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Nigeria: Companies’ Losses to Data Theft Bigger than Financial Fraud



Olufemi Ake, country manager, ESET Nigeria and Ghana

Olufemi Ake, country manager, ESET Nigeria and Ghana has called for comprehensive approach to combating and mitigating cybercrimes in the West Africa market, adding that focusing squarely on electronic financial (eFinancial) frauds to the expense of other sectors would create room for increased data/information loss by companies.

Ake, who spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek in his office on the sideline of 2016 CyberXchange Conference said that Nigeria and neighbouring countries must step up cyber crime laws enforcement too.

Ake spearheads the strengthening of the ESET brand in the region by opening access to strong, trust-based relationships with private & public sectors and ensuring symbiotic business relationship and growth with partners of ESET within the operational markets.

Before joining the Africa markets, he had offered professional advice and consultancy services to clients in the United Kingdom while working with Capita, Lloyds Banking Group and BNP Paribas Real Estate. He had acquired indispensable knowledge in analysing market trends and implementing business requirements from the organisations he has worked for to date.

Ake relocated to join Diageo Plc where he worked with regional sales teams that collectively improved and implemented strategic plans for sales distribution with a number of initiatives which made a huge impact within months where he recorded an outstanding growth of +5.9% & +5.2% in Market Share in two top brand categories in 2012. ESET is equally benefitting from his wealth of experience with phenomenal double-digits growth recorded year-on-year since joining the business.

He graduated as a Planner at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and has immense passion in impacting lives positively. His best part of his experience is the ability to work with people of different social and moral background, taking their views on board and applying them to various elements of his profession. He spoke to peter oluka

How to Manage ‘Insider’ Instigated System Breaches
There is always the saying (I will use ICT security in this case as an example) ‘ICT security is as good as the weakest link of the strong chain’.
So, you can have millions of dollars ICT security investment, but if the ‘user’ or staff is ‘weak’ when it comes to taking measures not to expose the organisation, you need to be concerned.
They have to be aware of the dangers of not keeping company’s ‘data or information’ secured. They need to ask levels of questions while dealing with outsiders.
This is how social hacking occurs- where an insider provides information to an external person, allowing access to company data or secure environment. So, it is advisable to have concrete arrangement with your staff on how to manage the gateway to the company data/information.

West African Cyber Security Ecosystem
To put it straight, individuals, organsiations and the government at large, will be in trouble if cyber criminals come to terms the resources available in West African market. In the other hand, if we know what we can gain financially and otherwise by preventing attacks, we can reduce the risks. Organizations in the West African region need to step up their cyber defense, especially Nigeria and Ghana.
The markets’ focus has been on electronic financial frauds involving individuals.
However, cyber crime goes beyond efinancial fraud. Our government agencies need to be watchful on how information and data is kept. Big data, Internet of Things (IoTs), artificial intelligence and so many internet dependent devices, robots as well, are pushing for availability of more data online, especially with third party involvement.
The focus should be that our data are secured, because is not just money. Many of them do it for bragging rights. They steal as much data, disrupt systems/data, selling data abroad just for fun/fame or to prove a right.
Therefore, we need to focus on comprehensive approach to information/data security, not just financial fraud.
According to Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, we lost about N127billion to cyber crime in 2015, but if you measure what companies lose to information and data theft, it is beyond measures. We have to ensure companies put strong levels of security to prevent impending dooms, especially in regards to securing customers’ data.

Enforcement Key to Cyber Security
There is no option to enforcement in entrenching cyber security processes in any organization or among government agencies. You can have ‘paper-tiger’ laws; very robust in its provisions, but without enforcement, the system can never feel the impact.
Take for instance, in Lagos, there are laws prohibiting indiscriminate parking of cars, however, not until LASTMA and other agencies took it up, the laws were ‘somehow’ idle.
To some people, because enforcement involves money, they would want to cut corners. But, if you refuse to insure your car, for instance, when an accident happens, you bite your tongue.
This applies to institutions; if you have policy framework, maybe to have two-factor authentication for internal processes which is supposed to curb unauthorized access to company network or resources and there is no enforcement to that effect, people can breach it.
Some companies even forget or play down on renewing their cyber security licenses. That makes them even more vulnerable.

