DATA AND WEB SERVICES
April 2021 www.pcr-online.biz
DATA AND WEB SERVICES ISSUE #206 April 2021
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Data as a commodity
ife seems to be full of data at the moment and not just the reoccurring broadcast of national Coronavirus statics. But the data picture is far bigger than we may realise, and its value is exponential. Just think of all the data we give willingly, such as on social media and other web platforms but also all the data we store on our devices and send to various destinations online and this is what the cyber criminals are after. Identity and data theft is a major problem that is getting worse all the time exacerbated by the pandemic and the sudden shift towards remote working. This is why we bring you our focus on data in the April issue with in-depth insight from industry leaders such as Redstor’s Tom Hext focusing on how AI is integral to combating malware. In our data security focus we speak with Ramil Yusupov at Acronis about the increasing dangers that businesses face and how to navigate this minefield. Michael Shoham, at Radix tells us about the importance of device management. Paul Holland of Beyond Encryption warns of data security issues created by remote working and how to avoid regulatory intervention through data breaches. Whilst Ed Baker, at McAfee explores the importance of balancing secure access and remote working flexibility. In our data quality focus, Simon Rolph, from Such Sweet Thunder looks at artificial intelligence’s current role within the data management space and it’s potential use cases. In our data handling focus Nick Hutson-Alvarez at Exertis discuses some important factors to consider, whilst in our web services focus Steve Miller-Jones at Limelight Networks discusses navigating the online world of streaming subscriptions. In our network security focus Gigamon’s Michael Dickman discuses the importance of being a trusted partner to help with the optimisation and security of emerging hybrid architectures. And following National Women’s Week, in our Life in the Channel interwiew we caught up with Google Cloud’s Pip White to find out what life is like up in Google Cloud?
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32 April 2021 06 Retail analysis: Loyalty and trust: How a successful channel partnership can blossom 10 News: Round up of the latest tech industry headlines 12 Industry Opinions 20 Big Interview: Redstor’s Tom Hext 24 Gaming Security: Acronis, Radix, Beyond Encryption, McAfee 30 Top 5 Tech Epsilon’s Warren Aw
32 Data Quality: Such Sweet Thunder’s Simon Rolph 38 Web Services: Limelight Networks’ Steve Miller-Jones 41 Data handling: Exertis’ Nick Hutson-Alvarez 42 Gigamon’s Michael Dickman 44 Sector Guides: Printers and Monitors 48 Life in the channel: Google Cloud’s Pip White
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LOYALTY AND TRUST: HOW A SUCCESSFUL CHANNEL PARTNERSHIP CAN BLOSSOM
PCR speaks with Betsy Doughty, VP corporate marketing at Spectra Logic, Doug Williams, northern Europe alliance and channel director at Scality and Kevin Rhone, channel acceleration practice lead from ESG Global about what makes for strong, long-lasting channel partnerships.
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or any IT vendor, entering into a channel partnership means handing over the reins of its sales fate to a third party in the hope of steady revenues, ever-increasing brand awareness and, if relevant, venturing into new vertical markets. When it comes to business, the search for the right channel partner is quite similar to searching for a life partner, choosing someone who is best poised to meet all of your needs and desires. So, what should vendors and resellers consider when looking for the right business partner? To start, it is important to have a clear idea of what your deal breakers are because it is critical that you are both on the same page when it comes to what matters, from your visions, to how much you are both prepared to invest to be successful together. Betsy Doughty, VP corporate marketing at Spectra Logic, explains the traits that are desirable by vendors: “Creativity and flexibility are very appealing traits that vendors look for in a channel partner.” The COVID-19 pandemic has changed resellers’ approach to sales and that can give them an advantage in the match-making process, as Doughty mentions: “Resellers who took a creative approach to business practices by, for example deploying remote installation models, are set to emerge from the pandemic in a much stronger position, and this makes them very attractive to IT vendors.” There are a lot of qualities within personal relationships that can apply to the channel partner-vendor relationship: deep trust, effective communications and mutual respect for instance. In order for a partnership to be successful and long lasting, these must be non-negotiable. Doug Williams, northern Europe alliance and channel director at Scality, expands on this “One of the five love languages is quality time: this is vital for the relationship between channel partners and IT vendors. The most ‘attractive’ channel partners are the ones who value spending quality time with vendors, for example running webinars, attending events, etc.” He also looks at the ramifications of this relationship beyond the two initial organisations “Couples must also spend time with each other’s friends: hence we love to see our resellers working with our application and technology partners to create new solutions. Collaboration within the larger ecosystem is a good foundation for a successful relationship.” Just like a dating profile might display what someone wants from a relationship, vendors and channel organisations must sit down and decide what they want from a partnership. This will help separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves and narrow down those on the shortlist. Kevin Rhone, channel acceleration practice lead from ESG Global, lists a few of these traits: “The vendor must create the ideal profile of target partners that fit this value proposition, including organisation, customer base, business model and ability to execute, among several others, and recruit ONLY against this profile.” He also gives some advice about how to approach picking the perfect reseller: “Selecting the right channel partner involves discipline, consistency and perseverance. It is critical that the vendor identify its own unique value proposition for partners, which goes beyond just the latest product/technology. They must fill in any program and engagement gaps against industry best practices, and develop
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messaging that features the value to target customers and to the partner.” Problems can arise in relationships when there is a lack of trust and the main foundation of communication is not there. This can result in issues between the two parties or one party being unclear as to what their partner’s wants and plans are. Determination to be noticed by the partner you want to start a relationship with, and making yourself appealing to them will help you stand out in their mind, especially if they are being courted by multiple suitors. Rhone summarises the opportunities brought about by resolve: “the vendor must be determined. The best channel partners already have strong vendor relationships, so selecting and recruiting those partners is not a ‘one-date’ affair. If a vendor takes these steps, they are more likely to select and recruit committed partners that are ‘ready, willing, and able’ to commit and succeed.” Sticking in the minds of potential partners is all well and good, but making everything about you is not fair on the other party, as their needs and desires matter too. This means listening and taking their opinions and suggestions into account before taking things further. Bryan Betts, principal analyst at Freeform Dynamics, sums this up as follows: “The main thing that springs to mind is the importance of listening, not just talking. Just as most of us don’t want to go on a date with someone who just talks about themselves, no business wants to, or should, partner with an organisation that thinks only of itself. Among other things, that means understanding how your partner operates, and especially, avoiding channel conflict. Who can commit to a partner who eats the food off your plate and won’t share their umbrella when it rains?”
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Researching potential partners’ backgrounds is crucial if you are to select the right one. Not many people would choose a life partner whose background was a little dubious, so why would a business do that? For both channel partners and organisations, understanding each other is key. As an example, say you are going for a job interview: you need to do some research first in order to find out about the job and the company, what its ethos is and why you would want to work for them. This is exactly the same here: find out about how it operates, what its products are and do and why the organisation matters within its industry – only then will you truly understand the prospective partner inside and out. Through research and knowledge of the organisation, and being able to bring their expertise to the partnership, channel partners can race to the front of the queue in terms of vendors picking them and vice versa. Rhone expands on this “It goes beyond a new haircut or outfit. Partners need to demonstrate too top vendors that they understand the technology and market/customer base that the vendor wants to reach, that the vendor’s products are a good fit with and leverage existing skills, capabilities, and their customer base.” It seems there is a lot to find out from both sides before entering a partnership, including finding out each other’s plans and whether there is any conflict or competition. Thoroughly researching a potential partner, getting a feel for who they are, what they want and where they see themselves in one, five or even ten years should be the foundation of any new vendor-reseller relationship. A long-term, successful partnership is only going to work if both parties are excited to work together, and as committed as each other to put the work and the hours in. As Oscar Wilde said “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”
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News heading Revolutionising the way we interact with data News Body text A new Web-based virtual reality 3D information system could revolutionise the way we see and interact with our data, according to the computer science experts from Bangor University who have pioneered it. Research into Immersive Analytics, undertaken in collaboration with the University of Chester, is far-reaching. This is enabling the immersive presentation and exploration of data insights in scientific research and our everyday lives, all from within a Web browser on desktop, mobile and virtual reality platforms. The system created by Dr Panos Ritsos and Dr Peter Butcher of Bangor’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering can be used to create computergenerated and data-driven informational layers, which can be seen on top of our physical world, through a smartphone, or seen-through a head-mounted display. For example, users can see the energy profile of a property they are about to rent, or the crime data on that street - as computer graphics displayed on top of the house, or the street. Dr Panos Ritsos said: “It’s about creating layers of data-driven information, which can be superimposed on our physical world. It can be any kind of data related to a particular space, which can then be displayed on the screen and it can be accessed when you’re actually there or remotely.
“We’re creating a tool where people can display information in virtual reality when they’re not actually there, or in augmented reality when they are but want the user’s experience to be enhanced by computer-generated information.” Dr Ritsos, who supervised the work, added: “VRIA (Virtual Reality Immersive Analytics) has been designed to be accessible by novice and expert users. Our work is not so much about applications or uses but rather about creating the technology for others to make use of, and we’ve been working with people as diverse as oceanographers, environmentalists, and health and safety personnel.” Dr Butcher, the developer behind VRIA, said: “VRIA provides an easily accessible path to those that want to be immersed in their data, and use novel immersive visualization approaches through their Web browser. It is particularly effective in a world affected by a pandemic when you can very easily create and use these experiences from home. “In the not too distant future, network technologies, such as 5G will make such applications much more pervasive and immersive. We are one of the few universities which works on this cutting-edge technology, alongside organisations such as W3C, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla.”
Dynabook’s Satellite Pro E-10-S for education Dynabook Europe’s Satellite Pro E10-S is a new 11.6” device designed for learning. It features a rugged design protected by rubber bumper edges. The notebook’s frame has been reinforced to withstand pressure and potential drops from a standard desk height. Strengthened charging port, hinges and newly designed spill-resistant and mechanically anchored keycaps have also been rigorously tested to provide further durability, even after prolonged use. The E10-S can also open 180 degrees for easy screen sharing and to prevent hinge damage from over extension. In addition, with its ‘fan-less’ design, it’ll be a quiet companion in any classroom.
TeamViewer proudly supports Manchester major league football TeamViewer is the new supporting partner of Manchester United in a new five-year deal, in which the company will show its support with its logo featured on the Manchester United football shirt, from the 2021/2022 season. With some 1.1billion Manchester United fans and followers around the world, this is a major opportunity to present TeamViewer’s exciting new technologies and expertise in remote connectivity services. TeamViewer will enable Manchester United to bring its fans even closer by immersing them in ground-breaking AR solutions and remote access to the Theatre of Dreams. Germany-based TeamViewer has been installed on over 2.5billion devices, has nearly 600,000 subscribers, and operates in almost all countries globally. Richard Arnold, Managing Director, Manchester United, said: “We are tremendously proud to be establishing this partnership with one of the most exciting and dynamic 10
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global software companies. The ability to connect and collaborate has never been more important to the world and our community of 1.1billion fans and followers. We are looking forward to working with TeamViewer to bring to life our vision for a partnership built on smarter ways of connecting people and businesses.” Oliver Steil, TeamViewer Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very excited about this partnership, as it will significantly expand our brand positioning and it will help us to market our comprehensive solutions portfolio to all customer segments globally. With Manchester United and TeamViewer, two global winning teams join forces: Together as Team United we can bring the fan experience in the legendary Theatre of Dreams to a new level. We are extremely proud Manchester United picked us as partner in their ongoing technology journey.” TeamViewer is distributed in the UK by QBS Software. www.pcr-online.biz
Boxer-8240AI available at RDS RDS is offering the BOXER-8240AI from AAEON, with a NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier SoC. Featuring the Volta GPU, which has an amazing 512 CUDA cores and 64 Tensor cores, means AI processing speeds up to 32 TOPS are possible. With various power modes available, the SoC is fully customisable. It is able to operate in ambient temperatures from -10oC to 55oC due to its fanless design, which also keeps out dust and other contaminants thereby providing reliable, low maintenance operation. Designed to combine AI, control and communication into a single platform, this device offers a range of I/O features, which can connect and power a wide range of sensors, cameras and more. With 4 PoE Gigabit Ethernet ports, each designed to deliver 1Gbps, the Boxer-8240AI is able to power connected cameras whilst at the same time ensuring delay-free streaming for real-time video processing. A 40-pin I/O connector and dual COM RS-845 ports allow sensors and machines to be connected for feedback and control for applications such as AOI and robotic control.
