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WHERE TECHNOLOGY MEANS BUSINESS issue 260 | september 2013 WWW.CNMEONLINE.COM

Zero-day attacks

How to fight back

are you open? The open-source dilemma

What do edward Snowden and a data cEntre provider have in common?

Quick as a flash

The regional rise of all-flash arrays

The evolution of disaster recovery How cloud is changing how you should approach DR

From scratch Inside the mammoth IT transformation at Masdar

how a globally maligned si became part of a prospective $5bn company


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EDITORIAL Publisher Dominic De Sousa

Smart and smarter

Jeevan Thankappan Group Editor Talk to us: E-mail: jeevan.thankappan@ cpimediagroup.com

Group COO Nadeem Hood

The headline news first — smartphones have outsold feature phones for the first time. According to Gartner, global mobile phone sales totaled 435 million units in the second quarter of this years, and out of that, 225 million units were smartphones. Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the smartphone market and you have Chinese vendors such as Lenovo and ZTE in the top five vendor list. In fact, Lenovo sells more phones and tablets than PCs now, which is ominous for the PC industry. Conspicous by absence from the Gartner list are Nokia and BlackBerry. And in another first, Microsoft overtook BlackBerry in the smartphone OS market, which is still led by Android and iOS. Can you ever break the stranglehold that Android (which has an obscene 79 percent market share) and iOS have on the smartphone market? IDC reckons so. The research firm says there is plenty of room for BlackBerry and Windows Phone to take away some steam from the market leaders. It believes carriers still want a third alternative even as consumers are focused on Android and iOS. That should spell good news for other smartphone platforms such as Tizen, Mozilla’s Firefox OS and Ubuntu, provided they can lure thirdparty app developers. At the time of writing this editorial came the news that Microsoft is buying Nokia’s device business for $7.1 billion in cash. This wasn’t really surprising given the tight relationship between the two companies and rumours have been doing the rounds in industry circles for a while that such a move was imminent. Though the Finnish phone marker’s total sales was down in the second quarter, it has seen three-digit growth in its expanded Lumia portfolio. Nokia has been building smartphones around Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS and the Redmond giant says it aims to “accelerate the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies, and unified branding and marketing.” Though Steve Ballmer has heralded this as a big step into the future for Microsoft, the vendor has a patchy track record when it comes to hardware. Remember the Surface Tablet, its billion-dollar flop? There’s also plenty of attention on BlackBerry, which might well be putting a for-sale sign up soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Chinese companies comes along as a suitor.

Editorial Group Editor Jeevan Thankappan jeevan.thankappan@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409109 Editor Ben Rossi ben.rossi@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409114 Online Editor Tom Paye tom.paye@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9103 Contributor Dirk A. D. Smith ADVERTISING Commercial Director Rajashree R Kumar raj.ram@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409131 Sales Managers Michal Zylinski michal.zylinski@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409159 Antony Crabb antony.crabb@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409108 Circulation Circulation Manager Rajeesh M rajeesh.nair@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409147 Production and Design Production Manager James P Tharian james.tharian@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409146 Designer Analou Balbero analou.balbero@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409104 DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Photographer and Social Media Co-ordinator Jay Colina webmaster@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9100 Published by

WHERE TECHNOLOGY MEANS BUSINESS issue 260 | september 2013 WWW.CNmeONLiNe.COm

Zero-day attacks

How to fight back

are you open? The open-source dilemma

If you’d like to receive your own copy of CNME every month, log on and request a subscription: www.cnmeonline.com

What do edWard SnoWden and a data centre provider have in common?

Registered at IMPZ PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE

Quick as a flash

The regional rise of all-flash arrays

the evolution of disaster recovery

Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Printed by Printwell Printing Press

How cloud is changing how you should approach DR

From scratch Inside the mammoth IT transformation at Masdar

how a globally maligned si became part of a prospective $5bn company

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© Copyright 2013 CPI All rights reserved While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.