Free Internet/Downloadable Anti-Virus: How Secured?
They are safe and secured to an extent. We also offer such free anti-viruses for mobile and computers ranging from three months to year usage. But they give you basic anti-malware and virus. When it comes to taking to another level like anti-phishing as a feature to prevent intentional hacking targeted at your user name and password, the free anti-virus wouldn’t give you such protection.
We also have a feature called anti-theft, which helps you lock and wipe device data remotely and also gives you information on recovering your lost or stolen mobile phone or computer. It also takes webcam or phone camera pictures of the unsolicited user of the lost or stolen device; which is a sort of insight on recovering your device. So, I will not advice people to depend so much on free anti-virus downloadable from the internet.

Telecos, Banks and Phish Emails
The first step to preventing falling prey of phish emails is: ‘if you are not sure, do not click’. Someone sends you congratulatory email or text that you have won a jackpot. But, it is obvious you never played a raffle.
On the banks’ side, they clone the emails and send you message, asking for confirmation of a transaction. Did you do such transaction? Do you think a bank will send you email requesting for password or PIN?
This sort of mail is meant to scare you. By clicking, you automatically grant them access to your computer or data and may end up collecting your sensitive information or even going as far as encrypting your files. So, in that case, what is advisable is to call the bank if you are in doubt and if related to financial transactions. If it is general phishing email, please do delete immediately from your inbox.

Growing Cyber Threat On Schools, NGOs, Religious Organisations, etc.
ESET’s message to everyone is: secure your devices. As far as your device is connected to the internet or you use it to exchange data, there is need to secure it.
Before now, churches, schools or non-governmental organizations seemed not attractive to cyber criminals, but we have seen a growing number of schools coming to us to secure their environment due to increasing cyber security threats. You have exam questions, payrolls, congregation personal and sensitive data and so many other information that requires protection.
Can you imagine a scenario where a pastor has prepared his sermon and on Sunday morning upon mounting the podium, he file gets encrypted or completely erased? In the present world, your eyeglasses, microwave, refrigerator and others will get connected, it calls for more care.
Cyber criminals ‘seize’ air control towers and redirect aircrafts or make them ‘blind’ and they can’t land. The world can be shut down.
Recently, we have seen high profile internet security breaches. That’s why I said the more Nigeria is being recognized at the international scene, the more cyber related attacks we should expect.

Sectorial ICT Security: Health
It is going to be disastrous when cyber criminals face the health sector. The only thing is that most of our hospitals are still paper prone environment.
However incidences in the health sector actually lead to breakup of homes, suicide, especially when they expected the hospital site to be protected. This is because doctors hold tons of confidential records of patients which in the real sense of it, should be encrypted and kept away from any third-party.
Exposing these would certainly lead to disruption, series of lawsuits, and distrust in the system. So, the emergence of paperless hospitals is better for higher productivity, but the hackers tend to feed on them too. Hence there as an exchange of data, it can be intercepted. Imagine a hacker goes into a hospital’s records and steal information about the President’s or a Governor’s health status, publish same, it can cause chaos in the society.   

Grooming Cyber Security ‘Armies’
The government should support IT. I like what the current administration is trying to do by focusing on IT entrepreneurs. There is so much focus on Nigeria lately which cumulated to the founder of Facebook paying a visit to Co-creation Hub and Andela.
It is a positive sign that IT is recognized. However, there is need for more support in providing direct IT jobs in the civil service and soft landing for entrepreneurs to set up their businesses in order to create more jobs within and outside of the IT sector.
There are so many bureaucratic processes that need to be revisited. IT is expensive currently in Nigeria because we import most of the solutions we provide.
If we are able to provide them locally; Nigerians writing IT security codes, providing security solutions and setting up research centres to analyse malware and other forms of threats, it will provide safe climate for us and we can export too. At that point, IT security becomes cheaper and companies wouldn’t be reluctant in renewing licenses in some cases.

