Author - Zainab Namuddu

How to Accelerate Innovation in Private Sectors

Innovation is one of the most important slices of the business pie in Uganda. If you are trying to launch a business, you need to think about how to innovate in your business.

Events like ACIA are trying to spur on innovation in Uganda and they are instilling a new way of thinking about innovation and entrepreneurship. Startup conferences and tech hubs play an important role in accelerating innovation

1) Fund tech hubs

Entrepreneurs and tech hubs can definitely accelerate innovation by funding them more. It should be up to us to help tech hubs and conferences find new ways of generating revenue so the next class of entrepreneurs can be inspired by innovation.

2) Create an open door policy for new ideas

Business owners should create an open door policy for new ideas for their employees and investors. Allow employees to feel empowered to share their ideas with you so that your company can be the best that it can possibly be.

3) Create an R&D lab within your company

Depending on what your company produces, you should create an innovation R&D (research and development) laboratory within your business so that the best ideas can come to the surface.

4) Test, measure and analyze

Innovation should not just be a buzzword. You should measure its success in terms of a return on investment based on the capital that you have spent on innovation. Make sure that you do innovation tests and you measure whether your initiatives are working for your business definitely benefit from analysis in order to reap the benefits from innovation.

Innovation should be embraced in Uganda by the business community. Do your part today so Innovation can flourish. Contact me for ideas on how to create innovation in your business.

 

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Corporate cyberattacks will continue to rise

Cyberattacks targeted at the corporate world continue to be on the increase. Terms like cyber espionage and corporate hacktivists are being thrown around over many boardroom tables these days, with decision makers expressing massive concern. The reality is that the cyber criminal world is evolving at a fast pace, however businesses are struggling to keep up.

While the boardroom has become aware of the importance of strong cyber approaches, often (and painfully) more effective cyber strategies are only looked into after an event has already occurred. In fact, the 2015 KPMG Global CEO Outlook study noted that nearly a third of CEOs list cyber security as the issue that has the biggest impact on their company today, yet only half feel prepared for a cyber-attack.

It has become evident that at a time when attackers are moving swiftly, the traditional approaches to IT security is no longer sufficient. A new way of thinking is needed. In fact, a change in approach and mind-set to effective IT security for today’s business is both necessary and long overdue.

The first step in developing a changed mind-set as a business owner is to understand the mind of the cybercriminal and of course, how they operate. The cybercriminal operating in this century can be considered a ruthless and resourceful entrepreneur with an end goal of financial gain. These cybercriminals are not just your ‘average Joe’ operating underground who can cause minimal damage. These criminals work off clearly defined and effective business models – aimed at causing damage.

This has resulted in the need for businesses to not only protect company data and network infrastructures, but to develop cyber defense strategies that extend beyond the prevention of systems breaches only, to incorporate a wider range of IT security measures aimed at making it much harder and more expensive for the criminals to use the information they procure or trade. Businesses should hold this view: the more precious the data – whether it’s retail customers’ payment details or customers’ intellectual property – the more urgent the need to protect it.

Furthermore, businesses need their cyber security divisions to be as creative and agile as the cyber attackers. This means not only using technology and software together for effective protection, but to also remain aware of the cyber criminal landscape, the movements and changes in this industry and trends at any given time. Given the pace of research and development in the cyber economy, businesses today need to place a focus on harnessing innovative technologies and approaches to effective IT security – to ensure that the approaches implemented today are as effective against the cyber criminal tactics used tomorrow and in the future.

Lastly, while most businesses are riding the technology and innovation train, considering the opportunities being digital creates (driving efficiencies, serving customers better and increasing profits), it must be noted that with the use of innovative technology comes the element of digital risk. Businesses need to consider the risk the digital world brings, when looking at a cyber defense strategy, and  must develop a digital business model that is resilient to cyber-attacks and that can evolve with the business overtime, to remain relevant and of course, effective in the prevention of future cyber-attacks.

Considering all these important elements within cyber that need business attention, perhaps soon we will be seeing more organizations bring together a variety of cyber security functions to better serve an organization and its cyber needs as a whole. Moreover, also putting an end to treating cyber security as just being about the protection of corporate IT systems in a world where boundaries are clearly vanishing. Effective protection today is about understanding what a cyber defense strategy needs to look like and what it should be made up of – to not only react to cyber threats, but more importantly to predict and prevent them.