EDITORIAL Our events

Up in the air

Ben Rossi Editor Talk to us: E-mail: ben.rossi @cpimediagroup.com

4

You’ll be forgiven for being slightly confused about cloud computing right now, and this issue of CNME may or may not clear your thoughts. Excuse the pun (it’s so hard to resist when talking about this subject), but the role of cloud in the enterprise is very much up in the air right now. Just when things appear to be going toward a certain direction, something yanks it the other way. Like most IT solutions, it was the big American powerhouses who appeared to be paving the way in the cloud arena, with the rest of the world playing catch-up. These US vendors were delighted with the acceptance and trust that CIOs were building around cloud, and its role as the new way of supporting business functions. In the midst of this progression, a contractor for the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) leaked files to the press exposing mass surveillance programmes being carried out on American people and companies. Cue a global debate on the morals and concerns surrounding the privacy of personal information and corporate data. But lying deeper were severe implications on the global cloud market — overseas companies storing their data with American cloud companies also saw their data as vulnerable. Reports have predicted the leaks to cost the US cloud computing industry up to $35 billion — or in some forecasts, even more — as foreign companies boycott American vendors over the lack of trust caused by the hidden practices. The wider implication, of course, could be a mass defection from cloud solutions altogether, as enterprises around the world now must assume their data is accessible by the state of wherever it sits. That event is more unlikely, however, as the huge benefits of cloud do ultimately still exist, and organisations are more likely to trust their home nations with their information. Flick to page 66 to see the opportunity that now lies for local telcos and service providers, whilst page 36 examines concerns towards the state of cloud as a whole. One area where cloud is sure to continue its surge is in the disaster recovery arena, which is analysed further on page 52. To further exemplify the influence of cloud in the Middle East, we have two rather contrasting case studies this month. On the one hand, we have Masdar, who has reverted back from its previous complete outsourcing model, by embarking on a mammoth project to bring 50 percent of its IT functions in-house, and save a shed load of cash in the process. On the other hand, we have fleet management company GeoTab, who decided a fully managed hosting service was for them. The reasons for both are legitimate, and the contrasting stories only illuminate the intricacies of cloud, and how it can be moulded to fit any organisation and its needs. I have no doubt that cloud computing still faces many twists and turns before the true winners and losers are decided. But one thing to me remains certain — one way or another, it will play a part in the future of every business in the Middle East.

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

www.cnmeonline.com

Big Data

Symposium

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Contents

Our Strategic Partners Strategic ICT Partner

Strategic IT Transformation and Big Data Partner

Strategic IT NetworkingPartner

Strategic Technology Partner

ISSUE 260 | september 2013

76

32

66

How to fight back againsT zero-day attacks

MAsdar gives a lesson in cost reduction

10 BleakBerry: The gloomy outlook BlackBerry’s board has formed a so-called Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives for the future of the company. But what are the options? 14 The great turnaround With the much-delayed amalgamation of Indian systems integrators Tech Mahindra and Satyam Mahindra finally formalised, the merged entity has now set its sights on becoming a $5 billion company by 2015.

What do Edward snowden and a data centre provider have in common?

76 Zero-day attacks: How to fight back Most users are vulnerable long before and long after the patch comes out.

42 6

73 The mobile business With so many BYOD employees now using their Samsung smartphones for work, the vendor has cottoned on to the fact that there’s plenty of scope to dominate the enterprise market, too.

81 Growth by numbers Three years after Orange Business Services set out to generate revenues of $1.34 billion in emerging markets, CNME catches up with its MEA GM, Jean-Luc Lasnier, to see what part this region is playing in that plan.

The opensource network

Computer News Middle East

September 2013

www.cnmeonline.com


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Contents

Our Strategic Partners Strategic ICT Partner

Strategic IT Transformation and Big Data Partner

Strategic IT NetworkingPartner

Strategic Technology Partner

ISSUE 260 | September 2013

25

GeoTab jumps on the outsourcing bandwagon

Features 36 Dark skies ahead Can the big cloud vendors work around end-user state-surveillance concerns? 42 The open-source network A brand new network built using free tools sounds great on the face of it, but what are the pitfalls? 48 Quick as a flash Many businesses are doing away with their traditional storage systems, and opting instead for all-flash arrays.

54 Recovery for all The rise of cloud is providing a good fit for disaster recovery, but is it ultimately changing the way organisations should approach it? 60 Extending partnerships CNME looks into the all-important decision of partnership extension. 66 What do Edward Snowden and a data centre provider have in common? They’re both boosting the Middle East’s cloud industry.

Regulars

14

The great turnaround of satyam COMPUTER SYSTEMS

54

The evolution Microsoft’s executive of disaster reshuffle: Is Ballmer recovery on to something?

