Threat Stack Application Security Monitoring adds Python support

Threat Stack has announced Python support for its Threat Stack Application Security Monitoring product. The update comes with no additional cost as part of the Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform.

With Python support for Application Security Monitoring, Threat Stack customers who use Python with Django and Flask frameworks can ensure security in the software development lifecycle with risk identification of both third-party and native code, according to Tim Buntel, vice president of application security products at Threat Stack.

In addition, the platform also provides built-in capabilities to help developers learn secure coding practices and real-time attack blocking, according to the company.

“Today’s cloud-native applications are comprised of disparate components, including containers, virtual machines and scripts, including those written in Python, that serve as the connective tissue between these elements,” said Doug Cahill, senior analyst and group Practice Director, Cybersecurity at Enterprise Strategy Group. Hence, the lack of support for any one layer of a stack means a lack of visibility and a vulnerability an attacker could exploit.

Application Security Monitoring is a recent addition to Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform. Introduced last June, the platform is aimed at bringing visibility and protection to cloud-based architecture and applications. Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform touts the ability to identify and block attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection by putting the application in context with the rest of the stack. It also allows users to move from the application to the container or the host, where it is deployed with one click when an attack happens, according to the company.

“[Application Security Monitoring] … provides customers with full stack security observability by correlating security telemetry from the cloud management console, host, containers and applications in a single, unified platform,” Buntel said.

To achieve full stack security and insights from the cloud management console, host, containers, orchestration and applications, customers can combine Threat Stack Application Security Monitoring with the rest of the Threat Stack Cloud Security Platform, according to the company.

Cahill said customers should look for coverage of the technology stack as well as the lifecycle when looking to secure cloud-native applications, because such full stack and lifecycle support allows for threat detection and prevention capabilities “from the code level down to the virtual machine or container to be implemented in both pre-deployment stages and runtime.”

“Cloud security platforms, which integrate runtime application self-protection functionality with cloud workload protection platforms to provide full-stack and full lifecycle visibility and control, are just now being offered by a handful of cybersecurity vendors, including Threat Stack,” he added.

Threat Stack Application Security Monitoring for Python is available as of Wednesday.

Threat Stack competitors include CloudPassage, Dome9 and Sophos. CloudPassage Halo is a security automation platform delivering visibility, protection and compliance monitoring for cybersecurity risks; the platform also covers risks in Amazon Web Services and Azure deployments, according to the company. CloudGuard Dome9 is a software platform for public cloud security and compliance orchestration; the platform helps customers assess their security posture, detect misconfigurations and enforce security best practices to prevent data loss, according to the company. Sophos Intercept X enables organizations to detect blended threats that merge automation and human hacking skills, according to the company.

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Google Cloud networking BYOIP feature could ease migrations

Google hopes a new networking feature will spur more migrations to its cloud platform and make the process easier at the same time.

Customers can now bring their existing IP addresses to Google Cloud’s network infrastructure in all of its regions around the world. Those who do can speed up migrations, cut downtime and lower costs, Google said in a blog post.

“Each public cloud provider is looking to reduce the migration friction between them and the customer,” said Stephen Elliot, an analyst at IDC. “Networking is a big part of that equation and IP address management is a subset.”

Bitly, the popular hyperlink-shortening service, is an early user of Google Cloud bring your own IP (BYOIP).

Many Bitly customers have custom web domains that are attached to Bitly IP addresses and switching to ones on Google Cloud networking would have been highly disruptive, according to the blog. Bitly also saved money via BYOIP because it didn’t have to maintain a co-location facility for the domains tied to Bitly IPs.

BYOIP could help relieve cloud migration headaches

IP address management is a well-established discipline in enterprise IT. It is one that has become more burdensome over time, not only due to workload migrations to the cloud, but also the vast increase in internet-connected devices and web properties companies have to wrangle.

Stephen Elliot, IDCStephen Elliot

AWS offers BYOIP though its Virtual Private Cloud service but hasn’t rolled it out in every region. Microsoft has yet to create a formal BYOIP service, but customers who want to retain their IP addresses can achieve a workaround through Azure ExpressRoute, its service for making private connections between customer data centers and Azure infrastructure.

Each public cloud provider is looking to reduce the migration friction between them and the customer.
Stephen Elliot Analyst, IDC

Microsoft and AWS will surely come up to par with Google Cloud networking on BYOIP, eventually. But as the third-place contestant among hyperscale cloud providers, Google — which has long touted its networking chops as an advantage — could gain a competitive edge in the meantime.

