Trend Micro Finalizes Acquisition of TippingPoint | @CloudExpo @TrendMicro #Cloud

Trend Micro International has announced the close of an agreement to acquire TippingPoint from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Trend Micro TippingPoint solutions are immediately available to bring customers comprehensive threat intelligence and protection for current and zero-day vulnerabilities and exploits.
“We are very excited to see this agreement come to fruition as it demonstrates our ongoing commitment to enterprise security,” said Eva Chen, CEO, Trend Micro. “With the addition of TippingPoint, Trend Micro provides customers with the unmatched ability to respond to known and unknown threats, exploits and vulnerabilities across the entire attack lifecycle. Trend Micro is now in a unique position to deliver these integrated, layered capabilities to address the complex network security challenges facing global companies today.”

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Data, data, data. The importance of backing up data

Cloud datacentreMore often than not when browsing the internet each morning you’ll soon discover that in fact, this morning is “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, or “Hug a Vegetarian Day”, or something equally humorous. Today is an awareness day which, conversely, holds some use to the world on the whole.

World Backup Day encourages consumers to back up their family photos, home videos, documents and emails, on more than one device. The World Backup Day website lists numerous ways in which a consumer’s data or documents can be lost, however this day is also very applicable to the world of enterprise IT.

“The rapid increase in the amount of data that consumers and organisations store is one of the biggest challenges facing the backup industry,” says Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace. “Organisations aren’t always sure what data they should be keeping, so to make sure they don’t discard any important data they sometimes end up keeping everything which adds to this swell of data.

“For many companies, a simple backup tool is no longer enough to make sure all these company assets are safe and available, they need support in keeping up with the sheer scale of data and to fix problems when a valuable file or database goes missing.”

The volume of data being utilized (and in some cases not utilized) has grown astronomically, but to a certain degree, security and employee behaviour has not kept pace with this growth. Cyber criminals always seem to be one step ahead of ahead of enterprise when attempting to access data, but what is more worrying is the trend of employee indifference to IT security.

A recent survey highlighted employee negligence and indifference to IT policy is one of the most significant inhibitors to cloud security with only 35% of respondents highlighting that they use passwords in work.

Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace

Giri Fox, Director of Technical Services at Rackspace

“Over recent years, organisations have become far more aware of the importance of backing up their data and we’ve noticed the impact here at Rackspace, where currently we backup 120 PB per month globally,” adds Fox. “One of the main challenges for us is that businesses don’t just want to back-up more data than ever before, they want it to be done quicker than ever before.

“Also, the process of doing so has become more complex than it used to be because companies are more conscious than ever of the compliance regulations they have to adhere to. Fortunately, with the development of deduplication techniques, we are now able to back-up unique sections of data rather than duplicating large pools continuously, which has sped-up the backing-up process.”

Outside of employee indifference to cloud security, changes to EU-US data protection policy have highlighted the significance of data-backup and prevention of data loss. An instance of data loss could be crippling for an organization, whether it is financial penalties or the loss of information which could prove to be invaluable in the future.

“Initiatives like World Backup Day are a great way of highlighting the importance of backing up in an age where, as Ann Winbald put it, ‘data is the new oil’,” comments Fox.

In a world where data can be seen as one of the most important commodities to any business, the value of securing, backing up and encrypting data cannot be underplayed. That said, the majority of the working world (outside of the IT department), do not appreciate the value of security, mostly not out of malice, more because they don’t know any better.

“In the post-Edward Snowden era we’re also seeing just how seriously companies are thinking about encryption. Many companies now want to make sure their backed up data is no longer just encrypted when it goes outside the four walls of a data centre, but inside it as well,” says Fox.

Cloud-based data backup solutions increasing in popularity – survey

Cloud data sharing conceptResearch from Kroll Ontrack has stated cloud-back backup solutions are increasing in popularity, though hardware based options still account for the majority.

The survey, which was only open to participants who have experienced loss of valuable data, highlighted 51% of respondents are still using hardware based options, though this figure is down from 68% in 2015. Cloud-based solutions are currently being considered by 23%, an increase from 18% over the last 12 months.