14

18 Infographic The state of malware in 2013.

20 Short takes We round up the top stories to take our eye in the last month

28 CIO Spotlight UOWD’s Joseph Aninias has used the high-octane approach to IT, found in his hometown of Manila, to get ahead in the UAE.

70 Analyst Corner With digitisation driving a need for new IT skills into the enterprise, and organisations struggling to find suitable talent, CIOs must adapt to survive.

48 8

84 Product Watch Keen to hold on to its old-school users, BlackBerry has released the 9720 smartphone on its classic BB7 platform.

The REGIONAL rise of all-flash arrays

Computer News Middle East

September 2013

86 Column CNME’s man about town, Tom Paye, discusses Steve Ballmer’s departure from Microsoft. www.cnmeonline.com


Intelligent scanning for smart business

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Drop a mixed handful of documents into the new Fujitsu iX500 scanner; anything you like from business cards to A3. Then just press the blue button. In less time than it takes to read this, the first page will be scanned and the image ready to be viewed. It can even scan both sides at the same time with no loss of speed. The iX500 will deliver perfect results: pages facing the same way and all images straightened. The new GI-processor performs the intelligent image enhancement responsible for great looking images. They can be easily stored as searchable pdfs to make finding them again child’s play, or if you want them on the move just use the in-built Wi-Fi to send the documents straight to your tablet or smartphone.

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in depth BlackBerry

BleakBerry: The gloomy outlook Things haven’t gone BlackBerry’s way this year. Following a loss of $84 million during the three months up to June 1, BlackBerry’s board has formed a so-called Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives for the future of the company. But what are the options? Tom Paye reports.

I

t all seemed so positive at BlackBerry Live in Florida earlier this year, didn’t it? New BlackBerry 10 devices were on the horizon, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was going to be made available on other platforms, and BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10.1 was garnering headlines. Alas, BlackBerry’s management saw their high hopes crashing back down to Earth this summer, as the new devices missed sales forecasts and the company continued to bleed money. Only 2.7 million phones running the BB10 operating system were shipped in the quarter ended June 1, and according 10

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

to Gartner, BlackBerry commanded just a 2.7-percent share of the global smartphone market in Q2. The firm’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, hoped to reassure analysts on a conference call after it was announced that the company was looking at strategic alternatives. “BlackBerry 10 is still in the early stages of its transition. In fact, we are only five months in to what is the launch of an entirely new mobile computing platform,” he said. But the analysts weren’t fooled, and Bill Menezes, Principal Research Analyst, Gartner, has painted a much bleaker picture of what’s happening at BlackBerry. www.cnmeonline.com

“We’ve seen for some time that BlackBerry was struggling. This latest move seems to be the company coming to terms with the idea that its days as a standalone enterprise in its current form are drawing to a close and that it cannot be a viable competitor without a significant structural change,” he told CNME. Heins’ assertions that BB10 could still yield results aren’t soothing many brows, then. It may only be nine months since the operating system was officially released, but Wall Street is impatient and customers are fickle — things like being able to offer a strong app ecosystem needed to happen


“BBM has long been one of the most popular features of the BlackBerry ecosystem; the company is making a reasonable bet that iOS and Android users, once they try it, will flock to BBM instead of the horde of other widely deployed messaging apps, such as WhatsApp or Skype,” he said. “Whether this helps the company in a material way depends on how it plans to monetise BBM on the other platforms, and whether iOS Messenger, WhatsApp and Skype users see any compelling reason to change to BBM.” Meanwhile, Ray Wang, Principal Analyst and CEO, Constellation Research, believes that, once upon a time, BlackBerry really could have cashed in on making BBM available on other platforms. "It was an excellent move — just five years too late," he said. BlackBerry is even being sourly tested in the enterprise world, where it is still seen as a reasonably strong brand. In the last issue of CNME, our editor, Ben Rossi, opined that BlackBerry could make a name for itself as an enterprise mobility firm. Wang agrees

Meanwhile, even traditionally favourable markets such as the Middle East have come down hard on BlackBerry in recent months. Yes, according to Gartner, BlackBerry is still one of the top five smartphone brands in the Middle East, commanding around 7 percent of the market in Q1 compared to just 2.3 percent of the US market. But in terms of overall mobile phone sales (including feature phones), the firm’s Q1 market share totalled just 1.8 percent. At the time of writing, the Q2 results hadn’t yet been broken down for the Middle East, but even if there was a marginal improvement, the numbers are hardly encouraging. BlackBerry is enduring something of a perfect storm, then, and with no break in the clouds on the horizon, it’s easy to see why analysts have shown concern. But what can BlackBerry do now that it has effectively acknowledged there are problems? The committee formed by Heins et al is said to be considering joint ventures or even the sale of the company. And according to Menezes, the firm faces hard choices whatever it decides to do.