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How to prevent Ransomware Attacks such as Cryotowall, Reventon, Cryptolocker

Ransomware: Type of malware (malicious software) that locks your computer screen and prevents you from accessing your files and asks you to pay a certain fee (ransom) for you to get back and control over your computer.

These malware sometimes come in the form of a fake antivirus installer which when clicked into the computer then accesses your files and sends details to another server used by the criminals. It is also possible to download ransomware unknowingly by opening infected attachments in emails or unsecure websites.

WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT ATTACKS FROM RANSOMWARE

  • First and foremost the best on can do to avoid any data loss not only from ransomware attacks but any other form of attack is to back up your data regularly preferably using a backup plan such as the 3-2-1 plan which entails that you make 3 copies of the data, store it in 2 separate storage from where it is initially stored and 1 in a separate location.
  • Scrutinize emails and embedded links/attachments found in emails or unsecure websites before clicking on them to avoid any unnecessary installations into your computer that may be the ransomware itself.
  • Regularly update software, programs and applications as these updates tend to add an added layer of protection and also patching up backdoors that could be used by criminals and other online threats to gain access to your computer.
  • Disconnect computer from Wi-Fi or unplug from internet immediately you open an attachment and it starts installing unnecessarily being that it’s not an executable file or the website isn’t secure or the email comes from a source you don’t trust. If you act fast before the characteristic ransomware screen pops up, you can stop communication between the ransomware and the server used to send the encryption key to your computer. This might reduce the number of files that will be encrypted by the ransomware and also buy you some time to back up your data just in case you hadn’t done so.
  • Use system restore which might help you restore your computer to a former known clean state. This however may not really work since the ransomware have newer versions which are able to delete ‘shadow files’ which are vital for the system restore but it’s worth a try.

NB: The most common ransomware today is one called CryptoLocker

The chances of data recovery in cases of ransomware attacks are very minimal thus we advise prevention of these attacks as there is no known solution for these attacks at the moment. The only known way is to pay the ransom which is the advisable also as the decryption key might not be sent to your computer to decrypt the files or it might not even work and the criminals might even try extort more money from you and it becomes a repeating cycle. Secondly it also encourages such criminal acts.

ZAINAB NAMUDDU

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE

EIGHT TECH CONSULTS LTD

 

 

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The Impact Of The Internet Of Things On Global ICT

Generally speaking, Information Communications Technology(ICT) includes any electronic device that can transmit, receive, or store digital information. In the past, this group was somewhat limited to only include telephones and then, computers. It now includes a variety of devices, some of which are extremely common such as smartphones, tablets, and televisions.

The widening scope of ICT does not stop with these devices either. The Internet of Things(IoT) is having a large impact on this field of information technology. So much so that it is actually transforming how ICT is perceived, categorized and used to benefit the world. First, what exactly is the IoT and how does it relate to information technology?

The IoT: A Global Movement

The Internet of Things is more than just a hobbyist’s dream of connecting toasters to the internet. It is a global movement that aims to connect nearly any device possible to the internet so that information can be shared. This may seem trivial at first glance, but it is having a lasting impact on global communications, on developing economies, and in the medical field.

It is estimated that in 2016 there will be at least 6.4 billion devices connected to this Internet of Things. (http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3165317). That’s a 22 percent increase from 2015. Those same estimates predict more than 20 billion connected devices by 2020.

Sure, there may be quite a few toasters, washing machines, and refrigerators in those numbers, but what about the larger picture? That huge number of connected devices is becoming a driving force in global ICT. It allows copious amounts of information to be gathered from different sources or devices and shared instantly with many of the other 20 billion connected devices around the globe.

Accessible To Struggling Countries

More than 95 % of the globe now enjoys basic 2G mobile-cellular connectivity, which means important data can be gathered or shared just about anywhere in the world. (http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2015/57.aspx#.Vx_QUWPdi00) However, many third-world countries might struggle to afford personal computers, expensive medical equipment, or to even hire a full staff of medical professionals: That’s where the diversity of the IoT comes into play.

Being connected to the IoT no longer requires a general purpose computer, tablet, or smartphone. Likewise, diagnosing certain medical problems no longer requires a face-to-face consultation.