What could cause concern within the industry is that in instance of data loss, 86% of the respondents said they did have a backup in place, and 48% highlighted they backup the data on a daily basis. If these statistics are to be believed, why is data being lost on such a regular basis? 22% stated the backup was not operating correctly, 21% said the device was not included in backup procedures and 21% commented the backup was out of date.

“It’s no longer enough to have a backup solution where you just hope for the best,” said Robin England, Senior Research & Development Engineer, Kroll Ontrack. “As our survey results indicate year after year, conducting backups is just one step in an overall backup strategy.”

While security and data protection appears to be at the top of the agenda for most organizations, it would appear human indifference and negligence, as well as a shortage of resource are not backing up company claims. A number of organizations have cited recently one of the main challenges for enterprise organizations is the relaxed approach to security demonstrated by its employees.

The statistics also back this point up as 54% of respondents highlighted they did not have the time to effectively research and administer an effective backup solution. While the time factor is a significant barrier here, 24% of respondents said the cost was prohibitive which is down from 31% in 2015. When combined with the statistic that the number of respondents who do daily backups increased by six percentage points over the same period, the findings could imply that enterprise organizations are taking the process of data backup more seriously.

“Storage devices pack more and more data into smaller and more complex systems,” said England. “This not only requires IT teams to dedicate significant time to actually back up the data, but requires even more time to verify the backups worked properly. IT teams face a challenging balancing act when ensuring all of this is managed effectively.”

While the statistics are encouraging, it would still appear that human error and a lack of centralized oversight are the underlying causes for data loss.

goTransverse a Top Cloud-Based Agile Monetization Platform | @CloudExpo @GoTransverse #Cloud

goTransverse has been listed among the top-rated cloud-based agile monetization platforms in the latest MGI 360™ Market Ratings Report. The 2016 ranking represents a 36 percent increase in the rating for goTransverse’s flagship Consumption-to-CashTM platform, TRACT®, since MGI Research began tracking agile monetization solutions in 2013.

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Broadvoice and @Metaswitch Build Geo-redundant Solution in the Cloud | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Network software provider Metaswitch Networks® has announced that Broadvoice has gone live with a multi-state, geo-redundant configuration of Metaswitch’s clustered MetaSphere Multiservice Telephony Application Server (MTAS) in the cloud.
“With this further investment in Metaswitch’s world-class technology and support services, we are doubling-down on our success to ensure that we are best positioned for taking advantage of NFV while securing our network against potential disasters, including earthquakes,” said Jim Murphy, CEO of Broadvoice. “We are committed to providing a best-in-class communication platform to our channel partners and customers. All of our hosted voice customers have been seamlessly migrated to the new platform, affording them unrivalled redundancy and reliability while giving us the ability to easily flex and scale our services to our customers’ demands, at any location.”

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Socitm outlines concerns for local government ahead of new data protection regulations

Compliance ConceptThe Society of Information Technology Management, Socitm, has stated that local government bodies should review all information governance arrangements in light of changes to EU-US data protection policies.

In its latest briefing, Data protection: <Control><All><Delete>?, Socitm has recommended that all IT professionals update their information, security and data protection policies, as councils could face difficulty in remaining compliant under the new legislative framework.

Data protection has been a hot topic in recent months, following the European Court of Justice striking down the Safe Harbor agreement last year, as well criticisms of its replacement, the EU-US Privacy Shield. “Legal action in the wake of the Snowden revelations challenged the degree of protection for citizens’ data provided by Safe Harbor,” Socitm said in the statement. “New measures giving foreigners’ data some legal protection have been put in place, but it is not yet known whether the European authorities will consider that US privacy protection is now adequate.”

In recent weeks, Privacy activist Max Schrems, who has been linked to the initial downfall of Safe Harbour, said in a statement reacting to Privacy Shield, “Basically, the US openly confirms that it violates EU fundamental rights in at least six cases. The commission claims that there is no ‘bulk surveillance’ any more, when its own documents say the exact opposite.”

Socitm said in the statement that new European Data Protection Regulation will also update data laws in the UK, which currently don’t account for new technologies. The UK Data Protection Law was written in 1998, several years before the launch of social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, as well as the surge in data usage from both consumers and enterprise. Socitm stated that councils could be let in a vulnerable position when the regulations are brought in officially.

