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Having More Women in Tech Industry Demands Collective Effort- Chinwe Onuorah

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*Chinwe Onuorah, Managing Partner, BVC Consulting

A number of experts have argued that it is important for more women to embrace careers in technology in order to ensure diversity. Across the world, the number of women in technology is increasing, but not as fast as proponents would expect.

The case may be worse in Africa, particularly, in Nigeria, as a significant number of women still regard technical roles as somewhat, more masculine.

According to Intel’s report, Women and Web, nearly 25% women have access to the internet and the gender gap, 45% in Africa. I recently had a chat with Chinwe Onuorah, managing partner, BVC Consulting, an IT-based company in Lagos, Nigeria and she shared her thoughts on how to encourage more women to embrace careers in technology.

Chinwe stated that she started out her journey in the IT world as an Intern in an IT organisation that has its major focus on training.

“At the time, I started out as Front Desk/Receptionist and my role was, typically, to counsel students, who wanted to start and build a career in technology and I picked it up from there”, she stated. Incidentally, Chinwe did not study Computer Science in school, but Mass Communication.

She believed that, Mass Communication is a course that can sync with any field of study, hence, she maximised her skills and knowledge of Mass Communication, garnered over the period to blend in her role of talking to the students interested in taking up IT careers.

On how she has been able to cope, in a country where certification is taken seriously, Chinwe, explained that, because of her love for learning, she took some IT Certification courses along the way, through her career path in the IT field.

She stated that she got trained in all those courses because, she was interested in the field of technology and it worked for her.

She stressed that, even though, she started out as an Intern, somewhere along the line, her boss realised that she was being under-utilised, by putting her on at the Front office, so, he moved her to the Business Development Desk, where she grew through the ranks. “Of course, if you are going to talk to a customer about the organisation’s services and products, I have to learn it. I had to know what I was going to talk to the customer about”, she stated.

Chinwe stated that, it has been challenging for her, operating in a male-dominated IT industry, but not impossible because, she is a self-driven person.

She opined that her love for technology also keeps her going within the industry. She explained that she also had a good mentor in her first boss, who really held her through the mill of the IT field.

She advised women already in the tech industry to mentor other women who are interested in having a career in technology, so, we can have more women in the industry as this will make a lot of difference.

Chinwe explained that, from the results of a research she conducted on why there are few women in tech, she noticed that girls, from birth, through primary,secondary school, assimilate Maths differently from how boys do and this is not because she believes that females have low IQ than the males.

“I belief that women have IQ, however, we need to find creative ways to communicate Maths to women, so that, they can understand “, she stressed.

She went on to say that, one of the reasons why she had to struggle with Maths was that, when she is told that 1+12, she wants to be told why it is so. “In telling me the why, I will be able to understand that, so, when next I see face that same situation, I would know that, oh, it is because of this, that is why it’s this and not just coming up with a formula like the Almighty Formula”, she explained.

Maths, she noted, should be taught from the from the high point of understanding and not cramming.

In Chinwe’s opinion, she believes that it will be difficult for someone who is struggling with Mths to be able to code because, coding requires a lot of brain work. She also stated that ladies need more role models at the top of the It industry to kindle the interest of the female gender in the industry.

Apart from IT Consulting and Training, Chinwe stated that her outfit also does implementation around big data analytics. She stressed that all businesses, whether big, small, medium and Startups, need the services in big data.

On a final note, Chinwe is of the view that, the solution to the issue of encouraging more women to take up careers in IT, should be a collective effort of the parents, government, private sector etc.

“From the government perspectives, build communities, support systems for women in technology”, she advised.

Likewise, stressed that the corporate world too should have support systems for women in technology and parents should encourage their female children to take up the STEM subjects in school, so, they can fit in well in the IT world.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

Visa Launches ID Intelligence for Smarter Customer Authentication

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Visa has launched Visa ID Intelligence, a platform that lets issuers, acquirers and merchants quickly adopt emerging authentication technologies, according to a press release.

Available through Visa Developer Platform, Visa ID Intelligence offers a curated selection of third-party authentication technologies that feature simple integration with Visa APIs and SDKs. This allows clients to create, test and adopt new authentication solutions.

This ultimately helps financial institutions and merchants to adopt effective and secure solutions and accelerate time-to-market with streamlined on boarding and implementation through Visa as a single trusted source, the company said.

Visa ID Intelligence features include: Identity Documents— the platform evaluates identification documents and matches selfies to photo IDs, while extracting document information and converting it into digital form.

Uses include creating new accounts, and performing password reset and lost or stolen card replacement.

-Biometrics — Visa ID Intelligence allows clients to use eye, face, fingerprint and voice to meet consumer needs for convenience, security and speed in authentication.

Uses include app login, payments, step-up authentication, and more.