IP address changes are a serious pain point for enterprise migrations of any sort, particularly in the cloud, said Eric Hanselman, chief analyst at 451 Research.

“Hard-coded addresses and address dependencies can be hard to find,” he added. “They wind up being the ticking time bomb in many applications. They’re hard to find beforehand, but able to cause outages during a migration that are problematic to troubleshoot.”

Deepak Mohan, IDCDeepak Mohan

Overall, the BYOIP concept provides a huge benefit, particularly for large over-the-internet services, according to Deepak Mohan, another analyst at IDC.

“They often have IPs whitelisted at multiple points in the delivery and the ability to retain IP greatly simplifies the peripheral updates needed for a migration to a new back-end location,” Mohan said.

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Adobe digital experience platform adds small businesses offerings

Adobe has extended its Adobe digital experience product portfolio to small and midmarket businesses in an effort to provide enterprise-grade capabilities such as agility, scalability and flexibility to businesses with fewer resources.

The product portfolio for SMBs includes:

  • Magento Commerce: According to Adobe, this product provides agility and scalability through a portfolio of cloud-based omnichannel platforms. It is designed to enable users to integrate digital and physical shopping experiences. Through the integration of Adobe Stock with Magento Commerce, SMBs with an Adobe Stock subscription will be able to access more than 130 million assets such as images, templates, 3-D assets and stock videos.
  • Marketo Engage: As part of Adobe Marketing Cloud, Marketo Engage enables users to target individual leads or accounts at scale, as well as measure business impact across customer touchpoints. Additionally, according to Adobe, Marketo Engage offers access to more than 65,000 markets globally to enable users to share best practices to build and formalize marketing strategies.
  • Adobe Analytics Foundation: Adobe Analytics Foundation was designed to bring the enterprise-grade features of Adobe Analytics to SMBs through the Adobe digital experience platform. Customers can implement the tool at the appropriate level for their organization, and then scale up as needed.
  • Adobe Sign for Small Business: According to Adobe, the new Adobe Sign for Small Business offers enterprise-grade e-signature capabilities tailored to small businesses in an effort to help digitize signing documents for customer onboarding, contracts, approvals, payments and invoices.
  • Creative Cloud for Teams: This product enables companies to deploy Adobe digital experience applications. The Creative Cloud Libraries let teams share assets and folders securely, while collaborating and managing changes.

While digitalization was once more of an enterprise-centric theme, SMBs have increasingly taken on the challenge. Historically, it has been more difficult for smaller businesses to digitize their operations due to cost and scale, but in recent years, it has been on the rise. According to Gartner Research, SMBs’ IT spending is predicted to be at a 4.2% compound annual growth rate for the next five years.

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Managed security services, professional services to top $35B

Escalating cybersecurity threats and a shortage of in-house talent are driving double-digit growth rates in the managed security services and professional security services market.

Market research firm Frost & Sullivan expects the global market to expand from $21 billion in 2018 to $35.6 billion in 2023, growing at a 11.1% compound annual growth rate. The top five providers are already experiencing even higher growth. Accenture, Deloitte, EY, IBM and PwC — a group which accounts for 42% of the global market — grew 27.6% year-over-year in 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The market researcher’s report cited an “overdue need for a new chapter in security practices” along with rising risk levels and staffing limitations as the main factors propelling the demand for managed and professional security services. Digital transformation and customers’ heightened recognition of cyberthreats also contribute to increasing demand.

High growth services

Detection and response are the fastest growing offerings in the managed security services market, followed by DDoS protection and threat intelligence, research, detection and mitigation (TIRDM), noted Jarad Carleton, global program leader of cybersecurity information and communication technologies at Frost & Sullivan.

“We are noticing a strong demand across several areas in the managed security services space from our clients globally,” said Harpreet Sidhu, managing director and managed security services lead at Accenture. “One of those areas is definitely for detection and response as companies seek to add next-generation solutions to their security capabilities.”

Cybersecurity skills shortage chart
The cybersecurity skills shortage has helped fuel demand for managed security services.

Sidhu said managed detection and response (MDR) capabilities include security automation and orchestration and come with predefined playbooks. MDR, which uses technology to scale, “can help drive significantly faster analysis and improved responses,” he noted.

Chris Gerritz, chief product officer at Infocyte, a cybersecurity incident response platform provider in Austin, Texas, said detection and incident response is becoming more important for managed security services providers (MSSPs), which traditionally have focused on network monitoring.

