Financing the Workplace of Tomorrow – Hybrid or Otherwise

By: Lars Koelendorf, EMEA Vice President, Solutions & Enablement at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

An unprecedented ability to connect, collaborate and work from anywhere. Enterprise-level connectivity and equipment at home. New work spaces, automated systems and cognizant buildings at the office. The hybrid workplace, with all its incredible features and possibilities, is undoubtedly something to look forward to.

But mixed with this excitement must also be apprehension. This new model cannot function without fast, reliable wireless connectivity and a unified, automated and secure network. And for most organizations, this will mean investing in their IT infrastructure.

Given the current economic circumstances and ongoing unpredictability of what comes next, it’s understandable that organizations may feel that they will struggle to finance these investments, or that they are simply not in a position to consider any upgrades beyond what’s immediately necessary for the return to the office.

The good news, however, is that with a few smart, strategic moves, I firmly believe it is possible for organizations to leverage their current budgets and resources to create a network that delivers both short- and long-term value. Here’s what you need to think about to put these moves into motion.

  1. Make data your top priority

The enterprise data that is available today has tremendous potential to deliver significant cost savings – but it must first be turned into actionable insights. That’s why organizations need to prioritize network investments that will improve their ability to analyze the data at their disposal.

This means investing in Edge technologies. Not only are organizations dealing with unprecedented amounts of data, that data is increasingly being generated outside of the traditional data centres. Instead, it is being created by user devices and IoT sensors at the Edge of the network – the place people, devices, and things connect to the digital world.

Processing data at the Edge is the only way to reduce latency, minimize transmission costs and unleash its full potential for optimization and innovation. The ability to unlock and leverage their data in real-time will enable organizations to take actions that deliver long-lasting benefits, such as improved operational efficiency and costs, opportunities for greater profitability, and new revenue streams.

  • Explore flexible consumption models and as-a-Service options

At a time when resources and budgets are tight and yet change is more pervasive than ever, organizations need to choose solutions that offer simple pay-as-you-go subscriptions, and financial and consumption flexibility across hardware, software, and management operations.

These solutions, which turn infrastructure expenses from CapEx investments into OpEx costs, represent benefits for both cost-efficiency and business agility. They ensure that payments can be aligned to budgets, revenue and cash flow – making them suitable for whatever the financial situation is at any given moment. They also provide the freedom to test, adapt, build and possibly rebuild without the fear of exhausting already strained budgets, as you’ll only ever pay for what you’re currently using.

Essentially, they are the foundations of a bespoke, flexible, and scalable network that can adapt rapidly to changing needs and circumstances.

  • Leverage the Circular Economy  

Adopting more environmentally friendly practices and leveraging existing equipment and systems has the double benefit of helping organizations maximize their budgets while also meeting their sustainability goals – something that we know is becoming more and more important across all industries.

Through the Circular Economy, which aims to extend the utility and value of resources and eliminate waste, organizations can optimize and repurpose IT assets like network equipment, PCs, laptops, servers and storage devices.

Or they can convert them into capital that funds innovation and transformation initiatives. By remarketing and reselling any unneeded equipment, organizations can return significant amounts of money to their IT budgets.

They should also avoid buying new hardware unless absolutely necessary. When it comes to expanding infrastructure and making new investments, adapting pre-owned equipment or choosing functionally equivalent used hardware can have dramatic cost savings.

Additionally, organizations can increase the likelihood of further savings down the road by strategically choosing technology that is designed for energy efficiency, and easy recycling and removal of heavy metals for reuse.

Similarly, organizations can also rent new equipment instead of buying it outright. With vendors like Aruba offering a technology refresh as part of the monthly contract, this ensures organizations stay on the latest technology for the same price. And when upgrades happen, the vendor takes the existing equipment and uses it elsewhere – maintaining the circular economy.

Embracing the future

The reality is that a network that can support the hybrid workplace and business agility is becoming an increasingly urgent need.

We have now seen that a hybrid workplace model is the answer to the changes in how we communicate, live and work – changes that have only been accelerated by COVID-19. The mission-critical role of IT within this model means that organizations cannot afford the consequences of a poor performing network.

Organizations must invest in their IT infrastructure or risk limiting productivity, creating security threats, frustrating employees and clients, and losing their competitive advantage. At scale and over time, these issues pose a severe threat to business continuity.

I hope that the strategies above will enable you to make these investments in a way that suits your organization’s budget and resources. I also hope that they will help you see beyond the challenges and stay enthusiastic about hybrid workplaces. We are entering a brand new era of work and I, for one, cannot wait to see what it will bring.

