Items filtered by date: March 2017

Colombo 29 March 2017

 Global Hospitals a multi-super specialty tertiary care hospital which has treated over a 1000 patients in Sri Lanka and has been acquired by Parkway Pantai, a fully owned subsidiary of IHH Healthcare Berhad will extend its services under its new identity to Sri Lankan patients as of today.

IHH Healthcare Berhad is the world’s second largest healthcare group by market capitalization and operates more than 10,000 licensed beds across 52 hospitals in 10 countries worldwide.  

Global Hospitals is now part of this esteemed family of medical facilities across Asia and is distinguished by its commitment to patient-centric care and excellent service.

Global Hospitals, with its new identity is all set to offer its Sri Lankan patients [ as part of one of the worlds leading international healthcare brands], the best tertiary and quaternary healthcare services. This marks yet another step towards enhancing the long standing relationship with their existing patients in Sri Lanka in the best interests of continued care.

In Sri Lanka, Global Hospitals operating under its new identity, will continue to be represented by the Forte Group of Companies , headed by Mr M.F.A. Riyas .

Forte Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd, launched in 2005, is an organization that has identified themselves as specialists in pharmaceuticals in order to keep up with market trends and behavior. Due to their stronghold in the healthcare industry, Forte International was appointed as the country office by Global Hospitals Group India, to take care of and serve Sri Lankan patients, with the support of medical professionals and doctors in Sri Lanka.

As a part of the famed Parkway Pantai group, patients can now look forward to even higher levels of service .

Published in Healthcare

In a global survey conducted by Business Software Alliance (BSA), Sri Lanka’s rate of unlicensed software installation stood at 79 percent in 2015 . In other words, 8 out of 10 people had installed software products that were either unlicensed or obtained illegally. In monetary terms, that’s a commercial loss of USD 163 million to software manufacturers.

Under clause 178 of the Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003 which refers to the infringement of copyrights, offenders shall be liable on conviction by a magistrate for a fine of up to LKR 500,000, or to imprisonment for a period of six months in jail, or even both .

Seven years ago, the CID established the Anti-Piracy and Counterfeit Unit (APCU). And since its inception, the unit has carried out a sequence of raids on a number of high-profile businesses suspected of infringing the intellectual property rights of software manufacturers such as Adobe and Microsoft.

Surprisingly, a business can still be at risk for using pirated software without even being aware of it. A frequent instance of unknown liability for business owners is when their IT manager or staff installs an illegal copy of Adobe Professional, under the assumption that they will remain legal because they only use it to read PDFs.

Besides the risk of raids and fines, which could easily disrupt a business’ finances and reputation, there are other reasons to avoid illegal software in the workplace. Software publishers offer their legitimate customers a wide array of services besides the program itself; these include support services, and upgrades. A legitimate copy or piece of software ensures that a purchaser is getting a quality product produced by the rightful software owner. In contrast, illegal or unlicensed copies provide none of these benefits.

Moreover, pirated software tends to subvert a computer’s security features, leaving it open to malware that could damage or compromise data, jeopardizing the security of a business’ computer network. Any one of these problems could quickly escalate into costly damages that become far more expensive than the money a business could have saved by buying or downloading unauthorized software.

Dirty Malware
Cyber security organizations have routinely stated that pirated software disrupts computer operations, gathers sensitive information, and displays unwanted advertising. What is malware? Let’s just say that it consists of highly dangerous backdoors, hijackers, droppers, bots, crackers, password stealers, and Trojans.

The BSA Global Software Report 2016 concluded that the higher the rate of unlicensed PC software, the higher the likelihood that it contained potentially debilitating malware. The finding was the result of a regression analysis, a statistical process for estimating the relationships among variables. The correlation coefficient of 0.78, provided in the report, indicated a very strong positive correlation between malware and unlicensed software.

Businesses need to address these risks and actively adopt policies that mandate the use of legal and licensed software. People with counterfeit software have no guarantee that their sensitive data, activities and communications will be safe from cybercriminals that intend to do harm. As the results of the studies and reports show, the danger of counterfeit software is real.