“Generally, they are starting to add on endpoint capabilities and starting to add on response capabilities,” he said.

Gerritz said customers are telling MSSPs “I don’t want just 100 notifications that I have been attacked. I want you to actually do something about that.”

Infocyte this week launched its Response Ready program for its certified incident response partners. The program aims to help those partners scale up their incident response businesses and boost recurring revenue.

Assessment and advisory offerings, meanwhile, stand out in the professional security services market segment, according to the Frost & Sullivan report. Professional security services represent the biggest slice of the security services market, overall, with a 61% share.

Sidhu said Accenture is seeing consulting and professional services demand across several areas such as identity, cloud, cyber defense and application security, along with strong demand for assessment of those capabilities.

Breaking into the market

The market’s five largest players are generating considerable revenue growth, which Frost & Sullivan attributes to “their massive size, global reach, consultative strength, industry expertise, and established relationships with large enterprises and government agencies.”

Yet, smaller service providers also have the potential to grow — with a few caveats. Managed service providers are looking to add security services as more customers expect them to provide protection from cyberattacks.

The key for MSPs trying to break into the MSSP market is providing right-sized security services for small- and medium- sized enterprises.
Jarad CarletonGlobal program leader, cybersecurity information and communication technologies, Frost & Sullivan

“The key for MSPs trying to break into the MSSP market is providing right-sized security services for small- and medium- sized enterprises,” Carleton said.

Regional MSSPs, as well as MSPs offering security services, will find demand for security services among regionally-focused SMBs, he noted.

MSPs, however, must take care to properly scope their services and keep their own security house in order.

“What we have seen is that far too many MSPs are promising more than they can actually deliver in terms of managed security services, and that is damaging to the industry,” Carleton said. “What is even more damaging to MSPs trying to break into the MSSP market is that MSPs themselves have become targets of cybercriminals. If you cannot manage your own security, frankly you have no business selling managed security services to a customer.”

HCL unveils Google Cloud unit

HCL Technologies, a global technology company based in Noida, India, has launched a Google Cloud business unit, which will eventually house more than 5,000 Google Cloud specialists.

HCL currently has more than 1,300 Google Cloud platform professionals. The company’s Google initiative targets a range of fields, from containerization to machine learning. The HCL business unit will also build Google Cloud-specific Cloud Native Labs in Dallas, London and in India’s national capital region.

Google and HCL said joint investments to support customers’ digital transformation projects will cover several areas:

  • SAP workload and application migration to Google Cloud Platform. In August, Google launched a partnership with DXC Technology that also focuses on enterprise migration of SAP applications to public cloud.
  • Hybrid and multi-cloud deployments using Google Cloud’s Anthos. Google partners cited Anthos as a business opportunity and one of the key developments during Google’s Next ’19 conference.
  • Adoption of Google Cloud data, AI and machine learning offerings in areas such as e-commerce, supply chain and marketing.
  • Application and data center modernization.
  • Workplace transformation and collaboration via G Suite.
  • DevSecOps and service orchestration.

Tech Data buys government channel partner DLT Solutions

Tech Data has agreed to purchase DLT Solutions, a Herndon, Va., company that aggregates technology for public sector clients and channel partners.

The deal, expected to close by Jan. 31, would make DLT a wholly owned subsidiary of Tech Data, a distributor based in Clearwater, Fla. DLT’s government contract vehicles include the General Services Administration Schedule 70, the Defense Department’s Enterprise Software Initiative, The National Institutes of Health’s Chief Information Officers — Commodities and Solutions and NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement V.

DLT had been a Millstein & Co. portfolio company. The private equity firm acquired DLT in 2015. TZP Group owned DLT prior to that deal, having acquired the company in 2009.

The DLT transaction will expand Tech Data’s value proposition, “especially in government solutions,” according to a bulletin from Martinwolf, a merger and acquisition advisory firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Martinwolf advised DLT on the TZP deal and then advised TZP on the Millstein acquisition.

Evercore, an M&A advisory firm based in New York, is representing DLT on the Tech Data deal.

Axcient launches X360 backup platform

Data protection company Axcient unveiled Axcient X360, a converged backup platform for MSPs.

The Axcient X360 platform offers single sign-on and centralized management of Office 365 backup, sync and share, and business continuity and disaster recovery. The platform also provides unlimited storage and retention and supporting services such as billing, training and certification, co-branded collateral and market development funds, the company said.