“This latest move seems to be the company coming to terms with the idea that its days as a standalone enterprise in its current form are drawing to a close.” much quicker for BlackBerry. And while its market share continues to plunge, the likes of Microsoft are moving up in the ranks — Gartner recently said that Windows Phone made up 3.3 percent of the smartphone market during Q2. Initiatives like making BBM available on Android and iOS are being further scrutinised. And some analysts have called into question the firm’s decision to relinquish one of the unique selling points of the BB10 platform. For his part, Menezes believes that the strategy was based on reasonable assumptions, but it’s far from clear if the company will see any benefit from it.

that BlackBerry could "focus on enterprise mobility, security and access." But Menezes reckons that even enterprise customers can’t save BlackBerry in its current form. “While BlackBerry still enjoys a large global customer base amongst enterprises and governments, many of Gartner’s corporate customers have clearly removed BlackBerry from their primary consideration set as users have requested iPhones and Android devices as their company-provided or -funded smartphone. Its share of new sales into the enterprise does not appear to be any better than sales to consumers,” he explains. www.cnmeonline.com

“Sales figures appear to indicate that BB10 devices have not in fact caught on in a number of key markets such as the United States. Realistic options include those contemplated in assessing strategic alternatives, including a break-up of the company’s primary businesses (hardware, software solutions and services, patent portfolio) or a buy-out in its entirety by a suitor that can sustain BlackBerry while working to ensure the viability of some or all of those businesses,” he says. Wang's diagnosis of the situation is even bleaker. According to him, BlackBerry needs to look at any option it can in order to stay september 2013

Computer News Middle East

11


in depth BlackBerry

Thorsten Heins, CEO, BlackBerry

afloat. He explains: "After years of running the company into the ground and not listening to the advice of even its own employees, they have to look at all options." Any of these options come with a multitude of perils. What’s more, until something is decided, BlackBerry’s fortunes are unlikely to get any better — analysts like Menezes and Wang are warning customers and investors to monitor the situation closely. Sure, stocks surged by more than 10 percent when it was announced that Heins had formed the strategic committee, but that’s hardly an indication of the long-term outlook. “The fact that it is announcing plans to explore new alternatives, rather than identifying a strategic transaction or partnership, means the period of uncertainty about Blackberry’s prospects will continue for some time,” Menezes says. In the meantime, BlackBerry has made some encouraging announcements. Not long 12

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

after the firm was said to be mulling serious strategic changes, it launched the 9720 smartphone running the BlackBerry 7 OS. The device is a bid to stay relevant at the lower end of the smartphone market. And with sales of BB10 devices still sluggish, the company is still dependent on the old operating system, so it makes sense to release update phones running it. That said, the 9720 is hardly going to solve BlackBerry’s problems — if it does anything, it might just keep uncertain investors at bay. But according to Menezes, Gartner’s current sales forecast doesn’t anticipate any significant change in BlackBerry’s market share over the remainder of 2013. And Constellation's Wang expects "continued declines and more punishing sales revenues as more corporates continue to drop [BlackBerry devices]." However, Heins might be able to hold off criticism just long enough to pull something www.cnmeonline.com

out of the bag. In a statement after the special committee announcement was made, the CEO still managed to convey a sense of optimism. “We continue to see compelling long-term opportunities for BlackBerry 10. We have exceptional technology that customers are embracing, we have a strong balance sheet, and we are pleased with the progress that has been made in our transition,” he said. “We will be continuing with our strategy of reducing cost, driving efficiency and accelerating the deployment of BES 10, as well as driving adoption of BlackBerry 10 smartphones, launching the multi-platform BBM social messaging service, and pursuing mobile computing opportunities by leveraging the secure and reliable BlackBerry Global Data Network.” Unfortunately, Heins’ words give the impression of plugging an oil leak with a sticking plaster — BlackBerry needs much more than positive words to survive.


