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Joshua Agboola, JSS 2 Student Emerges MTN Hackathon Champion



Joshua Agboola JSS 2 Student Emerges MTN Hackathon Champion, SiliconNigeria

L-R: Njideka Jack, Senior Manager, Business Enablement, MTN Nigeria; Abeebah Alabi, First Runner Up, MTN mPulse Hackathon 2020; Joshua Agboola, Winner, MTN mPulse Hackathon 2020 and Dr. Itoro Emembolu, Director, TechQuest STEM Academy at the prize presentation for MTN mPulse Hackathon finalists in Lagos recently.

Master Joshua Agboola, a 12-year-old JSS 2 student of Bellina College, Akoka, Lagos state has emerged winner of the MTN mPulse Hackathon.

He won the competition by creating ‘Kagukar Study Buddie,’ a home-schooling, remote education and learning solution using artificial intelligence. The solution uses an interactive voice-activated robot that assists students to study, practice tests, learn from stories while providing entertainment with games, riddles and jokes.

Joshua Agboola received N1 million in funding support, N100,000 cash voucher, portable electronic devices worth over N120,000 and mPulse back-to-school items. “I feel excited. Thanks to MTN, I have been able to show my potential towards changing the world and impact lives positively with my solution,” he said.  

The first runner up, Abeedah Alabi of Jakande Estate Comprehensive Senior College, also in Lagos and second runner up, Amarahi Ogbu of Government Day Secondary School, Abuja also received N500,000 in funding support, N100,000-cash vouchers, portable electronic devices worth over N120,000, and mPulse back-to-school items.

The top ten finalists will participate at a six-week virtual MTN GAP Boot camp, an incubation program to further refine and accelerate their winning solutions to market in collaboration with TechQuest STEM Academy.  

Speaking at the mPulse Hackathon finale, chief transformation officer, Bayo Adekanmbi, MTN Nigeria, said, “Technology has bridged the gap between our children and the future, positioning them to lead the charge to a bold new world.

”At MTN, we believe in that future and are taking deliberate steps to guide young people in developing solutions for all. The MTN mPulse Hackathon is part of our wider contribution towards this aspiration, consistent with our commitment to champion innovation,” he said.

In 2018, the company unveiled mPulse, a proposition for teens and tweens designed for kids between ages 9 and 15. The mPulse package comes with a voice plan and a fun, educative website which hosts a wide variety of courses and study aids to help children from Primary 1 to SS3 excel. The portal also provides a bouquet of single and multiplayer games as well as life skill videos.

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Outsourcing & Managed Services

Oracle Helps Organizations Tackle B2B Omnichannel Sales and Commerce Challenges



Oracle Helps Organizations Tackle B2B Omnichannel Sales and Commerce Challenges, SiliconNigeria

By KATRINA GOSEK, vice president of product portfolio strategy, Oracle CX Sales & Commerce

Sales and digital commerce leaders from across industries are not just asking how to better connect sales and purchasing processes in the current environment – they are also asking about how new approaches can give them a long-term competitive advantage.

The need to rethink existing approaches was underlined in our recent study with Denis Pombriant, a CRM analyst and founder and managing principal of Beagle Research Group, LLC. The study, “Getting Past the Breaking Point,” found that traditional CRM systems are simply not working and are seen more as a burden than a resource. In fact, 66% of sellers would rather clean the bathroom or stand in line at the DMV than update their CRM system; it’s no wonder something is broken.

It not just traditional CRM systems that are a problem in today’s complex sales and commerce environments. Businesses also need for a more connected omnichannel sales relationship, which requires bringing together front-office channels and back-office applications together on a unified platform that can provide one view of the customer and business. This helps direct sales teams move the right opportunities forward and close deals faster. It also helps connect buyers more closely to the sales experience online.

With this in mind, we have introduced a number of new sales and commerce innovations within Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience (CX) to improve the virtual selling and buying experience.

Improved Virtual Selling Experience

  • Predictive Lead Scoring: Helps sellers determine where they will have the most impact so they can focus their efforts on the strongest opportunities. It does this by using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate a probability score that shows a seller how likely a lead will close based on first-party and historic lead data such as past interactions, product purchases, and account profile data.
  • New User Experience: Helps sellers improve efficiency and accelerate sales cycles. The new user experience adapts to the seller’s role and gives action-driven prompts to focus the seller and remove guesswork. The new CX Sales Mobile application is based on Oracle’s Redwood UX design philosophy that promotes natural, intelligent interactions.
  • Streamlined Sales Processes: A new integration between Microsoft Teams and Oracle CX Sales lets sellers work in familiar collaboration tools without worrying about data loss or duplication. In addition, we continue to build on the integration between CX Sales and Oracle CPQ to give sellers the ability to start, search for, and finish quotes and proposals within the Oracle CX Sales user interface.
  • Advanced Sales Forecasting: A new sales planning dashboard helps sellers make better decisions with views of evolving forecast trends and complete revenue models. The dashboard helps provide a level of accuracy and predictability to sales planning and forecasting with data sourced from ERP actuals and real-time CRM pipeline.

