Tag Archives: Five

Vendors detail cloud-based backup past, present, future

It’s safe to say cloud-based backup has gone mainstream.

In the last five years, cloud backup grew from something that organizations often greeted with skepticism to a technology that’s at least a part of many businesses’ data protection plans.

Some of that evolution is a result of users getting more comfortable with the idea of backing up data in the cloud and the security there. Some of it is a result of vendors adding functionality such as security, backup of cloud-born software as a service (SaaS) data and other enhancements. Challenges remain, though.

In part one of this feature, several experts in cloud-based backup detailed how the market has developed and what businesses can expect in the years to come. In part two, executives from backup vendors, including cloud backup pioneers, discuss their impressions of the past, present and future of the technology.

How has cloud-based backup evolved in the last five years?

Eran Farajun, executive vice president, Asigra: [Cloud-based backup has] become a lot more mainstream as a service.

Headshot of Asigra's Eran FarajunEran Farajun

Because it’s become so popular, it’s become a target. So, it’s moved from becoming a defensive mechanism to it becoming an attack vector. It’s a way that people get attacked, which has then caused even more evolution in the last, I would say two or three years, where cloud backup now has to include security and safety elements. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to recover confidently with it.

Hal Lonas, CTO, Carbonite: We have seen a rise in the popularity of cloud, especially over the past five years as it becomes a more scalable and economical solution for businesses — particularly SMBs that are expanding rapidly. It has also been highly embraced by the service provider and solution market.

Public cloud has also come a long way, especially among highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance. We’re seeing these organizations turn to the cloud more frequently than before, as it provides an easier and more cost-effective way to meet their recovery time objective and recovery point objective requirements.

Danny Allan, CTO, Veeam: The first perspective of customers was, ‘I’ll just take my backups and [move them] to the cloud,’ and there wasn’t really thought given to what that meant.

We’ve become a lot more efficient about the data movement, both in and out, and secondly, there are now options that didn’t exist in the past. If you need to recover data in the cloud, you can, or you can recover back on premises. And if you are recovering it back on premises, you can do that efficiently.

Headshot of Arcserve's Oussama El-HilaliOussama El-Hilali

Oussama El-Hilali, CTO, Arcserve: [There has been] tremendous evolution both in quantity and quality of the cloud backup. We’ve seen a number of vendors emerge to provide backup to the cloud. We’ve seen the size of the backups grow. We’ve seen the number of people who are interested in going to cloud backup grow as well.

I think one of the fundamental things in data protection has been creating the distance between the primary and secondary data, in case of disaster.

Where are we in the story of cloud-based backup? Is it at the height of its popularity?

Farajun: I don’t think it’s at the height. It’s still growing fairly quickly as an overall service. So, it’s not flat; it’s still growing in double-digit figures year over year.

And I think what lends to its popularity is future evolution. It’ll get more secure. It has to be more secure.

There will be new types of workloads that get included as part of your backup service. For example, backing up machines today is fairly common. Backing up containers is not as common today, but it will be in three to five years.

The cloud market is mature and is fast becoming the infrastructure of choice for many companies, whether at the SMB or enterprise level.
Hal LonasCTO, Carbonite

I think cloud backup for SaaS applications [will grow]. A lot of cloud backup services and vendors support Office 365, Salesforce and G Suite, but as more and more end customers adopt more software as a service, the data itself also has to be protected. So, you’ll see more cloud backup functionality and capabilities protect a broader set of SaaS applications beyond just the big ones.

Lonas: The cloud market is mature and is fast becoming the infrastructure of choice for many companies, whether at the SMB or enterprise level. This can be proven with the popularity of Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google along with other cloud providers.

Right now, many still equate cloud with security and while cloud solves some problems, it is not a complete cure. Rather, we will see more cloud-oriented security solutions protecting cloud assets and their specific issues in the upcoming years.

One of the biggest pain points with cloud adoption today is migrating data to these infrastructures. The good news is that there are a number of tools available now to alleviate the traditional issues related to data loss, hours of downtime and diverted key resources.

