Tag Archives: Private

VMware takes NSX security to AWS workloads

VMware has introduced features that improve the use of its NSX network virtualization and security software in private and public clouds.

At VMworld 2018 in Las Vegas, VMware unveiled an NSX instance for AWS Direct Connect and technology to apply NSX security policies on Amazon Web Services workloads. Also, VMware said Arista Networks’ virtual and physical switches would enforce NSX policies — the result of a collaboration between the two vendors.

VMware is applying NSX security policies, including microsegmentation, on AWS workloads by adding support of NSX-T to VMware Cloud on AWS. NSX-T provides networking and security management for containers and non-VMware virtualized environments. VMware Cloud on AWS is a hybrid cloud service that runs the VMware software-defined data center stack on AWS.

The latest AWS feature is in NSX-T Data Center 2.3, which VMware introduced at VMworld. Other features added to the newest version of NSX-T include support for containers and Linux-based workloads running on bare-metal servers. NSX-T uses Open vSwitch to turn a Linux host into an NSX-T transport node and to provide stateful security services.

VMware plans to release NSX-T 2.3 by November.

NSX on AWS Direct Connect

To help companies connect to AWS, VMware introduced integration between NSX and AWS Direct Connect. The combination will provide NSX-powered connectivity between workloads running on VMware Cloud on AWS and those running on a VMware-based private cloud in the data center.

AWS Direct Connect lets companies bypass the public internet and establish a dedicated network connection between a data center and an AWS location. Direct Connect is particularly useful for companies with rules against transferring sensitive data across the public internet.

Finally, VMware introduced interoperability between Arista’s CloudVision and NSX. As a result, companies can have NSX security policies enforced on Arista switches running either virtually in a public cloud or the data center.

Arista CloudVision manages switching fabrics within multiple cloud environments. Last year, the company released a virtualized version of its EOS network operating system for AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud.

VMware is using its NSX portfolio to connect and secure infrastructure and applications running in the data center, branch office and public cloud. For the branch office, VMware has integrated NSX with the company’s VeloCloud software-defined WAN to provide microsegmentation for applications at the WAN’s edge.

VMware competes in multi-cloud networking with Cisco and Juniper Networks.

IT spending shows cloud-focused data center architectures

Companies are dramatically changing the architectures of their private data centers in preparation for eventually running more business applications across multiple cloud providers.

The transformational changes underway include higher network speeds, more server diversity and an increase in software-defined storage, an IHS Markit survey of 151 North American enterprises found. The strategy behind the revamping is to make the data center “a first-class citizen as enterprises build their multi-clouds.”

Companies are increasing network speeds to meet an expected rise in data flowing through enterprise data centers. A total of 68% of companies are increasing the capacity of the network fabric while 62% are buying technology to automate the movement of virtual machines and support network virtualization protocols, London-based IHS reported. The three trends are consistent with the building of cloud-based data center architectures.

IHS also found 49% of the survey respondents planned to increase spending on switches and routers — virtual and physical — to keep up with traffic flow. The top five Ethernet switch vendors were Cisco, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Juniper and Huawei.

Companies turning to containers in new data center architectures

Companies are also increasing the use of containers to run applications in cloud computing environments. The shift is affecting the use of hypervisors, which are the platforms for running virtual machines in data centers today. IHS expects the number of servers running hypervisors to fall from 37% to 30% by 2019.

“That’s a transition away from server virtualization potentially toward software containers,” IHS analyst Clifford Grossner said. “End users are looking to use more container-[based] software.”

IHS found 77% of companies planned to increase spending on servers with the number of physical devices expected to double on average. Enterprises plan to run hypervisors or containers on 73% of their servers by 2019, up from 70% today.

“We’re seeing that progression where more and more servers are multi-tenant — that is running multiple applications,” Grossner said. “We’re seeing the density being packed tighter on servers.”

High density and multi-tenancy on servers are also attributes of cloud-focused data center architectures.

The rise of the one-socket server

Whenever possible, companies are buying one-socket servers to lower capital expenditures. IHS expects the cheaper hardware to account for 9% of corporate servers by 2019 from 3% today.

“The one-socket server market is offering more powerful options that are able to satisfy the needs of more workloads at a better price point,” Grossner said.

Finally, IHS found an upswing in storage spending. Fully, 53% of companies planned to spend more on software-defined storage, 52% on network-attached storage and 42% on solid-state drives.

As enterprises rearchitect their data centers, they are also spending more on public cloud services and infrastructure. IDC expects spending on the latter to reach $160 billion this year, an increase of more than 23% over last year. By 2021, spending will reach $277 billion, representing an annual increase of nearly 22%.

Jefferson College of Population Health gets $2M endowment from vendor

In a move that is the first of its kind in the country, a for-profit, private health IT company is funding a new, $2 million professorship of population health at a university.