Purifying the Workplace of Piracy

If an employee installs an unauthorized computer program on company hardware or illegally downloads software from the Internet, the employer may be held liable — even if you or company management didn’t know this sort of activity was going on. This is one more reason why business owners should police their computers and have regular audits performed if they have any concerns.

For businesses trying to avoid piracy in the workplace; maintaining strict policies and disallowing the download, upload, or use of unlicensed intellectual property on company property is essential.
It is important to make employees take personal responsibility for the contents of their workstations and explain to them that if they don’t, the threat to your business could cost them their jobs as well.

On a purely ethical level, avoiding illegal software is just the right thing to do, because if you don’t then you’re stealing — plain and simple. Businesses need to understand that they need to act on this before it is too late. On the surface, the average person sitting at home and using an illegal program on their laptop doesn’t really care about the business down the street that’s getting raided and fined for pirated software. But they should, because this situation affects life as a whole in ways that people don’t see.

A low piracy rate is a sign of a healthy IT industry, which often translates to more jobs, more funds, and more taxes the government can collect to help improve other aspects of life throughout the country. Less piracy will directly affect the local economy in a positive way.

Published in Miscellaneous
  • Launches unprecedented range of deals and discounts from the very best brands in the country

Just in time for annual Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations, Sri Lanka’s premier private sector commercial bank, HNB PLC, announced a new promotion in time for Avurudhu for all their cardholders.

Having tied up with over 150 partner merchants, this year’s promotion will encompass a diverse range of products and services, including a vast selection of the most popular local and international retail brands, in addition to a comprehensive offering from the fine dining, leisure, travel and hotel categories ,thus offering HNB cardholders unprecedented value for money and unmatched choice.

Through its latest promotion, HNB cardholders will gain access to a dazzling variety of deals – including up to 50% off on selected offers - from over 150 of Sri Lanka’s most popular hotel, and retail chains, together with exclusive deals on dining and travel, and some of the best discounts on jewelry and lifestyle brands.
“The Sinhala and Tamil new year is naturally a very important time for Sri Lankans. It is a time for family and connections and traditions. We have worked hard to assemble some of Sri Lanka’s most sought after brands together on a single platform in order to deliver superior value to our customers this holiday season,” HNB Head of Cards, Roshantha Jayatunge stated.

Notably, this year’s promo will also offer cardholders further convenience with its Travel, Lifestyle and Jewelry offers through Easy Payment Plans available for 12 months with no added fees. 

Elaborating on HNB’s overall card strategy, he went on to explain how this year’s Avurudhu promotion was curated to meet the needs of an increasingly discerning clientele.

“HNB stands as the clear leader in retail banking and with this, we have seen tremendous interest in our card offerings. Our credit card business continues to be a key contributor towards the overall performance of HNB and this is greatly due to the value that we offer our card holders. We have been providing unique offers for our clients and will continue to do so in the future as well,” he noted.

Currently, HNB offers credit cards ranging from Visa Classic, Gold, Platinum, Signature and Infinite, as well as MasterCard Regular, Gold & World, while each cardholder is provided with a host of other exclusive benefits including the waiver of joining fees and free supplementary cards with no joining or annual fees.

HNB Credit Cardholders are also entitled to complimentary overseas travel and health insurance, reimbursement on fuel surcharge and the longest interest free credit period of 55 days for repayments.

For more information visit: www.hnb.net

Published in Finance

As the number of IoT-connected devices grow, more information is being stored on
the home network, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals

Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 30, 2017 Faster and more affordable Internet connections are driving more home users in Sri Lanka to deploy Internet-connected devices at home. At the same time, connectivity is enabling more employees to work remotely from home. While connected devices at home provide greater convenience and enable faster communication, ‘home networks’ can become easy targets for cyber criminals, cautions Fortinet, a global leader in high-performance cyber security solutions.

“Recent IoT-based attacks have revealed the sheer volume and ease by which billions of connected devices can be weaponized and used to disrupt the digital economies of entire countries and millions of users. These issues are compounded by the lack of basic security features and management capabilities in many IoT devices,” said Rajesh Maurya, Regional Vice President, India & SAARC, Fortinet.