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in depth Tech Mahindra

G.B. Kumar, Vice President and Geo Head for the MEA and Turkey, Tech Mahindra

14

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

www.cnmeonline.com


The great turnaround With the much-delayed amalgamation of Indian systems integrators Tech Mahindra and Satyam Mahindra finally formalised, the merged entity has now set its sights on becoming a $5 billion company by 2015. To reach that goal, the head of its MEA and Turkey business is looking to double Middle East revenue. Ben Rossi reports.

W

hen Ramalinga Raju, the former Chairman of Satyam Computer Services, revealed in January 2009 that he had manipulated his company’s accounts by $1.47 billion, it shocked the business world. It was the biggest corporate fraud in India’s history. Had you predicted that the company would go on to be part of a $5 billion company by 2015, you would have been branded as crazy as Mr Raju himself. But such is business. Three months after the revelation, Satyam was acquired by Tech Mahindra, another systems integrator of similar size to Satyam. It wasn’t to be quite as easy as that, however. Tax and legal issues led to much toing and froing in the India courts, before the merger was finally approved and announced by the board of the companies

in March 2012. It would then be another 14 months before the two companies were legally merged. Both companies now have cause for cheer. The merged entity forges quite a formidable force in technology services, with revenue of $2.7 billion and a team of 84,000 professionals across 46 countries. What’s more, the company has now set its sights on a target of achieving revenue of $5 billion by 2015. Over in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, G.B. Kumar has been tasked with helping this region play a part in that target. To date, ongoing projects in the region are worth in excess of $150 million, which Kumar aims to double in the next two years. “I think it’s an exciting goal,” Kumar says. “In a nutshell, the objective for the Middle East is to double our revenues in the next two years from where we are now.

“My frustration has been that we play in less than $10 million ticket size deals, but 90 percent of the share of the wallet in this region go into greater than $10 million deals, so I’m not even present. I need to break through that part of the barrier." www.cnmeonline.com

“Right now, we collectively support close to 1,000 engineers in terms of actual projects, between onsite and offshore for the Middle East, and the typical way we work is 60 percent offshore and 40 percent onsite in this region.” To achieve that growth, Kumar is looking at the inorganic and transformational initiatives which will allow the company to move faster than the market. Among the keys to that is the market Tech Mahindra is targeting. “On the enterprise side, we have typically played in deals which are less than $5 million in terms of size,” he says. “The way I see it, there is an invisible glass ceiling.” Last year, Kumar and his team scored some big managed services wins with Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Mubadala and Aspire, which did allow Mahindra to break through that ceiling. He believes deals like these are integral to achieving the ambitious targets, and speaks of his “frustration” with Mahindra’s position in the market. “My frustration has been that we play in less than $10 million ticket size deals, but 90 percent of the share of the wallet in this region go into greater than $10 million deals, so I’m not even present. “I’m trying to play in 10 percent of the market and trying to gain market share. First of all, I need to break through that part of the barrier. Then the playing field is much bigger than where we are sitting today. I think that time is now.” However, with the amalgamation finally formalised, Kumar believes Mahindra can now target a much bigger market. “The advantage I have with the merger of the two companies,” he says, “is there is no stigma attached to the name anymore. The size of the company justifies customers to invite us to the bigger parties.” On top of this, Kumar is keen to expand Mahindra into the large markets of Turkey and Saudi through a number september 2013

Computer News Middle East

15


in depth Tech Mahindra

of partnerships, joint ventures and acquisitions.

Match made in heaven But new geographies and larger project sizes are not the only areas where Tech Mahindra is looking to expand. Indeed, the acquisition of Satyam was motivated by the very different markets each company played in. Whilst Tech Mahindra made its name as a successful telecom services company, seeing growth through big customers like BT (British Telecom) and AT&T, Satyam excelled in the enterprise space. “There was an opportunity for Tech Mahindra to really proliferate to the enterprise side, which was not its core competency,” Kumar says. “That is where the Satyam acquisition came into play; Tech Mahindra comes from the telecom depth of experience, and Satyam has always been known for its expertise from the enterprise perspective.” With that in mind, Kumar sees the amalgamation as a “beautiful complement of skill sets” in terms of creating a holistic organisation which can offer solutions to customers no matter their vertical. He adds that a further benefit which was not before realised is the evolution of the cloud, and other rising trends. “Three years ago, we were not thinking that cloud, bring your own device, and mobility technologies would