ESET’s Impact On Cyber Security Solutions in Nigeria
ESET, basically, focuses more on educating and sensitizing our users and the public in generalon the importance of IT security.
The aim is to have our users enjoy safer technology and secure all data-exchange or internet-connected devices –‘smartphone, tablet, servers or computers’ with our easy to use and affordable security solutions. That is our goal.

ESET solutions are segmented into two, tailored to provide security for users at home and businesses. We have business security solutions such as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), Back-Up and Recovery, Data Encryption, Data Loss Prevention, Productivity Management, Enterprise Endpoint, Server and Mail Security Solutions.
Our Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) solution helps prevent unauthorised access to companies’ data or the environment. These days, usernames and password are becoming less secure and cumbersome for users to manage hence the need for additional level of security which our 2FA solution offers with a one-time digital burn-after password which can be set up on user’s mobile devices. 
We also provide solutions which offer Full-Disk encryption to help secure data and information running through your mobile phones or computers.
This helps prevent third-party access to your data in case of loss or theft. Our home security solutions offer Parental Control, Internet Security, Antivirus and Mobile Security for personal devices.
The ESET Parental Control helps parents manage children’s activities on their mobile phones and internet with web and application control features.

ESET’s Preparedness to Offer Insights to Users on Cyber Security Prevention
Absolutely, we are proactively leading a course for insights to aid users be ahead of breaches. In light of this, ESET have released a threat intelligence service that can be used by companies to detect, analyse emerging threats and also go as far as actively preventing potential damages, or at least to implement the necessary measures to mitigate them.
The essence is to provide organisations the idea of where to prevent such happenings in near future. The solution is called ESET Threat Intelligence and it is compatible with all non-ESET existing security solutions within the company IT infrastructure.
On our subscriptions, we are quite affordable as compared to others. To businesses, ESET is one of most affordable and effective IT security solutions that they can buy in Nigeria and Ghana.
Every now and then, we also run cost-cutting promotions for our users to have soft landing when buying or renewing their licenses due to the economic situation of the country. ESET recognizes Nigeria and Ghana; that is why we are here. 

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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Nigeria, Strategic Market for Kwese TV in Africa- Hundah



Joseph Hundah, president and CEO at Econet Media

Joseph Hundah, president and CEO at Econet Media. A seasoned media and finance executive with over 20 years experience, both on the continent and the globe, Hundah is currently leading the African born but international entertainment group. His previous roles include Executive Vice President: Africa for Modern Times Group as well as Managing Director of Multichoice, Nigeria; Operations Director for M-Net, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Chief Financial officer for M-Net and Super Sport International Holdings Limited and General Manager Finance at the South African Broadcasting Corporation. 

Through his leadership and experience, the organizations that he has worked with have experienced unprecedented levels of growth and expansion including entrance into new markets. In an Interview with journalists at the launch of Kwese TV in Lagos recently, he spoke on how strategic Nigeria is to the growth of the Station. Ugo Onwuaso was there for Nigeria CommunicationsWeek. Excerpts.


Hundah’s View of African’s, in Terms of like for Pay TV

Well, pay TV in Africa versus the rest of the world ,actually is very much beneficial ,for example if you look at what we call TV household, that is, a household that has a TV in it, the penetration is less than 20%,which is much lower than the rest of the world, so there is very much an opportunity to continue to grow pay TV, but what is also important to understand is that the consumer habits of watching Television are changing, more people are watching content on mobile phones, on laptops, on iPads etc, and we really try to build a business that is suitable also for watching contents even on the mobile phone, so our thrust is really not only to have presence in traditional media platforms but also to look at the new digital media platforms as well for our content.


Based On This, What Can You Say Motivated The Kwese TV To Launch At This Time?

