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New IT firm mulls listing

Staff Writer

A NEW Information Technology (IT) firm, Virus Support Network (VSN) Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd could be listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) sometime next year.

The company, recently formed by a consortium of indigenous businesspeople, is actively involved in the IT business and has already opened markets in the southern African region.

The VSN managing director is Tafadzwa Muguti. Other directors include Richard Muirimi (chairman), Nigel Chanakira (non-executive director), Chipo Madusise (non-executive director), and Molly Makusha (financial director).

Chanakira and Muiri-mi also sit on the board of Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd as chairman and deputy chairman, respectively.

A company spokesman said the reasons for the formation was that in Africa the information security industry was evolving rapidly as the IT infrastructure of enterprises becomes increasingly complex, heterogeneous, extended and more porous.

He said new security software products, from firewalls, to vulnerability scanners and intrusion detection systems – and services had emerged to address the multitude of interconnected technologies deployed.

“The increase of information security software and services points to the growing corporate and government awareness of the need to both protect their IT assets and conduct their business without disruption,” he said.

“As information security technology has evolved in Zimbabwe, so too have the services provided by consulting firms and security companies. New, more sophisticated services have emerged as part of a wider model of risk assessment and risk mitigation.”

He said in this context, penetration tests had become an accepted practice to assess and improve an organisation’s system security against would-be hackers.

However in Zimbabwe, the penetration testing services are still in their infancy, relying on an amalgam of informal knowledge, hacker handiwork, scarce security expertise, and the need for a successful execution of time constrained tasks during the bounds of a consulting engagement.

Formed by a conti-ngent of local businessman, businesswoman and investors, VSN has to-date become a driving force and an emerging giant in the IT industry.

“Since VSN were accredited as partners for the international network security giant, Network Associates International, the company has claimed a large percentage of the market,” the spokesman said.

“Several corporate organisations are already vying for the new company’s services. VSN Zimbabwe is arguably the first IT company in Zimbabwe to have a business concept, which focuses only on risk management and IT security solutions.”

He said the company had spread its wings into Malawi, and hopes to be in Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana soon.

He said it also hopes to be the first Zimbabwean IT company to list on the ZSE.

This year VSN Zimbabwe launched the first modular suite of services product in risk management called IT Consult Partner.

“Most companies in Zimbabwe have over the years seen their businesses not getting the much professional technical approach towards their information security and risk management and have welcomed the product, which is the first of its kind to be launched by an IT company in Zimbabwe,” the spokesman said.

Apart from the fact that local and international audit firms, IT technical support companies and even distribution companies have made great strides in their business concepts and have moved on to auditing information security systems, business solutions and reviewing IT infrastructures in various organisations.

He said at the moment most audit firms, technical support companies and distribution companies do not use the appropriate tools and resources in conducting their IT consultancy services.

“VSN has also brought competition to the Norton Antivirus Solutions,” the spokesman said.

“VSN has also begun distributing the Mcafee range of IT security products, which also includes antivirus software for the corporate clients and home users.

Perhaps the greatest fact is its flexibility to manage computers even over a wide area network from one machine.”

He said this meant one could actually uninstall and install software or set policies on a computer as far as Europe from their computer in Harare.

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