Navvis Healthcare in St. Louis announced the endowment today for the chair at Jefferson College of Population Health, part of Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University.

“This is the first private-sector-sponsored endowed chair anywhere” for a population health school, said David Nash, M.D., founding dean of Jefferson College of Population Health. “Navvis is a national leader just by virtue of putting money where its mouth is.” A person will likely be named to the endowed chair in early 2019.

Navvis sells a population health platform. The school faces zero pressure from Navvis about what academic research the new professorship will conduct, Nash said.

Nash expected Jefferson College of Population Health to further examine how poverty influences population health trends. “Unfortunately in our country, the biggest driver of lack of health is poverty,” he said, adding that poorer people are more vulnerable to disease and illness because they may not be able to afford care at critical times.

“ZIP code is more important than your genetic code in predicting your life span,” a dilemma that no other Western nation faces as much as the U.S., Nash said.

More population health info desired, company says

From Navvis’ point of view, the endowment stems partly from the desire to be a good corporate citizen and also because the company sees a commercial need in the area of more in-depth population health studies, said Chuck Eberl, Navvis’ chief marketing officer.

David Nash, M.D., dean of the Jefferson College of Population HealthDavid Nash, M.D.

“There’s this proliferation of [population health] tools and technologies … and there are a lot of bright spots all over the industry,” Eberl said. However, as medical costs continue to rise, payers and providers are not clear whether population health management might be able to lower some of the costs, he added.

“We’re moving from a world of volume to value,” Nash said. “It’s going to be a bumpy road. … If the country can’t get healthcare onto a value-based platform, then it risks the entire economy.” Nash said healthcare makes up 18% of the U.S. gross domestic product, a measure of the amount of goods and services sold in the country.

Business relationship spawned endowment

The endowment for Jefferson College of Population Health came about after Nash had met Navvis CEO Mike Farris when both served on a separate, external advisory board.

ZIP code is more important than your genetic code in predicting your life span.
David Nash, M.D.dean, Jefferson College of Population Health

Farris later contacted Nash for advice on whether he knew who to talk to about establishing a population health endowment somewhere in the U.S., and Nash responded, “Well yeah, talk to me.” A dozen conversations later, the endowment agreement was in place for the college, Nash said.

“Will one professorship change the world? Probably not, but it sends a clear signal,” Nash said. “Other CEOs will call Mike Farris and say, ‘How the hell did you do that?'”

Under the brand name Coreo, Navvis’ products use analytics and data visualization to run a population health platform that connects patients, caregivers, insurance payers and data analysts to the same information across subsets of patients.

Eberl declined to provide the revenue of Navvis, which will employee about 200 people by the end of the year.

Private Slack shared channels look to boost security, admin controls

Slack is expanding support for external collaboration with a beta release of private shared channels, which should allow separate organizations to communicate more securely across Slack workspaces. Slack announced a beta of public shared channels in September, and earlier this month introduced private Slack shared channels for conversations that could include sensitive or classified information.

The shared channels feature will become more important as large enterprises look to improve the adoption of social tools, Constellation Research analyst Alan Lepofsky wrote in a blog post. Lepofsky said private shared channels will be a more common use case than public shared channels because most cross-organizational communications are better suited to a limited audience.

To access private Slack shared channels, users need to be invited to view or join the channel, and any content shared in the channel won’t appear in search results to non-members.

Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar said his firm’s upcoming unified communications and collaboration study found that nearly 20% of organizations plan to use or are already using team collaboration apps for external communication with partners, suppliers and customers — an increase from last year’s study.

“There are still issues to overcome, like whether or not the external participant needs to archive the conversations,” Lazar said.

Slack private shared channels support more secure external collaboration
Slack’s private shared channels allow organizations to collaborate with external users.

Management options for secure Slack shared channels

Private Slack shared channels offer IT management options to protect information. Admins can choose whether a specific shared channel is private or public in their respective workspace. Channels can also be designated private or public on both ends or private on one end and public on the other.

Admins can view the external workspaces their organization is connected to, create new shared channels, view pending shared channel invites and stop sharing any or all shared channels. However, admins cannot view names or content of any private shared channel of which they are not a member.

The private shared channel beta is currently available to teams on the standard and plus plans. Support for Enterprise Grid is expected soon, Slack said.

External collaboration still in a silo

While the beta boosts external collaboration for Slack users, it doesn’t address the need for interoperability among team collaboration apps.

“Until social networking supports cross-product communication, communication with people that use different products will remain a challenge,” Lepofsky said.

Lazar said IT leaders have expressed concern over app overload. Because of the lack of interoperability, users often juggle multiple team collaboration apps to meet their external collaboration needs.

“This is common in the consumer space, where people routinely use multiple text and social apps for communication, but it creates governance and compliance headaches within enterprises,” Lazar said.