“As our work and social networks expand into the home, so does the potential threat footprint. With more employees working from home, corporate offices are being regularly linked to these hyper connected and often poorly secured home networks. It is critical that we take a fresh look at how we are protecting ourselves from the growing number of networks we interact with.”

Personal, financial and medical information, as well as work assets are all at risk from increasingly sophisticated malware and financially motivated cybercriminals.

According to market research firm IDC, there will be nearly nine billion connected devices across Asia Pacific by 2020. Connected devices on the home network range from smart TVs, entertainment and gaming systems, smart refrigerators, to online home security systems. Many home networks also include wireless medical devices, and tools designed to track and monitor children or elderly family members. All of these devices are connected to the Internet through a home WiFi system, or increasingly, a Home Area Network (HAN) combined with Network-Attached Storage (NAS) and cloud-based applications that are accessible from any device in any location.

Fortinet proposes 3 top strategies & techniques for home users to secure their increasingly complex and sophisticated home networks:

1. Learn  - With the increasing number of portable IoT and other devices installed or used at home, it may be difficult to know exactly what is on the home network at any given time. Even harder is controlling what they are allowed to do. There are a number of security tools specifically designed for the home which can identify devices looking to connect to the Internet through WiFi network. Many of them can be easily configured to provide them with access to the guest network, while restricting and monitoring the kind of traffic they are generating.

Before purchasing a device that wants to connect to the network, ask some questions. Not every device that wants to connect to the network needs to. Next, research these devices with an eye towards security. Many connected devices include vulnerable software or back doors that make them potential targets. And far too many of these devices cannot be hardened, patched, or updated.

2. Segment - Home owners can apply a simple network segmentation strategy in order to protect their resources.

  • Buy separate wireless access points to separate things like gaming systems and IoT devices from PCs and laptops.
  • Set up a wireless guest network for visitors or new devices. Most access points allow users to restrict access, set up things like firewalls, and monitor guest behaviour.
  • Consider purchasing a separate, inexpensive device that is only used for sensitive tasks like online banking. Users could also set up a separate virtual device on their laptop or PC for banking online to protect their critical resources.
  • Keep work and personal devices separated. Set up a separate connection for work, only connect through a VPN tunnel, and consider encrypting sensitive data traveling back and forth between home and corporate networks.

 

3. Protect - Home networks and devices tend to become infected because security is notoriously lax. Here are a few security tips for the home network:

  1. Keep a list of all the devices and critical applications on your network, including the manufacturer. Set up a weekly routine to check for updates for physical and virtual devices, operating systems, applications, and browsers.
  2. Get antivirus and anti-malware software, keep it updated, and run it regularly. Remember that no software is 100% effective, so set up a regular schedule, say once a month, where you use a second or third security solution to scan your device or network. Many solutions provide a free online version or let you run a free demo for a period of time.
  3. Get a firewall. Most home security packages include a firewall option. Turn it on. Even the default settings are better than doing nothing.
  4. Use good password hygiene. Change your passwords every three to six months. Use a  password manager to store passwords. Use different passwords for different kinds of things. Do not mix your personal and work passwords.
  5. Password managers have been developed to help manage all your passwords, and all you need to keep track of is a single master password. This technology will also automatically create strong random passwords for each application you need to access, and store them in an encrypted format.

 

“Given the rate at which technology is changing, users can no longer afford to simply load an antivirus tool onto their laptop and think they are going to be protected. As users begin to use and interconnect more and more devices, and blend their personal, social, and work lives, security is increasingly important,” said Rajesh Maurya. “It is critical that users begin to develop a strategy now for learning, segmenting, and protecting their network, resources, data, and privacy.”