The regulations, a draft of which were released in January, stated that data protection legislation would have to be updated for the digital age, consumers would have to have access to their own data to understand how and where it is utilized, as well as increasing security standards for an individual’s data.

The fear here seems to be focused around the volume of changes that would need to be enforced once the new regulations are in place. It would appear Socitm is concerned that local councils will not be able to keep pace, leaving the councils in a non-compliant and susceptible position.

“Accommodating the changes will be a matter of amending existing processes rather than inventing new ones,” said Dr Andy Hopkirk, Head of Research at Socitm. “Some of the changes could be onerous and problematic. For example, councils will need to be able to deal correctly and completely with ‘right to be forgotten’ requests – perhaps the single greatest challenge in an almost ubiquitously networked and distributed computing world.”

Microsoft pushes forward with AI despite Tay set-back

Microsoft To Layoff 18,000Microsoft has announced a number of updates for its advanced analytics and machine learning offerings as part of its ‘Conversation-as-a-Platform’ push.

Despite the company facing criticism after its twitter-inspired PR stunt Tay backfired last week, the company has pushed forward within the artificial intelligence space, updating its Cortana Intelligence Suite and releasing its Skype Bot Platform.

“As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence,” said Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, at the Build 2016 event. “At Microsoft, we call this Conversation-as-a-Platform, and it builds on and extends the power of the Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows platforms to empower developers everywhere.”

The Cortana Intelligence Suite, formerly known as Cortana Analytics Suite, is built on the company’s on-going research into big data, machine learning, perception, analytics and intelligent bots. The offering allows developers to build apps and bots which interact with customers in a personalized way, but also react to real-world developments in real-time.

Microsoft also announced two new additions to the suite, Microsoft Cognitive Services, formerly known as Project Oxford and the Microsoft Bot Framework, both of which are still in preview.

The first, Microsoft Cognitive Services, has 22 APIs available for developers including emotion detection, speech analysis and Custom Recognition Intelligent Service. The face application programming interface made headlines last year, as the results of an app which estimated user ages was highly varied.

At the time, the team highlighted “the age and gender-recognition features are labelled as experimental features” and also said that despite the mistakes the app made, the fact that it trended on twitter meant that the volumes of data collected would aid the company in refining the technology over time.

The second, Microsoft Bot Framework, can be used in any programming language, enabling developers to build intelligent bots which can converse with customers in a variety of platforms including text/SMS, Office 365, and the web. The bots can also connect to social channels such as Twitter and Slack. The company claims that the bots can be utilized in a number of different complex scenarios though only simple ones, such as ordering a pizza or booking a hotel room, have been demoed so far.

The company also announced the launch of its Skype Bot Platform, enables developers to build bots which can interact with customers through Skype’s multiple forms of communication, including text, voice, video and 3-D interactive characters. The preview bots are very simple and limited for the moment, however once the bots are combined with the Cortana Intelligence Suite there could be potential for the bots to appear more human.

While it is early days for the Microsoft AI platforms, the team are riding the waves of both positive and negative headlines, seemingly leading the industry in the AI space. The company’s competitors are also pushing hard in the AI world, though the weight behind the announcements this week could imply that Microsoft are investing in a more serious manner than others in the industry.

Data resilience: Why CEOs and CFOs need to understand the CIO agenda


The CIO agenda changes each year, albeit not drastically. In 2015 part of their focus was on hybrid cloud spending, but this year research and analyst firm Gartner says that it’s now about how they enhance the power of digital platforms. The company’s ‘Building the Digital Platform: Insights From the 2016 Gartner CIO Agenda Report’ says: “As digitalisation moves from an innovative trend to a core competency, enterprises need to understand and exploit platform effects throughout all aspects of their businesses.”

If organisations fail to understand this agenda their companies could face a number of issues that could inevitably hold them back. For example they won’t be able to deliver, attract and retain talent; they won’t be perceived by their customers as being value-added; they might lose the opportunity to either develop new products and services or to sell them. They could potentially lose any opportunity they might otherwise have had to create a competitive advantage too.

