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This is Part 2 in the series regarding the hot topic of Ransomware, brought to you by the team at AgileCloud. If you missed Part 1, you’ll be able to find it here: “HELP! … How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks”

Despite the raging increase in the frequency of Ransomware attacks, and the increasing probability that your organization will fall victim to one or more of the attacks that have yet to be released into the world, most people are still aloof and under the belief that it will not affect them … but if it does – “we’ll just pay the ransom”, some say.

The effects of a ransomware attack, and being locked out of your systems, are, simply put … devastating!

Read the full article here >>
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CommerceQuest SA achieves B-BBEE Level Rating 2 in ICT Sector

As part of the ongoing CommerceQuest SA (CQSA) initiatives to drive Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) within the company, CQSA has been awarded with a Level 2 B-BEE rating for a Qualifying Small Enterprise in the ICT sector.

The BEE rating was made official on 30th May 2017 which provides CQSA with a 51% Black Women Owned classification.

According to Eric Sommer, Managing Director, CQSA, “Our big drive during 2016 was not to just maintain our company BEE status, but to increase it for 2017 and provide some real value to the community, in particular, to students who wish to enter the IT sectors, especially Black Females. The new codes for BEE introduced in 2016, meant that we had to focus on providing tangible projects that would deliver successful outcomes and help people.”
CQSA Directors and Management team, met with various educational groups and decided to join with the Izzy Foundation to identify worthy candidates who would benefit a great deal from being provided with full bursaries to study for their degrees.

“We currently have 2 students now enrolled in the Inkanyezi Empowerment Trust (formed by CQSA) in February 2017, who we have provided full bursaries to for 2017. The students will also have the opportunity to spend 2 weeks with our technical team at CQSA offices in July and on completion of their degrees, they will have an automatic entrance into our CQSA IT Leanership programme and receive ongoing mentorship” says Sommer.

Alex Steyn, Sales Director, at CQSA also comments “We are extremely happy with such a good BEE rating for a small enterprise company such as ours. It was hugely important for us to identify and secure a complete BEE initiative, and black females are greatly needed in the IT industry. We also owe it to our customers to achieve a high rating, and provide educational opportunities into the local IT sector”.

CommerceQuest SA celebrates its 20th Year in business in 2017, and continues to achieve success and grow its skills talent in the software and services sector with the IBM Integration and Cloud solutions.

For further information about CommerceQuest SA and AgileCloud, please visit or email
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Connect Direct to SA Revenue Services (SARS) using AgileFile from AgileCloud

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Need a truly mobile suite of applications to enable your workforce?

The promise of being able to work from anywhere has often been spoken about, but many solutions are a patchwork of different products that don’t really work together and don’t really deliver, and if they do, they are hosted overseas where latency creates the same frustration as watching a YouTube video that is buffering!

Until Now!

The Cloud Workspace Suite provides you with everything you need to enable your team to run your business and be productive from anywhere!

Hosted locally in state-of-the art data centres in South Africa, supported by a 99.9% financially backed guarantee, the services are fast, efficient and provide true work-anywhere capabilities, while at the same time protecting your data!

Need support? We’ve got you covered.

To simplify support, we have also tailored the email security, archiving and branding to support local legal and legislative frameworks. Unlimited WebChat and telephonic support are included with each package, with the Gold Package also offering Managed Care.

Managed Care is a fully managed cloud based service that will provide Remote Management and Monitoring which will dramatically increase your companies’ efficiency – by offloading the monitoring, troubleshooting and maintenance of laptops and desktops. This bolt on service exclusively forms part of Cloud Workspace Suite and offers proactive problem resolution and is based on industry best practices for alerting, integrated ticketing, automated recommendations, remote control, scripting, patch management, antivirus software (Webroot), and reporting.

Reduce IT Costs

As a bundle, Cloud Workspace Suite provides you with savings of up to 40% compared to procuring these services individually. Significantly reduce operational costs and cut capital expenditure by eliminating on-site servers, software and maintenance. Additionally, there is absolutely no capital outlay – it is a monthly subscription – so all costs are OPEX and completely affordable!

Work Anywhere, Increase Productivity

Leverage enhanced productivity by allowing employees to have access to applications and data from wherever they’re working. You get a familiar, industry leading set of productivity tools. Microsoft Office applications allows you to create, edit and collaborate anytime anywhere. The full suite of Office products (Work, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint) can be added to your subscription at a low monthly cost.