Allan: We’re not at the height of its popularity. We’re in early stages of customers sending their data into the cloud. It’s been growing exponentially. I know cloud has been around for 10 years, but it’s only really in the last year that customers are actually sending backup data into the cloud. I would attribute that to intelligent cloud backup — using intelligence to know how to do it and how to leverage it efficiently. 

El-Hilali: It’s a good step, but we’re not at the peak, or anywhere close to the peak.

The reason being is that if you look at the cloud providers, whether it’s public cloud like AWS or companies like us, the features are still evolving. And the refinement is still ongoing.

What do you expect in the cloud backup market in the next five years?

Farajun: I think there will be more consolidation. I think that more of the old-school vendors, the big broad vendors, will continue to add more cloud backup service capability as part of their offerings portfolio. They’ll either acquire companies that do it or they will stand up services that do it themselves. There will be more acquisitions by bigger MSPs that buy smaller MSPs because they deliver cloud backup services and they have the expertise.

I think you’ll see an increase of channel partners bringing [cloud-based backup] back in-house and actually being the service provider instead of just being a broker. And that will happen because it adds more value to their business.

And I think you’ll see unfortunately ransomware attacking more and more backup software, whether it’s delivered as a service or on premises, just because it’s so damaging.

Lonas: Looking ahead, we will see cloud backup and data protection continue to gain popularity, especially as businesses implement cyber-resiliency plans.

More organizations now trust the cloud to be available, secure and meet their business needs. We will continue to see Moore’s Law drive down network and storage costs so that businesses can continue to reduce their on-premises footprint. Some of this change is technical, and some is cultural, as most of us trust the cloud in our personal lives more than businesses do; and we expect to see this trend continue to shift for businesses in the future.

Allan: I think there’s going to be a whole emergence of machine learning-based companies that exist only in the cloud, and all they need is access to your data. In the past, what was the problem with machine learning and artificial intelligence on premises? You had to install it on premises to get access to that data or you needed to pick up petabytes of data and get it to that company. If it’s already there, you can imagine a marketplace emerging that will give you value-added services on top of this data.

El-Hilali: I think the potential for DRaaS will continue to grow and I say that because the availability of the data, the spontaneity of recovery, is becoming more of a need than a good-to-have.

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Salesforce acquisition of Tableau finally getting real

LAS VEGAS — It’s been more than five months since the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau was first revealed, but it’s been five months of waiting.

Even after the deal closed on Aug. 1, a regulatory review in the United Kingdom about how the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau might affect competition held up the integration of the two companies.

In fact, it wasn’t until last week on Nov. 5 after the go-ahead from the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) — exactly a week before the start of Tableau Conference 2019, the vendor’s annual user conference — that Salesforce and Tableau were even allowed to start speaking with each other. Salesforce’s big Dreamforce 2019 conference is Nov. 19-22.

Meanwhile, Tableau didn’t just stop what it was doing. The analytics and business intelligence software vendor continued to introduce new products and update existing ones. Just before Tableau Conference 2019, it rolled out a series of new tools and product upgrades.

Perhaps most importantly, Tableau revealed an enhanced partnership agreement with Amazon Web Services entitled Modern Cloud Analytics that will help Tableau’s many on-premises users migrate to the cloud.

Andrew Beers, Tableau’s chief technology officer, discussed the recent swirl of events in a two-part Q&A.

In Part I, Beers reflected on Tableau’s product news, much of it centered on new data management capabilities and enhanced augmented intelligence powers. In Part II, he discusses the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau and what the future might look like now that the $15.7 billion purchase is no longer on hold.

Will the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau change Tableau in any way?

Andrew Beers: It would be naïve to assume that it wouldn’t. We are super excited about the acceleration that it’s going to offer us, both in terms of the customers we’re talking to and the technology that we have access to. There are a lot of opportunities for us to accelerate, and as [Salesforce CEO] Marc Benioff was saying [during the keynote speech] on Wednesday, the cultures of the two companies are really aligned, the vision about the future is really aligned, so I think overall it’s going to mean analytics inside businesses is just going to move faster.

Technologically speaking, are there any specific ways the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau might accelerate Tableau’s capabilities?

Andrew BeersAndrew Beers

Beers: It’s hard to say right now. Just last week the CMA [order] was lifted. There was a big cheer, and then everyone said, ‘But wait, we have two conferences to put on.’