Improved Virtual Buying Experience

  • New Customer Intelligence Capabilities: New integrations between CX Commerce and Unity, our Customer Data Platform, help businesses leverage online purchasing behavior and data through the duration of the customer journey with other types of data (demographic, IoT, 3rd party enrichment). CX Commerce also now connects natively to Oracle’s Customer Data Management system linking online sales to a customer’s master record for automated data profiling and enrichment across channels. Finally, new AI capabilities within Oracle CX Commerce improve the customer buying experience with optimized and embedded recommendations and search.
  • Streamlined Configuration Management Capabilities: Help businesses make even the most complex goods and services available for online purchasing giving B2B buyers the ability to configure their own packages and services online. In addition, proposals started online can be seamlessly passed to direct sellers if a high-touch engagement is required.
  • New Subscription Management Capabilities: Help businesses quickly and easily launch subscription business models and make revenue more predictable by bringing together Oracle CX Commerce, CPQ, and Subscription Management.
  • New Commerce and Content Capabilities: A new integration between Oracle CX Commerce and Oracle CX Content gives buyers the product content and information they need to guide and enrich self-service purchasing decisions.

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Sophos Unveils Rapid Response Service to Neutralise Cyber Attacks



Sophos Unveils Rapid Response Service to Neutralise Cyber Attacks, SiliconNigeria

Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, today announced the availability of Sophos Rapid Response, an industry-first, fixed-fee remote incident response service that identifies and neutralizes active cybersecurity attacks throughout its entire 45-day term of engagement.

Sophos Rapid Response provides organizations with a dedicated 24/7 team of incident responders, threat hunters and threat analysts to quickly stop advanced attacks and remove adversaries from their networks, minimizing damage and costs, and reducing recovery time.

Sophos Rapid Response has identified the first known use of the Buer malware dropper to deliver ransomware. In new research published today from Sophos Rapid Response and SophosLabs, “Hacks for sale: Inside the Buer Loader Malware-as-a-Service,” Sophos details how Buer compromises Windows PCs, and enables attackers to deliver a payload. Sophos Rapid Response made the discovery while mitigating a recent Ryuk ransomware attack, which was detected and stopped as part of a wave of Ryuk attacks using new tools, techniques and procedures. In this incident, the relentless attackers used a new variant of Buer in an attempt to launch Ryuk ransomware, before expanding their efforts to mix the use of Buer with other types of loader malware.

“When you’re hit with an attack, time is of the essence. Every minute between initial compromise and neutralization counts as adversaries race through the attack lifecycle,” said Joe Levy, chief technology officer at Sophos.

“Advanced attacks can quickly halt business operations, and IT managers who have experienced ransomware firsthand know this all too well, reporting the need to spend proportionately more time on incident response and less time on threat prevention than those who haven’t been hit. Sophos Rapid Response disrupts active attacks, eliminating the complex and time consuming process of stopping determined attackers, so organizations can get back to their normal operations faster.”

Sophos Rapid Response neutralizes a wide range of security incidents, including ransomware, network breaches, hands-on keyboard adversaries, and more. The Sophos Rapid Response team can be onboarded and activated within hours, and the majority of attacks triaged within 48 hours.

“This year, devastating ransomware attacks have unfortunately been a gold rush for cybercriminals, and it’s unlike anything the cybersecurity industry has ever experienced. Nearly 85% of the attacks that Sophos Rapid Response has been involved in thus far included ransomware – notably RyukREvil and Maze – and I can say with confidence that most of the other attacks that we were called in to stop would have also resulted in ransomware had we not acted so quickly,” said Peter Mackenzie, incident response manager at Sophos.

Readily accessible tools make it possible for attackers to net bigger pay-outs in one week’s worth of work than most people will make in their lifetime. Criminals infiltrate networks and stealthily plan their attacks in the background, before strategically launching ransomware as the final payload – often during the overnight hours when no one is watching in order to execute on as many machines as possible. Sophos Rapid Response takes immediate action to extinguish the fire, which in the case of a hospital that we helped this month after it was hit by Ryuk ransomware and forced to shut down, meant the difference of life or death.”

Sophos Rapid Response is part of Sophos Managed Threat Response (MTR), a global team that provides proactive, fully-managed threat hunting, detection and response services. As one of the industry’s most widely used managed detection and response (MDR) services with more than 1,400 customers, Sophos MTR stands apart with its ability to proactively take action on an organization’s behalf to mitigate threats in real time.

Once immediate threats are neutralized during a Rapid Response engagement, the Sophos Rapid Response program shifts to continuous monitoring with around-the-clock proactive threat hunting, investigation, detection, and response from the Sophos MTR team. A threat investigation report details discoveries made, actions taken and other remediation recommendations, helping organizations understand attack origination as well as what assets were compromised, and data accessed and exfiltrated.