Eliminate Complex Security Challenges

Information security is no longer an option; it’s an imperative. Cloud Workspace Suite addresses complex data privacy and compliance security requirements so you can focus on building a risk free business

Business Applications from the Cloud

Deliver your critical business applications from our data centres with secure access from your cloud workspace, from any device. Staying in control of your business applications, has never been easier.

Rental Made Easy

Through our managed care offering your endpoint devices can be monitored and protected. You also get access to equipment rental options at below cost price as a Cloud Workspace Suite customer.

Hosted Exchange – Outlook eMail

Our Hosted Exchange Offering is a robust and fully managed solution, which offers the secure messaging your business requires. Our datacentres, have 5 levels of Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus scans with SSL encryption to secure your email transmissions.

Our Email Migration and Management Accelerator (‘EMMA’) provides orchestration tools to ensure a seamless migration of your current email environment to Hosted Exchange or Exchange Online at no additional charge. More Than Just Mail – Brand your email with professionally designed email signatures.

Recovery Vault Express – Hosted Backup

We designed our backup solution unlike any other online backup software – there is no need to pick folders and files.

Our Cloud Backup stores your data in top-tier, physically and logically secure datacentres. We encrypt your data using AES-256 – for secure access anywhere.

Discovery Vault – Compliance Archiving

Information that travels in and out of your company forms the backbone of your business. Saving that information can help you protect your digital assets and provide a tamper proof record of your email communication.

DiscoveryVault is one of the world’s leading providers of archiving, offering a mature and industry compliant solution in the industry.

Mail Archiving- Supports eDiscovery and compliance needs (10 Years) with message retention and robust search and retrieval with ease of access through Outlook or a secure web interface.

SyncVault – Enterprise File Sync & Share

SyncVault is designed to deliver cloud storage applications, including encrypted file synchronization sharing, backup, and mobile collaboration. A full featured cloud storage solution which deployed on site with an appliance can replace your file server.

IDSync – Identity Management

One of the stumbling blocks when transitioning to the cloud is, how to manage and provision your users’ identity and access privileges for the increasing array of cloud services.

IDSync provides application level user security, password synchronization and access management for both on premise and cloud based services, and is accessed directly from within your existing Active Directory users and computers management suite.

Uptime Guarantee

When your cloud service is down, so is your business. We know how downtime impacts your productivity and bottom line. That’s why we back our Cloud Workspace Suite with an unmatched guaranteed 99.9% uptime, financially-backed service level agreement. You can count on your email always being up and running.

All our Cloud Workspace Suite bundles include the following:

Exclaimer Email Branding – 4 changes per year
Migration Assistance – seamless migration of your email, calendars, contacts and tasks
Identity Synchronization to AD – 5 Applications
Unlimited Silver Chat and Email Support
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Engineering solution – Spending money wisely! (or not)

The following story is about using a 10Kg sledgehammer to tap in a small nail! For every challenge there are multiple solutions – and in this economic climate, it is important to investigate ALL of them and then to choose wisely!

Enjoy the story!

A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timing so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time. Small variations in the environment (which can't be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don't get ticked-off and buy another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort.

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and R50 million) later they had a fantastic solution - on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time.

They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line.

Everyone was happy. Well, almost everyone.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the project: Amazing results! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share. "That's some money well spent!" - he says!

And then he took a closer look at the other statistics in the report.
It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 (as in zip, zero, zilch), after three weeks of production use. It should have been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report. He launched an investigation, and after some work, the engineers come back saying the report was in fact correct. The scales really weren't picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO travelled down to the factory, and walked up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed.
A few feet before the scale, there was a R120 desk fan.

Curious, he asked one of the workers why the fan was there.

"Oh, that, we put it there to blow the empty boxes off the line because we were tired of walking over every time the bell rang to restart the line".

Now everyone was happy. Except the CEO who spent a fortune to be defeated by a R120 fan!

And the moral? It doesn’t have to cost the earth to solve a problem. There are many cost-effective solutions that can be implemented which will efficiently and quickly solve the ROOT cause of your problem.
Give us a call – we might just have that solution for you!
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Maintaining IT systems in order to run smoothly and successfully is often more time consuming than you might expect. Apart from your own in-house applications, your hardware and Operating Systems (OS), patch management, version control, compatibility of your hardware and OS and Apps, you also have the underlying middleware software running your business (which we like to call the plumbing) this adds another important layer to supporting IT systems and infrastructure.