Have you had any strategic conversations with Salesforce in just the week or so since regulatory restrictions were lifted, even though Tableau Conference 2019 is this week and Salesforce Dreamforce 2019 is next week?

Beers: Oh sure, and a lot of it has been about the conferences of course, but there’s been some early planning on how to take some steps together. But it’s still super early.

Users, of course, fear somewhat that what they love about Tableau might get lost as a result of the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau. What can you say to alleviate their worries?

Beers: The community that Tableau has built, and the community that Salesforce has built, they’re both these really excited and empowered communities, and that goes back to the cultural alignment of the companies. As a member of the Tableau community, I would encourage people to be excited. To have two companies come together that have similar views on the importance of the community, the product line, the ecosystem that the company is trying to create, it’s exciting.

Is the long-term plan — the long-term expectation — for Tableau to remain autonomous under Salesforce?

We’ve gone into this saying that Tableau is going to continue to operate as Tableau, but long-term, I can’t answer that question. It’s really hard for anyone to say.
Andrew BeersChief technology officer, Tableau

Beers: We’ve gone into this saying that Tableau is going to continue to operate as Tableau, but long-term, I can’t answer that question. It’s really hard for anyone to say.

From a technological perspective, as a technology officer, what about the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau excites you — what are some things that Salesforce does that you can’t wait to get access to?

Beers: Salesforce spent the past 10 or so years changing into a different company, and I’m not sure a lot of people noticed. They went from being a CRM company to being this digital-suite-for-the-enterprise company, so they’ve got a lot of interesting technology. Just thinking of analytics, they’ve built some cool stuff with Einstein. What does that mean when you bring it into the Tableau environment? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. They’ve got some interesting tools that hold their hold ecosystem together, and I’m interested in what that means for analysts and for Tableau. I think there are a lot of exciting technology topics ahead of us.

What about conversations you might have with Salesforce technology officers, learning from one another. Is that exciting?

Beers: It’s definitely exciting. They’ve been around — a lot of that team has different experience than us. They’re experienced technology leaders in this space and I’m definitely looking forward to learning from their wisdom. They have a whole research group that’s dedicated to some of their longer term ideas, so I’m looking forward to learning from them.

You mentioned Einstein Analytics — do Tableau and Einstein conflict? Are they at odds in any way, or do they meld in a good way?

Beers: It’s still early days, but I think you’re going to find that they’re going to meld in a good way.

What else can you tell the Tableau community about what the future holds after the Salesforce acquisition of Tableau?

Beers: We’re going to keep focused on what we’ve been focusing on for a long time. We’re here to bring interesting innovations to market to help people work with their data, and that’s something that’s going to continue. You heard Marc Benioff and [Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky] talk about their excitement around that [during a conference keynote]. Our identity as a product and innovation company doesn’t change, it just gets juiced by this. We’re ready to go — after the conferences are done.

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Citrix breach blamed on poor password security

Following an investigation lasting nearly five months, Citrix revealed cybercriminals did not access any customer data but did steal business documents.

According to Citrix president and CEO, David Henshall, malicious actors accessed the company’s internal network via a password spraying attack that exploited weak passwords. Henshall asserted that the Citrix breach did not involve the exploitation of any vulnerabilities and did not impact the security of “any Citrix product or customer cloud service.”

“Once in our network, the cyber criminals intermittently accessed and, over a limited number of days between October 13, 2018, and March 8, 2019, principally stole business documents and files from a company shared network drive that has been used to store current and historical business documents, as well as a drive associated with a web-based tool used in our consulting practice,” Henshall wrote in a blog post. “The cyber criminals also may have accessed the individual virtual drives and company email accounts of a very limited number of compromised users and launched without further exploitation a limited number of internal applications.”

The FBI originally notified Citrix on March 6 that malicious actors may have accessed to company systems, meaning it took just two days for access to be shut down to the attackers.

Jake Williams, founder and president of Rendition Infosec in Augusta, Ga., said for an intrusion as significant as the Citrix breach, “the speed of the response is very unusual.”

“Honestly, I’m surprised they did it that quickly. I would have expected it would take longer,” Williams told SearchSecurity. “It’s very important that you identify all access methods the attackers are using before tipping your hand with the response.”

