Organisations in the country have come to the realisation that Information and Technology (IT) is fast becoming an integral part of their operations. However, most of these organisations in Zimbabwe are exposed to the cyber security threats as solutions that help detect threats are charged in foreign currency.
TechnoMag reporter Thomas Mupfuka (TM) caught up with the director of Axis Solutions, Amiel Matindike (AM) to understand what has been the uptake of these solutions and other IT related issues. Axis solutions is one of the few companies that distributes solutions that help curb cyber attacks.
TM: Can you explain in detail what your organisation does?
AM: As Axis Solutions, we basically have solutions specifically from ManageEngine, they have got solutions for individuals and companies.
These solutions are designed to protect the personal computers (PCs), servers and to protect the whole network as you know with cyber security you can never be over-protected you just need to keep on adopting new technologies and software.
What ManageEngine has done, it has invested in software around potential areas which need effective monitoring.Instead of involving a lot of people to do the monitoring, these are automated they just do on their own. You get the analytics, you get the reports and get even warnings.The solutions we have got are detective ones and preventative whilst some solutions give you an audit trail of what has happened.
TM: Given all that and taking into consideration that most organisations have embraced technology that exposes them to cyber threats, what has been the uptake of your products in Zimbabwe.
AM: The uptake of the products is not yet there. In Zimbabwe, it is because of foreign currency shortages. Because these products are paid in US dollars. We are working very well with our bankers. They help us with the allocations and we do the repatriation.
TM: How much do these solutions costs in US dollars?
AM: These are cheap solutions in US dollars, on average a thousand dollars (US$ 1 000) that can cover at least one area, for example, emails, but that depends on the number of users.But big organisation need US$ 20 000 then they may be able to cover what is critical.
TM: Besides the issue of foreign currency what are some of the major issues that you are grappling with?
AM: Yes, shortages of foreign currency is the major one. We also have shortages of skills. You will find that those with skills in curbing cyber security prefer to leave the country.
We now have to train those straight from college and also even then when they are trained they also want to leave the country.We hope everything in the near future will improve and maintain the skills that we would have developed.
TM: How is your local and regional footprint like?
AM: Locally, we have branches in Bulawayo, and we have agencies in Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare, they also distribute our products.
We have fully functioning offices in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. We have partners in Swaziland and Botswana. We however, expect that by the end of the year we would have opened an office in Namibia while Botswana would be a fully functioning office as Axis Solutions instead of having to use partners.
TM: How do these regional offices help in terms of foreign currency generation?
AM: Indeed, that has been our strategy to open as much branches as we can outside Zimbabwe. You know some of these countries have different economic challenges and foreign currency shortages is not one of them. So, we hope that they will play a part in providing the much needed forex with in turn we hope it will make our products cheaper locally.
TM: Who are your major clients?
AM: We have a diversified cliental in the telecoms, mining, agriculture, education and health. Our future prospects is to become a leading solutions supplier in these five sectors.
TM: What is your comment that technology is playing a role towards job cuts?
AM: Technology in Zimbabwe and globally has improved livelihoods among globally. For example, there has been a significant reduction in brick and mortar banking as we no longer have to go to banks to make payments.
In the health sector, there has been improvement in record keeping which is not yet there in public institutions.
In short, IT is no longer a supporter, it is now a business driver, all businesses are going to be driven by IT.
Those who are going to adopt information technology are going to go miles and offer excellent customer services.
TM: Lastly, what has been your partnership with ManageEngine, which is a division of Zoho Corporation?
AM: We have become master distributors of their products in Zimbabwe. And we should become master distributors in other countries. So this shows that our five-year relationship has been perfect.