CommerceQuest SA (CQSA) is an IBM Gold Business Partner, with a 20 year history and experience in selling, deploying and supporting the IBM software stack (covering IBM MQ, IBM MQ Appliance, IBM Integration Bus, WebSphere Application Server, and Connect:Direct products), but more importantly, making sure that our customers do not need to worry about it.

CQSA’s largest customers require full time on site support specialists to monitor, manage and support their systems on a 24/7 basis, while smaller customers do not have the need but also do not have the skills on board.

Support can also cover not only Production systems, but DEV, TEST, UAT and DR (Disaster Recovery) if these are critical to the business. We have tailored and customized our support varying between “heavy duty” and “light-weight” support for clients who may only need support during business hours. Perhaps, a site visit is required once a week or once a month? In some cases, MQ is checked via remote connection by our IBM support team each morning, and reports are sent via email to the customer’s nominated IT management and administrators. Whether we provide an on-site, regular visits, or full remote support, or a combination – each customer is different, so support has to reflect what, when and how it is provided by CQSA.

The support we provide for our customers keeps their systems in a “IBM Best Practice” fully operational state (not just when it was implemented and installed), enabling CQSA to be pro-active in spotting and identifying issues and potential problems and dealing with these before an actual error occurs. Troubleshooting and working with the client if there is a critical outage or error is what we have been doing for a long time, for a lot of companies.

Support requires SLAs on response times, these are put in place, often to fall in line with the customers own SLAs. CQSA provides MQ monitoring tools for customers’ internal IT Administrators so that they can track and easily monitor their messages, queues and channels via a TV Monitor or web access. We use MQMON to do this and build it in such a way that it is customized to what is important for you to see and know.

The IBM ILMT (IBM License Metric Tool) for keeping records of your IBM software usage throughout the company can also be covered under the support, generating monthly reports on behalf of the customer, checking for anomalies and making sure that software licenses are never in a breach situation.

The IBM support offerings can be as low as your monthly internet or phone bill, and payable monthly, or can be paid annually in advance.

For more information on the IBM support call Alex at CQSA on 011 447 4701 or email
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CommerceQuest South Africa 20 years old … and still going & growing!

For CommerceQuest SA (Pty) Limited (CQSA), 2017 marks the 20th Anniversary since opening the doors for business back in 1997. This serves as a major milestone for a small, niche, IT software integration company! Over the years, our industry has seen a lot of companies, small and large, come and go… So what is it about CQSA that has kept us going and not only still going, but still growing?

Firstly, our dedication to customer services and service delivery has enabled us to keep a loyal customer base. We have several customers who signed up with us way back in 2001 who we still do business with today, whether it is software sales or providing them with the dedicated support they need. This leads onto the fact that we continue to grow our skills base and knowledge and have a truly technical team of support and software implementation specialists, with a very low churn rate so that we are able to invest, grow and have product specialists on hand when they are needed.

Although 2016 was a somewhat challenging year for many of us in our local IT industry, CQSA significantly grew the business by achieving over a 20% growth in terms of turnover for the 2016 calendar year. But what is even more exciting than the numbers, is the fact that we signed up a brand new customer for every month of the year – 12 new customers. Not bad going in a turbulent market.

Customizing our offerings to suit the needs of the customer is relatively easy for us as we have a niche offering and we are a small company in terms of our actual size, which allows us to be flexible and fast to react and to be negotiable.
Having an understanding of the financial and time pressures of running a business and of doing business, we put ourselves in our customer’s shoes and come up with plans and ideas to help with a solution. For example, the capital outlay of purchasing a software license can be a big knock on the budget, so we offer a monthly (OPEX) option where we can leverage the Cloud, with our AgileCloud offerings, where it makes sense.

We have always enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, a good team spirit within the company and we are very proud of the technical learners training program we have put in place to assist young people, who did not have the means to attend University, a chance to learn with us. In 2017, we have launched our University Assistance program where we are paying the fees and mentoring 3 learners who we hope will graduate with flying colours and join our full time team, whether it be technical support, sales and marketing or product sales.

So a huge thank you, to all our loyal and supportive clients who have been carving out the path with us and negotiating all the ups and downs, some of you since 2001. A huge thank you to our new clients for giving us the opportunity to prove ourselves and learn from you.

Reflecting back on the past 20 years, there have been many challenges for our customers and indeed ourselves. We are sure there will be more – and we are looking forward to solving them together with our customers!
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