Usman Rahim, digital security and operations manager at The Media Trust, said it was “concerning” that attackers had access to Citrix systems for five months before the FBI alerted the company.

Time is very sensitive in attacks like these, and in this case, the attackers had plenty,” Rahim told SearchSecurity. “We expect better security measures from tech companies like Citrix around their assets and infrastructure. However, the information Citrix provided paints a picture of adequate security that allowed attackers access to their systems.”

In light of the findings of the Citrix breach investigation, Henshall said the company has “taken significant actions to safeguard our systems and improve protocols,” including deploying FireEye’s endpoint security technology.

“We performed a global password reset, improved our internal password management, and strengthened password protocols,” Henshall wrote. “Further, we improved our logging at the firewall, increased our data exfiltration monitoring capabilities, and eliminated internal access to non-essential web-based services along with disabling non-essential data transfer pathways.”

It is unclear if these improvements include implementing two-factor authentication (2FA); Citrix declined to provide comments beyond what was in the public disclosure.

Williams noted that stronger passwords should help mitigate password spraying attacks.

“Password spraying is always successful if you don’t have lockout policies, which unfortunately impact the user experience significantly. It’s not an easy thing to shut down,” Williams said. “Most orgs don’t use 2FA internally because it absolutely impacts productivity. If it didn’t have a business cost, everyone would use it for everything.”

Richard Ford, CTO at threat intelligence vendor Cyren LLC, said he is shocked when corporate accounts don’t use 2FA.

“With the adoption of mobile phones, companies such as Duo or RSA provide an easy way to supply a ‘soft’ second factor that significantly complicates life for the attacker,” Ford wrote via email. “I keep hoping that this is the year we move away from simple username/password combinations, but adoption remains slow. It’s something that we, as an industry, just need to embrace.”

Rahim added that “basic multi-factor authentication could have prevented” the Citrix breach.

“They have not mentioned some of the measures they are planning to do, but MFA, password expiration, password hardening and policies for system access should be the starting points,” Rahim said. “Companies need to think about these measures before the damage is done.”

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For Sale – ASUS ROG Strix GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti OC edition 11GB – 5 For Sale

I am looking to sell a total of five ASUS ROG Strix GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti OC edition 11GB graphics cards.

This is one of the best 1080 TI gaming cards on the market and even when it’s underpowered, it can perform better than many other 1080 TIs. It’s a beast of a card.

The cheapest I can find this card brand new at the moment is £819.99 from Ebuyer, but some companies are still charging over £1,000.

The cards were purchased online in January 2018 from different online computing companies: Overclockers, Aria, Ebuyer, & Scan. An online receipt can be provided to the buyer upon purchase for future reference.

The cards will have a warranty until January 2021 and according to this table, the warranty is fully transferable. I will, of course, help with any returns if any problems did arise.

All of these cards have been run this year on a mining rig. They have been underpowered from the start and always kept cool. I’ve never experienced any issues with them whatsover and always been happy with performance.

The cards will be delivered in their original boxes and all original parts.

Please view the attached images to see this

Please note that I am not a professional trader and I have spoke to the moderator team and been given explicit permission to list five cards at once.

Availability:

  1. Available
  2. Available
  3. Available
  4. Available
  5. Available

* I actually have a sixth card, but this is in my main PC and I still use it to encode videos. I may sell this in a few months if I pick up a new card.

Graphic cards will be sent via Royal Mail special delivery. If someone bought multiple cards, DPD can be used to reduce overall postage and packaging costs (and I will pass on these savings to the buyer).

Payment by bank transfer up front. I recently sold some GPUs so feel free to view check feedback for those transactions

Price and currency: £630
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – ASUS ROG Strix GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti OC edition 11GB – 5 For Sale

I am looking to sell a total of five ASUS ROG Strix GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti OC edition 11GB graphics cards.

This is one of the best 1080 TI gaming cards on the market and even when it’s underpowered, it can perform better than many other 1080 TIs. It’s a beast of a card.

The cheapest I can find this card brand new at the moment is £819.99 from Ebuyer, but some companies are still charging over £1,000.