For Sale – **Reserved for member reworK-** NOW SOLD – 6700K Desktop PC – £760 delivered

**Reserved for member reworK-** Organised over private message.

Hi

I have for sale a desktop PC for £760 delivered fully insured. I’ve included how I’ve valued each component, but the machine is only for sale as a whole at the moment. Firm price for the moment.

Pictures

Specs

  • CPU – i7-6700K – £200 – (£280 new – Info) Overclocked to 4.7GHz at 1.400V. This CPU has been delided with Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra, which reduced temperatures under load by 20°C.
  • RAM – 16GB (2×8) DDR4 – 3200MHz 16-18-18-36 @ 1.35V – Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 – £170 – (£220 new – Info)
  • Case fans – Three Corsair ML120 fans at the front, two Corsair ML140 fans at the top and one at the back – £40 total – (£66 new – ML120 new £10 each / ML140 new £12 each – Info)
  • Fan hub – Asus Fan Extension Card – £20 – (can’t find new price – Info) Sold on ebay, replaced with:
  • Fan hub – Phobya PWM fan splitter – £10
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit – included for free. Clean install. Genuine licence key will be in My Documents.

Parts total – £730. Cheapest fully insured delivery I can find is around £30.

More details

There are a couple of slight marks on the case window, but not very noticeable – see pics.

All of the cables for the modular PSU are included.

I will detach the CPU cooler and put it in its box for transit, so it doesn’t shake around and put stress on the motherboard. If you don’t want me to do this, I can keep it attached, but I would have to source a box big enough to lay the H440 case box with computer inside horizontally, so the stress on the motherboard should be greatly reduced. A box big enough, so that an otherwise short but wide and long H440 box is not stood up vertically in transit. I will be drawing up-arrows and fragile on the box too. Noctua thermal grease is in the Noctua box.

Component boxes – it includes the boxes for the mobo, PSU (but no outer branding sleeve), CPU cooler, fans, and PC case. All the boxes contain the original bits.

The PC is a mixture of new and second hand components.

  • CPU – 2nd hand
  • RAM – 2nd hand
  • Mobo – New – Purchased from Scan in October 2016
  • PSU – 2nd hand
  • SSD – 2nd hand
  • CPU cooler – New – Purchased from Amazon in July 2014
  • Case fans – New – Purchased from Amazon in June 2017
  • Case – New – Purchased in-store from Epsilon PC in November 2014
  • Fan Hub – 2nd hand

Payment via bank transfer.

Price and currency: £760 delivered
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Lytham St Annes
Advertised elsewhere?: 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 – **Reserved for member reworK-** NOW SOLD – 6700K Desktop PC – £760 delivered

**Reserved for member reworK-** Organised over private message.

Hi

I have for sale a desktop PC for £760 delivered fully insured. I’ve included how I’ve valued each component, but the machine is only for sale as a whole at the moment. Firm price for the moment.

Pictures

Specs

  • CPU – i7-6700K – £200 – (£280 new – Info) Overclocked to 4.7GHz at 1.400V. This CPU has been delided with Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra, which reduced temperatures under load by 20°C.
  • RAM – 16GB (2×8) DDR4 – 3200MHz 16-18-18-36 @ 1.35V – Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 – £170 – (£220 new – Info)
  • Case fans – Three Corsair ML120 fans at the front, two Corsair ML140 fans at the top and one at the back – £40 total – (£66 new – ML120 new £10 each / ML140 new £12 each – Info)
  • Fan hub – Asus Fan Extension Card – £20 – (can’t find new price – Info) Sold on ebay, replaced with:
  • Fan hub – Phobya PWM fan splitter – £10
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit – included for free. Clean install. Genuine licence key will be in My Documents.

Parts total – £730. Cheapest fully insured delivery I can find is around £30.

More details

There are a couple of slight marks on the case window, but not very noticeable – see pics.

All of the cables for the modular PSU are included.

I will detach the CPU cooler and put it in its box for transit, so it doesn’t shake around and put stress on the motherboard. If you don’t want me to do this, I can keep it attached, but I would have to source a box big enough to lay the H440 case box with computer inside horizontally, so the stress on the motherboard should be greatly reduced. A box big enough, so that an otherwise short but wide and long H440 box is not stood up vertically in transit. I will be drawing up-arrows and fragile on the box too. Noctua thermal grease is in the Noctua box.

Component boxes – it includes the boxes for the mobo, PSU (but no outer branding sleeve), CPU cooler, fans, and PC case. All the boxes contain the original bits.

The PC is a mixture of new and second hand components.

  • CPU – 2nd hand
  • RAM – 2nd hand
  • Mobo – New – Purchased from Scan in October 2016
  • PSU – 2nd hand
  • SSD – 2nd hand
  • CPU cooler – New – Purchased from Amazon in July 2014
  • Case fans – New – Purchased from Amazon in June 2017
  • Case – New – Purchased in-store from Epsilon PC in November 2014
  • Fan Hub – 2nd hand

Payment via bank transfer.

