Elaine Wang, Cloud Solutions Director at Rectron shares what she will be speaking about at Women in Tech Africa this March 2020 and describes the transformative power of cloud technology, particularly for small businesses in South Africa.
What are you speaking about at Women in Tech Africa?
I’m speaking to organisations about maximising investments from a shift to the cloud.
Attendees will get a sense of how to take their cloud journey a little further. There are so many opportunities for African businesses to leverage some really innovative technologies to improve their businesses.
What's your background and what attracted you to a long-standing career at Rectron?
Rectron was my very first job. I was fresh out of completing my MBA, and needed work experience. I never thought that I’d end up in technology! Nevertheless, I was given an opportunity as a personal assistant to a business unit manager at Rectron. The thing about the tech sector is that it really sucks you in. I love how fast paced the industry is – every day is an opportunity to learn.
My career at Rectron has been such an interesting one, as I’ve been involved with so many areas in the Rectron business. I’ve also worked with some incredible people that have taught me a lot, and challenge me on a daily basis.
Can you describe your typical day as a Cloud and Software Solutions Director?
Rectron operates in a fast-paced distribution environment, where ‘typical days’ typically do not exist. We drive a strong sales organisation, where we work on nurturing a strong reseller channel that ultimately brings the technologies to end user organisations. We spend a lot of time working on strategies and campaigns in upskilling our reseller channel to be able to achieve success in our joint objectives.
At the core of Rectron’s success here is the strong team that we’ve collectively built, with specialists in various areas of the business, as well as a strong platform to bring our solutions to market.
I also champion Rectron’s female empowerment programme, called Basadi. It’s now almost a year old, and we focus on delivering training to the women in our organisation to encourage them to put up their hands and reach out for the next level of their careers. We’re currently looking into how we expand on this programme, and are really looking forward to the next year of Basadi.
How has cloud technology been able to transform SMEs?
Rectron is extremely passionate about SMEs, and in my role, I often talk about the transformative power of the cloud, especially on SMEs. It has the ability to even the playing field, bringing SMEs access to technologies, often without the hefty price tags of the on premise solutions of the past. The cloud vendors are also increasingly bringing solutions that are easy to use and to build on.
Following media stories like the 2014 celebrity photo hack, are data protection and security issues of the cloud still a major concern? How has this been improved?
Cyber security and privacy is a topic that will gain growing exposure as people and organisations start to use technology more. Governments around the world have implemented stringent laws that govern how organisations use, handle and store data. This is reflected in things such as GDPR in Europe, and POPI here in South Africa.
There’s still a lot of naivety in the market with regards to security. When we speak to our channel, we talk a lot about differentiating between personal and organisational level solutions. Ultimately, we try to encourage people to use only reputable cloud vendors, and to understand the security that backs up the vendors’ solutions. A reputable vendor will always make this information publicly available through white papers.
Over the course of the last few years, we’ve seen some extremely high profile attacks in South Africa, ranging from attacks on government municipality sites to banks and insurance companies. As with physical security, organisations need to ensure that they have a strategy for their digital environments, and this needs to be something that is raised at board and management level. We’re seeing this more and more, but still, we see a lot of SMEs in South Africa adopt an ad-hoc 'let’s figure it out as we go' approach, which can result in security breaches.
However, the security behind technology is only one part to the puzzle – it’s still extremely important that people are trained to spot things such as phishing attempts. All it takes is a click on the wrong link for things to go wrong. Organisations need to spend more time in training their people in how to spot potential threats to prevent against some of the security issues.
What advice would you give to individuals and businesses looking to learn more about cloud usage?
Work with a reputable reseller that is backed by a good distributor. As mentioned, Rectron invests a lot in educating our reseller channel to ensure that our strategic partners are able to have good end to end discussions with their customers.
There’s also a plethora of resources available online from the vendors. As an example, for those that are really interested in learning more about cloud, I always encourage people to have a look at Microsoft Cloud Society. There’s a ton of great content there that’s available for free. I’ve also seen vendors make content freely available on EdX. The big vendors also regularly host community groups, which are free to attend. Reach out to the community to find out more about these events.
What are you most looking forward to at Women in Tech Africa?
I always enjoy networking at these events. It’s amazing to see the energy between sessions as we all try to learn from one another.
About the speaker
Elaine Wang is the Cloud Solutions Director at Rectron (Pty) Ltd, driving the shift towards the cloud in the South African IT channel, with a strong focus on the transformative power of the cloud for small businesses in South Africa. In addition to the cloud business, Elaine also leads the Rectron national marketing team, leveraging her strengths in strategic marketing, and seeing to creative, and impactful campaigns for Rectron. Elaine has also recently spearheaded the creation of Basadi, Rectron’s own female empowerment programme, with the aim to drive a more diverse and inclusive culture within Rectron, as well as within the IT channel.
Want fo find out more about cloud technology or some of the other fascinating topics in our Women in Tech Africa agenda? There's not long to go until the conference kicks off this March 18-19, 2020 at the CCCC, South Africa. Secure your seat and book your pass now!