First of all, we saw a gap in the market, we’ve seen that pay TV industry is still growing but more than that, we really pride ourselves on being on innovation and doing things that has not been done before on the continent, for example, that is why we introduced flexible billing on our platforms, the ability to pay three, seven days, its completely innovative, it’s only been tried by one platform in India, no one else has tried it in the world, so we thought why not try this in Africa, it makes sense, after all we sale rice in cups, we sale water in small packs, this is the way economy in Africa is been built over a period of time, so why not do the same in entertainment, let’s give entertainments in small batches but over and above that we’re really trying to build a strong business around mobile, because you know, there are more than 300 million smart phones in Africa, its higher than the US and they expect that those numbers are going to triple over the next 5 years, by 2022 it should be almost 900 million smart phones, the smart phones are getting cheaper, they are getting better quality and most of the population in Africa are actually very young, you know the average population in Nigeria is properly under 20, so you can imagine these young kids are not watching content on television any more, they are watching content on phones, they are on social media. So we have to build a business that is geared towards that.


Having Launched In Nigeria, How Many Countries Are You In Africa And What Is Your Expansion Plan?

Well, on pay TV side, we’ve launched in 14 countries, we started at the beginning of August, we actually launched yesterday also in Uganda and we have plans to launch in Tanzania as well, in Ethiopia, in Namibia, in south Sudan and Swaziland those are countries that are left for us but on our free to air platform, we are in 25 countries , in English and French speaking countries, you know, for the first time consumers are getting premium sports for free, which is really what we want to build, we want to build sports, not just soccer but full sports in general because we have such a young continents, these kids needs to keep themselves occupied, we need them to be involved in sports and stay healthy, the kids are becoming fat.


In These 25 Countries, How Important Is Nigeria?

It’s critical, absolutely critical. It’s a critical market for us, not only because of the population size but the economy is strong and it properly takes like 2 or 3 east African countries to make a population of Nigeria, so Nigeria is really really important market for us.


What Are You Putting  In  For Nigerian Consumers?  

Nigerian consumers are special in the sense that you got a very thriving media business here, remember that your movie industry is the second biggest in the world, so for us it’s important to have as much local content as possible in our platform and we are going to continue to build this specifically for this market because in Nigeria alone you can really create sufficient content to satisfy the Nigerian market alone, but nice thing about Nigeria as well, is even when you create content for Nigeria , it normally travels very well. So the Nigerian movies and contents are very popular elsewhere in Africa, even in DRC, South Africa, in Kenya, in music, in movies. So it’s quite a nice market for creating contents.


What’s Kwese Doing As Regards Developing Young Entrepreneurs?

We have 600 dealers and retailers around Nigeria, most of these people are young, most of our installers are young people, all they do is that they get our installation app and they go and do installations and keep themselves busy, you know it takes about 2 to 3 hours to do one installation, so we are really trying to build that network and this is just the beginning and that network is going to grow, so we really really trying to encourage more and more installer to come on board but we are also encouraging people that are in the production industry, in terms of creating content for our platform, for all our different markets, not just in Nigeria but across Africa.


When You Said Growth, Are You Talking About Growth In Million, That Is, The Entrepreneurs You Are Trying To Grow?

It will be hard to build millions of entrepreneurs but certainly thousands of entrepreneurs, the more installers we have in the market, it will be easier for our customers to get access to the products, so it’s important that in every part of Nigeria, right from the corner of Maiduguri to Sokoto, that we have installers that are available to install our products.


On The Satellite Connectivity Are You Running On KU Band or C Band?

No, we’re running on KU and C band in different part of the continent and we are in rotors satellite, so the reception should be very good, we have taken precaution to try and reduce rain fade but it’s impossible to get rain fade over unfortunately but what you can do is minimize it and we’ve taken steps to minimize it, it’s a strong satellite signals and right equipments to receive those signals.


How Do You Intend To Manage Competition?

Look, Competition is good in the industry because at the end of the day the consumers benefits from competition, price is come down, more variety, so we are really encouraged by competition, what is important for us though is to focus on our own business, what is our own strategy, what is our own plans, how do we intend to rollout the business across Africa, you know, if you manage your own business and if you are sure of your own strategy, you don’t just worry about competition, you know, competition takes care of itself, so we are very happy with the content line that we put out, we’ve worked really hard to get premium contents on our platform, as you saw so many channel that are on our platform are new to Africa completely, so there is scope out there to do business, it’s about creating differentiations , about customer service and about delivery to your customers.