Published in ICT

The beautiful green landscape which soothed our eyes and refreshed our souls as we walked through the city streets back in the good old days is disappearing at a rapid speed due to accelerated urbanising in our city. The only noticeable park we have for the entire city is Viharamahadevi Park at Townhall. The development of many giant commercial buildings and high-rise apartmentsare indeed highly beneficial for the country yet the diminishing small remaining patches of greenery is taking its toll on the city dwellers with increased city temperature and stress-related illnesses at an unprecedented level.
Ensuring the wellbeing of the population, creating sustainable living space and the attractiveness of the city; Wallspan, a company specializing in architectural building façade, rain screen cladding, decorative cladding and curtain wall facade, has come up with a novel solution to transform Colombo into a Garden City without disturbing the fast paced development.

Explaining the concept of “living façade”, Ramzeen Rauff, Director- Operations of Wallspan said, ‘Plante living façade is a vertical garden which helps people living in densely populated urban environments re-connect with nature. It transforms dull and grey walls into most needed greenery by growing beautiful plants on a vertical space. It can be used to beautify the walls of high-rise buildings, offices, flats, apartments, individual homes or any other structure for that matter.’

Wallspan very recently completed the country’s tallest vertical garden at the five-star Movenpick city hotel with more than 33,000 plants on vertical plane, thus proving its engineering excellence. Though it’s a new concept to Sri Lanka, living facades have helped to change the city landscape of many developed countries including Singapore which has gained international reputation as a garden city.

According to Rauff, living facades goes beyond than offering an aesthetic value to the city landscape to also give many other health and environmental benefits. Some major studies done by world renowned green façade consultants on vertical garden has revealed benefits such as reduced air pollution, better acoustics andreduced urban heat amongst many benefits.Living facades help to reduce air pollution by filtering the fine particles in the air and help reduce heat in urban areas by preventing heat radiation into surrounding areas as opposed to solid walls. Modern studies have proven that plants can reduce radiation of heat by up to 50 percent.  Additionally living façade also helps reduce noise pollution in the city. ‘The initial cost of living façade is outweighed by the health and other benefits offered by it,’ he added.

As plants are grown on a vertical space in contrast to ordinary gardens on land, access to regular water supply, fertilizer and nutrients become a challenge. Wallspan uses a fully automated irrigation and liquid fertilizer system to overcome such challenges. The system especially designed for high-rise buildings, which is incorporated with special safety features. The plants can be chosen according to individual tastes of the client considering climatic conditions and other factors affecting plants to grow in the particular location. One of the special features of living façade is that users can move plants around, not having to look at the same display every day, thanks to the advanced engineering capability of Wallspan.Due to lack of space in the congested city, at the residential level, many home gardens have been turned in to car parks disallowing them to enjoy luxury of having their gardens. Concerning the need, Wallspan also provide an economical and value engineered solution for individual home owners to have their Vertical Garden within the limited space available.

“Living facades offer a wide range of benefits to the users as well as to the country. With tourism being one of the main growth engines of our economy living facades will be able to give a much needed boost to it by attracting and promoting the Sri Lankan capital as a beautiful garden city”, further stated Rauff who brings with him an experience of over ten years in the façade industry in the UK where he worked with internationally renowned architects, developers and contractors.

The company takes pride in introducing a range of innovative, high quality, and sustainable cladding solutions to the Sri Lankan building facade market within the last few years. Products being chosen from world renowned manufacturers in Europe, USA and Singapore in order to ensure our clients to benefit from latest technologies & sustainable products with the promise of long term cost benefit.   Wallspan has become a trusted brand among the design community and some of its prestigious clients include Softlogic Life, Dialog, Odel, Prime Residencies, Mobitel, Movenpick City Hotel, and various universities, banks and many other retail, corporate and government institutions. The Company already has been able to build an excellent track record in providing pioneering technologies to building façade market through introduction of EXTEC Cladding, Light Clad, PERF Clad, Archizinc cladding, BIPV Solar glass, etc.
Wallspan team dedicated to provide its expertise and assistance to architects, interior and landscape designers, corporate and individual home owners who wish to have a beautiful vertical garden in their premises irrespective of the scale of the project. More details about living facades can be obtained by calling the company’s hotline 0770881558 or 0117470055or by logging onto www.wallspan.lk.

Published in CSR & Environment
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