small business owners around the world say they often neglect developing new ideas and products because they have limited time to innovate. We see the same challenge throughout Africa, where there are many hardworking and creative entrepreneurs who just don’t have the time to explore and execute on their new ideas,” says Ivan Epstein, President of Sage International.

“And that is in spite of entrepreneurs sacrificing their evenings, weekends and holidays to keep their businesses running. Stifling businesses with administrative processes and red tape discourages them from thinking big and starves the Innovation Economy. It is, as such, encouraging to see many African governments striving to make it easier to do business in their countries.”

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Kogi governorship: Violence at APC National Secretariat

The National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Wuse II at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, was in crisis this afternoon with violence between supporters of dissenting party loyalists, reports ITRealms.

According to reports monitored on Channels Tv, supporters of Messrs James Faleke and Yahaya Bello alias ‘Fair Plus’ were engaged in fisticuff.

ITRealms recalls that both James Faleke and Yahaya Bello are top contenders in search for a substitute for late Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC candidate for the Kogi State governorship election which was declared inconclusive by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Noteworthy is that Faleke, was Prince Audu’s running mate, while Yahaya was the first runner up during the party primaries.

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From NET to ntel: A tribute to Engr. VA Haffner

A wag once said that the death of a wise old man is akin to the burning down of a huge library.

That aphorism rings very true in the contemplation of the highly accomplished life of Engineer Victor Adetunji Haffner, FNSE, FAEng who passed away about a month ago and was committed to mother earth on Friday November 27, 2015.

For an industry player with over 20 years’ experience­­ on both the regulatory and operator sides of the fence, the name Engineer Haffner was a familiar and recurring one even though I did not have the pleasure of meeting the legend until a few months ago when I paid him a courtesy visit at his Ikoyi home in company of a colleague.

The visit was necessitated by a letter Engineer Haffner had sent to our office here at ntel. Following a publication in the newspaper requesting an audit of customers using fibre ducts of erstwhile NiTel and Mtel, the octogenarian had sent us a letter in which he expressed his happiness at the conclusion of the drawn-out acquisition process of the old NiTel.

In his letter, Engineer Haffner expressed his delight at NatCom’s emergence and eventual acquisition of NiTel/Mtel’s assets by the NatCom consortium via a guided liquidation process.

I read your notice in the publication of the Punch newspapers on Tuesday 7th July, 2015. I was very happy about your success in a matter which has dragged on for so many year.” “I was very happy about your success in a matter which has dragged on for many years,” he wrote.“I was very happy about your success in a matter which has dragged on for many years,” he wrote.“I was very happy about your success in a matter which has dragged on for many years,” he wrote.
Pa Haffner, as he was fondly referred to in the industry, was the first Nigerian to head a Telecoms company. He was CEO of Nigerian External Telecommunication Limited. 

A trained engineer, he began his career during the colonial era and climbing through the rungs, emerged at the pinnacle as the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian External Communications Limited in 1964 at the age of 49.

Engineer Haffner had a string of accomplishments under his belt, accomplishments that helped launch Nigeria into the modern telecommunications age. He was instrumental, as Contracting Officer, in the setting up of Nigeria’s first Satellite earth station at Lanlate, first in 1969 and then with an upgrade in 1972 for the Lanlate II Earth Station which was expected to provide commercial services via INTELSAT satellite in the Indian Ocean with the East African and Asian Telecommunication administrations.

As General Manager of NET Limited, Pa Haffner was thrust into the thick of Nigeria’s first coup d’etat as head of Nigeria’s communication company. His account of the heady days beginning January 16, 1966 and terminating in the counter coup makes for interesting reading in his published memoirs,– Memoirs on my Engineering Career and Reflections on Nigeria (1960 -1999)

In the book, Engineer Haffner who described himself as ‘a cat with nine lives’ having survived a terrible car crash and a vicious armed robbery attack at 78, recalls how he provided refuge for Chief Remi Fani Kayode after the coup and being present at meetings between important government functionaries like General Aguiyi Ironsi, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, Dr. Elias and Zana Buka Dipcharima.