Price and currency: £760 delivered
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Transfer
Location: Lytham St Annes
Advertised elsewhere?: 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.

Colleges to share Oracle ERP system in effort to cut costs

Three Vermont private colleges plan to share a cloud-based Oracle ERP system. It’s taking cooperation and agreement to change their business practices. But if it’s successful, the colleges expect to save millions in costs.

What Champlain College, Middlebury College and Saint Michael’s College are doing is rare for private institutions. But as more schools seek ways to control back-office costs, this idea may spread.

The three independent, nonprofit colleges did not have a history of working together. But in 2013, they formed the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium to examine sharing an ERP system.

“Private liberal arts schools and the education that they offer is becoming more and more unaffordable for many students,” said Corinna Noelke, the consortium’s executive director and a doctorate-holding economist who was director of special projects at Middlebury.

The consortium went through a request-for-proposal process and picked Oracle ERP systems. They will use Oracle’s Human Capital Management Cloud, its ERP Cloud and the Enterprise Performance Management Cloud.

“The schools discovered that they could really work together on one software platform, as long as it allowed them to separate the schools efficiently,” Noelke said.

The implementation begins this year. The three colleges are now using Ellucian systems: One is using Banner, and two are using Colleague. Two of the colleges ran the ERP systems on premises, and the third outsourced.

A goal for the three schools was to implement best practices in a SaaS environment and to take advantage of using shared services.

Using best practices “has nothing to do with your culture and nothing to do with your special niche as a school,” Noelke said.

Public colleges have long shared IT platforms

[Using best practices] has nothing to do with your culture and nothing to do with your special niche as a school.
Corinna Noelkeexecutive director, Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium

Public universities have long shared systems across the various campuses, but it’s rare for nonprofit, private colleges to share services, said Kenneth Green, the founding director of The Campus Computing Project, which runs a continuing study of the role of IT in higher education

The Vermont colleges’ effort “is interesting and it is innovative, and it will be carefully watched,” Green said.

Back-office systems collaboration may be a growing trend in higher education. In a separate effort, over 100 smaller colleges recently banded together to collectively negotiate ERP pricing with major vendors.

“Why can’t we leverage our collective voices with you, the vendors, to get better pricing,” said Carol Smith, CIO of DePauw University and president of the board of directors of the Higher Education Systems & Services Consortium (HESS). This effort to negotiate as a group with ERP systems vendors began in 2016.

Most of the HESS Consortium schools have student full-time-equivalent populations of less than 8,000 and some only a few thousand students. But a goal of HESS is to give its members the contract negotiation clout of a large university system.

Transparency on ERP pricing is one goal

HESS is also working to normalize ERP pricing and services between vendors to make it easier for colleges to conduct apples-to-apples comparisons. The schools, some of which previously have gotten little vendor attention, hope that now changes. They are meeting collectively with their respective vendors to discuss their needs.

Instead of negotiating the ERP contracts independently, and then wondering whether they got a good price, Smith said participating HESS colleges will “feel confident” that they got the best consortium price for the ERP system.

The Green Mountain effort takes the idea of ERP collaboration a step further.

The consortium had four ERP candidates: Oracle, Workday, Unit4 and Campus Management.

In its selection, the Oracle ERP system gained the edge with its pricing, functionality and ability to set up a shared environment, Noelke said.

The Oracle ERP system architecture allows you to be in one instance and have three separate and distinct operations for each of the campuses. Employees at their respective schools don’t see information from other colleges unless they want to have a shared service. Each college will have independent user interfaces and data will be separated, but otherwise, they are operating on one platform.

“The architecture is very elegant and is really letting you be separate where you want to be separate, but also to come together where you want to come together,” Noelke said.

Configurations are being discouraged

The introduction of the SaaS platform is requiring the schools to make substantive changes to their business practices. They are holding workshops involving finance and HR and working with implementation firms. The schools may do some processes differently as they shift to a “best practices environment.” They are holding “process reimagine and redesign” workshops facilitated by CampusWorks Inc., and their implementation contractor is Hitachi Consulting for Oracle.

The basic premise is the schools will only customize configurations where needed, and the departments will have to make a business case for it. As soon as you configure differently between the three schools, it makes it harder to update the system, Noelke said.

The implementations will continue through much of the year. They will have to make “a million little decisions every day” with the implementers.

The three colleges expect to pay less with the Oracle ERP system. They have cut licensing costs by about 20% by acting together. The implementation costs are much less, because they are doing it together, Noelke said. This doesn’t account for long-term productivity gains helped by the elimination or reduction of manual, paper-based processes.

