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Integrating technology for the new normal


Johannesburg, 30 Jul 2020
Read time 4min 10sec
Alain Bertrand Aka, System Engineer Lead at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa
Alain Bertrand Aka, System Engineer Lead at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

The theme for organisations over the past several months has been one of survival. Whether you are running a start-up in Lagos or a multinational enterprise headquartered in Johannesburg looking to expand into Africa, it has simply not been business as usual. Lockdown regulations the world over mean technology has become even more of a critical advantage. However, these uncertain times provide an invaluable opportunity to accelerate and learn new ways of doing things.

“Today, it is all about the key message of Inspire Africa and growing business in partnership with one another. Everyone is in this situation together, and the only way to harness the new normal is by getting technology partners, vendors, suppliers and customers to combine forces and leverage their respective expertise in more innovative ways,” says Alain Bertrand Aka, System Engineer Lead at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa.

Leveraging strengths

Organisations like SolarWinds help make this a more straightforward proposition. Given how pervasive and complex technology has become, this IT management solutions provider enables organisations such as Westcon-Comstor to effortlessly link its extensive partner network across Cisco, Veritas and NetApp offerings in a more integrated fashion, irrespective of the industry vertical of clients.

“Much like ourselves, SolarWinds believes in how technology can be fully utilised to solve today’s business challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically transformed long-term forecasts, strategic planning, and even operational efficiencies. Fortunately, having access to technology that can link to all aspects of the business environment facilitates a more agile environment that is easier to manage. While not immune to such black swan events as the one we are currently experiencing, technology does help mitigate some of the risks associated with remote working, operating digitally and transforming distribution methods,” adds Aka.

Leveraging technology, such as the technology provided by SolarWinds, can create an enabling environment where cross-architecture vendor solutions can be combined to conduct business more efficiently and digitally led, given the complexities of the current landscape. This technology provides a deeper insight view to stay ahead of future incidents.

Different thinking

“The pandemic can be considered a catalyst for organisations across the continent to re-evaluate how they embrace software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, remote access, cyber security, backup and video conferencing, to name just a few technologies. Fundamental to this is linking the strengths of every vendor value proposition and delivering an enhanced way to use technology to build on this concept of the new normal. People will likely continue working remotely for some time to come. Even business meetings will predominantly remain digital for the foreseeable future. How best the business can harness this potential is dependant on its willingness to embrace change.”

Even though the concept of operating remotely might give rise to valid security concerns around the safety of data and infrastructure, SolarWinds assists in providing solutions that securely help monitor and manage the business footprint across the Internet.

“Safety and security remain foundational concerns around any technology implementation. With every device leaving the relative safety of the company network environment, these concerns only increase. Adding to this is the complexity of the regulatory environment and the uncertainty around what the future will hold in a post-lockdown world. However, by implementing remote management solutions, management is in a position to not only reduce the attack surface, but also be able to monitor in real-time all entry points into the network.”

Monitor everywhere

Cyber security is hard at the best of times. Employees do not always follow the right protocol or adhere to carefully developed policies. In most instances, this is due as much to ignorance as it is to the uncertainty around what constitutes best practice. This becomes even more challenging with most of the workforce operating remotely.

“Home networks are prone to attack as it provides an easier route into corporate systems. Organisations must, therefore, embrace monitoring solutions in a more proactive way to ensure that wherever their employees are working from, there is a level of oversight. But technology on its own can only go so far. It is still vital for companies to continually educate and train their employees. This must include cyber security best practice, but also how to best use the digital tools of the new normal to perform their jobs more effectively. We have entered a brave new world that will be radically different from the one left behind a few months ago. Now is the time to embrace it fully,” concludes Aka.

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