Lenovo brings new ThinkEdge SE30 and ThinkEdge SE50 computers to the edge Lenovo’s new portfolio of embedded computers for the edge includes the new ThinkEdge SE30 and ThinkEdge SE50. The new ThinkEdge SE30 has the latest 11th Generation Intel Core i5 vPro processors for industrial computing. The processor improves compute power, accelerates AI workloads, and is built for the challenges of edge implementations in enterprise with extended temperature support from -20 to 60 Celsius, long-life reliability, as well as enhanced security and manageability features. Whilst the new ThinkEdge SE50 is designed for applications that require higher analytics and data processing at the edge. The embedded edge compute device includes an Intel Core i5 or i7 vPro processor for industrial computing and up to 32GB of memory. It is estimated that by 2025, 75 percent of enterprise-generated data will be processed at the edge. The global pandemic has become a catalyst for digital transformation and accelerated the push to the edge for many levels of the enterprise, as new solutions for operations and sales are introduced in global markets. Edge computing applications are numerous and growing rapidly. Retailers are implementing more automated checkouts and dynamic signage, real-time store traffic monitoring, inventory and fulfilling. Manufacturers are further automating assembly lines with predictive maintenance alerts and utilising smart cameras for safety and quality inspections. Healthcare is turning to edge computing for remote patient monitoring and medical device integration. With increased need for powerful, real-time insights across industries, the edge is becoming more critical and complex than ever. www.pcr-online.biz
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McAfee adds to security innovation alliance program McAfee has announced new partnerships with leading Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) vendors, providing enhanced security to ZTNA deployments for enterprise customers. Appgate, Axis Security, and TransientX join the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance (SIA) program, which will include certifying their integrations with McAfee technology as part of the SIA openprovider approach to Zero-Trust. This builds on McAfee’s existing zero-trust initiatives, including participation in Google Cloud’s BeyondCorp Alliance. “We’ve invested in an open approach for our platform to deliver top quality integrations with ZTNA providers, sharing posture information from our massive endpoint security base,” said Javed Hasan, Global Head, Product Strategy and Alliances at McAfee. “This provides customers with the best option for their environment, enhancing their deployment with valuable intelligence from the McAfee ecosystem. Together with our SIA partners, we are strengthening security for the critical apps that enterprises rely on every day.” The trends driving demand for secure access to business-critical apps and data are part of a larger movement to abstract the corporate network away from the data center to enable work from anywhere for a distributed workforce, providing connectivity and security as a service from the cloud in an architecture known as a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). As enterprises move towards this architecture, the ability to protect their data and prevent threats outside of the data center perimeter is critical. The McAfee SASE security service, MVISION Unified Cloud Edge, performs threat and data protection at every control point in a single pass to help improve user experience and productivity, reduce the cost of security, and simplify management. Together with access partners for ZTNA and SD-WAN, enterprises can shift to a high-security SASE architecture with industry-leading data and threat protection. April 2021 | 11
Help your customers reclaim their right to privacy Steve Hicks, Head of Global Sales, BullGuard looks at why personal data is big business and why we should value our right to privacy
hichever way you look at it, people the world over have essentially uploaded their entire lives online in return for social media profiles, apps, e-commerce benefits, online bookings, easy website access and a raft of other online services. And every bit of personal data that they have parted with has been hoovered up by Big Tech companies and sold on to anonymous third parties, typically for advertising purposes. Personal data is a hugely profitable business. Just look at Facebook’s $69.2 billion annual profit for 2020. Even Google, which faced unprecedented regulatory pressure in 2020 and a financial hit from the pandemic, still managed to pull in $25 billion in profit in the first nine months of 2020. This has ultimately led to the position we find ourselves in today, that is, user privacy online barely exists and the expectation of privacy seems like a quaint notion from the past. Mountains of data have been gathered and continue to be scooped up every time we go online. This has all happened without much of an outcry, largely because Big Tech adopted a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach to their services, forcing people to share considerable amounts of personal data as a condition for using their services. Enraptured by shiny new digital toys, games and services, most of us have given up our rights to privacy almost unthinkingly. We could, however, see a significant change imminently thanks to a privacy movement that is gathering pace, with people and governments questioning the power of Big Tech and its adverse impact on personal privacy and competition. It was noted in the mainstream a few years ago at a 2018 Brussels privacy conference, when, of all people, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said: “We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences. This is surveillance and these stockpiles of data serve only to make rich the companies that collect them. This should make us uncomfortable.” Around the same time, a Berlin regional court found that Facebook’s default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law and that parts of the consent to data usage were actually legally invalid, raising questions about Facebook’s data gathering methods. Germany’s highest court also signalled its willingness to challenge the power of Big Tech, their hold on customer data and user rights, when the parents of a young girl who had passed away wanted to access her account for justifiable reasons, but Facebook refused them access. The court ruled that the 12
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parents had rights to the account under inheritance law, striking a small but significant victory for user data rights. The UK Competition and Markets Authority has also said the UK government should consider tougher rules for online giants such as Google and Facebook over user privacy and competition concerns. But as we saw recently in Australia, when Facebook pulled the plug on news, Big Tech isn’t going to roll over. Of course, under pressure, privacy policies have been made clearer and some concessions to user privacy rights have been made. But still, the fact remains that most people feel powerless about what happens to their personal data. For privacy reasons, it is, however, essential that people feel in control of their data. Amid these stirrings among legislators, new technologies are surfacing, including privacy apps and decentralised social media platforms with radical business models - such as paying people for their data. Ad blockers for instance are already popular, as are privacy search engines such as DuckDuckGo. This swelling tide of realisation that our data is being used as a commodity is a great opportunity for resellers to sell privacy products, such as BullGuard VPN, and antimalware software that includes privacy browsers. With BullGuard’s VPN launch to the channel, resellers have the opportunity to boost revenues with excellent up-front margins and benefit from industry-leading revenue share on all license renewals. VPN sales have rocketed during the pandemic, and as privacy concerns continue to mount and increased remote working becomes a fact of everyday life demand will remain strong. Alongside protection and anonymity, BullGuard VPN also has a strict no-logs policy, so a user’s online privacy is strictly guarded. These privacy issues are not going away and will take on increasing importance as Big Tech continues to come under the spotlight. Resellers are well placed to leverage the privacy wave and help and educate their customers. For instance, there is a myth among many consumers that a VPN is complex and requires technical skills, which of course is the opposite of reality. And how many also know that a VPN also protects them on public Wi-Fi networks and enables them to access their favourite streaming services from any location? Fundamentally, how many are aware that a VPN helps them reclaim their natural right to privacy? In today’s climate, these points make VPNs an easy sale. www.pcr-online.biz
6 key opportunities for MSPs to grow in 2021 Jamie Pearce, Sales Director at e92msp, explores the opportunities in cybersecurity for MSPs
he current outlook and market opportunities for MSPs is bright – it’s a competitive field, but it’s a sector expected to grow in 2021 above 11%, above most other areas and offers potential for strong margins and building long-term customer relationships. In particular, cloud and cybersecurity services are especially strong while growing a managed service practice (for VARs looking to expand, or for MSPs building their security business), it offers clear differentiation as organisations struggle with the growing skills gap and fast-moving threat landscape.
So how can MSPs identify those key opportunities, and use them as part of their growth strategy?
MSP Growth Strategy 1: Delivering cybersecurity essentials As identified earlier, security is a key area – and yet for many customers, covering the biggest risk vectors is still a major issue. Email phishing remains one of the primary security threats facing businesses today. Even relatively sophisticated end users can fall prey. A cybercriminal sends an innocent-looking message branded as an email from a familiar brand like Facebook or LinkedIn, the recipient clicks on a link without thinking about it, and they’re taken to a malicious website where malware can infect the business’s network, or login credentials can be stolen. Content control deployed within a layered security solution is an effective deterrent that MSPs can quickly roll out as a revenue-generating service to their clients. MSP Growth Strategy 2: Packaging to provide maximum value Organisations turn to MSPs for monitoring, security and network optimisation, certainly, but often overlooked is that they often rely on their MSP more than anything for expertise. What priorities should we be spending budget on? How should we be approaching security concerns X, Y & Z? Especially for SMBs, having options to choose from clarifies the decision-making process when it comes to prioritizing budget outlays. This holds true for security options every bit as much as it does with spend on hardware, data center and other IT costs. An easy approach is to provide packages based on a goodbetter-best format, along with additional add-on options for more advanced technologies or services. For those customers in heavily regulated industries like finance and healthcare, the ability to uncover nascent threats, or perform postmortem testing to understand damage done through recent attacks, is essential, and so a profitable line of business for MSPs. MSP Growth Strategy 3: Compliance as a Service With the advent of the EU’s GDPR law in mid-2018 the number of organizations charged with protecting the privacy of customer data increased exponentially. For MSPs, the segment of your customer base on the hunt for solutions to their compliance needs has grown at the same rate. By providing key services that address compliance www.pcr-online.biz
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requirements directly (such as disk encryption) provides a simple box ticked for the customer, and revenue opportunities for the MSP. MSP Growth Strategy 4: Security as a Service Endpoint security is one of the most pressing cyberthreats today, with nearly one-in-three IT decision makers planning to increase their spending on the issue in the immediate future. The problem, however, is that many organizations can’t successfully execute on cybersecurity initiatives due to lack of resources; ESG research finds that 45% of organizations indicate that they have a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills. MSPs are ideally suited to fill this void – and generate valuable new revenue streams – by delivering endpoint detection and response as a cloud service. Leveraging a cloud-based solution that encompasses security fundamentals (such as endpoint protection) along with security analytics, advanced detection & response and threat intelligence enables the MSP to scale out their service quickly and effectively. MSP Growth Strategy 5: Managed Security as a Service The next generation of endpoint security solutions are growing rapidly in popularity, and enable organisations to benefit from enterprise class technology but without necessitating recruitment of expensive teams of analysts. MSPs that can offer Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services on a subscription basis are ideally placed to capture market share as the offerings go mainstream. MSP Growth Strategy 6: Reduce Costs and Increase Profits with a Single Solution We’ve discussed the opportunities for revenue growth, but increasing profitability is just as important. Now let’s explore how MSPs can more effectively compete in the marketplace and increase profitability. Vendor consolidation is a key driver for many end-users, and it’s no different for MSPs. With lower upfront costs, lower management costs and more coordinated cybersecurity practices, the greater ease of use and superior manageability associated with layered security will significantly cut work hours for general IT administration. MSPs with layered security will see costs associated with cybersecurity shrinking even while overall revenues grow. In other words, MSPs embracing layered security will become more profitable, and be far better positioned to drive value to their clients in both financial and brand protection terms. In summary, the market is surging for better security to prevent costly breaches and meet escalating compliance challenges. MSPs that can provide the complete range of security technologies and services to clients will be well positioned to take full advantage of market opportunities and deliver better value. At e92msp, our partner Bitdefender has been helping our community of resellers embrace these growth techniques to great success, and we can see significant opportunities as organisations look to evolve their IT strategy in 2021. April 2021 | 13
Data privacy: Eight steps to consider Chris Stennett, Global Vice President, Business Value & Strategy at Sitecore explains why data security and privacy compliance are key for building consumer trust
ata privacy has changed the way businesses operate – it’s no longer the sole concern for legal teams, as it has now become an imperative across all aspects of the business. From HR and marketing to tech and IT, everyone must understand and pay attention to regulation and best practice around customer data. So, what are the most common data challenges that businesses face today in the area of compliancy and how does this impact trust? They face three core issues in their attempt to meet data privacy and security requirements: •A dopting a new mindset – Now that regulations such as GDPR and CCPA are established, brands must stop looking at data privacy merely from a compliance perspective and see it as an opportunity to demonstrate trustworthiness to consumers. The journey to compliance is a lengthy process that requires businesses to build and instill solid practices, systems, and processes. From here it becomes more of a branding challenge that allows companies to reassure customers that they value and respect their data and will not misuse it or leave it vulnerable to hackers. As the CPRA will supersede CCPA and become operative by 2023, brands must get a jump-start on understanding regulations to ensure a smooth, seamless, and trustful transition. The time is now. •M aintaining pace with the regulatory landscape – While data protection laws have existed for a while, we have not yet seen clear international precedent on enforcement as regulations vary in different countries. To prevent fines, reputational damage and a negative impact on customer trust, brands should always err on the side of caution. Dedicating their attention to how they capture and process data within the evolving regulatory landscape is key. •M aking effective use of data – Determining what counts as personal data is a challenge many organisations face as it could change from one situation to another. Furthermore, although some businesses have been racing to collect as much data as possible, they’re often not sure why they’re collecting it, how they’re going to use it and where and how they’re storing it. This creates risk under data regulation.
Creating and developing brand trust
While 88% of customers are willing to pay more in order to have a good experience with a brand, the issue of trust shouldn’t be neglected. As customers are becoming increasingly suspicious of how organisations are handling their personal data, demonstrating transparency, responsibility and accountability for that data will encourage deeper levels of trust in your brand. GDPR becomes a business lever that your organisation can pull to underline your commitment to the privacy of both customers and prospects, and that you take a differentiated stance from your competitors. 14
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Customer trust and data privacy and transparency go hand-inhand. This means that companies need to have processes in place that can document what information is being stored and make it available to both customers and the regulatory body that is overseeing them. Regulations such as GDPR exist to ensure that both businesses and customers are comfortable with data sharing and trust the idea of working within digital experiences. This is also an opportunity for organisations to revisit their marketing and digital experience strategy to take advantage of the fact that their data is now more accurate, structured, current and reliable. They can become more effective and efficient as a business by only engaging with those customers and prospects who are likely to engage with their marketing activities, developing latent brand promoters, and avoiding the inadvertent development of brand detractors, maximising their reputation overall. Brands could also benefit from reviewing the mechanics of how they deliver their omnichannel experiences. They need to ensure that customer data use is consistent, provides clear, channel specific preferences and customer consent is properly respected, and overall, the best joined-up cross-channel experience is being delivered within these constraints. Embracing data security and privacy may impact what you can do with some channels, but it may also open up opportunities in other channels that can ultimately provide a better experience for your prospective and existing customer base. In the journey to becoming a brand that consumers trust, here are eight areas for brands to focus on: 1. Build cross-functional teams across the business who value and work towards trust 2. Only collect the data needed 3. Collect data across the journey, not all up front 4. Simplify the process of gathering consent to use customer data 5. Demonstrate the value you add by collecting data from your customers and prospects 6. Be transparent about how you’re using and protecting customer data 7. Re-evaluate your marketing strategy in light of the quantity and quality of data you now have available 8. Review the mechanics of how you deliver your omnichannel experiences Putting practices in place that build trust in how data is handled has become more important than just ticking the compliance box. These eight guidelines are a great foundation for businesses that are currently working hard to build customer trust while ensuring data privacy and security. Only when organisations start to understand the interdependent relationship between data collection and use and customer trust will they truly achieve their ambitions to be a trustworthy valued brand. www.pcr-online.biz
How low-code can improve remote corporate security Richard Farrell, Chief Innovation Officer at Netcall discusses how technologies such as lowcode can help mitigate increasing cyber risks
ompany data breaches regularly make the headlines, putting customers at risk and incurring reputational damage. Over the last year we have seen some of the highest-profile data breaches in history. Whilst these targets are all large, established companies, it’s important to remember that data breaches can affect businesses of all sizes – whether they are large, medium or small. Many businesses, unaware that they could become a target, fail to plan for a potential data breach – and when they are attacked, the results can be catastrophic. Fines into the millions, bans on data processing, reputational damage and loss of customer confidence and trust are just a few of the potential consequences. With the majority of the global population having shifted to working from home over the last year and businesses having rapidly transitioned to remote operations, cybercriminals have pivoted and exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out highly advanced cyberattacks. In fact, according to a global survey released by VMware Carbon Black, 91% of enterprises reported an increase in cyberattacks with more employees working from home amid the Coronavirus outbreak.
Shadow IT risk increases
In large organisations, IT functions are under pressure to provide accelerated business change, but the vast majority of budget and resources are dedicated to maintaining legacy hardware, and to managing the vital, back-office applications that businesses run on. This is where shadow IT – the use of IT-related hardware or software by a department or individual without the knowledge of the organisation – can sneak in. Shadow IT usually occurs where a department or individual is not willing to wait for an IT-sanctioned solution, and feels they can deliver something themselves more quickly and easily, or use quick workarounds under time and resource constraints. However, the use of unsanctioned solutions can inadvertently open new vectors for cybersecurity attack. It is therefore critical that IT has visibility to ensure this does not happen. According to Snow Software’s ‘2021 IT Priorities Report’, 41% of workers said general access to technologies has improved, but IT leaders may overestimate the ease at which teams are able to procure applications, cloud resources, and software. As a result, this could provide an opening for shadow IT, with employees bringing in solutions to help modernise and improve productivity without considering potential risks and consequences. Shadow IT is becoming www.pcr-online.biz
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a huge problem for companies because remote working has caused massive growth in the number of uncontrolled bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) and cloud apps, which are typically owned and managed by non-technical staff. In addition, this opens new entry points to accessing critical systems – access points which aren’t governed by corporate regulations or strong password guidance, and which cybercriminals can therefore exploit.