Over an eight-year period — fiscal year 2018 through fiscal year 2025 — buying software together and implementing it together at the same time is saving $20 million versus each school buying the software themselves and implementing it themselves, Noelke said.

Education systems require specialized software related to student needs, such as registration, class schedules and financial assistance. Oracle is developing a new student system using the knowledge they have on needs and requirements from the PeopleSoft product. This work is still in development. The consortium is likely to use Oracle’s approach, but will make a final determination once the development work is completed.

The motivation for these joint efforts is clear. At DePauw, Smith said she personally believes these types of collaborations among private schools will expand.

“We’re here to provide an educational experience for our students, so that they can be the best they can be,” Smith said. “I think we have to try to preserve every ounce of resources that we possibly can.”

Microsoft announces private preview, partnerships for AI-powered health bot project

Today, we’re pleased to announce the private preview of a new AI-powered project from Microsoft’s Healthcare NExT initiative  which is designed to enable our healthcare partners to easily create intelligent and compliant healthcare virtual assistants and chatbots. These bots are powered by cognitive services and enriched with authoritative medical content, allowing our partners to empower their customers with self-service access to health information, with the goal of improving outcomes and reducing costs. So, if you’re using a health bot built by one of our partners as part of our project, you can interact in a personal way, typing or talking in natural language and receiving information to help answer your health-related questions.

Our partners, including Aurora Health Care, with 15 hospitals, over 150 clinics and 70 pharmacies throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Premera Blue Cross, the largest health plan in the Pacific Northwest, and UPMC, one of the largest integrated health care delivery networks in the United States, are working with us to build out bots that address a wide range of healthcare-specific questions and use cases. For instance, insurers can build bots that give their customers an easy way to look up the status of a claim and ask questions about benefits and services. Providers, meanwhile, can build bots that triage patient issues with a symptom checker, help patients find appropriate care, and look up nearby doctors.

At Aurora Health Care, patients can use the “Aurora Digital Concierge” to determine what type of care they might need and when they might need it. Patients interact with the bot in natural language – answering a set of questions about their symptoms – and then the bot suggests what could be possible causes and what type of doctor they might want to see and when. They can also schedule an appointment with just a few clicks. This is an example of how AI can have direct impact on people’s everyday lives, helping patients find the most relevant care and helping doctors focus on the highest-priority cases.

“Aurora Health Care is focused on delivering a seamless experience for our consumers and the health bot allows us to introduce technology to make that happen. The use of AI allows us to leverage technology to meet consumers where they are; online, mobile, chat, text, and to help them navigate the complexity of healthcare,” said Jamey Shiels, Vice President Digital Experience, Aurora Health Care.

At Microsoft, we believe there is an enormous opportunity to use intelligent bots to make healthcare more efficient and accessible to every individual and organization. Our goal is to amplify human ingenuity with intelligent technology, and we’re doing that in healthcare by infusing AI into solutions that can help patients, providers, and payers. 

We are incubating the health bot project as part of Healthcare NExT, a new initiative at Microsoft to dramatically transform healthcare by deeply integrating greenfield research and health technology product development, in partnership with the healthcare industry’s leading players. Through these collaborations, our goal is to enable a new wave of innovation and impact in healthcare using Microsoft’s deep AI expertise and global-scale cloud.

Today, for instance, it can be particularly difficult for our healthcare partners to build bots that address the stringent compliance and regulatory requirements of the healthcare industry, and to integrate complex medical vocabularies. Our health bot project is designed to make this simple by providing an easy to use visual editor tool that partners can use to build and extend their bots, an array of healthcare-specific configuration options, out-of-the-box symptom checker content, as well as easy integration with partner systems and with our set of cognitive services.

We are introducing a private preview program that will allow new partners to participate in the project; partners will be able to sign up on our website. The program includes built-in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance – a prerequisite for usage by any covered entity. It also includes access to the visual editor tools that partners can easily use to customize and extend bot scenarios, documentation and code samples published on Microsoft Docs, and pre-built integration with the Health Navigator symptom checker.

We’re extremely excited for the potential of our project to help people get better care and navigate the healthcare process more efficiently. Following the private preview, we will have more information to share for general availability.

For more information on the health bot project, please visit: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/health-bot/

Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Mac)

Using a virtual private network is a great way to keep the bad guys, the three-letter agencies, and even your ISP from snooping on your web traffic. Golden Frog VyprVPN is a particularly competitive VPN service, and it shines on macOS with excellent speed scores and a strong offering of advanced features, as well as a smart tutorial for new users. It’s an excellent VPN for Mac, but it’s edged out by Editors’ Choice winners for macOS VPN: NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and TunnelBear VPN.

Similar Products

What Is a VPN?