The cards were purchased online in January 2018 from different online computing companies: Overclockers, Aria, Ebuyer, & Scan. An online receipt can be provided to the buyer upon purchase for future reference.

The cards will have a warranty until January 2021 and according to this table, the warranty is fully transferable. I will, of course, help with any returns if any problems did arise.

All of these cards have been run this year on a mining rig. They have been underpowered from the start and always kept cool. I’ve never experienced any issues with them whatsover and always been happy with performance.

The cards will be delivered in their original boxes and all original parts.

Please view the attached images to see this

Please note that I am not a professional trader and I have spoke to the moderator team and been given explicit permission to list five cards at once.

Availability:

  1. Available
  2. Available
  3. Available
  4. Available
  5. Available

* I actually have a sixth card, but this is in my main PC and I still use it to encode videos. I may sell this in a few months if I pick up a new card.

Graphic cards will be sent via Royal Mail special delivery. If someone bought multiple cards, DPD can be used to reduce overall postage and packaging costs (and I will pass on these savings to the buyer).

Payment by bank transfer up front. I recently sold some GPUs so feel free to view check feedback for those transactions

Price and currency: £630
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – ASUS ROG Strix GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti OC edition 11GB – 5 For Sale

I am looking to sell a total of five ASUS ROG Strix GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti OC edition 11GB graphics cards.

This is one of the best 1080 TI gaming cards on the market and even when it’s underpowered, it can perform better than many other 1080 TIs. It’s a beast of a card.

The cheapest I can find this card brand new at the moment is £819.99 from Ebuyer, but some companies are still charging over £1,000.

The cards were purchased online in January 2018 from different online computing companies: Overclockers, Aria, Ebuyer, & Scan. An online receipt can be provided to the buyer upon purchase for future reference.

The cards will have a warranty until January 2021 and according to this table, the warranty is fully transferable. I will, of course, help with any returns if any problems did arise.

All of these cards have been run this year on a mining rig. They have been underpowered from the start and always kept cool. I’ve never experienced any issues with them whatsover and always been happy with performance.

The cards will be delivered in their original boxes and all original parts.

Please view the attached images to see this

Please note that I am not a professional trader and I have spoke to the moderator team and been given explicit permission to list five cards at once.

Availability:

  1. Available
  2. Available
  3. Available
  4. Available
  5. Available

* I actually have a sixth card, but this is in my main PC and I still use it to encode videos. I may sell this in a few months if I pick up a new card.

Graphic cards will be sent via Royal Mail special delivery. If someone bought multiple cards, DPD can be used to reduce overall postage and packaging costs (and I will pass on these savings to the buyer).

Payment by bank transfer up front. I recently sold some GPUs so feel free to view check feedback for those transactions

Price and currency: £630
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Glasgow
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Five Eyes wants to weaken encryption, or legislation may be needed

Five Eyes — the government intelligence alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. — issued a threat to tech companies that don’t find ways to comply with law enforcement in the face of encrypted data and devices.

Following a meeting in Australia on Aug. 30, representatives of the Five Eyes nations detailed principles expressing support for privacy and claimed they did not want to weaken encryption. The coalition described a vision of cooperation between government and tech companies that would allow law enforcement to gain access to encrypted evidence. However, the Five Eyes partners reserved the right to take stronger action, if necessary.

Many of the points made by the Five Eyes governments are arguments the infosec community has heard before in pleas from the FBI, for example. But this is the first time the coalition of major Anglosphere countries has issued a joint statement on encryption.

In the “Statement of Principles on Access to Evidence and Encryption,” Five Eyes claimed “encryption is vital” to economies and for protecting information, but added that these protections are also being abused by “child sex offenders, terrorists and organized crime groups to frustrate investigations and avoid detection and prosecution.”

“Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute,” the Five Eyes partners wrote. “It is an established principle that appropriate government authorities should be able to seek access to otherwise private information when a court or independent authority has authorized such access based on established legal standards.”

Although the statement did not mention encryption backdoors or how companies would have to weaken encryption in order to provide law enforcement access, there were also no details on how the Five Eyes partners expected tech companies to comply.