Kwese TV, Five Years From Now

Our ambition is to be number one media business in Africa, across the board. And I think we are on our way to do that, we are already the biggest free to air TV station within two and half years, so it’s just a question of giving us time and we will be number one.


When Will Kwese Tv Go Into Original Production?

We already have some original productions created around some of the sports rights, for example, Sound Sultan will be doing our basketball show in the mornings, so there is a lot more of that going on.


Stand Out Content In Store    

We have, like some of the channels that we have in our platform are new to the market, for example Dream works, Toonami which is Carton Super heroes and we’ve got so many news channels that has never been seen in Africa before, so we have quite nice array of contents that is completely exclusive on our platform


Kwese Sports’ Leverage

Sports is really really important on our platform and so far the first biggest investment we made was in sports because when sports rights became available we were able to get them and the nice thing about sports is that, most big sports tournaments are well known, it just gives you good brand recognition and good expansion of your brand but ultimately we know that your offering must be well rounded, you got to take care of kids, you got to take care of women and household as well, it can’t just be all about sports.


Positioning For EPL Right   

Right now we have a relationship with them already because we bought their free-to-air right which we are showcasing on Kwese free to air sports, so the issue is that when the right come up, when opportunity is given to everybody to bid for the right, we will bid for it. There is never a guarantee that you will win the bids you know, like we saw a couple of years ago HiTV came in they won the rights and then DStv won the rights back again, you can never know, it’s always up to who pays the most unfortunately with it, it’s completely a very transparent process and all we need is a fair chance to be able to put in our bid as well.


Women and Children Centered Quality Premium Content

Absolutely, in our children’s offering alone we have two exclusive channels Dream world and Toonami and over and above that we have other channels, we have pop, we have boomerang, we have carton network and we have Kwese kids a channel dedicated towards kids, for women we have the E channels coming up soon, we have fox channels that are coming up, we have telenovelas in, Zee bollynova, we have passion, so we have a lot of contents built for women and we have our own branded channels like Kwese prime are targeting women specifically in movies.

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Mentorship: You Can’t Develop Skills Without Giving Experience- Johnson



By peter oluka

Start-ups in Nigeria require proper adequate mentoring to triumph in today’s business environment hence the establishment of Lighthouse Hub about nineteen months ago.

The Hub aims to mentor, train, encourage, guide and propel the upcoming entrepreneurs towards the right path in order to reach their potentials, Yetunde Johnson, founder of the Hub said in an interview with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek.

Lighthouse Means

“LightHouse guides you to where you are going, safely. So, we are​ here to guide anybody that comes to us ​inspired to move to the next stage of achievement. We took a risk and we are still taking risks to make it happen. When we moved into the building, the core team took on the job of setting things right, from the electricity to decors and other works. We did this by ourselves and the funding had come from Slingshot’s consulting fees and money we have raised internally,” she said.


“We ​believe that if you give young people responsibility with the right training and mentoring, they will get to their destination. Imagine if you take an army of young people in technology or business and expose them to adequate training, the gains will be much.

“​My​ only worry is that young people​ tend to separate themselves from the older people. It is such a fundamental mistake. There should be a ‘marrying’ of the two; it takes the raw energy of the young people and the experience or exposure of the older people to move us to a different place, the right place’, Johnson said.

Lighthouse System of Grooming Young People

“It has been difficult in the country for organisations to take-on young people due to the cost required to groom them to a level where they are productive. Therefore, we are trying to give them (young people) hands-on experience in IT. They are here for real life tasks to develop their skills. We have six pioneer interns.

“One of the key things is that our interns follow us to meeting businesses. On one of such occasions, I spoke to a client and the company was willing to take four interns, train and pay them stipends. At the end of six month one will be selected, as a permanent staff. More employers need to do that.