When you connect to the internet, your web traffic may not be as secure as you’d like. Your ISP, the NSA, anyone on the network, and whoever controls the Wi-Fi router you’re connected to can potentially monitor your activities or even redirect you to phishing pages. Consider this the next time you log on to the Wi-Fi network at Starbucks: how do you know Starbucks operates this particular hotspot? This is why you need a VPN.

When you switch on a VPN, it’s a different story. Doing so creates an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server operated by the VPN company. Your web traffic travels through the tunnel, secure from peeping eyes.

From the VPN server, your traffic heads off to your desired destination. That means anyone watching would see your traffic as emanating not from your computer, whose geographic location can be divined via IP address, but from the VPN server. That’s an additional layer of anonymity.

This may sound like paranoia, but reporting has revealed that the NSA has access to most internet traffic. Also, Congress gave the green light to ISPs to start selling anonymized user data. A VPN defeats, or at least greatly frustrates, these adversaries.

Pricing and Plans

Golden Frog offers VyprVPN for free for 30 days, after which you’ll need to start paying. Other VPN services have free options that stay free; AnchorFree Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear are two excellent examples. Most free VPNs have some kind of data limit or other restriction, however, though they generally perform well within those limits. Notably, the Opera browser now ships with a robust VPN built in, for free.

If you decide to spend money on VyprVPN, you’ll have to chose between the vanilla version and the higher-end plan. VyprVPN costs $9.95 per month, but only allows three simultaneous connections. That’s probably enough for one person living alone, but certainly not for someone whose family involves more people or gadgets. Those people will want to spring for VyprVPN Premium, which costs $12.95 per month; allows up to five connections; and grants access to two additional features, the Chameleon VPN protocol and VyprVPN Cloud.

That’s on the high side for a VPN service. Private Internet Access, which offers an extremely robust network of servers, costs only $6.95. TunnelBear VPN is just slightly more at $9.99 per month. Both have offerings comparable to VyprVPN’s.

The additional features that Golden Frog reserves for the highest VyprVPN tier require some explanation. The Chameleon VPN protocol is an encryption protocol that the company says is harder to detect as VPN traffic and therefore harder to block. The company recommends that users in China, or anywhere else that attempts to block access to certain parts of the internet, should use this protocol. If that’s not your thing, the macOS client also supports L2TP and IPsec, as well as my preferred option: OpenVPN. In addition to being open-source code—and therefore scrutinized for errors by a community of volunteers—OpenVPN also tends to be faster and more resistant to disconnection. Note that the VyprVPN app for iPhone only supports the IKEv2 protocol.

The other premium feature is VyprVPN Cloud. This is a specialty feature that allows you to access your cloud services on Amazon Web Services (AWS), DigitalOcean, and VirtualBox via the security of a VPN. It’s certainly a niche feature, and it’s a bit of an odd one at that.

Note that Golden Frog also offers Cyphr, a free encrypted chat app for Android and iOS, as well as Outfox, a VPN service specifically for gaming. NordVPN doesn’t offer a chat service, but it does have specialized servers for using BitTorrent, connecting via VPN to the Tor anonymization service, and more besides.

Features and Privacy

I go into detail about VyprVPN’s features and performance in my review of VyprVPN for Windows. I’ll summarize the important points here.

Golden Frog makes much of the fact that it owns all of the servers used for VyprVPN. There’s something to be said for this, since it gives the company far more control over the hardware customers rely on to keep them safe. This amounts to over 700 servers, which is comparatively few, however. Presumably, competitors are able to field more by using a mixed of owned and rented servers. Most VPN services offer over 1,000 servers and in the case of Private Internet Access, over 3,000. A surplus of servers means that you’re less likely to find yourself using an overcrowded server where each user gets a small slice of the bandwidth pie. The more servers, the fewer people per server; the fewer people per server, the better the performance.

VyprVPN does, however, have a respectable roster of server locations. These include some 70 cities and regions in six continents. I am pleased to see that in addition to such typical VPN locations as the US and Europe, VyprVPN also has several servers in regions often ignored by the industry, such as Africa and the Middle East. The company also offer servers in areas that tend to have repressive control over internet access: China and Russia, specifically.

A large number and diverse distribution of server locations means two things. First, that if you’re looking to spoof your location, you’ll have lots of options. Second, if you are a world traveler, you’ll have an easier time finding a nearby server. The distance between yourself and the VPN server has an important impact on performance.

The VyprVPN app comes loaded with some excellent advanced features. You can configure the VPN to connect automatically if you’re using an untrusted Wi-Fi network. You can also block local (LAN) traffic to your machine while connected to the VPN, ensuring that other infected devices aren’t sneaking peeks at your activity.

One thing that VyprVPN won’t do is block ads when running. That’s not a huge loss on a desktop computer where there are many excellent in-browser alternatives such as Privacy Badger—my ad-blocker of choice. It’s more of a detriment on Android because Google does not allow ad-blockers in its app store.