Bridging the gap
Whilst shadow IT can seemingly help to enhance efficiency, it also subjects users and organisations to heightened risks of data breaches and non-compliance issues. This is where low-code platforms can help, as they can be scaled up without the need to hire developers to meet demand, consequently reducing operational costs such as maintenance and support. In fact, the Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms For AD&D Pros, Q1 2019 report highlights that digital businesses’ demand for the latest software is the biggest driver of lowcode adoption. Here, a low-code platform can help mitigate shadow IT by bridging the gap between business and IT. For organisations looking to put the power – safely – back into the hands of its employees, the platform makes it easy to build apps without needing specialist development expertise – but that have a ready-made understanding of the problems that need solving. These apps can help streamline internal processes and automate manual tasks, whilst adding value and driving developments from the very core of the organisation. And it helps reduce the risk of employees using unauthorised apps and tools to do their work, subsequently minimising potential security threats. Low-code providers secure their platforms on their ‘own’ clouds, which helps mitigate various security risks, particularly around issues like hacking techniques such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting. So, while business users can build apps, they do so under a ‘security umbrella’, provided by the platform and managed and controlled by IT. The platform itself must be secure and ensure the apps it supports are also secure with full identity management capabilities and access control. At a time where cyberattacks are on the rise, providing businesses and employees with a range of easy-to-use and scalable tools will be pivotal as we head into 2021. The myth that low-code is only useful for simplistic apps has long since been dispelled. Providing employees with more effective tools can help significantly reduce the security risk of shadow IT whilst increasing employee productivity. April 2021 | 15
OpenFrame Displays Martin Kent, Territory Manager at HANNspree UK considers displays as a key enabler to the human machine interface
igital display with user interaction has become extremely commonplace in recent years and continues to replace existing, alternative methods, which are now considered outdated. The exponential uptake of digital display in a vast number of commercial and industrial sectors, such as retail, hospitality and production line, has created a huge ‘hardware integration’ market for display manufacturers and the possible applications are ever emerging. The sheer size of this market makes it an extremely lucrative business to have a foot in. It can sometimes be taken for granted just how far touch technology application reaches. Touch control has been applied to hardware in a vast amount of business sectors. The Human Machine Interface has become a normal occurrence in our everyday lives. Hospitality, education, medical, industrial, retail and many more all employ touchscreen technology one way or another, from cash points and airport check-in, to vending machines, gaming machines and restaurant ordering systems, and the scope for further application is considerable. Companies across the globe are producing innovative products featuring interactive user interfaces, some of which are on an industrial scale. These products are being designed for countless purposes, primarily to improve productivity or increase the satisfaction of customers. Touchscreen technology is of course at the heart of these devices, which has created an opportunity for display manufacturers to diverge and indeed prosper in vertical markets. HANNspree has become a champion for the Human Machine Interface application, providing companies with fully embedded solutions to help them realise their designs. We have worked with a variety of companies across Europe to fulfil a number of large project orders as well as helped small entrepreneurs to develop ideas for radical inventions. Our sizeable portfolio of open frame solutions has been designed specifically to enable hardware integration to be simple and affordable, while our ability to customise solutions enables us to problem solve and fulfil precise requirements. Of course, this considerable and growing market also presents new opportunities for display manufacturer channel partners to benefit
too. Hardware integrators are looking to form relationships with suppliers. Their requirements can be a steady stream of business and often increase as their businesses grow. These accounts certainly provide the potential for the channel to reap substantial new revenue. With the demand for open frame solutions as it stands, especially touchscreen options, and the highly likely upsurge in the coming years, now is the ideal time to tap into the rapidly growing new avenue for display sales. HANNspree’s flexibility versus larger manufacturers has already allowed us to support a variety of reseller projects whereby the reseller is offering ‘bespoke’ solutions to their end client with built-to-order hardware and software. Because HANNspree can tap into the economies of scale enjoyed by parent company HannStar to ensure price competitiveness and couple it with a localised UK service for all technical and development needs, we are in the perfect position to serve and support the channel. E-tailers too could serve this intriguing market, with off-theshelf open frame solutions providing a simple and hassle-free new dimension to display business as more and more interactive product designers emerge. Raspberry Pi is certainly having an impact on the potential of touch screen display integration into new hardware, giving a generation of emerging inventors the means to explore and realise their ideas for possible touch-enabled application. As these possibilities snowball, as new technology ideas tend to do, a stream of new buyers will be looking for suppliers to provide them with the hardware they require, so it is extremely feasible to consider that open frame display solutions have a place in the consumer market space. And it is these new inventors that will one day be the largescale producers of the ‘next big thing’ in interactive digital display, creating yet another opportunity to increase sales, raise revenue and profit on the whole. In the grand scheme, the channel for open frame displays is relatively young. We are certain that this market will grow, and grow quickly, presenting a fantastic opportunity for any business looking to branch out to diversify and indeed create new, sizeable sales opportunities.
“The Human Machine Interface has become a normal occurrence in our everyday lives.”
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Out With the Old Richard Buxton, Director at N4Engage looks at the benefits of integrating collaboration and communication.
n the current climate, many organisations have embraced platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Webex among many others for their daily collaboration and communication needs. All of the major providers have reported massive growth in user numbers and participation since remote working became so widespread. However, comparatively few users have gone ‘all in’ and instead have chosen to retain their legacy telephony, recording and contact centre platforms to address specific needs that they feel cannot be met by these digital platforms. But this creates challenges. For instance, in a remote environment reliant on technology for seamless communication, using disjointed infrastructure is counterproductive. A classic example can be found in organisations that ask people to join a video call on one platform, with the conversation needing to be recorded on another. What’s more, phone calls might be handled via different systems entirely and the net result is layers of unnecessary complexity, service duplication and technology overspend. Instead, businesses that focus on converging their communication channels onto one platform can create a seamless experience while maximising their investment in collaboration and remote working. That’s increasingly important for organisations that are now viewing remote, or hybrid, working as a permanent option, even after pandemic restrictions are lifted and there is a full or partial return to the office environment.
So, where are the main advantages of integrated collaboration and communication services to be found? Across any industry where there is a compliance, training or employee monitoring requirement, integrated collaboration and communication solutions can offer significant advantages. Any organisation that gives financial advice, or takes payments over the phone, for example, can build efficiencies into their processes, with staff using collaboration platforms to speak to customers, using features such as call recording for better analysis of customer service. The widespread availability of integrated cloud-based services also enables organisations to meet their data sovereignty and compliance requirements by storing data on domestic infrastructure.
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Maximising organisational and technology efficiency
With collaboration and communication solutions hosted on one platform, costs can be reduced and operations can become more streamlined. Research shows that the amount of time people spend communicating at work ranges between 50% and 80%. It’s difficult to spot inefficiencies, but with such a significant amount of time spent communicating every day, this is clearly an area that needs special attention. Remote communication is playing a vital role in today’s environment, and businesses need to invest in collaboration tools that improve user experience and keep staff productive. In practical terms, the workplace experience should provide services such as integrated voice, video, IM & presence, voicemail and messaging, and from the user perspective, a single platform approach enables staff to make and receive calls to anyone, on any device, working from the office, at home or in the field. Similarly, the customer experience can be enhanced by adding multi-channel contact, call recording and compliance solutions. As many organisations have experienced in recent months, the ability to scale critical service infrastructure on demand can be hugely advantageous. In normal circumstances, this can become a challenge if a business experiences a period of rapid growth or needs to integrate systems following a merger or acquisition. The point is, single platforms play to the business need for agility in the face of new opportunities or challenges. That’s in stark contrast to the difficulties and cost that can arise when trying to increase the scope of disparate platforms. Integration also reduces the potential points of failure, simplifies maintenance and upgrades and widens the scope for organisations to outsource to specialist managed service providers. In doing so, cost can be moved to a predictable monthly subscription model, which helps users with budgeting, scale and cost control, because, as an OPEX they only pay for what they use. As organisations invest in technologies that can enhance the capabilities of their remote workers, placing these core requirements onto a single platform can deliver the performance, flexibility and effective user experience they need. This not only helps manage the current infrastructure challenges created by remote working, but puts businesses on a strong footing to fully exploit the power of digital collaboration in the future.
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Combatting UK broadband poverty needs an alter-net-tive approach Tim Pilcher CEO at Glide explains the importance of delivering Gigabit broadband to rural areas, so that residents and businesses alike can benefit from cost-effective and best in class internet speeds.
s the seemingly never-ending lockdown continues to put Britain’s network connectivity to the test and confines millions of office workers to remotely working from home, many parts of Britain have been found wanting. There are more than 4,000 ‘not spots’ in the UK that experience crippling-poor broadband connections. Unsurprisingly many of these hard to reach areas are located in rural locations. Addressing this shortfall is vital if businesses in these spots are to survive. Britain’s infrastructure can’t just flick a switch overnight and reallocate bandwidth and capacity away from the major centres of population and commerce. Those looking to move out of the city could be in for a nasty shock when they find their connectivity is unreliable or too slow to smoothly run all the collaboration tools and programs that have made remote working so much more efficient. But it is not just the influx of remote city workers that will place demands on wider networks. Those businesses already based in hard to serve locations also use connected technologies and that reliance has accelerated for them in the last year. The collaboration tools and ‘always-on’ technology that improve efficiency and create smarter global working are less effective in areas with poor connectivity. As these technologies become ever more important in keeping businesses competitive – unreliable Internet connections could prove costly.
If you build it, they will come
The reality today is that all businesses, regardless of location, need fast fibre optic broadband connectivity to take advantage of the emerging technologies that increase efficiency and smarter working. There are just 10 markets in the world in which as many as 95 per cent of households are served by fibre broadband – and they are mostly the fast growing Asian economies. Here in the UK however – it is just 14 per cent of households that have access to fibre broadband. And it is no surprise to find they are mostly in urban locations. So why is the UK so far behind and why are other areas so underserved? Quite simply, there has not been enough incentive for the biggest infrastructure players in the sector, to invest in fibre connections for areas outside of large towns and cities. As a result, the UK is falling behind its neighbours. Increasing numbers of European countries have secured funding with alternative network (AltNet) providers to deliver nationwide fibre coverage in areas the bigger providers have left untouched. In fact, 18
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France is well on course for 80% of all households having Fiber to the Home (FTTH) by 2022, 75% of Icelanders already have FTTH access and Spain will have completely converted its telephone network to FTTH by 2020. Of course, there is a plan to expand the reach of fibre. The UK government has set a target of gigabit-capable broadband in every home by the end of 2025. This longer-term vision sets out to bring the UK in line with other countries where it is currently falling behind. So what’s the answer? Bring AltNets into the market to do the work that larger providers have to date not delivered.
An alter-net-tive approach
From the perspective of the giant companies, that situation doesn’t change anytime soon, even allowing for the effects of the pandemic on patterns of work. But it wasn’t through the big tech companies that those other markets reached such high levels of fibre penetration. It was the investment in multiple smaller AltNets that made the difference. Multiple smaller AltNet providers are far better placed to bring fibre broadband to businesses in remote locations because they can work with much greater autonomy and flexibility. They can design, construct and commission bespoke networks perfect for each area’s environment as well as provide the ‘to the door’ connectivity that links back to the existing powerful national infrastructure. A Gigabit Voucher scheme launched by the UK government in 2018 allowed many underserved locations to massively increase their connectivity with the help of AltNets. This level of investment has been vital to the cause of connectivity in many rural and other hard to reach locations. And with talks of a new, rebooted scheme, more of our smaller business communities can be served by fibre broadband – especially as departures from the city to the surrounding areas gather pace. As fibre connectivity is delivered to unconventional business locations, the capacity to quickly introduce and bring that benefit to home workers will also grow. Already, small country towns are announcing digital hubs for a local remote workforce, further emphasizing the need for speed in all corners of the nation. While its communities may welcome a slower pace of life, its businesses cannot survive with slower Internet speeds. AltNet fibre networks have a crucial role to play in getting them into the fast lane. www.pcr-online.biz
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Is AI vital to keeping backup data safe from malware? Every day more than 350,000 new types of malware are unleashed on the Internet. The scale of the problem is so massive, it is no longer enough to have traditional anti-virus software, solely defending against known threats. We spoke to Tom Hext, AI Product Manager at Redstor, about the problem of ‘zeroday threats’, why new, advanced protection technologies using artificial intelligence, are needed and how machine learning is leading the way.
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edstor is a leading cloud data management provider delivering automated cloud backup, DR & archiving to businesses. Tom Hext, AI Product Manager at the company had this to say:
What cyber threats is AI helping to combat?
Malware frequently targets backup data. It will hide undetected inside business networks for longer than any retention policy, seeking out and infecting all backups, making malware-free recoveries hugely challenging. Even with the very best security countermeasures in place, organisations cannot afford to rule out the prospect that one day soon their live environment will be compromised. Once that happens, it quickly becomes a race against time to detect and halt an attack - before the impact becomes catastrophic. In today’s on-demand world, making a speedy recovery is of paramount importance – but the race may already be lost if backup data is compromised too. Security tools typically trap threats by matching malware signatures to databases of known harmful code, but more sophisticated threats avoid signature detection. Malicious authors have quickly realised they can wreak havoc by writing single-use malware, never seen before by the security community. Zero-day threats are particularly hard to spot because the very fact that they will not have been seen before means they will not match any known malware signatures. This is where machine-learning has a vital role to play.
What exactly is machine learning?
Machine learning is exactly what it says on the tin. Whereas most forms of artificial intelligence involve teaching a machine to follow a set of rules or spot patterns, machine learning takes this one step further and teaches a machine to adapt, grow and become more intelligent by constantly presenting it with new data and challenges. A machine learning model is able to respond to new results, unseen variables and in a short space of time can learn to recognise these as, in this case, a threat. Teaching a machine to be able to use data to reason and make decisions can automate an endless amount of complex processes and help to spot characteristics within data that would be impossible with the human eye. When applied to malware detection, the hidden properties that make malware so hard to detect are the very things that a machine learning model is trained to recognise and constantly re-learn and when combining all of the characteristics that it has found and make a decision on whether than piece of data could become harmful.
How does machine learning help protect networks from zero-day threats? Zero day threats, or those that are not commonly known are harder to detect because a machine has never seen them before www.pcr-online.biz
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and is therefore, in most cases, not trained to recognise its characteristics. By training the model constantly with new ‘virus definitions’, or characteristics, we can help our model to recognise the newest forms of threat and detect them before they are able to cause damage. Today, ML can thrive off a wide range of data on host, network and cloud-based anti-malware components, training itself with better accuracy than ever before. This is crucial because malware is growing in sophistication as well as scope, and the risk of it inflicting huge operational and reputational issues on an organisation continues to rise. To combat this, all good anti-malware software these days employs types of heuristic algorithms. Good heuristics can prevent zero-day attacks, and a fine example of heuristic technology is machine-learning malware analysis. Malware is evolving rapidly, so the algorithms must evolve rapidly as well. It’s a constant, ongoing process.
How important is ML as an additional layer of protection?
The National Cyber Security Centre strongly recommends deploying a multi-layer security strategy as the best way to thwart the increasing number of attacks that target both primary and backup copies of data. When considering products to keep networks safe, security features that utilise machine learning and artificial intelligence should be high up on the list. Organisations are now deploying ML to detect and remove malware after every backup from servers, laptops and the cloud. Ringfencing backup data in this way provides additional protection – and much needed peace of mind. No CEO or head of IT wants to be left waiting nervously for confirmation that backups are in a safe state. So when the future of a business rests firmly on an organisation’s capability to restore mission-critical files, ML can help provide that extra reassurance.