“The Governments of the Five Eyes encourage information and communications technology service providers to voluntarily establish lawful access solutions to their products and services that they create or operate in our countries,” the Five Eyes report read. “Governments should not favor a particular technology; instead, providers may create customized solutions, tailored to their individual system architectures that are capable of meeting lawful access requirements.”

Much like past arguments about how to gain access without having to weaken encryption, the statement urged cooperation and said government access to encrypted data should be “underpinned by the rule of law and due process protections.”

However, the statement ended with a threat: “Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions.”

Experts defend encryption

Just as the Five Eyes argument for lawful access echoed past statements from law enforcement, experts took to Twitter with many of the same arguments used against previous law enforcement efforts to weaken encryption.

Chad Loder, founder of Rapid7, based in Boston, said even if law enforcement got its way, other software services would arise.

Others noted that even if the governments of the Five Eyes countries were to legislate weakened encryption, those laws would only apply to software companies based in one of the five countries.

Sergei Boeke, researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs and Cyber Security Academy at Leiden University in the Netherlands, expressed doubt that the Five Eyes partners would see the cooperation it hoped.  

Craig Lawson, research vice president at Gartner, said legal access was impossible without weakening encryption.

Ex-Cisco exec Rowan Trollope promises to be different CEO at Five9

Rowan Trollope’s departure from Cisco in May took many in the industry by surprise. In his five years as a top executive, Trollope was widely credited with reinvigorating Cisco’s collaboration portfolio. At the end of his tenure, he made the bold move of merging Cisco’s core meeting software, Webex and Spark.

Trollope is now the CEO of cloud contact center vendor Five9, a startup in San Ramon, Calif., with revenue one-twenty-fifth the size of the collaboration division at Cisco. Trollope described his new company as smaller than his old one, but also nimbler.

In an interview this week, Trollope spoke about why he left Cisco and the use cases of the contact center AI he’s likely to bring to Five9.

Editor’s note: The following was edited for style, clarity and brevity.

How will your leadership change Five9?

Rowan Trollope, CEO, Five9Rowan Trollope

Rowan Trollope: I wasn’t hired because the company needed a new strategy. The way the search happened was ultimately because the former CEO, unfortunately, had a health issue and couldn’t continue. So, it’s kind of a different CEO transition in that sense; it’s not like the company needed a transformation or a new direction.

I am a different CEO, I think, than the former CEO just in terms of my background. I’m a much more product-focused executive, whereas Mike [Burkland] was more focused on sales and go-to-market. And so, you know, my focus will probably be more on product. I think the innovation side of this story that’s unfolding needs a lot of attention.

Cisco is also a big contact center vendor. Why didn’t you want to stay there?

Trollope: Timing in business is so important. And the time for a cloud contact center is now. And, you know, I had been at Cisco for five years, very successful with transforming the portfolio and having a good run. But this was an opportunity to join a very special company, a much smaller company, more nimble, and something that I just, personally, was very interested in.

It’s not anything negative about Cisco. I enjoyed working there, I learned a lot, it’s a great company, and I think their collaboration business has great prospects. But I couldn’t say no to this opportunity.

What applications of contact center AI do you think will have the biggest impact on the industry?

Trollope: One, data analytics. All the voice traffic coming through your contact center today is only used for the purposes of quality-assurance checks and compliance. So, the first real big opportunity is to unlock the value of that data.

Speech-to-text, and then natural language understanding to provide analytics on top of that data, can really [help a company] understand at the business level what’s going on with my customers [and] what are they asking about. If you look at how call centers work today, at the very end of the call, they will enter a reason code, like install problem or password reset. And that’s just so limiting, and the industry has struggled to make sense of this data. That’s why I call it ‘dark data.’

Two, virtual agents. The technology has just gotten to the point where it could be feasible that when you call into your typical call center, instead of getting, ‘Welcome to ABC company. Push one for sales; push two for product,’ that you will be greeted by, ‘Hi, ABC company, can I help you?’ And you say, ‘Yeah, I’ve been having a problem with your product. I’m wondering if I can speak to Joe in support.’ ‘Oh, sure, yeah, let me get Joe on the line.’