David Bennett, CEO of Axcient, speaking with SearchITChannel at MSP software vendor ConnectWise’s IT Nation conference, said the platform is designed to ease the backup burdens of MSPs. “Anything that puts a burden on an MSP’s business in terms of people and time is costly,” he said.

Bennett said Axcient X360 aims to be easy to learn, to the extent an MSP’s tier-1 technician could quickly train and operate the platform.

The X360 platform also documents backups for customers in regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services, Bennett added.

Axcient currently works with about 3,000 MSPs and integrates with ConnectWise.

Other news

  • Cloud distributor Pax8 inked a deal with Nerdio, an Azure solution provider for MSPs. Under the agreement, Pax8 will offer Nerdio for Azure in three packages: Core, Professional and Enterprise.
  • Intermedia, a cloud communications provider, joined ConnectWise’s Invent partner program for integrating with the ConnectWise MSP platform.
  • Webroot said ConnectWise partners can buy licenses for its security awareness training offering at 50% off from Oct. 30 to Nov. 30. The offer is available only through ConnectWise and to partners that are not currently purchasing Webroot’s security awareness training.
  • MSP360, formerly CloudBerry Lab, said MSP interest in its multi-cloud data backup and recovery portfolio helped boost Q3 revenue 60% over the same period last year.
  • Synechron Inc., a digital consulting firm based in New York, launched Digital Ecosystem Accelerators for the financial sector. The company described the accelerators as “solution prototypes” targeting such fields as retail banking, wealth management, corporate banking and capital markets.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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The First Wave of Xbox Black Friday Deals Has Arrived: Discounts on Sea of Thieves and Select Xbox Wireless Controllers – Xbox Wire

The holidays will be here before you know it, and to kick off the start of November, we are unveiling the first wave of Xbox Black Friday discounts. This is just a sample of our entire Black Friday deals – tune in via Mixer for a special episode of Inside Xbox live from X019 in London on Thursday, November 14 at 12:00 p.m. PT for the full lineup of Xbox Black Friday discounts and offers. You won’t want to miss out!

First up, we are offering a 50% discount on Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition, the fastest-selling first-party new IP of this generation. Join this multiplayer, shared-world adventure game featuring new modes like the story driven Tall Tales or The Arena, a competitive multiplayer experience on the high seas. Xbox Live Gold is required to play Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition and is sold separately.

Fans can also save up to $20 on select Xbox Wireless Controllers, including some of the newest controllers in the Xbox collection. Snag the Night Ops Camo Special Edition, Sport Blue Special Edition, Gears 5 Kait Diaz Limited Edition controllers and many more at the lowest prices of the season.

Deals are valid starting on November 24 and run through December 2, 2019. Plus, Black Friday kicks off even earlier for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold members, with Early Access beginning on November 21.

Visit Xbox.com, Microsoft Store and participating retailers globally for more details on availability and pricing as deals will vary between regions and retailers. See here for more Black Friday deals from Microsoft Store.

Xbox has something for everyone on your gift this list year, and at every price point. Be sure to tune in to Inside Xbox at X019 on Thursday, November 14 at 12:00 p.m. PT for the full lineup of Xbox Black Friday deals.

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Microsoft Store unveils over 20 top Black Friday offers | Windows Experience Blog

With many people eager to get a jumpstart on the holidays, we’re excited to provide a sneak peek of some of the best Microsoft Store Black Friday deals*. According to the National Retail Federation, four in 10 people have already started their holiday shopping this year and Microsoft Store is here to help. Whether you’re an early bird shopper, a deal planner, or a last-minute buyer, Microsoft Store will have great deals for you all season long with expert advice to help you find the perfect gift.This holiday season, we are offering our best guarantee ever, so no need to wait until Black Friday to start your shopping. With our new Give Wonder Guarantee, you are promised our best price of the season.** If something you purchase at Microsoft Store is offered at a better price later in the season, you can receive savings back for the difference. With free 2-3-day shipping, free extended holiday returns through Jan. 31, 2020, and buy online, pick up in stores options, we’re making it easier than ever to shop at Microsoft Store.
Most Microsoft Store Black Friday deals start on Thursday, Nov. 28 at midnight at microsoft.com and your local Microsoft Store, unless otherwise noted. See our Microsoft Store Black Friday Deals page for full details. Some local Microsoft Store locations will be open on Thanksgiving Day. See full holiday operating days and hours here.
Save hundreds on the hottest Surface deals of the season, including the new Surface Pro 7 and the new Surface Laptop 3
The widely acclaimed new Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 devices are in high demand. The Microsoft Store is the best place to buy and experience the full Surface lineup and our expert associates are here to help you find the best device. This holiday, you can enjoy some incredible deals on Surface, including;
Surface Pro 7, powered by the latest 10th Generation Intel Core processors, remains the most versatile 2:1 device you can buy with a 12.3” touchscreen with tablet-to-laptop versatility. Starting on Nov. 22, you can enjoy our most popular Surface, for $799 including Type Cover, for the i5/8GB/128GB option (original price $1,029). Or, get more storage and save up to $330 on Surface Pro 7 + Type Cover with i5/8GB/256GB (original price $1,329) as of Nov. 24. Additional Surface Pro 7 offers are available, including the i3/4GB/128GB option, starting at $599 on Nov. 28.