Why is machine learning more prevalent now?
At the beginning of last year, the digital universe consisted of an estimated 44 zettabytes of data - by 2025, more than 10 times that amount is expected to be created EVERY 24 hours. The capacity to collect and filter huge sums of information is too cumbersome for even a large workforce to undertake. However, this age of ‘big data’ and massive computing allows artificial intelligence to learn through brute force. Machine-learning anti-malware software can never be client driven, because even the PCs and mobile devices of the largest corporations are only exposed to small, limited samples of malware. Proper ML requires ‘big data’ processing and cloud-based systems - and it is deployed a lot more frequently these days because effective technology is much cheaper. April 2021 | 21
“While the threat of malware is constantly evolving, the ML to combat it is too – and Redstor is already leveraging the latest technology to protect backup data.”
Now that cloud servers are more available, ML malware analysis is more accessible too.
Is machine learning coming up with new ways of hunting malware? Machine learning has a variety of approaches that it takes to a solution rather than a single method. Another way in which ML enables improved detection, is by hunting malware based on behaviour modelling. Bad-behaviour modelling looks at actions such as accessing saved passwords, local documents, browsing history, or contacts. This limits malware detection tools to acting only on what they are programmed to do, whereas hunting models using goodbehaviour modelling are much harder to circumvent. For instance, machine learning will determine when an employee is most likely to log in to a network or access certain file shares. So anything outside the norm will be flagged up, such as when: • An employee or device transfers huge volumes of data. •A connection is made to another network or device outside normal use or normal hours. •A n employee uses programs or tools that do not fit with their remit e.g. a finance worker runs a network scan late at night. •A n employee or device uses an excessive amount of computer 22
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resources such as CPU, GPU, or memory. • Human error is responsible for accidentally deleting data in a way that is out of context for normal behaviour. For machine learning to be effective, good-behaviour modelling requires the capturing, analysis, and processing of massive amounts of data – and cloud-based services have made the processing power to do that far more affordable.
What should data controllers do next?
While the threat of malware is constantly evolving, the ML to combat it is too – and Redstor is already leveraging the latest technology to protect backup data. When customers purchase automated malware detection as an added feature, every backup from a server, laptop and any other end-point machine or device will be checked for files that resemble malware in appearance or behaviour. This provides a powerful additional layer of protection that complements existing antivirus software. Users have nothing to configure, install or upgrade, there is no impact on internal resources and Redstor preserves the sanctity of customer data, which is encrypted at source, in transit and at rest. When a suspicious file is detected, a notification then gives the user the option to delete the file, revert to a previous safe version, mark it as safe or leave it in quarantine. www.pcr-online.biz
Seedtag has appointed three new members to its leadership team. Emilia Kirk, joins as seedtag’s Global Head of Growth, bringing with her more than 15 years of digital advertising experience within the contextual and native advertising space. Alongside Kirk, seedtag has also appointed Jordi Capdevila as Head of Marketing, bringing extensive experience as a marketing and technology leader. Lastly, seedtag welcomed María José Alaminos as Head of People. Alaminos brings more than 19 years in Human Resources having worked as a consultant in her early years, then culture coach and talent manager in her previous roles.
Christopher Hurst has joined Kaspersky as General Manager of UK and Ireland. In his new position, Hurst’s initial objectives include more aggressive growth in Kaspersky’s enterprise business, a stronger presence in the UK channel, and a solid strategy to recruit more partners and customers across the B2B portfolio.
SolarWinds has appointment Kevin Bury as chief customer officer for the SolarWinds MSP division. “Adding Kevin’s experience to our leadership team is a pivotal step in giving partners the support they need to reach their maximum potential. He’s got the enthusiasm and drive to transform and ignite our investments in this key area, and I’m thrilled to welcome him aboard,” said SolarWinds MSP President, John Pagliuca.
This month’s movers and shakers in the tech industry...
Confluent, Inc. has appointed Stephanie Buscemi as CMO. Stephanie joins Confluent from Salesforce where she most recently served as global CMO.
Target Components has boosted its sales force by taking on five new account managers. Sam Clague, Karen Turner, Sam Claypole and Craig Jones have taken roles within the main Sales Team, while Daniel Kerr has been appointed Account Manager within Target’s dedicated B2B division, Servers Plus.
Commvault has appointed Jamie Farrelly as its new EMEA Vice President of Channel and Alliances. In his new role, Farrelly will oversee Commvault’s EMEA Partner Organisation, with a focus on its channel engagement best practices, global programmes and enablement plans.
Gigamon has appointed Michael Dickman as its new Chief Product Officer (CPO). Dickman will lead product innovation management and marketing across the company’s portfolio of hybrid cloud, 5G and security solutions.
Jigsaw24 has hired Rachel Daly as Vendor Alliances Manager. Rachel joins from Avid, where she was Partner Account Manager and worked closely with the post-production community, having previously spent a decade at Microsoft.
Cradlepoint has hired several industryrecognised channel leaders in recent weeks, which includes: Krissy Kelley, VP of Global Partner and Field Marketing, responsible for partner enablement, scaling, and co-marketing efforts. Krissy comes to Cradlepoint after several senior marketing and channel leadership roles at Fortinet, Citrix, and RSA. Lisa Wight, VP of Global Distribution and Partner Programme, plays a critical role in implementing a compelling and scalable distribution and partner programme worldwide. Lisa has extensive global distribution and channel experience from VMware and Dell. Steve Benvenuto, VP of Partner Sales, North America, is focused on driving partner success and growth in North America. Steve brings more than 20 years of channel leadership and execution from Cisco. Darryl Brick, VP Partner Sales, EMEA, is overseeing Cradlepoint’s partner sales throughout Europe. He brings decades of EMEA channel-building experience from Juniper Networks, Infoblox, Imperva, and ServiceNow.
Glide Group has appointed Sean Lowry as Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Phil Duggan as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Sean Lowry joins Glide having previously worked in the student broadband industry at Keycom and most recently as CTO at business Internet service provider, Solar Communications. Phil Duggan has over 25 years experience at large Tier 1 carriers deploying and maintaining large infrastructure projects. In his new role as Group COO at Glide, Duggan will be responsible for all operations including logistics, provisioning, fibre delivery, field maintenance, and customer services.
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Backup and restore Ramil Yusupov, Senior Program Manager at Acronis explores the increasingly complex world of data and the inherent dangers that businesses need to navigate Please can you tell me a bit more about the company?
Acronis originally started back in 2003 as a pure backup vendor, and is now a leading provider in the cyber protection space, where simple backup is just a small piece of the puzzle. Our vision is that just backing up data is not enough in the modern world, and data must be protected in many different ways. We have identified 5 vectors of cyber protection: Safety, Accessibility, Privacy, Authenticity, Security or SAPAS. Safety: ensure that a reliable copy of your data is always available; Accessibility: make your data easily available from anywhere at any time; Privacy: control who has visibility and access to your data; Authenticity: have undeniable proof a copy is an exact replica of the original; and Security: protect your data, apps, and systems against malicious threats. Normally each vector is a challenge, which requires separate and multiple solutions from different vendors, whereas Acronis combines solutions to all these challenges in a single product, agent and user interface.
What are the current issues in regards to data handling?
The current issues with data handling include: a. Exponential growth of the data, which must be managed. Acronis provides a scale-out software-defined storage solution with Acronis Cyber Infrastructure, allowing users to add commodity servers into a single storage cluster with required levels of redundancy, and thus covering both scaling and data safety concerns. b. G rowth of data types which require separate handling. For example, regular files/folders on a file system, which require different handling than corporate e-mail data in an Exchange server or SQL server database. Add to this list the growth of SaaS solutions such as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspaces, whose data also needs protection. Acronis addresses this challenge by adding protection for the most-known types of data used in modern IT infrastructures. Secure transmission and storage of data with fast access on demand presents huge challenges, both technologically and operationally. Doubling the volume of customers in a year is not unusual, with total the amount growing into hundreds of petabytes. Such vast amounts of data present serious business problems as well.
How can partners look to optimise their data flows?
The most common challenge for partners is a lack of IT resources with proper team expertise, which puts ease of use and management as one of the most important criteria when selecting data management vendors. Acronis is aiming to fulfil these criteria to the highest level possible, by providing a solution, which unifies 24
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the data management approach on all SAPAS vectors. This includes a full life-cycle management of the solution, from discovery, evaluation, order processing, and initial setup to management, monitoring and reporting. When all these parts are covered by a single vendor, it drastically reduces the IT management burden and thus makes it cheaper for the partner.
What security issues should organisations be aware of in regards to handling their data?
Security threats vary, from human errors and services misconfiguration, to ransomware and other types of DDoS attacks on business IT infrastructure. The ransomware threats are the ones to be specifically outlined, as these threats target the data within the businesses core, and losing this data would very likely mean loss of entire businesses. Ransomware protection is very important, and there are multiple vendors claiming that they provide full ransomware protection. Partners should carefully evaluate these solutions, as some of them only deal with the consequences of ransomware attacks, e.g. by restoring data from backup. However, more often we see the malicious actors aiming at the backups themselves, so one must acknowledge that protecting the original data is as important as protecting the backups of this data and the backup infrastructure. Other security challenge examples are insider threats or data stealing threats, for example, where a malicious actor or current/ former employee steals a laptop containing important corporate data. One response to such a threat is changing company policy, handling devices where corporate data can be located and remotely wiping/ locking these devices in case the threat has been detected.
Where are there current gaps in the market in regard to data handling?
The main gap in the market is the lack of a unified solution, with partners having to purchase separate solutions for backup, antimalware/antivirus protection, monitoring, reporting and order processing, which means excessive management overheads. Acronis has also developed a Cyber Infrastructure solution, which allows for storage of customer data and for operation of the full Cyber Protect product stack in the cloud at significantly lower costs than a traditional cloud solution does. The solution also includes a complete virtualisation solution for running virtual machines and application containers. Together with the software defined storage, it provides the foundation for Cyber Protect services at total cost of ownership several times lower than any alternative implemented in a traditional cloud infrastructure. www.pcr-online.biz
Device management: Keeping track of all end points Michael Shoham, CEO of Radix tells us about the importance of device management
adix Technologies is a provider of device management solutions (MDM/EMM), focusing on education, VR/AR and enterprise single-purpose devices. PCR speaks to the company’s CEO, Michael Shoham to find out the latest in end point security.
Could you tell me more about Radix and the solutions it offers?
Radix delivers device management solutions and we help modern businesses consolidate all devices, processes, and stakeholders in one easy-to-use management platform. Our solutions are based on VISO, a new-age cloud-based device management platform. It provides administrative and instructional capabilities to all stakeholders in an organisation. This enables seamless operation of all types of devices irrespective of their location.
How do you think companies should manage their digital devices and data?
Digital devices have become important for an increasing number of business and educational processes. This emphasises the need for organisations to use effective device management tools that can unlock the real potential of their device fleets. It’s just as important to keep these devices secure, healthy, and optimally tuned to their mission.
How can organisations use cloud-based device management platforms to keep track of data? A robust device management platform, such as VISO, is equipped with analytics and reporting tools. For example, IT personnel can create detailed device and inventory reports. They can also generate a command log showing all actions performed with the option to track and receive notifications in case of a failure. Real-time anti-theft and geofence notifications allow users to track, lock, and wipe devices, thus reducing the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
What are the key issues related to data security that a device management platform looks to address? Any sophisticated device management platform addresses the device management layer in addition to the enterprise mobility layer. Enterprise mobility management (EMM) deals with everything related to data security and access. On the other hand, mobile device management (MDM) helps keep the entire device fleet healthy and patched. The end goal is to prevent sensitive business information from falling into the wrong hands by using real-time anti-theft and geofencing tools. www.pcr-online.biz
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What is compelling organisations to change their approach to data handling and security?
It’s a combination of new data handling policies (such as GDPR and CCPA) and the proliferation of digital devices. Any modern business organisation, regardless of its industry, is heavily dependent on digital devices. And we often use these devices to store a variety of personal and confidential information. This includes access to our identity, bank/credit card accounts, insurance, social media, photos, and personal documents. Add to that all the dangers of web fraud and cyberattacks, as well as the eye-opening statistics about digital device theft.
What advice can you offer to those looking for a device management software solution?
The beauty of an ideal device management platform, such as VISO, is that it provides an easy-to-use platform for consolidating all devices, processes, and key stakeholders. It should provide the EMM layer and a very powerful low-level device management layer as well. While marketers can push promotional messages across the entire device fleet, trainers and coordinators can guide multiple users’ immersive training experiences. Similarly, support executives can deliver users with real-time ad-hoc support.
What is OTA distribution, and how is it related to device management?
Simply put, OTA means over the air. When it comes to device management, everything is OTA - going out from one central location to a single device, group of devices, or the entire fleet. It enables remote control, assistance, management, and maintenance. Also, users can patch OTA updates, collect insights, receive alerts, as well as configure, track, and lock devices via a single interface, making sure they are always ready and optimised. In device management, the primary definition relates to OTA firmware updates, which are critical for keeping devices healthy, patched, and tuned to an organisation’s goals. Traditional OTA distribution used by legacy protocols can take days and weeks. But in device management, it’s instant and specific to individual devices/features/settings.
How does an MDM software solution optimise an organisation’s IT budget and resources?
A mobile device management platform lets users limit direct interactions and to do things remotely, thus saving time and money. With features such as remote control, assistance, maintenance, and data collection, every device is always configured and optimised via a single easy-to-use interface. April 2021 | 25
You’ve got mail Paul Holland, founder and Chief Executive of Beyond Encryption, talks to PCR about data security issues and how remote working has exacerbated the need to ensure individuals and companies are protected from cybercriminals and how to avoid regulatory intervention through data breaches
eyond Encryption provides email and communication security systems to a range of sectors including financial services, accountancy, legal, education, shipping and security services. Here we caught up with Paul Holland, founder and Chief Executive to find out more.
Please can you tell me a bit more about Beyond Encryption and the products or services it offers?
The origins of the company go back to 2009, when I started investing in the technology and architecture necessary to combat the emergence of identity theft and email cybercrime. In 2016, the company changed its name to Beyond Encryption (BE) to better represent the values of our products, which truly go beyond encryption. To date, BE has focused on developing and deploying its email security solution - Mailock. It uses point–to–point (person-to-person) email encryption to verify the recipient’s identity so that the sender can be absolutely sure the email or attached documents arrive with the intended recipient safely without risk of interception, misrepresentation, misdirection or fraud.
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How can companies look to secure their emails more effectively?
Every company in the world today has a responsibility to secure its customers’ identity and act as guardians of their information. Failure to do so goes far beyond financial loss with the impact to brand value and reputation potentially being far more costly. Most email security systems concentrate on protecting systems and processes – that’s the easy bit. Protecting the people is more difficult, and that’s where Mailock sets itself apart. Mailock uses militarygrade encryption and unique identity authentication capabilities, which can be quickly adopted into any system. We are passionate about helping companies and individuals secure their most import assets online - their data and their identity.