ZENIQ Launches Groundbreaking Blockchain Tokenization Platform In Dubai

The rise of awareness and demand for non-volatile cryptocurrencies, digital assets, reliable blockchain and decentralized finance applications (aka De-Fi Apps) in the UAE and across the world, has proportionally ignited concerns about risk, compliance, the environment and safety. Imagine a team on a mission to create a solution that makes it safe to create and transfer digital assets, takes advantage of all what makes blockchain useful, provides alternative secure access to liquidity via De-Fi applications whilst guaranteeing total transparency and addressing virtually all the fundamental challenges that blockchain technologies have manifested until now. Pioneering DIFC based company, ZENIQ, is just that.

The partnership with Sheikh Saeed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum, ZENIQ is committed to supporting the UAE Government towards achieving a digital economy and accelerating the UAE’s role in the 4th Industrial Revolution. ZENIQ is founded by a unique team of blockchain, fintech, sports, environmental and legal experts on a mission to enhance everyday living with blockchain technology.

In particular, the partnership seeks to capitalize on ZENIQ’s highly advanced blockchain research & development to launch within a few weeks in the DIFC a cutting-edge platform for the tokenization of physical assets. The user-friendly solution will allow its users access to liquidity in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), and potentially globally, whilst being compliant with best international and local regulatory standards relating to know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) and other laws, without the hassle of the conventional financial and banking services. ZENIQ is working with the best-in-class partners to launch a sustainable, secure, and hassle-free tokenization solution from the United Arab Emirates.

ZENIQ’s tokenization platform is intended to make the UAE a pioneering global market and a go-to destination for 100% secure and user-friendly digital asset management for users and innovators alike.

Sheikh Saeed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum comments on the significant partnership, “We are in line with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a city that is fully-powered through the blockchain”.

ZENIQ CEO, Mag. Erwin Dokter, comments on the company’s potential for success, “ZENIQ isn’t just unleashing the true potential of blockchain technology, it will also provide a new wave of digital innovation and economic opportunities. We have developed an advanced infrastructure and regulatory system for the development and adoption of digital assets and tokenization”.

Ransomware Reality is Biting, so How do Businesses Bite Back?

By: Dave Russell, VP, Enterprise Strategy, Veeam

Ransomware attacks have bitten a gaping hole in the pockets of businesses who are having to pay extortionate ransoms in response to highly targeted attacks by sophisticated criminal organisations. The problem has only worsened with the onset of mass remote working. The extension of the office’s boundaries into online and remote locations has exposed severe vulnerabilities, and criminals are all too willing to take advantage.

Right now, a new ransomware attack will occur every 11 seconds. To put this in context, in the five minutes it takes you to read this article, 27 businesses will have been attacked by ransomware. The best piece of advice on ransomware is not to give in and pay. But despite the majority of businesses will pay the ransom that this attack demands. Many feel under extreme pressure to limit the damage of downtime caused by ransomware, and the quickest resolution is to pay up.

It’s not a surprise that so many have chosen to pay when they’re already grappling with the challenges and pressures of operating throughout the risky business terrain that COVID-19 has created. However, this is simply encouraging cyber-attackers to continue exploiting this lucrative illegal market, as is evident from the 600% uplift in attacks since COVID-19 first emerged.

On a positive note, businesses and governments have recognised that this can’t continue. Ransomware is now on the agenda of every boardroom, and even made the cut for discussion at the G7, as well as numerous other diplomatic talks between global leaders. Now is the time to think about modern data protection and its future. And now is the time to bite ransomware back.

This is organised crime

It’s easy to forget that there’s a criminal behind the ransomware that makes itself at home within your business system. While it may once have been deemed something loitering on the web and only harmful if clicked on, many are starting to recognise the severe, complex, and targeted nature that ransomware really has. This is organised crime, and it works innovatively to infiltrate your business and your supply chain. It quite honestly poses a genuine threat to entire industries and communities.

So how can we start clamping down on the perpetrators behind this? The downside to such a connected and digital world means an attacker can operate in completely different areas of the world, making it difficult to prosecute using the same legal system your business is subject to. The reality is that a clamp down of this scale is going to require international co-operation and government action beyond anything we’ve seen in the cybersecurity sphere. And of course, this is going to take time, which, as you know, is something businesses don’t have when facing constant threats.

Therefore, while we wait for these political interventions to happen, businesses must be fully prepared for the ongoing onslaught of ransomware attacks, especially now they’re operating in remote locations. Previous cybersecurity measures won’t be enough, we have to adapt to the enemy by deploying modern data protection measures.

Think like a hacker

In the same was that a detective has to think like a criminal to solve a crime, the only way businesses will successfully protect themselves sufficiently from cyberattacks is to think like the hackers. They’re relentless, hyper-aware, and stringent. Employers and employees must act the same to stop vulnerabilities from opening up.

Good digital hygiene must become second nature, as opposed to something practiced for a week following annual cyber security training, and forgotten about until the next one. Failure to patch software should create the same attention as failing to lock up the office overnight. Not having a disaster recovery plan is akin to skipping contents insurance. We can’t simply think about security in the physical space because the enemies are operating in the digital one.

