AccessKenya Launches Web Filtering software


AccessKenya Group has made its debut into cloud computing with the introduction of a security solution that allows Internet users to access software for a standard monthly fee.
The company has introduced a Web filtering tool that will enable companies to control the Websites that their employees can access or time schedules they can do so as it seeks to differentiate its Internet offering in the competitive sector.

The move allows the firm to offer its clients access to a suite of products that can control employee access to Websites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are said to reduce productivity by up to an hour for each employee every day.

"In essence there is no acquisition cost, which means no capital expenditure and no deployment cost. You don't have to manage boxes, you simply pay a subscription fee and manage your policies. Using this approach IT staff are free from doing operational security chores of managing and patching boxes," said Jonathan Somen, the AccessKenya managing director.

The firm, which hopes to diversify its suite of products as its client base matures from requiring simple Internet links to more complex software and service based needs, said the product, dubbed Zscaler Web Security Cloud Solution, was the first for the region.

Zscaler Web Security Cloud Solution, a Web filtering tool that enables a company to manage Web access for their entire organisation, manage types of websites users can visit and time schedules as well as protect illegitimate company information leaving the company. The AccessKenya deployment is said to be the first in East Africa and third in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria.

AccessKenya is gearing up for its Annual General Meeting which will be held next Thursday where it will be expected to field questions about its performance over the last year from its shareholders. The company has had a tumultuous year in its corporate suites, where board directors and staff movements have characterised operations over the last 12 months.

Increasing competition in the form of new and more aggressive competitors means that the company is also undergoing market driven changes that call for it to provide more value added services.

Other than AccessKenya, Safaricom, MTN Business and iWay Africa are some of the internet offering companies that have said that they will be heavily relaying on value addition to differentiate their offering from the rest.

The country has more than 60 registered ISPs however only less than 15 of them are visible with the traditional ISPs such as AccessKenya facing stiff competition from new entrants like the mobile firm companies such as Safaricom who offer their services mostly to mass market as opposed to the traditional ones which have their focus on corporate sector.

The entry of mobile telecommunication companies was made possible by the change of licensing regime by the Industry regulator Communication Commission of Kenya which adopted a neutral technology licensing model. Their entry has brought pressure to the traditions ISPs who now have to look for new strategies to defend their turf.