Surface Laptop 3 is slim and stylish. You can choose between 13.5” or new 15” touchscreen and save $300 across all new colors and finishes, starting at $999 starting on Nov. 22 for the 13.5” and Nov. 24 for the 15”.
Surface Go starting at $299, with savings up to $150. Our best deal ever on Surface Go, the smallest, lightest Surface with 10” touchscreen, perfect for students or those on the go. This great offer starts on Nov. 28.
Up to $500 off select Surface Book 2, our most powerful 13.5” or 15” touchscreen laptop. This deal starts on Nov. 28.
Microsoft Store will also offer the hotly anticipated Surface Pro X, beginning Nov. 7. The new Surface Earbuds, offering premium sound, fit and screen-free control, will be coming to Microsoft Stores later this year. A wide range of Surface accessories are also available.
Windows 10 PCs starting at $299

Microsoft Store offers the most diverse lineup of PCs with features and prices for everyone. This holiday, we will offer incredible deals on a range of PCs and accessories, including HP Inc. laptops, featuring 10th Generation Intel chips, starting with the HP 15 Laptop (i3) $299. Need more speed and power? The HP 15 Laptop (i5) will be on sale for $399, and HP 15 Laptop (i7) for $499. Or, check out the Dell XPS 15, a 15.6” laptop with a stunning 4K UHD touchscreen and powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics, which will be on sale at $300 off for $1699. These great PC deals start on Nov. 28.

Save up to $400 off Gaming PCs powered by Windows 10
Gamers love the high-end performance and graphics they can enjoy on Windows 10 PCs. Save up to $400 on select great Gaming PCs powered by Windows 10, including the Lenovo Legion Y540 15 (i7), Asus ROG Strix G GL531GT (i7) and Acer Predator Triton 500 (i7). These laptops offer rich capability like the Lenovo Legion, which offers simple, built-in Mixer streaming for low-latency, interactive moments for viewers and streamers to engage with other gamers, plus the latest in gaming technology from Intel and NVIDIA. With Xbox Play Anywhere, you can buy a game once and play it on both your Xbox One and any of these Windows 10 PCs. All these deals start on Nov. 28.

Gamers, stay tuned for the unveiling of incredible Black Friday deals during a special episode of Inside Xbox live from X019, our annual global celebration of all things Xbox on Thursday, Nov. 14.  At the hotly anticipated event filled with news, first looks and surprises, we will unveil an extensive set of deals across games, consoles and subscriptions.  This will be our biggest Black Friday sale ever, and you won’t want to miss out!
In the meantime, we are unveiling the first wave of Xbox Black Friday discounts now.  Head to Xbox Wire to learn about how you can save $20 on select Xbox One controllers starting on Nov. 24 and up to 50% off Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Edition starting on Nov. 21.
If Black Friday can’t come soon enough, today you can take advantage of other great deals like the Xbox One S 1TB Console – Gears 5 Bundle for $299. Or, take advantage of an incredible deal today and save $100 and get a free select digital game when you buy an Xbox One X console, or get a free digital game when you purchase select Xbox One S consoles.
Save big on the Samsung Galaxy Note10 phones
Microsoft Store is offering incredible deals on Samsung Galaxy Note10 phones this holiday season. Starting Nov. 21, you can save up to $200 on the Samsung Galaxy Note10 and S10 phones and receive free Samsung Galaxy Buds (a $129.99 value). At your local Microsoft Store, you can save up to $400 and receive up to $650 trade-in credit towards the purchase of your device when you finance your phone with 24 month/0% financing.