Golden Frog is headquartered in Switzerland, which, according to the EFF, does not have mandatory data retention laws. Golden Frog’s privacy policy states that the country’s “favorable privacy laws reflect our mission.” The company does not log DNS requests or the content of your traffic. Golden Frog does, however, log the source IP address, connection time (start and stop), and the total volume of traffic. It retains this information for 30 days. The company says it will not “sell or otherwise release identifying information, unless ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction in the matter.” That’s an important caveat, but is also par for the course among VPN services.

Note that if you are keen to use BitTorrent over VPN, you can do so with VyprVPN. However, keep in mind that downloading copyrighted material can still be detected through other means.

Hands On With VyprVPN

Golden Frog does not offer a VyprVPN client through the Apple App Store. Instead, you’ll have to download it from the Golden Frog site and install it yourself. Unlike other VPN clients, VyprVPN has a brief tutorial that points out major features and lets you configure some of the client’s core abilities. I like this approach, since many customers may not be aware of all VyprVPN has to offer.

The client itself is a single window, the top half of which shows your network traffic in a color-coded graph—blue when it’s secured by VyprVPN and red when it is not. It seems very much at home on macOS, although it did not take advantage of the Touch Bar on the 15-inch 2016 MacBook Pro I was using for testing. Three toggles let you configure VyprVPN to connect automatically on untrusted Wi-Fi, block malicious sites, and activate the app’s kill switch. This last feature automatically shuts down internet communications should your VPN disconnect accidentally.

The large button at the bottom connects you to the fastest available server by default. Typically, this is a server that’s geographically near to you. Click the map pin icon on the connect button to open the full server list in a separate window. Here, you can filter the servers by region and view the ones you have marked as favorites. A search box at the top lets you quickly cull the list, and the app shows ping times to the left of each entry.

While VyprVPN looks quite good against the macOS backdrop, Editors’ Choice winner TunnelBear is even better looking. This application is brightly colored and filled with friendly bears. It’s got a touch of whimsy, but is also extremely easy to use, which helps make it an Editors’ Choice winner.

Opening the Preferences window reveals more precise controls. You can, for example, designate apps that must use the VPN connection. That’s handy, as it can let you avoid slower speeds or outright blocking for certain activities. There’s also an option to block all LAN traffic, which is a rarely seen feature. The Advanced section is truly advanced, letting you set Route Delay time in seconds, Log Verbosity, and Maximum Transmission Units, among other options that the average person probably shouldn’t mess with.

By default, VyprVPN uses the OpenVPN protocol and VyprDNS. Both of these can be changed from the settings menu as well.

Netflix is not a fan of VPNs, since you can use them to spoof your location and access content locked for other regions. However, I had no trouble streaming movies when connected via VyprVPN. Keep in mind that this could change at a moment’s notice. If you’re concerned about losing access to Netflix, I suggest sticking with short-term VPN subscriptions.

Speed and Performance

When you’re using a VPN, your data jumps through more hoops than usual. The result is usually increased latency, as well as reduced upload and download speeds. But we have found through years of testing that not all VPNs are created equal, and that some have greater negative (or, surprisingly, positive) impact on performance.

To really determine the performance of a given VPN service, I would have to test multiple times a day at different locations and times over the course of many days. That’s not a viable option. Instead, I opt to take a snapshot, and then I compare the difference between average speeds and latency results and find a percent change.

I first run this test while connected to a nearby VPN server and using a nearby test server. I run the same tests again, but while connected to a VPN server in Australia and a test server in Anchorage, Alaska. This second test is to evaluate how the VPN performs when connected to far-flung international servers. All of my speed test data is gathered using the Ookla speed test tool. (Note that Ookla is owned by PCMag’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)

In my domestic VPN testing, I found that VyprVPN had the largest increase in latency among Mac VPNs, at 22.1 percent. To be fair, most other VPNs are clustered around the same figure, although Private Internet Access had the least impact, at only 8 percent. VyprVPN redeemed itself in the download speeds test, where it slowed downloads by just 6.9 percent. dragged downloads down by 21.1 percent, but TunnelBear actually improved downloads speeds by 22.1 percent — the only VPN to improve downloads I’ve yet seen for macOS. Unfortunately, VyprVPN dropped the ball in upload speeds, where it had the biggest impact among Mac VPNs. It reduced upload speeds by 33.2 percent. In this same test, Private Internet Access reduced uploads by only 6.1 percent.

VyprVPN fared a bit better in the international tests. Here, it increased latency by 171.4 percent—the best score I’ve yet recorded for macOS testing. It nearly beat KeepSolid VPN Unlimited in the download test; VPN Unlimited reduced download speeds by 11 percent and VyprVPN by only 13.2 percent. It continued doing well into the upload test, where it slowed uploads by 17.8 percent, another new record for macOS testing.