“You can’t develop a skill if you don’t give experience. You can’t keep people unemployed because they don’t have the right skills or certification, yet you don’t provide the right environment for that. You can make it tax deductible whereby every business is involved in training​m the young people​. Businesses can​not just be sitting by the corner; not want to assist in job creation. They should train our youths to be employable”.

Lighthouse Hub, Johnson added, “We will show IT startups the avenues through which to limit business risks while giving those seeking career redirection the route to success.

“For this case we are partnering with organsiations like the Debbie Mishael Consulting and others. The fact is that IT needs a strategy. If you have a dream and lack where to seed it, there is not drive. We have given free courses before.

“Our costs are seemingly the lowest in Lagos and you can still get zero entrance. When we train somebody, we do it thoroughly. But people aren’t turning up. We did training on WordPress which anybody can take up and begin to make money. We had little or no turn out.

“However, we had some girls who showed serious enthusiasm that I rarely see in the young people and without any motivation from us they came for HTML and CSS training and have been coming for the last 10-12 weeks. They are inspiring. They see the opportunity learning coding skills can give them and they have jumped at it. We wish for more like them.

“Now, I know we don’t want brain drain, but if you have spent time here and there are opportunities calling for your skill​s elsewhere, then of course you would ​ go and grab it. Though, I strongly believe that when a Nigerian goes outside the country, they would want to return, because he would realize why home is so special.

“But you need an avenue or programme that should be showing our young people the pathway to success; rewards them commensurately. We worked with the Women In Tech on a project in the University of Lagos (Unilag). Out of thousands of young ladies in Unilag, less than 70 attended the training. We offered to train people free, but they aren’t showing up.

“There is something wrong with the present generation that must be addressed. Some of the best IT trainers are in Nigeria, but the young people are not paying attention. We did a programme for teachers in collaboration with Teachers Nigeria; they tend to train teachers on how to use Google related research tools. They were so disappointed.

“The turn out in Lagos was just low. How many teachers do we have. It was a free course. But the attitude of our people will now force them to start charging fees. We were invited to Ogun State, the turnout was incredible and we had a dynamic session.

Nigerian Youths Need to Believe In Themselves

“We need to give credit to ourselves and accept the little things we make here. I know a young man who makes shoes of extremely high quality. For him to make s​ale​s, he had to use ​an ​Italian label. Now, the shoes were made in Nigeria but Italy takes the credit. Now, Debbie Mishael Consulting is bringing ICITP training programme​s​ that will enable our young IT graduates have han​ds-on​ experience. Only the passionate will understand and grab the opportunities as they come.

“This is one reason we are partnering with lot of organizations do a lot of things that compliment the skills our startups would need. We are planning a six weeks intensive ‘You-Learn’ programme.

“If you are a programmer I don’t think you can succeed by mere ​reading books​, you need to practise what you have read​. Our young people need that practical approach to doing things. Also, it is difficult for interns to learn without ​​​financial support, even though they are not expecting to us to pay them we provide a stipend. They will struggle to have concentration if they are hungry or short of cash. Though, it is not easy to sustain such system. If we can’t continue to function as a business, we can’t sustain the Hub.

Why Obalende?

Johnson doubles as the managing director of Slingshot Technologies Limited. Lighthouse Hub is one of the consulting firm’s projects, located at 35 Moloney Street, Obalende-Lagos Island. She speaks on the location, thus:

“I really love Obalende; this is the place I want to be. People think I am crazy, but they are wrong. If you are going to tap into human capacity of Nigeria, you must know where they are. They too need to tap into us. We are willing to be here to share these skills we are bringing back. Among us, we share skills too because no body has​ a​ monopoly o​n​ knowledge. We need to borrow skills from others. I have always loved this building. To me, it is the most strategic place you can be.

“If you are headed to the Mainland- to the left; to the Island- to the right. If you are aiming at Ikoyi, go through under the bridge. ‘Besides that, it is one point where every w​ork ​of life crisscrosses. So, there was a day I was passing on the bridge, I felt this is a place we can tap in to the ​raw material of Nigeria which is the human resource. I fe​el, the Nigerian human resource is the most incredible resource if trained, mentored well and tapped into. Why do I say that? If you look around the world Nigerians are the ones leading. We are not hailing ourselves, unfortunately. If you look at the key developments in the US & UK, the key drivers are Nigerians.