In summarising the findings, the report adds: “The 2016 CIO Agenda Survey data shows that digitalisation is intensifying. In the next five years, CIOs expect digital revenues to grow from 16% to 37%. Similarly, public-sector CIOs predict a rise from 42% to 77% in digital processes.”

CEOs now require their CIOs to be a first amongst equals – and CIOs should consider data resilience, rapid backup and restore to maintain business continuity

Gartner also claims the “deepening of digital means that lines are becoming increasingly blurred, and boundaries semiporous — both inside and outside the enterprise — as multiple networks of stakeholders bring value to each other by exploiting and exploring platform dynamics.” To achieve this, CEOs now require their CIOs to be a first amongst equals, and to succeed, Gartner advises CIOs to “re-think and to re-tool their approach to all layers of their business’s platforms, not just the technical one.” But what about data? Without data these platforms are as good as redundant. CIOs should therefore consider data resilience, rapid back-up and restore to maintain business continuity.


“Forbes’ top 10 concerns for 2016 are costs, IoT, agility, time to market and perennial problem of increasing data volumes and where to store it”, says David Trossell, CEO of Bridgeworks. He explains that this issue brings the cloud into play and a whole set of new risks such as ransomware. For example a report by The Register on 23rd March 2016, ‘Your Money Or Your Life! Another Hospital Goes Down To Ransomware’, reveals that the records of the Methodist Hospital in Kentucky, USA, were scrambled by ransomware to try to extort money from the organisation.

Fortunately it called in the FBI and refused to pay, but the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center also found itself infected by ransomware recently and paid malware operators $11,900 to get their documents. Similar attacks have been reported by hospitals worldwide. “Hacking, traditional malware and viruses still offer a significant threat, but those that create it are constantly changing their tactics to develop new ways to either damage data records, to steal or prevent access to data.

Be the disruptor

“In a recent article, ‘The Three Ds of Payment’ by Peter Diamandis, there is a mind provoking quote: – ‘if you don’t disrupt your business someone else will’, says Trossell. He therefore argues that data security should be top of the CIO agenda, and that disruptive companies have the potential to offer new solutions to old and new problems. They also have the potential to change markets, but as has happened in other high profile examples, they won’t often be initially welcomed by the existing players. Just take a look at Uber for example; it shows that technology is a key part of the equation – including the web and the cloud, and it is changing the way people order a taxi to the extent that traditional black cab taxi drivers hate it.

Technology is the heart of challenging traditional ways of operating. Trossell therefore argues that it has to be “an integral part of the revenue generation process as much as sales and marketing is – with equal budgets.” Technology isn’t just about the platforms. It’s also about how companies can protect their data, collate and manipulate it for the betterment of their customers and themselves. CIOs are now in a situation where they can play a leading role to achieve this goal – not alone, but in collaboration with chief financial officers (CFOs), chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief marketing officers (CMOs).

Drive change

“CIOs now have to drive change through the organisation, and so technology has to be part of the future strategy: Look how Amazon changed the way we buy, and how Netflix altered how we watch movies, how payment systems are driving cash out of our pockets and into our phones”, says Trossell. CIOs therefore need to ensure that they gain recognition by using technology to demonstrably drive and create value that can be added to the bottom line, enabling the organisation to expand. By demonstrating value they will gain the support of chief financial officers (CFOs) and other senior executives. If they are unable to demonstrate value their ability to innovate will be adversely affected.

CIOs now have to drive change through the organisation, and so technology has to be part of the future strategy

So why is data resilience important? Trossell explains: “In the end the traditional values and responsibilities are still there and all that data is becoming more valuable so like any asset it has to be protected. What happens if Uber dies – or loses data? The platform fails.”  Without a functioning platform, revenue can’t be generated for such companies such as these, and the value that’s intrinsically locked into the data will be rendered valueless. This problem should concern everyone within the C-Suite – and individuals need to realise that the buck stops with them.

Collective responsibility

With the growth of digitalisation, the ransomware incidents at the two hospitals show why they should all be concerned with protecting their data. It’s quite easy with fault tolerant hardware to become complacent, rather than to recognise that the risks are ever changing. Networks, for example, remain vulnerable to air gaps and distance issues that create latency and packet loss. The CIO agenda should therefore consider how data is going to be safely transmitted and received, at speed, by mitigating the effects of latency. A service continuity, business continuity and recovery plan is therefore essential.