This is just a glimpse of some of our amazing deals – we look forward to sharing more great deals throughout the entire holiday season. You can also check out some great suggestions with our Holiday Gift Guide and we invite you to attend a range of activities and festive celebrations all season long at your local Microsoft Store. However you celebrate this holiday season, we invite you to give wonder with Microsoft Store.
To make sure you don’t miss a deal, customers in the United States can text DEALS to 52426 to get a link to our best Black Friday offers or follow @MicrosoftStore on Instagram and Microsoft Store on Facebook.
* Black Friday offers shown are available online and in Microsoft Stores while supplies last. U.S. prices are shown. Offers and content varies by market and may change at any time. Not valid on prior purchases. May not be combinable with other offers. Other exclusions may apply.
** Offer valid from 12 a.m. PT Nov. 1, 2019 to 11:59 p.m. PT Jan. 3, 2020 (“Offer Period”) on qualifying purchases of select physical goods made at Microsoft retail and online stores in the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada during the Offer Period. Excludes certified refurbished devices, Surface for Business devices, and all digital services and products. Offer not valid on purchases made at third-party retailers. Customer eligible for price adjustment only if 1) Customer purchases eligible item during the Offer Period, (2) the price of the item is reduced during the Offer Period, and 3) Customer requests a price adjustment while the item’s price is currently reduced and in-stock for purchase. For purchases made at a physical store and online, Customer can go to any physical store and present receipt to get a qualifying price adjustment.  For purchases made online, Customer must contact Microsoft Store Sales and Support at 1-877-696-7786 with order number and any other information requested by the Store Sales representative. Refunds will be provided to Customer in same manner as item was purchased (credit card use will be credited to original card). Maximum of one price adjustment per item will be granted during Offer Period. Bulk buys of more than two of the same device, per customer’s Microsoft Account, will not qualify for price adjustments. Price adjustments do not include taxes, or shipping or other fees. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Microsoft reserves the right to modify or discontinue offers at any time. Other exclusions and limitations may apply.

Employee activism, from composting to protests, is an HR issue

Similar to many software companies, CyberArk Software Ltd. has policies and and practices that appeal to people with skills in high demand. They include a social responsibility policy and catered lunches. The information security software firm also has something else that appeals to younger employees — an employee activism effort that brought about some real change.

Lex Register, an associate in corporate development and strategy at CyberArk, was hired in 2018. Soon after, he saw gaps in the firm’s environmental sustainability practices. The firm wasn’t, for instance, collecting food scraps for composting.

“If you’ve never composted before, the idea of leaving left out food in your office can be sort of a sticky subject,” Register said, who has a strong interest in environmental issues.

Register approached his managers at CyberArk’s U.S. headquarters in Newton, Mass., about improving its environmental sustainability. He had some specific ideas and wanted to put together an employee team to work on it. Management gave it approval and a budget.

Register helped organize a “green team,” which now makes up about 25% of its Newton office staff of 200. The firm’s global workforce is about 1,200.

CyberArk’s green team has four subgroups: transportation, energy, community and “green” habits in the office. It also has a management steering committee. Collectively, these efforts undertake a variety of actions such as volunteering on projects in the community, improving enviornmental practices in the office and working on bigger issues, such as installing electric vehicle charging stations for the office building.

When I think about the companies I want to work for, I really want to have pride in everything they do.
Lex RegisterAssociate in corporate development and strategy, CyberArk Software

“When I think about the companies I want to work for, I really want to have pride in everything they do,” Register said. 

Junior employees lead the effort

The green team subgroups are headed by junior employees, according to Register, who is 28.

“It’s a way for a lot of our junior employees who don’t necessarily have responsibility for managing people to sort of step up,” Register said. They “can run some of their own projects and show some leadership capabilities.”

Employee activism has become an increasingly public issue in the last 12 months. In May, for instance, thousands of Amazon employees signed a letter pressing the firm for action. In September, thousands walked out as part of the Global Climate Strike.

“This walkout is either a result of employees not feeling heard,” said Henry Albrecht, CEO at Limeade Inc., or employees feeling heard but fundamentally disagreeing with their leaders. Limeade makes employee experience systems. “The first problem has a simple fix: listen to employees, regularly, intentionally and with empathy,” he said. 

Some companies, such as Ford Motor Co., are using HR tools to listen to their employees and get more frequent feedback. In an interview with SearchHRSoftware, a Ford HR official said recently this kind of feedback encouraged the firm to join California in seeking emission standards that are stricter than those sought by President Trump’s administration.   

But employee activism that leads to public protest doesn’t tell the full employee activism story.