“I am a staunch Nigerian and I love being here. As a child I grew up to know Nigerians are strong and dynamic. They don’t give excuses rather go for the results. So, I just wanted to come back to the country and tap into the ecosystem and contribute my quota to the development of the young people. If you are trained in Nigeria life is not that stressful when you travel out of the country, because you have already faced great challenges here.

What Happens At The First Floors?

The first floor is where the Hub is located. “In summary, the Hub has room to accommodate everybody no matter how large or small your business could be. We have inside the Hub the Co Working Area for those who can’t afford to rent offices. We made it flexible for networking beyond your own ‘kind’ of people- that is, those outside your immediate business field, but who you need to climb the ladder. That is the environment that allows the young and old meet. We also have the serviced office space that give clients opportunity to focus on their business while we handle all others issues for them.

“You have free access to the meeting and conference rooms for an allocated period of time which is also located on the first floor. Being a member of the hub guarantees you that platform. It is our way of making life comfortable for small businesses. You can actually conduct your training, seminars, meeting, conferences too. It is a small community with a great vision for businesses in the IT ecosystem”, she concluded.


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Investment on Innovation Centres Will Speed Up Nigeria’s Digitalisation- Nicholas



Travers Nicholas is the general manager, Dell EMC West Africa. Working with his team, Travers spends time with customers helping to guide them through their digital transformation encompassing workforce, security, and IT. During Travers’s time with Dell EMC he has worked with customers from SME to Enterprise from all market segments, helping them to reduce cost and improve efficiency through the adoption of Dell EMC technologies.

Coming from a Technical Background, some of Travers’s previous roles include Systems Engineering Manager, Technology Consultant, and Infrastructure Manager for global organizations in the banking, telecommunications, and services industries. During a recent chat with peter oluka, he expatiates on how Dell’s activities positively impact Nigeria’s IT/ICT ecosystem. 

How Prepared Is Dell to Impact World Technology in the Next Industrial Revolution?

In September last year, Dell merged with EMC to create the largest privately-controlled technology company in the world – Dell Technologies.

Under Dell Technologies, we have seven brands (Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, VMWare, VirtuStream, RSA and SecureWorks) with which we are better positioned to deliver quality end-to-end solutions to our clients.

On our preparation to impact world technology in the next industrial revolution, Dell Technologies is innovating like a start-up with the scale and reach of a global powerhouse, investing $4.5B in research and development annually. In the same vein, we are also investing another $100M annually in innovative startups in future tech areas like AI/ML, Automotive, Genomics. These are indications that we are a forward looking organization and are future-ready in our approach to solutions and our client can attest to this.

The second question on monitoring: signatures is reactive, that’s the main talking point, i.e. not to be reactive; that’s where having Global threat intelligence (SecureWorks) and identity threat management solutions (RSA) comes in to plaly.

Security is very important in technology. How does monitoring network to detect suspicious acts solve the Issue of Internal Instigated IT Security Breaches?

First thing to note is that traditional approach to security is no longer enough. Identifying signature and using anti-virus are reactive approaches, and given current technology realities, being reactive is not efficient in forestalling and preventing security breaches, be it internal or external. For instance, what happens when virus changes itself and signature appears differently?

As such, solving security issues needs to do with the incorporation of global threat intelligence and threat management solutions using high performance security analytics. The need to shift from traditional approach to security is why Dell Technologies is investing heavily in its two security brands – RSA and SecureWorks.

RSA and SecureWorks provide intelligence-driven security solutions for organizations effectively prevent, detect and respond to advanced attacks, manage user identities and access, reduce business risk, fraud and cybercrime.

…Which Means You Are Using Big Data To Solve Security Challenges.

Absolutely, big data! Security is a big data problem. There is so much data and there is no way a human being could monitor and respond to all.