In general, you will almost certainly not notice any significant slowdown when using VyprVPN. In fact, you might even notice things run a little quicker in some circumstances! With its collection of top scores in some important areas, it’s a strong contender for speed on macOS. But then again, racked up truly outstanding numbers on Windows, where it improved downloads by over 400 percent in some cases.

PureVPN didn’t perform as well in my macOS testing. As such I consider it to be the fastest VPN service for Windows. I haven’t reviewed enough VPNs on macOS to make a similar judgment.

One for the Short List

Golden Frog offers an impressive service with VyprVPN, and it’s especially good on macOS. The client is equal parts understandable and powerful, with a tutorial for new users and powerful settings for those already comfortable with IT matters. While it lacks ad-blocking and has comparably few servers, it nevertheless earned several top speed test scores in our tests.

It’s an excellent choice for macOS users, but we continue to recommend our Editors’ Choice winners for macOS for their individual merits. NordVPN has an excellent collection of features, Private Internet Access has an unbeatably robust server roster, and TunnelBear VPN is the easiest and friendliest VPN for macOS.

We Are Still In: How Microsoft is Supporting the Global Effort to Combat Climate Change at COP23 & Beyond – Microsoft Green Blog

This week and next, private companies and sub-nationals are joining governments from around the world in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP23. At the event, participants aim to solidify plans to help achieve the collective carbon-reduction targets outlined in Paris two years ago.

Microsoft is proud to be participating in the event. During this past week, Microsoft representatives have joined in discussions to share our experiences and insights as to how technology can be deployed to help reduce energy demands, curb emissions and accelerate climate solutions. As COP23 enters the second week, we look forward to hosting demos at our booth and participating in panel discussions with world leaders.

We believe that technology can and must play a role in addressing climate change and advancing resiliency, and to that end, Microsoft is excited to share that our technology is helping achieve these aims by powering COP23 itself. We will be providing Skype and Skype Broadcast services throughout the conference that will enable international delegations, who are unable to travel to this important global event, to use our technology to participate in the various activities at COP23.

And, in addition, Microsoft is a sponsor of the Hack4Climate hackathon, the world’s first blockchain hackathon to fight climate change. The hackathon will be powered by Blockchain as a Service on Microsoft Azure. Our commitment to advancing and accelerating the global dialogue on sustainability is also taking shape at this week’s GreenBuild International Conference and Expo in Boston, where we announced a commitment to pursue LEED Gold certification for our entire portfolio of owned datacenters under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED volume program. This builds on Microsoft’s ongoing work to green our own datacenters and creates a standardized set of design and performance criteria to serve as a “blueprint” to certify greener, more efficient datacenters industry wide.

At an event this week in Lisbon, at Planet:Tech, I shared our view on how AI can be applied to areas of biodiversity, climate change, agriculture and water. I was also fortunate enough to spend time meeting with both startups and large multi-national corporations, who are investing to create new approaches to managing the planet’s resources in a more sustainable way.

As we approach the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate accord, it is exciting to see progress happening on sustainability. The pace of innovation and investment continues to accelerate, and I can’t help but be optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead. From Boston to Lisbon to Bonn, startups, governments, NGO’s and corporations are working together to address some of the critical environmental challenges we all face.

If you are attending COP23 this year, I invite you to stop by our digital transformation booth inside the U.N. delegation hall to learn more about how Microsoft’s technology and services can help people and organizations achieve their own environmental goals. In addition, a listing of Microsoft’s public panel engagements in Bonn is provided below, and you can follow us on Twitter @Microsoft_Green for daily updates throughout the conference.

November 10

  • “Transforming Carbon and Energy Markets through Advanced Technology” at 10:00 CET at the U.S. Climate Pavilion
  • “The Economic Case for Climate Action” at 13:00 CET at the U.S. Climate Pavilion

November 11

  • “What Actions Can Companies Take to Reduce Vulnerability and Enhance Resilience in the Communities along their Supply Chain?” at 11:30 CET at the Kameha Grand Hotel, sponsored by BSR

November 12

  • “The United Nations System, Industry 4.0 and Its Potential for Climate Solutions” at 13:15 CET (Watch live stream)
  • “Paradigm Shifts in the Boardroom – Corporate Face of Energy Transformation” at 14:45 CET at the Deutsche Post DHL Tower

November 14

  • “U.S. Businesses Leading on Climate” at 16:00 CET at the U.S. Climate Pavilion, sponsored by C2ES
  • “Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Transformative Climate Solutions” at 10:00 at the World Conference Center

November 15

  • “U.S. Business Showcase Session 6: We Are All In This Together” at 15:45 CET at the U.S. Climate Pavilion

Tags: Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, COP23, Environmental Sustainability, green tech, Microsoft