Another important aspect is thinking about the hacker’s success rate. In many cases they’ll spend all day attacking systems. They dedicate their time to evolve and innovate their attacks to overcome the security barriers that are holding them back. We need to anticipate they will eventually be able to do this, even if the best cybersecurity defences are in place. As we can see from the number of businesses paying ransoms, an attack can cause enough damage to push businesses into paying out rather than taking alternative routes.

It’s up to every organisation across every industry to invest in modern data protection practices to minimise the impact of ransomware attacks. Viewing attacks as an inevitability is the first step towards creating a more cyber-secure culture, with employees who are more educated and aware of ransomware. At the same time, businesses need to have the right safeguards in place to minimise disruption, including anti-virus software and firewalls, plus continuous backup and recovery to offer adequate insurance against the crippling effects of ransomware.

If the worst happens, and your systems are compromised, the business won’t collapse, and the attacker won’t get everything they want. The cybersecurity landscape may feel rocky right now, but there are steps we can and should take to better protect ourselves from the damages. It’s time to bite the ransomware hackers back.

Aafaq Islamic Finance and Al-Jazira Aviation Club sign cooperation agreement

Aafaq Islamic Finance, the leading institution in the financial sector that provides financial products and services compliant with Islamic Sharia law, has signed a cooperation agreement with Al Jazira Aviation Club in of Ras Al Khaimah to provide the best unparalleled financing solutions for club members wishing to purchase light aircraft of various types.

The cooperation agreement was signed by Captain Adel Yousef Al Zaabi, responsible manager of Al Jazira Aviation Club and Mr. Rashid Mahboob Al Qubaisi, CEO of Aafaq Islamic Finance, who praised this step that encourages hundreds of young people, citizens and residents to practice the hobby of flying light aircraft over UAE landscapes.

The agreement effectively builds and strengthens relations between the two parties and provides club members activities that promote sports in the country and provide social and development services to the public who deal with the club while Aafaq provides financing programs and facilities to club members wishing to finance the purchase of their own light aircraft.

Rashid Mahboob Al Qubaisi, CEO of Aafaq Islamic Finance said: “We are honored to be in Ras Al Khaimah to extend our appreciation and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the Union, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, for all the generous care that he entrusts and Crown Prince, Sheikh Muhammad bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, for looking after the welfare of all.

He added, “After signing a memorandum of understanding recently with the “Saud Bin Saqr Foundation for Youth Enterprise Development”, we at Aafaq Islamic Finance are pleased to announce our cooperation with the Al-Jazira Aviation Club, to support the youth and their ambition to purchase a light aircraft at competitive financing rates. Following the approach of our wise leadership, we encourage our young people to engage in hobbies.”

Captain Adel Youssef Al Zaabi said: “We extend our sincere thanks to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, for his continuous interest in everything that enhances the emirate’s position as a vibrant tourist destination and we also thank the Club’s President, Sheikh Omar bin Saqr Al Qasimi for achievements under his guidance. We look forward to offering Aafaq Islamic Finance financing services to club members that include banking and related services and conclude this cooperation agreement with ‘Islamic Horizons’.

Al Jazira Aviation Club, located in Ras Al Khaimah is accredited by the General Civil Aviation Authority in the UAE and currently has 470 members. It plays a key role in promoting and encouraging young people to join the field of light aviation, and provides everyone with the opportunity to witness the stunning landscapes in the emirate, distributed among beautiful high mountain ranges, beaches, creeks, desert sandy hills and natural life.

SUNREEF YACHTS UNVEILS: NEXT LEVEL CATAMARAN DESIGN

From day 1, Sunreef Yachts positioned itself as leader in luxury catamaran design and manufacturing, having introduced some of the most remarkable designs in the multihull industry including the world’s first flybridge catamaran. Presented in 2003 by company Founder and President Francis Lapp, Sunreef Yachts’ first luxury craft originated with a layout concept before taking final shape.

Today, Sunreef Yachts shares an exclusive first look at the layouts of a new luxury catamaran range of 60-90 feet that has been in the works for the last three years. With extreme living space, the range’s architecture takes a fresh look at catamaran design.

The concept unlocks a new potential for onboard comfort thanks to a design using the volume of both the hulls and bridge deck to achieve immense living space. Thanks to this, guest accommodation profits from new, generous amounts of fully-customizable living space. Standout features also include an imposing beach club.

With an innovative main deck design, the saloon of the yacht boasts full-height glazing and opens wide onto the sides and the lounging area of the aft cockpit. All spaces offer full freedom in terms of customization. The stern lounge uses the entire beam but can also be enclosed with sliding doors for more privacy in the marinas.

The sundeck can welcome an impressive master suite with panoramic views along with a large alfresco relaxation and fitness area.
 

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