That’s not a human; that conversation was with a robot. That’s feasible now. It wasn’t feasible a year ago. And it will become more and more feasible. So, the death of the IVR [interactive voice response] couldn’t come soon enough for most. If you’re a consumer, that’s like the worst experience ever, right?

Three, agent guidance. If the computer can listen to all of the context of the conversation in real time and present me with advanced search results from my knowledge bases and my company information and my workflows, I become a smarter agent.

Today, the agents will be listening to your call. And they will be sitting with a whole bunch of windows open, and they will be Googling for this, or searching their internal knowledge base for that, or typing a text message to a peer to say, ‘Do you know what this problem could be?’ And all that can be made much easier through AI. So, that’s about assisting agents to get better answers faster.

GPU Mega Sale – Palit 1060 6GB & Asus STRIX 1080 TI OC Edition

I started mining cryptocurrency five months ago. I’m looking to sell hardware to recoup costs and invest in filming equipment.

Cards still have more than a year and a half of the warranty left and I will be happy to help with any warranty issues that arise. I doubt you will have any problems though as the cards have been operating at around 70% to 75% in a cooled room the whole time and continue to run great.

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Citrix Summit 2018: Partners to see simplified program

Citrix plans to collapse five partner incentive programs into a single structure that the company said will simplify the way channel companies apply for incentives.

The unified incentive program, dubbed Citrix Ultimate Rewards, was announced at this week’s Citrix Summit 2018 and will go live Feb. 10. Paul Fecteau, managing director of partner programs and operations at Citrix, said the move marks a “simplification of our partner program structure and the process involved.”

Prior to the restructuring, Citrix operated five program elements: Citrix Advisor Rewards (CAR), CAR Plus, CAR Bonus, Opportunity Registration and Net New Partner-Sourced (NNPS). Fecteau said the components, which have rolled out over the course of 18 years, have all served a purpose in Citrix’s partnering initiative, but added a level of complexity. Partners have to apply separately to each of the five programs, for example.

With the new system, partners can register a deal without having to apply for the individual incentives. Instead, partners provide information on the customers, and the systems’ built-in intelligence determines the discount elements for which a Citrix partner qualifies, according to Fecteau.

“They can register deals … without having to understand the intricacies,” he said.

Citrix joins Cisco and Microsoft as vendors that have moved to streamline their channel programs in recent months. At its 2017 Partner Summit, Cisco discussed the retooling of channel programs targeting its resale partners. The networking vendor said it is taking steps to simplify its specialization portfolio and deal registration efforts. And at its annual channel meetup in July 2017, Microsoft unveiled measures the company said will simplify partner engagement and go-to-market approaches.

Citrix turnaround timeline

Discount and rebate programs

They can register deals … without having to understand the intricacies.
Paul Fecteaumanaging director of partner programs and operations at Citrix

As part of the Citrix Ultimate Rewards revamp revealed at Citrix Summit 2018, partner incentives have been recast as two discount programs, Spark and Drive, and one rebate program, called Accelerate. Accelerate provides a quarterly aggregated rebate. Spark, which Fecteau said is akin to NNPS, rewards partners for identifying and registering new selling opportunities that Citrix didn’t already know about, Fecteau explained.

Drive, meanwhile, is similar to CAR in that it offers rewards to partners that pursue value-selling activities that result in a sale. Value-selling activities include delivering a solution design, scheduling a customer demo or proof of concept, and providing an implementation schedule.

David Henshall, CEO, CitrixDavid Henshall

Beyond program simplification, the Citrix partner program changes also aim to accelerate partners’ profit in the cloud, while still rewarding them for on-premises business, Fecteau said. In 2018, partners will earn rebates based on selling Citrix Cloud services and product sales growth.

Fecteau said the cloud-related rebate is the first time Citrix has established a rebate specifically for cloud sales. But any combination of cloud sales expansion and on-premises product revenue growth will earn partners a rebate, he added.

Also at Citrix Summit 2018

Partners attending at Citrix Summit 2018 will hear keynoters, including Citrix President and CEO David Henshall, talk about the company’s overall strategy.

Conference sessions are organized around a handful of tracks, including sales, technical, marketing and Citrix service provider.

The Citrix partner conference, held in Anaheim, Calif., concludes Jan. 9.