Interest in green teams rising

The Green Business Bureau provides education, assessment tools and processes that firms can use to measure their sustainability practices. In the past nine months, Bill Zujewski, CMO at the bureau, said it’s been hearing more about the formation of sustainability committees at firms. The employees leading the efforts are “almost always someone who’s a few years out of school,” he said.

HR managers, responding to “employee-driven” green initiatives, are often the ones Zujewski hears from.

Maggie Okponobi, funding coordination manager at School Specialty Inc, is one of the Green Business Bureau’s clients. Her employer is an educational services and products firm based in Greenville, Wisc. Her job is to help schools secure federal and state grants.

Okponobi is in an MBA program that has an emphasis on sustainability. As a final project, she proposed bringing a green certification to her company. The assessments evaluate a firm’s sustainability activities against best environmental practices.

Okponobi explained what she wanted to do to one of the executives. She got support and began her research, starting with an investigation of certification programs. She decided on Green Business Bureau assessments, as did CyberArk.

Company managers at School Speciality had been taking ad-hoc steps all along to improve sustainability. Efforts included installing LED lighting, and reducing paper useage by using both sides for printing and recycling, Okponobi said.

Okponobi collected data about the environmental practices for certification. The firm discovered it was eligible for gold level certification, one step below the highest level, platinum. 

The results were brought to an executive group, which included members from HR as well as marketing. Executives saw value in the ranking, and Okponobi believes it will help with recruiting efforts, especially with younger candidates. The company plans to create a green team to coordinate the sustainability efforts.

HR benefits from sustainability

Sustainability may help with retention, especially with younger workers, Okponobi said. “It gives them something exciting, positive to do in their workplace, and a goal to work toward,” she said.

Some employees are coming to workplaces with training on sustainability issues. One group that provides that kind of training is Manomet Inc., a 50-year-old science-based non-profit in Plymouth, Mass.

“We can’t make the progress that we need on climate change and other issues without the for-profit sector,” said Lora Babb, program manager of sustainable economies at Manomet.

Lora BabbLora Babb

The nonprofit takes about 20 undergrad college students each year, usually enrolled in majors that often have a sustainability component, and gives them “real world skills” to meet with businesses and conduct assessments. The training enables future employees to “make changes from the inside,” and understand practical, applied sustainability, Babb said.

This is not strictly an environmental assessment. The students also ask businesses about economic and social issues, including a workforce assessment that considers employee benefits, engagement and talent development, Babb said. 

A business with a strong environmental mission is “going to be far less effective at carrying out that mission if you are having constant workforce challenges,” Babb said.

And the results of such efforts can have an effect on culture. CyberArk’s employees have embraced composting, Register said. The company hired a firm that picks up food scraps about twice a week, processes them and makes compost — what master gardeners often refer to as black gold — available for employees to use in their home gardens. 

The results make employee composting efforts “very tangible for them,” Register said. 

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Vonage Meetings rounds out vendor’s cloud portfolio

Vonage plans to add a homegrown video conferencing app to its cloud-based business communications portfolio in December. The move is the latest example of a UC vendor combining calling, messaging and meetings.

Vonage Meetings, currently in beta, is scheduled to launch in December for businesses subscribed to Vonage’s cloud UC product. The vendor said it would not make the meetings platform available as a stand-alone offering.

Vonage currently provides video conferencing capabilities to customers through a partnership with Amazon Web Services, which makes the meetings app Amazon Chime. Vonage built the new platform using technology inherited through its acquisition of TokBox in 2018.

The release of Vonage Meetings follows moves by competitors, including 8×8, which launched a revamped meetings product in September. Market leaders Microsoft and Cisco have also built out all-in-one communications suites that include video over the last couple of years.

Vonage has a strategy of building a technology stack that doesn’t rely on third parties, said Raúl Castañón-Martinez, analyst at 451 Research. “This is a bold move but will allow them more flexibility in terms of defining their roadmap.”

Vonage Meetings will be fully integrated with the vendor’s voice platform to let users quickly move between voice and video calls. Guests will be able to join meetings using a web browser without installing a client or plug-in.

Vonage said it would provide customers with a log of past meetings, including a record of in-meeting chats.

Vonage now has a single cloud platform from which it can deliver voice and video services, said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. “I think that will work as a very good competitive advantage for them moving forward.”

In the future, Vonage will need to integrate Vonage Meetings with conference room equipment and software, Kerravala said. Also, the vendor should focus on improving its relatively basic messaging app.