“Traditional methods for authenticating a customer can create frustration or are simply not designed for the new ways people are shopping and paying. We built Visa ID Intelligence to help accelerate smarter and easy-to-use authentication solutions for any commerce environment — to better protect against fraud and to move closer to a world without passwords,” Mark Nelson, Visa senior vice president of risk and authentication products, said in the release.

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ESET Works With Google To Protect Chrome Against Dangerous Malware

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By peter oluka

ESET, a leading global cybersecurity company, on Thursday launches Chrome Cleanup, a new scanner and cleaner for Google Chrome designed to help users browse the web safely and without interruption.

Chrome Cleanup will be available for all Google Chrome users running on Windows.

As cyber-attacks become more complex and difficult to spot, browsing the web can lead users to dangerous sites which can install malicious software onto devices.

Chrome Cleanup will alert Google Chrome users to potential threats when it detects unwanted software.

Google Chrome will then give users the option to remove the software. Chrome Cleanup operates in the background, without visibility or interruptions to the user. It deletes the software and notifies the user once the cleanup has been successfully completed.

“Using the internet should always be a smooth and safe experience for everyone,” said Juraj Malcho, chief technology officer at ESET. “For three decades, ESET has developed a number of security solutions that allow users to safely enjoy their technology and to mitigate a variety of cyber threats. Chrome Cleanup addresses unwanted software that can negatively influence a users’ experience on the internet.”

Chrome Cleanup is included in the latest version of Google Chrome. For more information about these tools, read Google’s blog post, here.

For 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services for businesses and consumers worldwide.

With solutions ranging from endpoint and mobile security, to encryption and two-factor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use products give consumers and businesses the peace of mind to enjoy the full potential of their technology.

ESET unobtrusively protects and monitors 24/7, updating defenses in real-time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company.

Backed by R&D centers worldwide, ESET becomes the first IT security company to earn 100 Virus Bulletin VB100awards, identifying every single “in-the-wild” malware without interruption since 2003.

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A Buyer’s Market in the Global Economics of DDoS Attacks

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It’s a buyer’s market in the local property arena at the moment, according to certain industry experts.

 

This is largely as a result of the slower economy, which has seen a rise in the number of properties for sale.

 

But did you know that globally, it’s a buyer’s market as well when we look at the economics of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks? The second, of course, is an underground market, largely regarded as a criminal one.

 

So said Bryan Hamman, Arbor Network’s territory manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Referring to recently released information from Arbor Networks, he said, “It is interesting to analyse the current economics in global DDoS attacks, which are attempts to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. Most people who are aware of DDoS attacks understand that there will be a perpetrator and a target.

 

“However, we’re now seeing a growing number of third-party providers of DDoS attacks as a service, who advertise their abilities online in order to either sell would-be attackers access to the tools needed to conduct a DDoS attack, or who perform the attack themselves on the customer’s behalf and provide reports afterwards.”

 

Hamman noted  that the fees of these underworld providers are lessening, due to rapidly expanding competition and the supply of readily available attack resources such as botnets. As a result, he says, the DDoS business is currently a buyer’s market.

 

Arbor reported that the prices for attack services, sometimes called “stressers” or “booters” vary widely, as do estimates of the total cost of an attack to the victim. But the economics are simple: DDoS attacks are becoming cheaper than ever for the perpetrator; are extremely lucrative for the attack service provider, and potentially financially devastating for the target.

 

Arbor noted that an increasing number of operators resemble legitimate service provider infrastructures with significant computing power, typically running their own botnet armies to unleash DDoS attacks. Perpetrators can essentially rent the providers’ botnets by the hour, day or week, or in some cases can buy a specific number of bots outright. The mechanics of transactions follow a classic web service model, meaning the perpetrator and the provider need never come in contact.

 

Providers that conduct attacks-as-a-service even post their services online, with tiered pricing reflecting the different types of attack that they offer. Prices are based on several factors. They can include the duration of the attack, the perceived value of the target, the country in which the attack takes place and/or the different methodologies employed.

 

In Arbor Networks 12th annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report, 59 percent of respondents estimated their downtime costs as being more than USD500/ minute in lost revenue (some ZAR6,700 per minute with the rand/dollar exchange rate on around ZAR13.50 to the dollar), with some indicating even higher losses. This also does not factor in the costs of repairing the damage, potential legal costs of settling with customers denied service, or reputational damage to the company’s brand.

 

Hamman concluded, “Here in South Africa, we may not yet face the overtness of DDoS operators advertising their services, as can be seen in the US. However, this does not mean that local companies shouldn’t be vigilant against DDoS attacks – protection is more vital than ever. A hybrid solution that combines on-premises and cloud-based protection is the industry best practice in DDoS defence. When you accept that DDoS attacks aren’t going away, and in fact are projected to escalate, it makes the best economic sense of all to make sure that you are adequately prepared against a DDoS attack.”

 

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