Niche devices designed specifically for gather certain types of data or for transmitting certain types of data are constantly being developed. As our programs designed to offer professional assistance from experts who might not reside in the local area.

A new development in the field is seen almost every day. This is extremely beneficial for those countries where funds are limited. The fact that many of them are designed to transmit data using only a basic 2G mobile-cellular network removes the need for Wi-Fi, which isn’t yet available everywhere.

Many IoT devices are being designed with a struggling economy in mind. They are built to be affordable and replaceable. Similarly, they are often designed with ruggedness as a key quality. This allows them to operate outside in harsh climates and in environments that wouldn’t be too friendly to some forms of technology.

Delivering Information Needed For Growth

The utilization of specially designed IoT devices allows for the instant delivery of important information where it is needed most. The possibilities are seemingly endless. They are already having a noticeable impact in the fields of education and technology. Communities that may not have the best access to traditional sources of education or medical knowledge are now up to speed with the rest of the world.

At the same time, these devices can also gather important data, such as climate or environmental data, from these same regions and instantly deliver it to organizations that can make good use of it. The IoT is no doubt having a positive impact on Information Communications Technology by making this gathering and sharing of data possible in areas of the world that have been cut off from the global network for too long.

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You can kill your motivation in these 4 ways

You can kill your motivation in these 4 ways

Staying motivated will keep the hunger in you, to work hard to achieve your goals and dreams. When you are motivated, you have that extra zeal to push for your aim, but the same cannot be said when your motivation has been dented.
Unfortunately, people hurt their own motivation and kill their drive to reach certain heights.
This is how you to do that;
1. You doubt yourself
Success starts with you; it starts with you believing in yourself, and you believing that you can achieve it. When you have doubts in yourself and you don’t believe you can do it, then your motivation will gradually diminish till there’s nothing left.
2. You let things distract you
If you want to maintain your motivation, you should be able to ward off distractions. Distractions come in many forms, and if you don’t keep it away, you’ll easily lose focus.
3. You keep procrastinating
When you keep postponing the things you ought to do now, you make it more difficult for you to even do them at a future date, and it wouldn’t take long for your motivation to be lost thereafter.
4. You see challenges as the final stop
Challenges will definitely come, some things will definitely look difficult to overcome, but the way you see these challenges can go a long way in determining how successful or unsuccessful the relationship could be.
Motivation can easily die off, if you let it to, and these are some of the ways you hurt your motivation.

Published by: Zainab Namuddu
Business Development Executive
Eight Tech Consults Ltd

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Agripoint Platform

AgriPoint serves as a catalyst for institutions and individuals in agriculture and rural development to share knowledge, learn from others, and improve decision making about the vital role of ICTs to empower rural communities, improve rural livelihoods, and build sustainable agriculture and food security. Agripoint approached Eight Tech Consults Ltd to develop a platform that has:

  • Map showing the spread, drop downs of markets covered and their summaries.
  • Graphs and trends Analyses of all that happens in these subject markets.
  • Tables Analysis of all enterprises and value chains.
  • Market Opportunities section and summary.
  • Prices of 30 commodities per \kg or \litre
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NPA Staff Performance, Appraisal and Collaboration System

This project required development of a human resource performance tracking and appraisal system for the National Planning Authority. The project involved a deeper analysis of human resources business processes at the National Planning Authority, with the aim of establishing; process challenges in the areas of employee bio data management, work plans development and approval, performance monitoring, activity spending, employee leave, among others.

We had to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing NPA Reporting and Human Resource Information System and develop a more suitable automated system which aimed at automating the NPA staff establishment (Bio-Data capture) including the detailed staff list fields for easy and safe storage and retrieval and to automate staff activity tracking and reporting.

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NPA Recruitment Management System

This was a project for National Planning Authority to help in recruitment of staff. The system is web based and allows for creation of accounts and cv creation or upload after which you can apply for a job and complete some online interviews that are automatically marked by the system inline with the job requirements after which the system creates a shortlist for a face to face interview.

 

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Cassava Carp

The project is aimed at enhancing sustainable production, processing and marketing of cassava and cassava products among the smallholder cassava farming communities. Specifically, the project is focusing on production of virus-free (clean) cassava planting material, appropriate agronomic practices for production intensification.

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