How are company’s email systems currently at threat?
With a huge proportion of our population now working from home, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) tells us that mis-sent emails are now the biggest source of email breaches – 44% more than phishing. Protecting people as the principal source of email breaches is important because the implications for those that get it wrong are huge. A recent study showed that 73% of employees are reprimanded for mis-sending an email, 46% were formally disciplined and 27% were sacked, so it’s a particularly serious issue for employees. It’s also a serious issue for employers. Sending the wrong email to someone potentially could cost your company severe lost revenues. A recently leaked UK Finance report on behalf of UK banks said that with 10,836 innocent victims of email fraud adding up to around £500m, the banks may renege on a promise to reimburse their innocent customers. It risks catastrophic long lasting reputational damage as well as intervention from regulators.
What benefits does the solution offer?
Under GDPR an email or data breach can cost a company up to 4% of its global turnover. The ICO believes companies should properly identify the recipient of our email before sending them anything. Mailock is one of very few systems that can do this. It’s worth serious reflection on whether an incumbent system actually does this. If it doesn’t, it’s probably worth a rethink, just to be safe rather than sorry. A school had a recent data breach, through no direct fault of their own, but they are part of a larger group, putting millions of pounds at risk if they are found not to have followed the correct procedures. A financial services provider recently told us that they have daily email breaches logged on their risk register.
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Mailock protects people, not just systems and processes. This is a key differentiator. Whilst not necessarily unique, it is unusual. Combined with the ease of integration into existing email workflow - users don’t have to alter their normal behaviours or working practices – and the fact its quick and easy to install, sets it aside from much of the competition. Purely from a legal and regulatory perspective, it ticks all the necessary boxes, alleviating director’s concerns over meeting best practice governance issues, reassuring investors, employees and customers. The system also provides an audit trail of ‘Digital Recorded Delivery’. It also saves companies costs as they move to more digital solutions, often making it cost neutral (or better) for many organisations. Carbon reductions are often huge. Significantly, it also bolsters and reinforces a company’s ESG credentials providing real, quantifiable benefits to meet the increasing demands of customers, employees and investors. The implications for customers are wide ranging too. A colleague suffered a relatively small and comparatively innocent data breach where someone had sent them something that went missing. Within 24 hours, they had got into his bank account and relieved him of thousands of pounds.
Where is this solution predominantly finding use?
Email security has gone from being within the sole domain of CISOs into a high-level risk issue for boards. Big companies are now treating this problem with the seriousness it deserves. Mailock is the preferred default option of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for UK recruitment businesses. It is also used by Origo, a leading fintech company based in Edinburgh, as the integrated communication system between providers, platforms and advisers. In addition to its functional advantages, it is particularly easy to use and quick and simple to implement. It has also recently been adopted by Paragon Customer Communications (PCC) as part of its integrated solution for much of the asset management industry, as well as billings for the utilities and telecoms industries. All this probably helps explain why our system is now being adopted by lawyers, accountants, dentists, intermediaries and to secure ship movements. Its flexibility means it can be used across many sectors and geographies, and we recently secured an inward investment from hardware and software distributor Westcoast. BE is now looking to develop new products for markets and sectors where we can identify gaps and opportunities where it can enable consumers to lead safer, more progressive and integrated digital lives.
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Digital access Ed Baker, EMEA Partner Lead, McAfee talks to PCR about how businesses can manage secure systems and data and the importance of balancing secure access and remote working flexibility.
t’s no surprise that working from home is still the ongoing reality for many, as companies across the globe continue to keep oﬃces shut due to lockdowns and require their staff to work remotely. When it comes to security measures, it’s a good idea for business leaders to define their approved services and make recommendations to users, so they are aware of remote working best practice. For instance, some may choose to prioritise services that encrypt all data in transit to ensure it is not intercepted - yet no matter the level of security offered by the service, anyone can record the screens and audio outside the app. As a result, companies must ensure staff are aware of the new security risks that come with working from home.
How can businesses manage secure systems and data while employees work from home via the cloud?
In 2020, we saw the threat landscape change dramatically as criminals pivoted quickly to take advantage of the shift to more
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digital, cloud-based interactions. As a result of this shift to cloud, IT security professionals have experienced a more significant number and range of endpoints accessing the network while facing increasingly complex cyberthreats – across both devices and cloud platforms. As more and more businesses leverage cloud-based devices to optimise this collaboration, cloud security will continue to play a vital role within companies. With cloud platforms being accessed from numerous remote locations, businesses should aim to reduce their attack surface by ensuring secure cloud access. This is where resellers have a part to play, as they must be ready to offer guidance and support as the need for optimised cloud security increases. However, securing data in the cloud is a shared responsibility that doesn’t fall solely on one party. To maintain optimal cloud security across the industry, all stakeholders, from cloud service providers to channel partners and end-users, have a role to play in this layered defence.
What trends have you seen emerging across the channel?
and support from channel partners, IT teams can use these tools to stay one step ahead of cyber threats and prioritise, predict With the shift to digital over the past year, we’ve seen new trends and prescribe the best cybersecurity solutions to protect their emerge across the channel and partners are now using new organisation. tactics to stand out above the virtual noise – including leveraging The impact of the pandemic isn’t going away any time soon, gamification. For example, we’ve seen partners advertising that and so channel partners are having to continually adapt to stay a top comedian will give a personal show at the end of a virtual relevant in today’s evolving industry landscape. Examples of ways event to attract attendees. Or partners using gamification to to adapt include switching from traditional marketing to social engage remote employees, such as through virtual competitions on and virtual marketing, consulting on the customer’s cloud journey, platforms like Kahoot!. embracing ‘as-a-service’ models like SAAS and MSP, focusing on We’ve also seen channel partners turn to flexible infrastructure security as an enabler of cloud transformation, learning how to be to support the newly remote workforce. At the beginning of the an ‘inside’ sales force, and focusing on keeping their people safe year, many customers and partners didn’t have enough IT capacity and motivated. By working closely with trusted partners to adjust to cope with the surge in demand for virtual connectivity and to new opportunities, channel organisations can make the most of boosted their capacity through the cloud and SAAS applications. new growth opportunities and navigate If a customer isn’t able to upgrade their ontheir way through this turbulent time premise servers, storage and application, “As well as these new trends, successfully. channel partners are helping to provide channel partners are supporting them through cloud instead. businesses as they establish As well as these new trends, channel What tools and processes are partners are supporting businesses as they available to help businesses balance baseline protocols to create and establish baseline protocols to create and secure digital access with flexible maintain a secure working maintain a secure working environment. remote working? environment. This includes This includes providing risk intelligence Businesses and employees can balance solutions which can prioritise threats, providing risk intelligence solutions secure digital access with flexible predict which malware campaigns will be remote working, and protect both which can prioritise threats, predict personal and corporate data against launched against them, and pre-emptively which malware campaigns will be newly emerging threats, with a few improve their defensive countermeasures. Using steps like this to stay one step ahead of launched against them, and pre- simple steps. adversaries is key to better managing cyber Firstly, using a VPN to establish emptively improve their defensive secure connections when working risk – which will ultimately help businesses countermeasures. Using steps like remotely is vital, as an unsecured Wi-Fi to succeed today. connection creates an easy gateway for this to stay one step ahead of hackers to access personal information How have channel partners adapted adversaries is key to better and data. Additionally, advising during the past year? managing cyber risk – which will employees to steer clear of suspicious COVID-19 radically changed and email attachments and links is also accelerated the growth equation for the ultimately help businesses to crucial, as targeted phishing emails are channel. With more home working, succeed today.” often used to access personal data. increased cloud use and a heightened It’s also important for businesses to threat landscape across sectors, partners have a flexible architecture that can adapt to changes in working had to pivot quickly to make the most of new opportunities to sell patterns, without the need for bolt-on security. To ensure this, collaboration tools and cloud transformation solutions, all with they should be asking questions – are all devices secure and optimised security. able to connect safely and scalably to the Internet? Is data being Channel partners are now also increasingly offering managed managed securely? What collaboration or other cloud services and services – such as intelligent endpoint detection and response infrastructure are being used? Businesses can then integrate each (EDR) – to relieve the strain on stretched security teams. Today, of these elements into a common platform to better manage threat IT leaders are looking for support through automated analysis and prevention and defence, as well as data loss prevention (DLP), as strategic incident response, so that remote teams can detect and employees work from home. respond to threats from device to cloud quickly while effectively Finally, password security is key. Work applications should all be managing cost. In this respect, resellers have adapted to help secured with complex passwords, and businesses should be sure to security teams do more and act faster with the resources they have implement two-factor authentication on all work-related services at their disposal. To ensure that they have the right tools and plans in place to both and devices. Ultimately, getting access to something supposedly confidential isn’t always that hard for hackers nowadays. By prevent and respond to a cyber-incident, we have seen channel requiring a second form of identification to log in, hackers are partners offering prescriptive actionable security intelligence limited in what they can pull off, and both company servers, solutions. These solutions streamline risk and threat operations to devices and data will be better protected when working remotely. help organisations get ahead of their adversaries. With guidance www.pcr-online.biz
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Top 5 Tech
Epsilon’s Warren Aw Warren Aw joined Epsilon in January this year as its Managing Director, Asia-Pacific to lead its commercial strategy in the region. PCR caught up with Aw to find out the five pieces of tech that have inspired him the most so far.
When I first started driving, I was using street directories where we had to flick through a map book to find the route. I remember my first time in San Francisco, my friend gave me general instructions to drive to work but I got lost for 3 hours, driving past all the key tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Twin Peaks. I definitely could have benefitted from a GPS device back then. When I was in the military, I saw the early stage of handheld GPS, which required satellite connectivity. It’s interesting to see it evolve from military use to the consumer use today like Google Maps, which helps us to navigate anywhere around the world whether you’re driving, cycling or even walking. GPS is a lifesaver for me because I never have to worry about getting lost and being late to meetings. Especially now there are cars with built-in GPS, it’s even more efficient and I never have to worry about planning my route again. This is a technology that I really can’t imagine living without now, because it has helped make my life so much easier. 30
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Top 5 Tech
MOBILE COMMUNICATION DEVICES
My first encounter with a mobile device was the pager. Looking back, it was almost like the infant of today’s messaging applications like WhatsApp and Telegram. It blew my mind as that was the first time that I had experienced communication without physically talking. The pager made me realise that mobile communication devices are essential – I couldn’t leave home without it, and fast-forwarding to present day, I couldn’t imagine leaving home without my smartphone.
The reason I got my first PC, an IBM XT, was to play games like Pacman and Lode Runner. After using it for games, I eventually evolved to using it for studying, for projects and assignments. The thing about PCs that really transformed my life was the introduction of notebook laptops. I had a Surface Pro notebook that I could bring everywhere and even join meetings from the car. Wherever there was Internet access, I could do my work, which was, and still is, a real gamechanger for me. When it comes to work, being organised is key. Everything on my laptop is organised and I can access it from any remote location with Internet access. It makes everything so much easier than in the past where your PC just had to stay at whatever desk it was sat on.
I remember growing up, my parents didn’t like me visiting the arcade too often – spending money and hours there. To avoid that, they bought me a Nintendo handheld device. My love for gaming just grew from there and I went onto all kinds of devices like the Atari, which was the first device I had with a joystick. I have fond memories of playing Pacman on that console and in fact, started my first real sales experience – trading games with my friends. Games were, and still are, quite expensive. I learnt how to negotiate with my friends and traded all kinds of games instead of buying new ones. I then went onto LAN gaming, and now I watch Twitch streamers to keep up with my little nephew. I think with gaming, we’ve really seen the connectivity transition from offline handheld devices, to today where most gaming takes place in online communities. It will be very interesting to see how gaming technologies evolve from here.
Music has always been very important for me to fill up my spare time. I used to have a cassette collection with my Walkman, which made me feel like I was the coolest kid around. I eventually got into CDs and got a Discman. The thing that really changed music for me was the iPod. There was no need to carry CDs around – it was all there in one place. Today, better still, I can have all my music on my mobile phone, so I have everything wherever I go. I enjoy running so music is a big thing for me and I can’t imagine running around with a Walkman nowadays!
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Is AI really the future of data quality? Simon Rolph, CEO and Founder of data management firm, Such Sweet Thunder explores artificial intelligence’s current role within the data management space and its potential, as businesses look to bounce back towards a brighter, more positive future.
or years the technology community has debated the viability and effectiveness of artificial intelligence (AI). On one side of the argument, you have those that place AI on somewhat of a pedestal and herald it as the next stage of our technological revolution. On the other hand, you have the sceptics who see AI as nothing more than machine learning (ML), suggesting that true artificial intelligence and the ability to create a machine to “think for itself ” is best reserved for Science Fiction. Regardless of which side you sit on, the fact is that AI is being used across countless sectors and being implemented in ways that reduce the need for humans to carry out tasks manually. Merging this technology with data management is not a new concept. In fact, AI, or machine learning, can be used for several different management duties. In particular, the technology can play a significant role in ensuring organisations have access to quality
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data. AI’s future within data management seems promising, from identifying data patterns to removing duplicate or correcting inaccurate data points.
The importance of quality data
There are several aspects to consider when defining data quality, including; its consistency, accuracy, integrity, and completion. Yet, no matter how you choose to define quality data, the implications of having good or bad data quality are apparent. Data management is a crucial aspect of business efficiency, helping organisations stay connected with their customers or teams and make well-informed, business-critical decisions. However, these resolutions can only occur when an organisation has access to good quality, complete data. Without it, many of these decisions would mostly be guesswork and the equivalent of a CEO making a company-wide commitment based on their horoscope. www.pcr-online.biz
Therefore, organisations need to ensure they retain high-quality data by implementing an effective data management strategy. This allows businesses to improve their data quality, ensuring that the information they hold is current, accurate and can be quickly processed and analysed. To put it simply, good data is data that meets the organisation’s requirements and is expected, free from errors and inconsistencies. However, data that does not meet these specifications is considered bad data and can contribute to data losses, missed opportunities, security breaches, and business and personal information theft. Research suggests that poor data quality could be costing businesses more than 30% of their revenue. Around 20% of company databases contain poor quality data, with a mere 3% of business leaders considering their organisation’s data quality acceptable. The significance of holding good quality data is widely known across the business community. Yet, based on these statistics, it seems that obtaining accurate data to enable smarter decisionmaking is easier said than done. One of the most noteworthy challenges many businesses may face when it comes to managing their data could be that even in 2021, we are still relying on CIOs and CTOs to manually manage an organisation’s data. A report by Snaplogic found that 42% of data management processes that could be automated are delivered manually. As a result, the report found that 93% of the IT decision-makers surveyed said they would need to improve the way their organisation collects, manages and stores their data. What’s more, with many companies choosing to manage their data manually, they also leave themselves open to one of the biggest challenges within the IT sector - Human Error. According to research from Insurance Firm Gallagher, 3.5 million businesses across the UK have suffered from a breach of security or cyberattacks from negligence with 60% claiming it down to human error.