His recollections of those exciting days read almost like fiction but are borne out by the political history of Nigeria as we know it.

Listening to Engineer Haffner speak one was struck by his intelligence, lucid recollections and expansive knowledge of the telecoms industry. What also became immediately evident was the fact that he was a man who had served his nation with diligence and commitment. 

He oversaw Satellite communications in Nigeria as part of the Syncom Project, ("synchronous communication satellite") an initiative of the United States of America’s NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) which pioneered Nigeria’s space project with the launch, in 1963, of an experimental satellite into orbit from Lagos.

Pa Haffner supervised, as Chief Executive Officer of NET Limited, the construction of the 32 storey NECOM House, a towering skyscraper built by Costain (West Africa) and which currently ranks as the tallest building in Lagos.

In 1990, fifteen years after his forced retirement, Engineer Haffner was drafted as a founding member of the nascent Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the brain child of Engineer Olawale Ige, the Federal Minister of Communications under President  Ibrahim Babangida.

The establishment of the commission was signed into law by Decree 75 of November 1992. Prior to this, Engineer Haffner had served previously as African president of the Administrative Council of the International Telecoms Union (ITU) and first president of the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN)

Engineer Haffner, even at the ripe old age of 96, exuded knowledge, affability, integrity as well as an abiding love and interest in the industry and a nation to which he had committed his whole life but his recollections were tinged with regret something he took out time to point out in his memoir where we read “I was shortlisted to be given national honour of OON in 2006 but did not show up in Abuja to receive the award because I considered it an insult. 

There are some people who perhaps passed the examination of unrecognized bodies and you give them Commander of the Federal Republic. If you can only give somebody who has achieved what I have achieved OON, the best thing is to forget the person.”

Inspite of the apparent regret and disappointment, Engineer Haffner evinced no trace of bitterness which was not surprising because many who knew him well either as a boss, mentor or industry legend speak about his kindness and integrity.

Go well, Pa Haffner and you will never be forgotten.

*Osondu C. Nwokoro is Director, External Affairs at ntel and wrote this from Lagos.
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

FG denies austere package for Ministers

The Federal Government (FG) has denied tampering with the salaries and allowances of the newly sworn-in Ministers, reports ITRealms.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu in a press statement made available to ITRealms said that such story making around in the media, said no one especially President Muhammadu Buhari has not tampered with the salaries and allowances of the Federal Ministers.

ITRealms recalls that a section of the media has reported that barely three weeks in office, President Muhammadu Buhari shocked the new ministers with poor salaries and austere allowances.

According to the reports, while the substantive minister will earn N2,026,400 annual basic salary($8,514.285), Minister of State is to get N1.8million($7,563.025) per annum. Other  highlights of the conditions as reported include “Estacode Allowance($900 per diem); Duty Tour Allowance(N35,000); Utilities Allowance(Telephone/ Electricity/ Water)–30% of Annual Basic Salary (N607,920); Domestic Staff Allowance(75% -((N1,519,800) of Annual Basic Salary; Medical Facilities (in accordance with NHIS Policy);  Special Assistant (To be provided in kind); Security (To be provided in kind); Air Travel (By Business Class); Newspaper Allowance (15% of  Annual Basic Salary-N303,960).”

But as said by the spokesperson to President Buhari, “They (salaries and allowances) remain as have been prescribed by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission under a law passed in 2008.”

Garba also noted that the President and the Vice President have voluntarily offered a 50 per cent salary cut, which does not apply to Ministers or other political appointees.

“This is voluntary and does not apply to Ministers and other political appointees,” he declared, insisting that reports to the effect that the President has imposed an austere package on the ministers are unknown to the Federal Government. 

“The administration has not tampered with the salaries of ministers and that remain as prescribed under the law,” Garba maintained. 

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) 

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