Sophos Rapid Response is available now to both existing and non-Sophos customers. Unlike traditional incident response and forensic services that require complex and protracted deployments with hourly pricing structures, Sophos Rapid Response is a remote offering with a fixed pricing model based on an organization’s number of users and servers. Sophos Rapid Response is also structured to accommodate businesses of all sizes, including smaller organizations, which until now have not been able to easily leverage a service such as this without requiring a retainer.

What analysts and channel partners say: “Cyberattacks are getting worse and more sophisticated. As we’ve seen this year, no one is off limits, even in a time of crisis. Organizations need to ready themselves as more than 85 percent of security professional survey respondents typically tell IDC that they have experienced at least one security breach in the past two years that involved the spending of significant extra resources to rectify,” said Frank Dickson, program vice president at IDC.

“Sophos Rapid Response is an offering that no one wants until they need it. Many organizations are simply either not prepared to fight an active attack or want to respond more quickly and aggressively than internal resources alone allow. With predictable, fixed-fee pricing and the ability for same-day activation, Sophos Rapid Response provides certainty when customers want it most.”

“A charitable organization providing housing and support services to thousands of vulnerable adults was hit by ransomware, taking down operations at all of its more than 40 facilities. The organization called us for help, and we immediately deployed Sophos Rapid Response. Working together with Sophos Rapid Response, we were able to get them back up and running quickly so they could continue serving those in need,” said Steve Weeks, president at Netcetera.

“Netcetera clients already running Sophos’ next-generation security suite are well protected, and we haven’t seen a ransomware incident in our managed client base in many years. When we get a call for help from new clients, however, I’ll always bring in Sophos Rapid Response. The highly responsive team is rock solid in its ability to work with us and get compromised organizations out of the danger zone, and ultimately, help us to close new business opportunities.”

“Sophos Rapid Response perfectly complements our existing in-house incident response services, advancing our ability to provide proactive preparedness plans and immediate support in worst-case scenarios. We’re not just selling a transactional service – with Sophos Rapid Response, we’re fixing long-term problems and preventing them from happening again,” said Jeremy Weiss, cybersecurity practice lead at CDW. “I’ve seen firsthand how the Sophos Rapid Response team is able to cut through all of the noise to quickly remediate security incidents within hours, and the feedback from customers has been nothing but exceptional. Sophos Rapid Response is an instrumental offering that elevates our customers’ security posture to the next level.”

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Cloud computing

ICIT Partners Microsoft, 9Mobile On Cloud-based Software Packages For SMEs



ICIT Partners Microsoft 9Mobile On Cloud-based Software Packages For SMEs, SiliconNigeria

ICIT Solutions Nigeria, a business technology solutions provider and tier-one Microsoft partner, has announced their partnership with 9Mobile to launch 9Business Cloud, a top-notch e-commerce platform where you can buy all cloud based software packages, designed to enhance business productivity in the fast-growing Nigerian market.

Located in Lagos, Nigeria, ICIT (Internet, Communications & IT Solutions) is an experienced information technology solutions provider with a mission to efficiently empower businesses to achieve more with less using automation.

 ICIT, provides both SMEs and Enterprise level businesses with affordable and trusted Managed IT services and business process automation solutions to help them operate effectively. The company’s primary goal is to help clients build systems where business productivity is optimized, profitability is increased, and peace of mind is guaranteed.

Mr. Kamar Oyenuga, Managing Director, ICIT Solutions Limited noted that, “We are excited to announce our partnership with 9Mobilie Nigeria to launch this first-in-class cloud solutions e-commerce platform 9Business Cloud for organizations of all sizes. Whether you are an organization of 1 or 10,000 employees, we have something for you to enable you manage and run your business from anywhere”.

Kamar in his statement mentioned that, “the 9business platform, caters to anyone, whether a 9Mobile subscriber or not, looking to purchase cloud-based products and solutions. The 9Business Cloud market place has affordable software products like Microsoft 365 which helps you to run your business from everywhere in a cost-effective manner, Microsoft teams for improved productivity and employee collaboration, One Note, One Drive for data and file storage online with up to 1TB worth space. Also available are SharePoint, Dynamics 365 for customer engagement and personalized service on any channel, recruitment, employee development, financial management, improved customer experiences, and improved marketing, and many more”. 

He further stressed that, “This is an innovative way for modern businesses to cut-away unnecessary cost while also achieving optimal results for a more sustainable business operation. It’s simple, quick, secure, stress-free and affordable. Having identified that the core need of any organization is to ensure that every stakeholder has peace of mind which emanates from the profitability of the company, ICIT Solutions has positioned its offerings to support such businesses that aim to attain profitability that will in turn, increase their value”.

For over a decade, ICIT Solution has been creating a sustainable and highly secured automated business solutions for companies, by engaging the businesses to understand their processes and help them break processes to measurable workflows that are automatable with the necessary support. It’s services include delivering End to End intelligent Managed IT services, fully-fledged business automation process support like software license sales and renewals, design and customization of process flows that will efficiently empower businesses to achieve more, data migration and protection, staff training and support and much more. It has also brought great value to the cloud solution offerings of 9mobile Telecommunication in Nigeria.

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