AI and the current data landscape
To overcome the roadblock that comes from human error and data mismanagement, many organisations have already started looking at ways to better utilise existing technologies, with artificial intelligence being one term that is thrown around the most. However, as some critics would highlight, artificial intelligence is nothing more than automation tools using machine-learning technologies to carry out mundane, repetitive tasks in its current state. Yet, no matter how you perceive this technology, the truth is that implementing it within your data management strategy will only improve the quality of the data your organisation has. More companies are looking toward automation tools that enable businesses to collect, store, manage and analyse quality data. www.pcr-online.biz
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AI has become increasingly sophisticated within the past few years, enabling businesses to identify data patterns; and remove duplicated and self-correct insufficient data. Yet, we are still just scratching the surface with this technology and its data management capabilities. We can expect to see it continue to evolve and establish itself as a key management tool. Gartner predicts that automation will reduce manual Data Management tasks by 45% by as soon as 2022; enabling businesses to save time and money, enabling CTOs and CIOs to spend their time on business-critical tasks. Data is one of the most significant resources for an organisation, however, with the current climate rife with uncertainty globally, it has never been more critical for companies to protect and leverage their greatest assets. With human error playing a pivotal role in data quality and mismanagement, more and more organisations are turning to the latest technologies to let automation and AI analyse their data and make the most of what they have.
The future of AI and data quality
While AI is a long way off from reaching its full potential, we can assume that it will have a lasting impact within the data management industry. In fact, Gartner recently published a report that suggested faster, smarter and more responsible AI was a key trend that data and analytics leaders should be focusing on. As the technology becomes more robust and able to carry out more complex tasks, AI could be in the position to revolutionise how organisations manage data and have access to the quality data needed to make business-critical decisions. The report states: “By the end of 2024, 75% of enterprises will shift from piloting to operationalising AI, driving a 5X increase in streaming data and analytics infrastructures.” During the current pandemic, AI has been a paramount tool for data analysts as they utilise the technology to predict, prepare and respond to the global crisis. AI techniques such as Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing are utilised to provide significant insights and predictions on how the Coronavirus is spreading and determining how successful the Government’s countermeasures have been through each lockdown or tier system. No matter which side of the argument you may sit with regards to AI, the unprecedented landscape has meant that the technology has been placed at the forefront of peoples’ minds. As the world looks towards emerging beyond COVID-19, artificial intelligence will play a key role in resetting businesses. When people return to the workplace, many organisations will look at ways they can most effectively bounce back to pre-COVID times. We can expect that many will place a significant amount of this responsibility on AI to collate, analyse and manage their data. April 2021 | 33
Here are some of the most interesting stats and facts from the tech channel…
CRUNCHING New research by Currys PC World, in collaboration with Canon, found that many Brits are still not properly equipped to work from home. Printers are the equipment that Brits miss the most, with over a third (38%) saying it’s the piece of office equipment they feel most lost without. Brits still don’t have their own office space with a quarter of us (27%) working from the living room and 1 in 10 working from the kitchen. Nearly a fifth (19%) state that they have a poor work set-up with a further fifth (20%) revealing they don’t have a computer screen and a quarter saying they don’t have a desk (24%). 1 in 5 16-24-year-olds admit feeling lonely while WFH, so it’s no surprise that a fifth of this age group are the keenest to return to the office.
Businesses are losing £68k per year due to faults in fulfillment, found a report by GBG. The report also found 24% of businesses saw more than 1 in 10 orders fail to be delivered at the first attempt in the past year, whilst 76% of the consumers reported at least one late delivery. Seven in ten (69%) businesses have seen an increase in their average online order value, since the pandemic hit. On average in the UK, 6% of first-time deliveries fail, at an average cost of £11.60 per order, totaling £68k per business per year.
Over the past 12 months, incidents of adware nearly tripled, according to a report by Kaspersky. While mobile threats have dipped slightly over the past year, criminals have focused on the quality of mobile attacks versus mass infections. Leading mobile threat types in 2020 is adware, accounting for 57 percent of attacks. Risk tools came in second, representing 21 percent of attacks. Trojan droppers and mobile trojans each represented 4.5 percent of attacks and SMS-based trojans represented 4 percent of actual mobile criminal activity.
54% of spam emails in the last six months originated from two global superpowers — the United States and Russia, according to data analysed by the Atlas VPN team. While spammers in the US were behind 44% of global spam emails, Russia followed in second, accounting for nearly 10%. Germany occupies the third spot in the list; close to 8% of the spam emails originated in the country. In the last two weeks of February around 24,265 spam emails were sent worldwide, out of which 33% were malicious. The majority - 23% or 5,699 spam emails, were phishing attacks. In the meantime, 1,783 or 7% of spam emails were blackmail, while 594 or 2% were scam emails.
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Zoom Video Communications reported fourth quarter total revenue of $882.5 million, up 369% year-on-year; full fiscal year total revenue of $2,651.4 million, up 326% year-on-year. Fourth quarter GAAP income from operations of $256.1 million, up 2327% year-on-year; full fiscal year GAAP income from operations of $659.8 million, up 5097% year-on-year.
Almost half of UK consumers (45%) prefer to engage with banks via apps rather than in person with members of staff, found a new study from VMware. While two-fifths (39%) believe their smartphone is more important than their wallet in powering financial transactions (rising to 51% amongst 18-35 year olds). Less than one-third (30%) of consumers believe the Financial Services firms they interact with now deliver an improved digital experience compared to before the pandemic. The report also found, over half (51%) of consumers would switch to a competitor if their digital experience doesn’t live up to expectations – just 10% would remain loyal.
Fourth quarter non-GAAP income from operations of $360.9 million, up 839% year-on-year; full fiscal year non-GAAP income from operations of $983.3 million, up 1009% year-on-year. Fourth quarter operating cash flow of $399.4 million, up 993% year-on-year; full fiscal year operating cash flow of $1,471.2 million, up 869% year-on-year. www.pcr-online.biz
Partner content from
HANNspree Has a Firm Hold on the Open Frame Display Market HANNspree is probably best known for its standalone display range, especially as it captured such a large portion of the touch screen display market just as the technology popularised. But did you know that HANNspree also manufacturers a comprehensive portfolio of OPEN FRAME solutions to cater for the fast-expanding integration sector fulfilling the demands of both OEMs and System Integrators. “Hardware integration is an ever-growing display market that has presented a wealth of business opportunities for HANNspree,” says Martin Kent, UK Manager, HANNspree. “By applying our production strengths and expertise to this thriving market we have instated the HANNspree brand with lucrative success. We would like to see our partners considering this market as an opportunity to expand their customer base and consequently increase revenue avenues.” Thanks to considerable experience and knowledge in display design, coupled with the manufacturing prowess of parent company, HANNstar, HANNspree not only offers off-the-shelf open frame touch displays for hardware integration but also flexible, bespoke production for large scale tenders. Furthermore, HANNspree sits under the same HANNstar umbrella as HANNStouch, one of the largest touchscreen manufacturers in the world, which enables them to provide an extremely competitive edge when it comes to advanced, yet affordable, touch-enabled open frame displays to serve as intuitive user interfaces in vertical hardware solutions. HANNspree offers industry leading multi-touch control to enhance the user experience and even supports multi-user interaction. HANNspree specialises in hard wearing touchscreen open frame displays ready for demanding environments. HANNspree is mindful of the daily rigors of public touchscreen hardware and industrial production line applications which is evident in the feature sets incorporated into the design of the HANNspree open frame series. Features such as IP rated screens, touch-through glass technology, 24/7 operation, rugged frames and various mounting options all come together to create versatile, flexible long-life solutions conceived for markets such as mechanical engineering, logistics, retail, hospitality, gaming, sports science, medical and much more. Martin Kent comments: “The possibilities for the Human Machine Interface are extensive and new inventions and ideas are consistently presented. We really enjoy exploring new concepts and pride ourselves on supporting and indeed being part of the creation of technology that utilises touchscreen displays in a unique way, especially if it replaces an existing device to improve a process or user experience”. HANNspree has recently supplied open frame displays to leading retail AV demonstrations company, MyPlayer, in order to provide a HD video display for Ring’s in-store product showcase. Deployed in hundreds of stores across the EU market, the HANNspree touchscreen displays host rich video marketing and provide interactive engagement for customers, all powered by MyPlayer’s www.pcr-online.biz
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media players (MyMedia) and cloud content management solution (MyProjects). Retail is one of the fastest growing sectors for open frame display. HANNspree is supporting the retail environment, working with hardware companies developing MyPlayer in-store POI solution for digital POI and POS solutions. RING featuring 10” HANNspree Integrated touch solutions open frame display featuring HANNspree’s open frame displays can also already be found in car showrooms, restaurants, care homes, hotel lobbies and therapy centres, to name just a few.
HANNspree’s Competitive Advantages Quality - price ratio: Thanks to HANNspree’s production capabilities, OEMs and system integrators benefit from affordable solutions with retained high quality. The excellent price – quality ratio is one of the best in the industry, helping manufacturers to realise their designs and push to market with ease and confidence. Considered design: Easy and flexible installation is essential for widely varying host requirements. Coupled with a full line-up of digital and analogue connectivity, the HO series supports multiple mounting options, including VESA and flange mount capability, and boasts edge-toedge design for table-top integration. Reliability: Hardware integration manufacturers want a display solution that will last. It needs to endure both the environment it resides in and the type of use the hardware is designed for. For example, medical devices require consistent cleaning, public totems undergo extensive use and industrial hardware is often subjected to extreme conditions. HANNspree’s open frame displays are built to survive, promising reliability in adversity with ultra-durable metal casing and toughened hard panel surfaces for protection against wear and tear, cleaning and airborne debris. They are also backed by specialist support to provide complete peace of mind.
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Mark your calendars: Date confirmed for the PCR Awards 2021! Update: Following the latest government announcement outlining the roadmap for exiting lockdown, we are excited to confirm the date for this year’s PCR Awards. Professionals from across the UK PC & Tech sector are invited to join us to celebrate the very best in the business in the heart of London on Wednesday 29 September 2021. The venue for this year’s ceremony will be announced in due course. After a turbulent year, the PCR team is looking forward to providing a platform for the industry to reconnect and revel. Sales manager Sarah Goldhawk says: “This will certainly be a night to remember – the PCR Awards 2020 was one of the last events before the pandemic hit and now, we aim to be one of the first to gather the industry together again. So, dust off your suits and frocks – you’ll see me on the dance floor!” Subject to restrictions, attendance numbers may still be limited so those that are keen to be a part of this hotlyanticipated event are encouraged to get involved as soon as possible to secure their seats. NEW ENTRY DEADLINE: FRIDAY 28 MAY With the PCR Awards ceremony moving to a later date in the year, an additional extension to the entry deadline has been granted. 36
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The online entry portal will now be accepting submissions until Friday 28 May so, if you’re an amazing vendor or distributor, an unrivalled reseller or retailer, or provide outstanding services to the PC and Tech industry – you’ve got plenty of time to get involved. For those that have already taken the time to submit their PCR Awards entries, these will still be eligible for this year’s scheme. If you need to update or amend your existing submissions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. SHOW YOUR SUPPORT If you’re looking for a way to boost your business’s exposure in 2021, look no further than a PCR Awards sponsorship package. With the industry’s leading professionals set to be in attendance at the ceremony, sponsoring the awards is a great way to get your brand in front of a highly relevant and enthusiastic audience. A limited number of bundles and bespoke options are available, so get in touch today to secure your package. To find out more about how you can benefit from sponsoring – or to secure your position as a sponsor – contact Sarah Goldhawk on 0787 259 4600 or at email@example.com. For more information about this year’s PCR Awards or to submit an entry, head to: www.pcrawards.co.uk. www.pcr-online.biz
CATEGORIES INCLUDE: VENDOR CATEGORY: • Security software vendor of the year – NEW for 2021 • Security hardware vendor of the year – NEW for 2021 • Smart home vendor of the year – NEW for 2021 • Networking vendor of the year • Business peripherals vendor of the year – NEW for 2021 • Business monitors vendor of the year – NEW for 2021 • PC Vendor of the Year GAMING VENDOR CATEGORY: – NEW for 2021 • Gaming peripherals vendor of the year • Gaming monitors vendor of the year RETAILER CATEGORY: • Gaming retailer of the year – NEW for 2021 • Repairs services of the year – NEW for 2021 • System builder of the year • Online retailer of the year • Independent retailer of the year RESELLER CATEGORY: • SMB reseller of the year • Corporate VAR of the year • MSP specialist of the year DISTRIBUTION CATEGORY: • Software and services distributor of the year • Hardware distributor of the year • Consumer electronics distributor of the year CHANNEL SERVICES CATEGORY: • Dealer services of the year • Marketing and PR agency of the year PCR COMPANY OF THE YEAR
For Sponsorship opportunities please contact: Sarah Goldhawk Sales Manager - magazine/website advertising, event partnership PCR firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t miss this legendary event that continues as the pinnacle of the tech channel’s social calendar www.pcr-online.biz
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The rise of the subscription service PCR chats with Steve Miller-Jones, VP Strategy, Industry & Partnership at Limelight Networks about navigating the online world of streaming subscriptions 38
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rom major sporting events to prestige award shows, the world of entertainment has been forced to move away from public venues and into the home. As consumers moved online during the pandemic to view their favourite video content, the availability of streaming services exploded. In fact, according to Limelight Networks’ State of Online Video report, in 2020 it was more common to have at least one streaming subscription (78%) than to have none (22%). With more and more streaming powerhouses entering the market, the landscape is becoming increasingly crowded and yet it continues to grow alongside the ever-increasing demand from audiences. The streaming wars have intensified over the past year with the introduction of new players with new content offerings challenging the incumbent brands like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
So how have newer services like Disney+ and Peacock been able to compete and is there space for more?
In order to make headway in an already saturated market, subscription services need to deliver a broad range of top-quality content to meet their audiences growing expectations. When comparing the services that the BBC currently offers under their £157.50 license fee to the services that would cost over £400 when combined, it is clear that there is a lot of competition for a share of consumer expenditure. Therefore, both quality content and high performance are key in making their services attractive to consumers. It’s certainly true that consumers are spoilt for choice, but they will continue to look to the media industry to keep them both entertained and occupied, now more than ever. Therefore, the streaming survivors of tomorrow will be the services, which can capture and keep viewers’ attention in the long term, once the shine of free trials and new blockbusters has started to fade.
In the battle of eyeballs, how can services keep their viewers’ attention?
Consumers today are no longer hindered by the limitation of television broadcast showtimes or content availability. With a wide assortment of services available to them, they can get the content they want at a simple touch of a button or a tap of a screen. When this is not achieved, they are fast to move to services that are able to provide this experience. In an era of immersive storytelling, the launch of Disney+ was the perfect example of a company breaking through in a difficult market. Having just surpassed 95 million subscribers in one year, they were able to use their secret weapon of nostalgia to engulf viewers in reliving their childhood favourites. However, many critics feared that Disney+ would struggle with longevity and keeping their subscribers once the excitement of re-watching movies had died down. Yet the introduction of new original content such as The Mandalorian and WandaVision has kept the Disney magic alive and developed brand loyalty as subscribers come back to the platform for their weekly dose of new episodes. www.pcr-online.biz
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As the market and leading services mature, streaming has become a much tougher game, with viewers now having a myriad of options to pay to view content on demand and on-the-go through OTT apps. It is no secret that over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have taken the local entertainment market by storm – almost everyone uses such a service, or even several. Yet, it’s not just their content that has kept customers coming back for more. Newer services need to have fresh offerings and have very little overlap with each other in terms of content to make an impact.
