Sophos has announced an update to Intercept X for Server that adds endpoint detection and response to the software.
The new Sophos endpoint security software allows IT managers at businesses to have visibility across an entire estate of servers. This allows them to proactively detect stealthy attacks and blended threats that merge automation and human hacking skills. This visibility enables the IT managers to better understand the impact of a security incident and report on what did or did not happen.
Sophos Intercept X for Server with endpoint detection and response expands Sophos’ offering of EDR, which is powered by deep learning technology. According to Sophos, its network is trained on hundreds of millions of samples to look for suspicious attributes of malicious code to detect never-before-seen threats.
IT managers using the new Sophos Intercept X also have on-demand access to information from SophosLabs, which include guided investigations into suspicious events and recommended next steps. SophosLabs tracks, deconstructs and analyzes 400,000 previously unseen malware attacks each day, according to Sophos.
Sophos Intercept X for Server with EDR also enables users to lock down servers to control what can and cannot run on them and provide notifications for any unauthorized change attempts.
Endpoint detection and response is a growing market, as organizations have realized external attacks begin at network endpoints. Using EDR systems gives defenders a line of defense that enables them to have more visibility and control of what’s happening at the interface between production systems. Additionally, EDR products respond to a variety of security threats, not just one specific type.
Sophos’ product is similar to products from Carbon Black or CrowdStrike, which are also more cloud-centric. Carbon Black’s EDR product uses predictive models to analyze data and uncover malicious behavior to stop malware, ransomware and nonmalware attacks, prevent attacks automatically both online and offline and block emerging attacks. CrowdStrike teamed up with Dell Technologies and Secureworks to use its unified endpoint protection platform to create a new endpoint security portfolio specifically for helping midmarket enterprises with emerging threats.
Alexandr Epaneshnikov, a 19-year-old Russian student who is legally blind, recently decided he wanted to be more independent by commuting on his own and relying less on his mom for rides to school. It meant taking a streetcar to a subway to his high school in Moscow, a 30-minute trip that Epaneshnikov assuredly navigates with a cane and Moovit, an urban mobility app optimized for screen readers.
“I am very happy that Moovit is accessible and offers a good amount of information about Moscow public transportation,” says Epaneshnikov, who wants to study information technology at a university. The app has helped him meet friends at cafes and restaurants, and take a train to an unfamiliar city outside Moscow to visit his girlfriend’s family.
“I feel it adds more confidence and independence,” he says.
Launched seven years ago in Israel, Moovit has become the world’s most popular transit-planning and navigation app, with more than 400 million users and service in 2,700 cities across 90 countries. The company is also a leader in inclusive technology, with innovative work that helps people across the disability spectrum use buses, trains, subways, ride-hailing services and other modes of public transit.
In addition to offering a consumer app in 45 languages, Moovit has partnered with Microsoft to provide its multi-modal transit data to developers who use Azure Maps, and a set of mobility-as-a-service solutions to cities, governments and organizations. The partnership will enable the creation of more inclusive, smart cities and more accessible transit apps.
“Our mission is to simplify urban mobility and make it accessible, because mobility is really a basic human right,” says Yovav Meydad, Moovit chief growth and marketing officer. “Efficient mobility opens a lot of opportunities for employment, education and a better life, and we want to help all users make their journey as easy as possible.”
For Moovit, the work means not only helping rural residents reach cities for work and school, but also helping people with any disability travel. Of the hundreds of daily emails sent to Moovit, emails from people with low vision are some of the most profound pieces of feedback.
“Sometimes, it’s very emotional,” says Meydad. “They say, ‘Thanks to Moovit, I’m more independent. I can now leave home on my own.’ It’s very, very important for us to make Moovit accessible for everyone.”
The company’s accessibility work began in earnest in 2015, when Meydad and other leading app developers met a focus group of people who are blind or low-vision to see how they used their apps.
“Honestly, I was shocked,” says Meydad, who wrote about the experiencetwice in Medium. “I saw people trying to use our product, but couldn’t do it efficiently or at all, because screens were not properly labeled or meaningful [for screen readers].” In one case, Moovit’s search button – a major feature to start a trip plan – had the unhelpful audio label of “Button 56.”
Meydad took notes and promised big changes. He worked with Moovit’s team and a developer who is blind to optimize the app for the mobile screen readers TalkBack on Android and VoiceOver on iOS. The team scrutinized every screen for accessibility, added useful labels and condensed intricate data – routes, trip duration, start and end times, entry and exit stops – into clear sentences for audio. They incorporated feedback from users around the world with low vision.