Let’s Narrow This Down To West Africa And Nigeria In Particular; Do You Think Nigeria Is Prepared For The Next Industrial Revolution Driven By Internet Of Things (IoT), Smart City, Big Data And Others? What Are Your Perceptions About This Market?

Personally, I think Nigeria is ready for the next industrial revolution. Interestingly, I believe a lot of innovations will come from countries like Nigeria, Kenya and India where there are necessities to innovate.

I have been opportune to interact with a lot of young people with keen interest in software development and do not think anyone would disagree with me on the high skills level of the members of Nigerian IT community. However, there is a need for continuous development and less dependence on the government.

No doubts, Nigeria has its fair share of infrastructural deficit in the area of power and networking, but the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Nigerians gives me hope that Nigeria is ready for the next industrial revolution. The mindset is there; maybe it just needs to be proliferated and supported a bit more.

How Did Dell Fare During the Economic Recession?

Truth is, all Nigerians were affected in one way or the other by the recession.

How we fare is very simple. Dell Technologies is the world’s essential infrastructure company. We provide essential end-to-end solutions that businesses need to run effectively and efficiently and when there is a need, there is business.

Of course, spending slowed and due to foreign exchange (Forex) issues, IT and ICT market declined during the economic recession, but at the same time we are happy that we’ve come through in a positive way for our customers and we continue to support them and deliver on outstanding quality of service.

Recently Dell Made A Commitment To The 2020 Legacy Project, How Are You Using Such Opportunity To Give Back To Nigerians?

Dell is committed to driving human progress by outing our technology and expertise to work where they can do the most good for people and the planet.

One of such commitments is the Ocean Plastics project, where we’re taking discarded plastics from beaches, shorelines, and other coastal areas and turning that into packaging for our XPS 13 2-in-1. 

As a country near the ocean, this is very important to Nigeria and it is a project that excites me personally. I’ve seen too many videos and heard many stories on how whale and other aquatic animals get killed by the plastics in the ocean

Dell Technologies is also involved in an alliance with the Nigerian government and a couple of organizations on how we manage Electronic Wastes (e-Wastes) around the world because we believe there is a need for e-wastes to be discarded in a responsible way.

What Is Dell Technologies Doing About Empowering Women In Technology?

First of all, we have a large female population of Accounts Executives in our team and we are very supportive of our female employees. Also, we have a female Mentoring and Development Program that allows our female employees grow and advance their careers. In fact, it was an employee driven initiative where some of those employees mentored internally become mentors to females in Universities, developing and guiding young women on how to join and succeed in the technology industry.

This type of thing only happens when you create a culture that supports women and treat them as fair and equal partners. There is no gender discrimination in our organization and we are going to provide a frame work for that to be successful around the world.

Research and Development (R&D) Is The Centre Of Technology Evolution, But Most OEMs Seemingly Develop Product Based on ‘Perceived’ Needs Of Emerging Markets. What percentage of Dell’s resources is channeled towards R&D?

We are very passionate about R&D such that we invest about $4.5B in it annually. We have in excess of 15000 engineers around the world who are working on building and developing products- software, hardware and solutions. We believe we create great products, great solutions and great technologies.

Also, we ensure we maintain a direct relationship with our customers and when we get feedback we take it very seriously, report back to our team of engineers on how to improve and be better positioned for the future

What Do You Are The Areas That Needs Fine Tuning; Requiring Government’s Intervention To Give Nigeria’s Technology Market A Push?

I’ve observed in Nigeria that many people look, first, to the government ‘to do things for us’, but I believe that innovation is more likely to come from individuals, because they are the ones who know and have the needs to solve problems. However, the government can invest in innovation centers that would allow use of technologies for youths who don’t have access. Though, it’s not possible to provide overnight access of technology to all Nigerians, we need to start with what’s reasonable; maybe some small centers.

Secondly, once they have access to the technology, a bit of monitoring should be done to make sure they are using it productively.

If the youths have access to technologies you would be surprised at what they can do, but if you create some sort of policies to force it on people, it won’t come out of passion. That’s why I have the belief that innovations need to come from the people, give them the tools, the access and support they need.

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