What is causing viewers to lose interest in subscription services?
“Building audience loyalty has been a difficult task for services as viewers are keen to explore different platforms and keep their options open.”
The leading reason for subscription services to lose viewers is by losing their attention. With a myriad of services available, viewers have higher expectations for their content and will expect nothing less than the highest quality video experience. In fact, half of UK viewers (50 per cent) note video rebuffering as their primary viewing frustration, 31 per cent are frustrated with poor video quality and 11 per cent when the video doesn’t play. The streaming platforms that are rising to the top will be those striking the right combination between reliable services and the range of available content. The onus is now on content providers to deliver exceptional experiences to maintain these huge subscriber numbers. They will need to concentrate on preserving outstanding video quality, ensure service reliability and low latency through robust delivery strategies. Within the OTT space, preventing any latency or friction that would disrupt the user experience is the key to success.
What is the future of content providers in this new cordcutting landscape?
The rise of streaming superstars like Netflix and Amazon Prime has forever changed the way we consume content. Uninterrupted delivery, original content and ease of choice has appealed to the masses leaving traditional broadcast players in its wake. Unsurprisingly, 6% of UK viewers have moved away from traditional broadcast altogether and do not spend any time watching broadcast, satellite or cable TV. Instead, they spend all the time streaming online using services like Netflix and free platforms like YouTube. This cord-cutting trend is real. Globally, 11% of 18- to 25-year-olds said they no longer watch any broadcast, cable or satellite TV – meaning to get in front of the next generation of consumers and professionals, businesses need to pivot to digital channels. This is a big deal as Generation Z’s viewing habits are pushing these streaming leaders to move their advertising money to digital platforms – effectively changing the entertainment industry’s revenue model! When it comes to the BBC, if they wanted to focus their efforts on OTT and be competitive in an increasingly crowded streaming market, they will need to keep their current viewership while 40
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winning over new viewers through online services. Fortunately, our research suggests that it’s not just younger viewers, 59% of 61-99-year-olds are also SVOD fanatics and are spending their time watching YouTube. This can be beneficial to the BBC as they can also keep their loyal band of older followers through accessible content, replicating the success they have had with the digital-only channel BBC Three, aimed at younger viewers.
Can subscription services build audience loyalty with what consumers watch?
2020 truly was the year of streaming. In the last year, watching online video increased by almost 14 per cent in the UK, with viewers spending 7 hours 24 minutes on average per week in 2020. When it comes to specialised content providers such as Disney+, UK viewers spend 1 hour and 42 minutes a week watching, compared to 4 hours and 42 minutes a week watching broad content platforms like Netflix and Amazon prime and 2 hours 18 minutes using live TV such as YouTube TV. Each service has different methods in keeping viewers coming back for more. But UK viewers are most loyal to YouTube which continues to dominate as the platform of choice for 52% who are seeking personalised user-generated content such as the online workout, cooking classes or gaming stream sessions. Younger generations are keen to try out the newer services as only 6 per cent of 18–25-year-olds spend time on Facebook as they shift to new platforms such as Instagram (13 per cent) and TikTok (13 per cent). Building audience loyalty has been a difficult task for services as viewers are keen to explore different platforms and keep their options open. This means content providers need to ensure the viewing experience is top notch, so their content is not lost in a consumer’s roster of services.
The million-dollar question: how many subscription services is too many?
With audiences spending more time at home, the UK has fast become a nation of streamers. The OTT landscape is certainly crowded and the number of services that viewers are able to choose from has grown exponentially. This boom in streaming services can certainly be attributed to the pandemic, but now we should ask whether the abundance in choice is here to stay or whether viewers have succumbed to streaming fatigue? It’s true that the streaming landscape can continue to change and for OTT providers to keep up with these fluctuating demands, they need to be able to understand the consumer, the current climate and take a proactive approach to deliver quality experiences with the integration of Content Delivery Network (CDN) infrastructure within their operations. At least for now, it’s safe to say, that consumers are enjoying the vast choice in services that has provided a means of escape in a time when viewers have needed it the most. www.pcr-online.biz
Keeping data secure Nick Hutson-Alvarez, Exertis Group Head of Cyber Security & Compliance discusses some important factors to consider to keep data secure What is online security?
There are varying degrees of online security that can be driven by some very complex systems which are designed around industry standards, such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) to protect against credit card theft; then, on the other side of the scale, an individual having antivirus software to protect their device from malware and viruses.
Why is online security important?
As the world of technology rapidly changes with enriched websites and IoT, it becomes increasingly challenging for businesses to keep their personal and customer information on the web secure. Web/online security is important to prevent threat actors/hackers from accessing sensitive information. Without a functional security strategy, it could lead to businesses having a higher risk of malware and data breaches. Even if a business decides to transfer the risk by using an established shopping platform with a WYSIWYG approach, this still requires Privacy and Security by design to be applied i.e. a functional security strategy as the data is still the responsibility of the business, no matter where it is located.
Why is data security vital for business?
Businesses have taken years to establish a reputation, but a single event could lose that standing. Due to global events, many businesses have been driven from a traditional B-to-B model and adapt their trading position to a D-to-C by operating an online presence direct to consumers. This brings new challenges to a business, to ensure that the data has the appropriate security in place to ensure that they meet the regulatory requirements. Data security is important for a business as it is the core of sustaining and growing the business, whether it is a small takeaway to a Fintech organisation to large global company. However, with great power comes great responsibility: data regulations such as GDPR and CCPA can make or mar a business. The data gathered allows a business to take orders and control their stock levels, as well as marketing (with consent).
What are the right ways to store and protect data?
There are lots of considerations to take into account when looking at how to store and protect data. However, the fundamental starting point is to have privacy and security by design as
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the founding principle of all projects and implementations that use/store data – as this is now a legal requirement of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). The core principles are: encrypt your data at rest and in transit; ensure the data is backed up with the appropriate RTO and RPO; make sure anti-malware and access controls are in place; and ensure appropriate web application architecture is utilised.
What are the contemporary challenges around privacy compliance?
Having all sections of the business invested and upholding data privacy, with the core teams ensuring privacy and security is embedded in the project. Proliferation of IoT devices connecting to applications can cause security concerns. Scaling of data and understanding the labelling and flow of the data is key. Also, less-is-more: keeping compliant by removing data when it’s no longer required is always the balance that needs to be met.
What are the latest developments in data security that partners should be engaging with?
Security process automation is a way to protect data by computer-centric security, but needs to be balanced against ROI. Centralisation and normalisation of data helps improve detection by lower level input, to detect events that may have been missed. Lastly, using threat detection using AI with combined global threat feeds, to detect and block attacks and compromises to data.
What are the latest challenges to security around authentication, and how are these challenges being met?
In relation to online security, this is always a challenge. There needs to be a balance between ease of use for the customer/client and keeping their data secure. There are some basic things we can do such as enforce secure passwords within minimum length and complexity, ensure you use a Captcha to limit brute forcing, but for belt-and-braces, 2-Factor Authentication is the safer way to go. Clients/Customers are becoming more accustomed to this technology as they use it with their online banking and other online applications such as Google accounts and Amazon. SSO can have some benefits, but the underlining concern is if one account is compromised then the rest of the accounts can be compromised.
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Securing the data highway Over the last year, digital transformation initiatives have evolved from a long-term goal to a necessity for maintaining business continuity. Michael Dickman Gigamon’s new Chief Product Officer (CPO) chats to PCR about the importance of being a trusted partner to help with the optimisation and security of emerging hybrid architectures Michael Dickman Gigamon’s new Chief Product Officer (CPO) had this to say:
Could you tell me a bit more about Gigamon?
Gigamon delivers unified network visibility and analytics on all datain-motion, across the hybrid cloud network to solve critical security, performance and budget requirements.
What products and services does it offer?
Gigamon offers a range of products and solutions that allow organisations to optimise and secure their network traffic. This includes physical and cloud virtual visibility processing nodes, TAPs and Traffic Aggregators that enable IT teams to reliably manage and control all their data-in-motion. Gigamon products also allow businesses to extract traffic intelligence including application metadata and filtering, thus optimising data flow. We work with both enterprises and service providers who especially value our services for 5G, CUPS and GTP correlation. Gigamon also specialises in cloud and network security, as well as incident response, promoting a Zero Trust architecture and supporting a number of industries in protecting their data.
What are the current threats driving need for greater security?
Security challenges have increased significantly over the last 12 42
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months. Our recent survey into Zero Trust found that 84% of organisations had seen a rise in threats since the start of 2019 and the global pandemic has only accelerated cybercrime. As one example, the mass shift to home learning for higher education institutions has meant that online student traffic has increased, while more unsecured endpoint devices have been accessing student intranets. Universities are common targets of cyberattacks and it is therefore essential their network traffic is visible, meaning threats can be quickly detected and data breaches prevented. Industries like finance and healthcare also clearly need visibility for security given their significant technological evolution over the last ten years, meaning they now leverage a large volume of critical data.
How has the focus on data and how we handle it changed over recent years?
Automation for data analysis has been a much bigger focus in recent years. As IT teams face the challenge of doing more with less, budgets continue to be cut, while digital transformation initiatives remain imperative. A report by the Ponemon Institute found that 60% of IT leaders said automation helps to reduce the stress faced by their IT teams. Insights from aggregated data help IT understand the bottlenecks within the infrastructure and simplify them. For example, a security tool may not be as effective if irrelevant traffic is clogging up the network. Meta-data has become much more important as raw www.pcr-online.biz
packet volume with ‘Big Data’ at Cloud-scale becomes overwhelming without intelligent pre-processing.
Why are data analytics an important consideration? You cannot manage what you cannot see, and it is impossible to accurately analyse and secure all data-in-motion without full visibility into all – even encrypted – traffic. By integrating data analytics tools, NetOps teams can become more productive, networks can run more efficiently and cybersecurity improves significantly. Analytics tools categorise data-in-motion and intelligently identify threats for further inspection. For example, internal data between Microsoft Teams, Slack or Zoom is likely to be very low risk. Low-risk, duplicate, or irrelevant data will therefore no longer clog up the network or tool capacity. For IT and SecOps teams, there will be fewer, more reliable alerts that they can act on more efficiently and productively.
How should businesses be looking to secure their data?
All organisations produce, store, or interact with sensitive data of some sort. Financial Services firms, for example, protect hugely critical data and a second-rate cybersecurity system is out of the question. With dispersed and often remote teams, plus the growth of personal and unmanaged IoT devices, Gartner has confirmed that one of the most useful and important tools is Network Detection and Response (NDR). The best NDR tools should be measured not on how many detection alerts they produce, but on the quality of investigations and speed of responses they enable. Effective outcomes require expert curation of detections, powerful investigation capabilities like search, and the right set of ecosystem integrations for appropriate response. An additional consideration is the benefit of using a centralised decryption tool to enable full visibility of threats, which increasingly ride in encrypted network data.
Please could you explain a bit more about cloud visibility, and why it is important?
Cloud visibility is important not just within a single cloud but across all the clouds that an organisation may touch. Most organisations are operating with a hybrid infrastructure whether intentional or accidental, creating a gap in visibility. Network tools lack visibility into cloud traffic, and cloud tools lack visibility into network traffic. This gap results in “islands of visibility” that forces IT teams to re-do compliance processes and struggle to optimise user experience and security at the enterprise level, vs IT optimisation within each siloed cloud. The solution to this gap is elastic visibility across the hybrid cloud. End-to-end visibility is needed to unify data and meta-data from different clouds with different methods of data ingestion and different versions of tools.
What are the current threats of data breaches and how can we safeguard against this? The threat is higher than ever, sadly having worsened during the global pandemic, as evidenced by both reported breaches and unreported breaches implied by industry studies. One approach is to consider the Zero Trust framework, which is a set of principles to minimise implicit trust given to individuals or devices. There are many actions to take within this framework, but the essence is www.pcr-online.biz
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to recognise that breaches have become more of a “when” than an “if,” and that Information Security teams must complement threat prevention with threat detection and response. Good hygiene with network segmentation is a key first step. Endpoint Detection and Response can increase the chances of detecting a threat via managed (but not unmanaged) endpoints. Visibility into the network itself becomes the critical backstop, since east-west threat movement, command and control beaconing, and much more may be visible only in the data-in-motion. Channel partners have a huge opportunity to act as trusted advisors, helping each customer build towards a Zero Trust Architecture in the manner that is right for them.
How is the increase in data volume impacting our networks?
Data volume continues to grow exponentially, which has implications far beyond upgrading the “speeds-and-feeds” on an enterprise local area network. Monitoring itself becomes more difficult with less margin for error as inline monitoring and security tools can become overwhelmed. One interesting trend is 5G, which will dramatically increase and improve data volumes for mobile users. Channel partners can help Enterprises form their own 5G strategies, taking advantage of opportunities from cost reduction to even greater agility and experience for mobile users. Visibility in the 5G network is absolutely critical, especially considering the control plane and user (data) plane will be separated, making it more challenging to assure experience.
Please could you explain a bit more about managed services and the importance of this? Channel partners must become trusted advisors to customers to help them navigate the complexity of today’s IT world. The first step is consultative selling, but this can be followed by taking a much more active role in directly supporting customers with their challenges by managing specific services for them, even including security services. The channel always must ensure its customers are getting the best value from the technologies they are investing in, and can create a win-win by going beyond advice and implementation, into management, operation and administration. From here, a more lucrative partnership is being built between channel partners and customers.