Vonage announced the meetings platform this week at Vonage Campus 2019, a user conference in San Francisco. The company also released a new logo as it continues to pivot away from the consumer market.

Founded in 2001, Vonage was among the first vendors to offer internet-based phone service to consumers, but, more recently, has transformed into a business-to-business company.

“I think the Vonage that we knew as the consumer-first company is quickly winding down,” Kerravala said.

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HPE Cray ClusterStor E1000 arrays tackle converged workloads

Supercomputer maker Cray has pumped out revamped high-density ClusterStor storage, its first significant product advance since being acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The new Cray ClusterStor E1000 launched this week, six months after HPE’s $1.3 billion acquisition of Cray in May. Engineering of the E1000 began before the HPE acquisition.

Data centers can mix the dense Cray ClusterStor E1000 all-flash and disk arrays to build ultrafast “exascale” storage clusters that converge processing for AI, modeling and simulation and similar data sets, said Ulrich Plechschmidt, Cray lead manager.

The E1000 arrays run a hardened version of the Lustre open source parallel file system. The all-flash E1000 provides 4.5 TB of raw storage per SSD rack, with expansion shelves that add up to 4.6 TB. The all-flash model system potentially delivers up to 1.6 TB of throughout per second and 50 million IOPS per SSD rack, while an HDD rack is rated at 120 Gbps and 10 PB of raw capacity.

When fully built out, Plechschmidt said ClusterStor can scale to 700 PB of usable capacity in a single system, with throughput up to 10 PB per second.

Cray software stack

Cray ClusterStor disk arrays pool flash and disk within the same file system. ClusterStor E1000 includes Cray-designed PCIe 4.0 storage servers that serve data from NVMe SSDs and spinning disk. Cray’s new Slingshot 200 Gbps interconnect top-of-rack switches manage storage traffic.

The most impressive work Cray did is on the software side. You might have to stage data in 20 different containers at the same time, each one outfitted differently. … That’s a very difficult orchestration process.
Steve ConwayCOO and senior research vice president, Hyperion Research

Newly introduced ClusterStor Data Services manage orchestration and data tiering, which initially will be available as scripted tiering for manually invoking Lustre software commands. Automated data movement and read-back/write-through caching are on HPE’s Cray roadmap.

While ClusterStor E100 hardware has massive density and low-latency throughout, Cray invested significantly in upgrading its software stack, said Steve Conway, COO and senior research vice president at Hyperion Research, based in St. Paul, Minn.

“To me, the most impressive work Cray did is on the software side. You might have to stage data in 20 different containers at the same time, each one outfitted differently. And you have to supply the right data at the right time and might have to solve the whole problem in milliseconds. That’s a very difficult orchestration process,” Conway said.

The ClusterStor odyssey

HPE is the latest in a string of vendors to take ownership of ClusterStor. Seagate Technology acquired original ClusterStor developer Xyratex in 2013, then in 2017 sold ClusterStor to Cray, which had been a Seagate OEM partner.

Cray ClusterStor E1000
HPE-owned Cray released new all-flash and disk ClusterStor arrays for AI, containerized workloads.

HPE leads the high-performance computing (HPC) market in overall revenue, but it has not had a strong presence in the high end of the supercomputing market. Buying Cray allows HPE to sell more storage for exascale computing, which represents a thousandfold increase above petabyte-scale processing computing power. These high-powered exascale systems are priced beyond the budgets of most commercial enterprises.

Cray’s Shasta architecture underpins three large supercomputing sites at federal research labs: Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill.;. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif.; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Cray last year won a $146 million federal contract to architect a new supercomputer at Livermore’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. That system will use Cray ClusterStor storage.

Conway said Cray and other HPC competitors are under pressure to expand to address newer abstraction methods for processing data, including AI, container storage and microservices architecture.

“You used to think of supercomputers as a single-purpose steak knife. Now they have to be a multipurpose Swiss Army knife. The newest generation of supercomputers are all about containerization and orchestration of data on premises,” Conway said. “They have to be much more heterogeneous in what they do, and the storage has to follow suit.”

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Wanted – iMac 27” 2013+

Hi all,

Having recently purchasing a a MacBook Pro and falling in love with it, I am looking for something a little more powerful.

i am looking for an iMac 27” which is 2013 or beyond. Hoping for it to come with a fusion drive (1tb) the Magic Mouse, keyboard, trackpad and boxed if possible.

Happy to collect to keep cost down. Let me know what you have

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