The C-Suite as a whole should also prioritise data security and data recovery to ensure that they can retrieve data quickly whenever either a human-created disaster or a natural one threatens the ability of the organisation to continue to operate. The outcomes of failing to understand the current CIO agenda and what else should be on it can lead to lost time and lost revenue. It should also be borne in mind that Twitter offers a charter for those that wish to complain about an organisation, and it can lead to a rapid dissemination of unfavourably information that could cause reputational damage.

So at the end of the day data resilience is about protecting your organisation to access and exploit data in order to enable it to prosper. This is why CFOs, CMOs and CEOs should work with CIOs to ensure that they have technologies such as WANrockIT and PORTrockIT in place. It’s better to disrupt those that would like to disrupt you, and it’s better to act now to prevent natural disasters from costing your business its income than to potential far more money on trying to fix the problem post-datum. At now time has this been more important than today because of increasing digitalisation.

XaaP and the platform business model: How Netflix, Uber, Airbnb are forging ahead


The primary business context for cloud native case studies like Netflix is the ‘Platform Business Model‘, the conceptual design model for the particular commercial models they implement as well, one that is directly enabled by the technology.

Considering the business wealth a ‘simple’ mobile phone app has generated for Uber, this relationship is not hard to identify in action, and is often communicated through social media, highlighting that neither owns any taxis or hotels but in a few short years now command the largest fleets and room availability, vastly larger than their traditional competitors who took decades to do so.

The platform revolution

The repeatable secret sauce is the Platform Business Model, described in detail through academic literature and popular business books; for example, the MIT book ‘Platform Revolution’ sets the scene for the market trend that Cloud Foundry is addressing and is ideal for.

The Platform Business Model has emerged as the moniker for defining the hyper-scale disruptors like Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Twitter et al, as the book describes:

“Facebook, PayPal, Alibaba, Uber-these seemingly disparate companies have upended entire industries by harnessing a single phenomenon: the platform business model.”

The book builds on prior MIT research, such as this detailed 2007 research report on Platform Networks, this highly recommended presentation Platform Strategy and Open Business Models, and in a simpler format in this presentation, which defines:

“A “network platform” is defined by the subset of components used in common across a suite of products (Boudreau, 2006) that also exhibit network effects. Value is exchanged among a triangular set of relationships including users, component suppliers (co-developers), and platform firms.”

Throughout these materials they provide an anatomy of these business models, exploring dynamics such as “multi-sided pricing“.

Platforms are marketplace models, ranging from the people-centric services like Uber taxis and Airbnb accommodation, through to electronic distribution channels like Apple and Xbox. MIT examines the different permutations and shares those best practice insights.

The sharing economy meets elastic cloud business models

The MIT research explores the different dynamics of platform scenarios and markets, like Microsoft vs Apple across computers, portable music players and ultimately smartphones.

The trend has also been described as ‘The Sharing Economy‘, a wave that the disruptors ride through technology innovation.

The dynamism of cloud computing is a perfect match for this equally ‘organic’ approach to resource management, both scaling in real-time to actual market demand experienced.

As the new breed of hyper-scale startups like Uber, Netflix, Airbnb are demonstrating when it is combined with massive investment financing and highly scalable mobile and cloud application services, it very quickly becomes an all-dominating behemoth, unstoppable unless you compete on the same level.

Hence why the business model itself has become so important and popular. For example Dan Woods says your CDO efforts will fail unless you adopt platforms.

XaaP: Industry scenarios for platform adoption

The enabling relationship between cloud computing and the increasing maturity of the model, as demonstrated by real-world adoption successes, is characterised by how they’re described as “XaaP” initiatives, by which I mean for example:

This included the US Government showcasing their recently launched, a Cloud Foundry-based PaaS for the public sector to utilise to grow their rates of software innovation.

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A New Way to Get Windows

One of the most frequent questions I get from Parallels Desktop users is about buying Windows. The dialog usually goes like this: Q: Where can I buy Windows 10? I looked in the Apple Store in near my home, and they don’t have it. A: Windows for sale in the Apple Store – Not ever […]

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