“After one quarter, we released a major version upgrade that completely changed their experience,” says Meydad.
The accessibility work didn’t stop there. To ease public transit for people who use a wheelchair, Moovit asked its “Mooviters” – 550,000 local contributors who help map transit systems for the app – to identify wheelchair-accessible stations in their cities. That enabled the company to add a feature that shows only routes with stations with ramps and elevators.
“This means the entire journey can be fully accessible,” says Meydad.
For users with hand motor disabilities, Moovit redesigned menus and buttons for easier use with one hand, especially on larger phones. For people who are colorblind and use color-coded transit systems, such as “the green line,” Moovit includes the name of the line, instead of just a colored dot or symbol, a space-saving practice in many maps.
The company also ensures no broken or overlapped text when a user needs to magnify the font. It partnered with Be My Eyes, an app that connects sighted volunteers with people who are blind or low-vision. It’s studying how to use a phone’s vibration and flashlight to serve users with hearing loss. And it continually works with people with a disability to improve or customize the app.
For Microsoft, working with Moovit, who has developed accessible features such as screen readers and global data on wheelchair-friendly routes, is part of a deep commitment to accessibility and inclusion in its products and services. Developers who use Azure Maps will soon have access to Moovit’s trip planner and rich transit data to help build innovative, accessible tools.
“What I love most about Moovit is how they’re empowering other companies to build inclusion into their solutions,” says Megan Lawrence, senior accessibility evangelist at Microsoft. “Our partnership can help people across the disability spectrum use technology to move more freely and independently, a key metric for improving quality of life.”
The clarity of Moovit’s live audio navigation also helps people with an intellectual disability who want extra guidance, such as alerts for when a bus is coming, when to transfer and when to get off. The features are a main reason why Community Living Toronto, an organization that supports people with an intellectual or developmental disability, chose Moovit as the platform for their branded transit app, Discover My Route.
“We tested many apps and Moovit was the full package,” says Angela Bradley, director of resource development and marketing at Community Living Toronto.
“It’s not just an app for riding transit. It’s almost like a coaching tool. It gives people the confidence to take transit and open up their world, which can mean seeing friends, getting a job, going to college or joining a dance class.”
Top photo: Alexandr Epaneshnikov in Moscow. (Photo courtesy of Epaneshnikov)
Amazon Web Services is testing the waters of the cloud calling market with an aggressive pricing model that has the potential to disrupt the industry.
The tech giant launched a cloud calling plan and a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking service earlier this year, and this week expanded the latter to include support for inbound toll-free numbers.
Instead of paying a monthly fee for each licensed user, businesses pay based on their usage of the two services — Amazon Chime Business Calling and Amazon Chime Voice Connector. AWS charges companies a flat rate for each minute users spend on the phone.
AWS has adopted a similar pricing strategy for its online meetings platform, Amazon Chime, and for its contact center, Amazon Connect. In fact, the vendor this week lowered the price for calling through Amazon Connect from $0.0065 per minute to $0.0048 per minute.
“Amazon is offering a really low, disruptive price, which could maybe make some businesses look their way,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, based in Westminster, Mass. “What Amazon is doing is really unchartered territory. We’ll see if customers like it.”
Amazon built its business on disruptive pricing that undercut competitors. The company is now so massive – AWS alone generated $25 billion last fiscal year — that it can afford to lose money on endeavors like Amazon Chime as it explores what features or pricing might gain traction in the cloud UC market.
A pay-as-you-go pricing model may not appeal to all business, though. Many companies may prefer the certainty of a fixed monthly bill, especially if they are heavy users of voice calls. What’s more, Amazon’s business calling plan is a bare-bones service that offers only three basic features: calling, voicemail and SMS messaging.
“For companies that want to be lean and mean, this makes a lot of sense,” said Jon Arnold, principal analyst at Toronto-based J Arnold & Associates. “The risk [for Amazon], of course, is it’s hard to build revenues on top of this, and it’s hard to lock companies in for any kind of loyalty.”
Adoption of Amazon Chime, launched in early 2017, still lags behind competing platforms such as Cisco Webex, Zoom, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. The release of Business Calling and Voice Connect makes Chime a fuller cloud UC offering, but its limited voice feature set will likely limit its appeal to small and midsize businesses.
Business Calling grants access to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in the Chime app. Voice Connect links on-premises telephony infrastructure to the PSTN using an internet connection or AWS Direct Connect, a service that ties company data centers to the AWS cloud.
“One of the challenges for Amazon is that Chime isn’t all that widely adopted,” Kerravala said. “Perhaps having telephony in there will close that gap.”