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Printers and Monitors From high spec monitors to network printers here is some latest tech to get your hands on
HANNspree HS322PPB Monitor “The 32” HS322PPB features a 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution which offers superior picture quality for graphic intensive professional applications, gaming and much more. Users can enjoy over 77% more workspace compared to conventional 1920x1080 FHD monitors thus a better view of wide documents, and games and movies in their original size. The increased pixel density, along with a high contrast ratio, delivers super sharp, crisper images, and ultrawide viewing angles on both horizontal and vertical planes ensure quality visuals from almost any direction. This monitor is ready to meet professional demands.” Specs: 32”, 2560 x 1440 WQHD, 178° /178° Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle, 3000:1 Contrast, VGA + DP + HDMI, USB 3, Built-In Stereo Speakers, Tilt and Wall-Mountable (VESA), Low Blue Light & Flicker Free Contact: Exertis / Ingram Micro / Westcoast
HANNspree HP248WJB Monitor with Built-in Webcam “Whether for work, education or socialising, virtual communication is more common than ever. The new HP248WJB monitor HANNspree has introduced to its HP series of ergonomic monitors is video conferencing ready. It includes a handy built-in 5MP high definition webcam featuring a pop-up design so that it can be securely tucked away when not in use, as well as a built-in microphone and speakers. The HP248WJB, also features the height adjust, tilt, swivel and pivot maneuverability synonymous with the company’s HP series of monitors enabling personalised viewing comfort and ideal orientation for specific applications.” Specs: 23.8”, 1920 x 1080, 178° Ultra- Wide Viewing Angle, Built-in Webcam, Height Adjust, Pivot, Swivel, Tilt and WallMountable (VESA), Triple Input: DP, HDMI, VGA, USB 3.0 Hub, Built-In Stereo Speakers, Low Blue Light & Flicker Free Contact: Exertis/Ingram Micro/Westcoast 44
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HANNspree HC240HFW Monitor “The new 23.8” HC240FW is a sleek monitor ideal for modern home and business offices. With an ultra-slim profile and edge-to-edge frameless bezel, the design lends itself to creating almost seamless multi-display set-ups for a truly immersive panoramic view of games, multimedia or graphic and professional programmes. And because countless hours can be spent in front of displays working, gaming for long hours or watching movies, the HC240HFW monitor has Flicker-Free technology, Low Blue Light mode and an anti-glare panel to ensure a comfortable viewing experience during continuous use.” Specs: 23.8”, 1920 x 1080 FHD, 178°/178° Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle, VGA + HDMI, Edge-to-Edge Frameless Bezel, Ultra-Thin Profile, Built-In Stereo Speakers, Tilt and Wall-Mountable (VESA), Low Blue Light & Flicker Free, Eco Friendly Contact: Exertis/Ingram Micro/Westcoast
SEH Technology printserver ONE “In some network configurations it may be necessary to operate more than one network interface on a printer. A network printer usually has an interface and an additional USB port. This is where the printserver ONE comes into play, as users can simply connect it to the USB interface and the second interface is available. By integrating all printers and multifunction devices via the printserver ONE into the network environments, the print output devices can be managed centrally for improved flexibility. The printserver ONE also supports authentication and certificate management, as well as IPsender protection, which allows domain owners to publish a list of IP addresses or subnets that are authorised to send information for printing.” Specs: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 SuperSpeed port, Performance-enhanced throughput rate, Compatible with almost all USBcompatible printer models, Separation of private and public networks by means of secure printing via IPSec connection, Safe working with SSL / TLS encrypted printing via LAN, VPN, Internet to the printing system, Up to 60 months free warranty Contact: Bechtle Direct UK
Lexmark MC3326i A4 Colour MFP Printer “Small. Dependable. Secure. Compact and lightweight, the Lexmark MC3326i multi-function brings colour printing, automatic scanning, copying and touch screen convenience to small work groups.” Specs: Automatic Double Sided Printing, Up to 600 x 600 dpi Print, USB, Ethernet & Wi-Fi, As Fast as 10.6 Seconds First, page, Up to 26ppm Colour Print, Up to 26ppm Mono Print, PCL 5, PCLm, PCL 6 Emulation, PostScript Emulation, 250 Sheet Input Tray, 1 Sheet Manual Feeder, 1 GHz Dual Core Processor, 512 MB RAM, Windows Compatible, Up to 33.6Kbps Fax, 7.2cm LCD Touch Screen
Contact: Exertis www.pcr-online.biz
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AYA-NEO 7nm Handheld Gaming Device Bringing the 7nm AMD Ryzen APU to a handheld gaming device, the AYA NEO provides gaming performance never seen before in such a form factor. With its amazing features, it is not only a AAA capable gaming device but also a versatile ultra-portable windows PC. With the Cutting Edge Ryzen 5 4500U processor, a six-core processor with 4.0Ghz max turbo frequency, AYA NEO is a powerhouse. It handles demanding games with ease. With 50% more cores than the previous generation and other similar devices, the hexa-core design also ensures great multi-tasking performance. Equipped with powerful AMD Radeon Graphics, you can play AAA titles with greater ease. The enhanced image clarity and smoother gameplay provides a superior gaming experience. Drivers for Radeon Graphics have great compatibility with the latest games and come with great features like Radeon Boost, Radeon Image Sharpening and Radeon Anti-Lag. Radeon Image Sharpening provides 5-10 FPS more in AAA titles without sacrificing image quality. For more information visit: https://igg.me/at/AYANEO/x#/
WooBloo SMASH: Portable 300 Lumens Smart Projector Project movies and TV shows in your living room, bedroom, or back garden with SMASH - a portable smart projector. Compatible with Alexa, it can be powered via voice assistant, plus, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity. SMASH is powered by DLP technology and offers a 4-inch LED display complemented by a 360-degree surround sound and passive radiators that support a richer sound experience. SMASH also offers an extensive 30-hour battery life for listening to music and three hours for video streaming. The secondary display can play and showcase song details (current as well as the next in the queue) when you connect it to a smartphone. For more information visit: https://igg.me/at/woobloo/x#/
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Rocket eBike: Self-Charging, 100-Mile Range eBike Ride without limits on a 100-mile range, all-terrain eBike with regenerative braking & folding frame. Jet to your destination at up to 28mph! Rocket eBike is rear-wheel drive with either a 250W (EU buyers) or 750W (US buyers) engine from Bafang with high torque and uphill efficiency. Plus, it has Cruise Control! Switch it on and when the bike has the same speed for 5 seconds, it locks in that speed and you turn it off by braking. For more information visit: https://igg.me/at/rocket-ebike/x#/
With so much talent in the channel, it can be difficult to sift out the freshest gear and potential tech giants of tomorrow. Stay ahead of the curve with PCR’s Crowdfunding Corner…
Between Pro: Ultra sharp-sounding wireless earbuds Status Audio’s Between Pro earbuds are designed with Triple Speaker Drivers - Two Balanced Armature Drivers + a 10mm dynamic driver inside each earbud - giving a total of just six components producing sound. Four microphones with cVc ambient noise reduction ensure stellar call quality. The battery life offers 12 hours of continuous playback from the earbuds, plus another 36 hours in the charging case. For more information visit: https://igg.me/at/between-pro/x#/
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Life in the channel
Google Cloud’s Pip White Google Cloud’s UK&I Managing Director, Pip White on what life is like up in Google Cloud?
arch 8th was International Women’s Day, so we wanted to highlight the achievements of women by speaking with a top female leader in the channel so we had a chat with Google Cloud’s UK&I Managing Director, Pip White to find out about her success as a female in the tech channel. What is your your professional background? I’ve enjoyed over 20 years of working in the technology industry in sales and GM leadership roles. I started out at Hewlett-Packard where, over the course of thirteen+ years, I held various leadership positions across sales, new business and marketing within multiple market segments and industries including enterprise, SMB, public sector, financial services and retail. I moved to Salesforce early 2018 where I stayed for almost three years. It was great. I learned a lot and worked with some amazing people. Both positions gave me the experience and opportunity to lead large 400+ people sales organisations within the UK and Ireland, Europe, North America, Middle East & Africa. In turn,
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allowing me to develop a deep expertise in managing client relations within small to medium businesses, through to large global enterprises. My expertise is in high growth and fast paced technology environments, which require strong alignment across multiple functions and a growth mindset. Turning around culture, strong people leadership, high growth and transformation programmes are where I do best! I joined the Google Cloud team in September, when the UK was in the midst of a lockdown, and what a whirlwind it’s been. I feel I joined Google Cloud at a time when there’s nothing but opportunity, so I’m excited to be here. What is your role and what does it involve within Google Cloud? At Google Cloud I lead the UK and Ireland (UK&I) business, overseeing the ongoing development of our go-to-market sales operations across the region. A key focus is also leading the businesses sales strategy across the UK&I, a market which www.pcr-online.biz
What were some of the achievements of women that were has seen a number of recent high-profile customer wins, such as recognised on the day? Lloyds Banking Group, Just Eat, The Department for Transport and As part of our executive roundtable and internal fireside chat, we Vodafone. highlighted the achievements of Baroness Sue Campbell, former chair The UK&I is similar to the rest of the world in that the pandemic of UK Sport and current director of Women’s Football at the Football has driven businesses to embrace digital transformation and Association (FA). collaboration with working from home. It’s impacting our customers We were also joined by Edleen John, who’s the FA’s diversity and in a variety of different ways, depending on the industry, whether it’s inclusion director, and responsible for the international and corporate directly impacted (hospitals, government departments) or needing affairs strategy across the FA portfolio. Edleen has successfully to address dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour (retailers, financial delivered transformational strategies across a number of high-profile services, media companies). And of course there are those who had organisations, and has a driving commitment to inclusion and to rapidly enable work-from-home scenarios, or those worried about diversity, so it was great to have her on the panel. business continuity and uptime of their mission-critical systems. Just like them we’re focusing on being helpful to our customers. A By running the event what did the lot of companies are now shifting their services towards adapting in real time “As Google continues to grow, we have a company hope to achieve? taken concrete actions to to what their customers need. This is responsibility to scale our diversity, equity, We’ve steadily grow a more representative a growing trend, whether they are just and inclusion initiatives and increase workforce, launching programmes starting to make the leap to the cloud, that support our communities, and or are further along in their journeys pathways to tech in the cities, sites, and building products that better serve and are now creating ambitious new countries Google calls home. Leaders make all of our users. Our diversity, equity, business models based on AI/ML, data decisions that affect the products we build, and inclusion commitments last analytics, and more. year yielded progress in key areas, the people we serve, and the employees including leadership representation How are you involved in and culture of our company. Diverse for underrepresented groups. As International Women’s Day? Google continues to grow, we have a This year’s International Women’s leadership teams make better decisions, responsibility to scale our diversity, Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge and in turn build a more helpful Google equity, and inclusion initiatives and and that’s exactly what we do here at for everyone. We offer targeted career increase pathways to tech in the cities, Google Cloud. We were one of the first companies to publish data publicly in development programmes, which provide sites, and countries Google calls home. Leaders make decisions that affect our Diversity Annual Report - in 2014 coaching, community-building, mentorship, the products we build, the people we - and this helped start the conversation and advocacy to help women in leadership serve, and the employees and culture of of diversity in tech. We need a workforce that’s representative of our roles foster relationships with senior leaders our company. Diverse leadership teams make better decisions, and in turn build users, and a workplace that creates a and advance their careers.” a more helpful Google for everyone. sense of belonging for everyone. We offer targeted career development What’s important for us is that we programmes, which provide coaching, community-building, don’t shed a light on diversity and inclusion solely around awareness mentorship, and advocacy to help women in leadership roles foster days like IWD. Our efforts are global and in place in every country we relationships with senior leaders and advance their careers. operate in, throughout the year. Representation of women in leadership roles globally at Google Last year we launched “#ItsUpToMe” in over 30 offices worldwide, is at the highest rate ever, growing at the same pace as last year. a campaign to energise employees to take an allyship role in their Representation of Googlers from Latinx communities in leadership communities by understanding the experiences of others, modelling also increased in the U.S. inclusive behaviours, and sharing their personal commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the region. We also How can others in the channel get involved? brought together women from Black communities across EMEA for a Like Google Cloud, we encourage our partners and other companies summit to share experiences, address the group’s unique opportunities in the channel to focus on building workforces that better represent and challenges, and support personal and professional enrichment. its users and our world, while ensuring that company cultures make For International Women’s Day this year, I hosted an executive employees feel like they belong, all year round. Areas of hiring and roundtable with top FA talent to explore key themes around retaining talented professionals, from underrepresented groups diversity, equity and inclusion, leadership, mentorship, IAR and needs to be a key focus, as does the channel’s work to understand the representation. Internally at Google, the same women joined me identities, intersectionalities, and experiences of employees worldwide. for a ‘Talks at Google’ style fireside chat/panel via Livestream that More broadly, the channel needs to look at investments it can make employees were able to drop into. I also took part in an internal to strengthen the diverse communities both within and outside of the event that Deloitte’s Women in Technology group organised where I industry. We have just announced Europe’s first $2M Black Founders spoke about advancing your tech career in the new normal and the Fund in October to support Google’s racial equity commitments. next normal. www.pcr-online.biz
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Recently, we continued the journey to support Black Founders with the official launch of the application in Europe. While there has been progress in the last few years, we’re still a way off where we need to be. Both Google and others need to use data-informed efforts to support diversity, equality and inclusion. Equality needs to be top of the agenda and driven by C-suite professionals themselves. Where do you see the future of the Cloud going, what can we expect more of? Unsurprisingly, this year has seen businesses of all sizes tackle, and embrace, an ever-evolving workplace, and businesses will need to remain agile, responsive, and able to adapt to survive what’s next. A renewed focus will be placed on products like Google Cloud’s Anthos, designed specifically to enhance employee and customer experiences, reduce costs, increase operational efficiencies and boost revenue. To enable multicloud deployments, build new environments and modernise old ones, the open-source community will dial-up investment in container and serverless functions, creating a spike in global demand. Digital and remote strategies will become core to business operations and AI will be critical to improving the efficiency, speed of cloud computing and making this happen. Just as the banking industry has dialled up AI investment to enable contactless payments, cashless money transfer systems, and remote transactions. Industries who are not already using AI will start to experiment with technology to create tailored experiences, from anywhere. To that end, we announced that our first of our hybrid AI offerings, Speech-to-Text On-Prem, is now generally available on Google Cloud’s Anthos. By bringing AI on-premise, customers can now run AI workloads near their data, all while keeping them safe. Hybrid AI simplifies the development process by providing easy access to best-in-class AI technology on-premise. How has business been over the past 12 months? We’ve obviously been investing aggressively, given the substantial market opportunity we see. Companies across the UK&I see 50
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the innovation, value and growth opportunities that come from digitising with Google Cloud. Customers like Ford, Lloyds Banking Group and digital natives like Revolut are all choosing Google Cloud as their technology partner of the future. For example, we are on track to meet our near-term goal of tripling the size of the Cloud direct sales force and have greatly expanded the partner channel. We’ve also substantially improved our product offering, while rationalising our approach to focus on our six key industry verticals. And we’ve invested in expanding our network of locations for compute capacity to support Cloud. We will continue making disciplined investments to scale the business and improve profitability. Is a multicloud strategy really the best approach for organisations? We were the first major cloud provider to launch an entirely software-based hybrid and multicloud platform (Anthos), and customers continue to ask for multicloud environments. A multicloud strategy is important as it gives companies the freedom to use the best possible cloud for each workload. Naturally, different vendors will innovate in different areas. Businesses taking a multicloud approach can cherry-pick the solutions that best meet their business needs as soon as they become available, rather than having to wait for another vendor to catch up. Avoiding vendor lock in, increased agility, more efficient costs and the promise of each provider’s best solutions are all compelling arguments in favour of multicloud. But there can be challenges for businesses when attempting to deploy multicloud strategies. Perhaps the biggest cause for hesitation around multicloud adoption is the complexity of deploying more than one cloud platform, and is particularly difficult to do without hindering productivity or innovation. But open source technologies like Kubernetes can aid the orchestration of containers to limit disruption with each new implementation and enable development teams to efficiently move workloads around, as well as to be shielded from any change of underlying physical infrastructure. www.pcr-online.biz
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