become so big,” he says. “So the merger has actually given rise to a very unique differentiator with customers when they’re talking these new technologies. “That is the unique intersection synergy that we have seen, which is really helping us in terms of driving the business to the next level.” And whilst legal issues got in the way of the acquisition running smoothly, Kumar says that internally the merger was much easier because of the differing skill sets. “Typically, a merger tends to be very painful between two large organisations when there is so much overlap that it’s chaos,” he says. “But here, whilst there were some overlaps relating to some administrative issues — like why would you have three admins supporting one region — when it came to technology competencies, it was very clear that they could leverage off each other.” The transition was helped, he adds, by the largely contrasting cultures and work philosophies of the companies. “The culture of Tech Mahindra was aggressive and results orientated with constructive confrontation,” he says. “The Satyam culture was very technically orientated, polite and relationshipfocused in the way they approached customers and built the business. “In my opinion, the way these two cultures complemented each other was

Ongoing Tech Mahindra projects in the region are worth in excess of

$150m unprecedented.” And keen to put a positive spin on the merger delays faced by the courts, Kumar refers to this as a “blessing in disguise”. “Those years actually gave us a very good runway for the organisations to work out of the same office and understand each other from a cultural perspective,” he says. “So when the whole thing was officialised in July, nothing really changed. “Tech Mahindra folks are sitting here, Satyam folks are sitting here — it’s the same office, and I was leading the entire region as a merged entity whilst the court cases were still going on. “So from a work and business-as-usual perspective, the integration had already taken place. For us, the official amalgamation was more of an event that happened and didn’t have any material implementation.” So the stage is set, and this time the spotlight is bright for a different reason. Not global shock or embarrassment, but excitement amongst a rapidly growing company.


The

State

of Malware

As 2012 drew to a close, the threat landscape continued to evolve on many fronts that have serious implications for the enterprise.

2013

Are you prepared for the state of Malware 2013? Malware is growing unabated, with no signs of slowing down. New Malware samples for quarter

New malware samples grew 35% from Q3 to Q4 2012.

12M 10M 8M

New malware samples in 2012 grew 50% annually over 2011

6M 4M 2M

Q1 2010

Q2 2010

Q3 2010

Q4 2010

Q1 2011

Q2 2011

Q3 2011

Q4 2011

Q1 2012

Q2 2010

Q3 2010

Q4 2010

MacAfee catalogues over 100,000 new malware samples every day. That’s 69 new threats every minute. or about one new threat every second.

Total Mobile Malware Samples

35K 30K

New malware samples increased 44x in 2012

25K 20K 15K 10K 5K 

2004

2005

2006

Source: MacAfee Labs Q4 2012 Threats Report

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012


Malware is getting more sophisticated. In addition to the increased volume of threats, the nature of the threats continues to become more dangerous. One of the best ways to circumvent standard system security is to electronically “sign� malware using a stolen or fabricated certificate.

New Signed Binaries

2M 1.5M 1M 500K

Instances of signed malware binaries increased by 3x in Q4 2012 Jan 2012

Advanced Persistent Threats

FEB 2012

MAR 2012

APR 2012

MAY 2012

JUNE 2012

JULY 2012

AUG 2012

SEP 2012

In Q4, a new APT called Project Blitzkrieg appeared that attacks consumers and banking institutions to execute illicit electronic fund transfers.

OCT 2012

NOV 2012

DEC 2012

Trojans

New unique passwordstealing Trojans grew 72% in Q4 2012

Master Boot Record-related Threats

600K 500K 400K 300K 200K 100K

Master boot record MBR attack-related samples jumped to over 600k in Q4 2012 Q1 2010

Q2 2010

Q3 2010

Q4 2010

Q1 2011

Q2 2011

Q3 2011

Q4 2011

Variants of families with known MBR payloads

Q1 2012

Q2 2010

Q3 2010

Q4 2010

Identified MBR components

New ransomware samples

200K 150K 100K 50K

Ransomware

New ransom ware samples soared in 2012 to over 200,000 new samples per quarter

Q1 2010

Q2 2010

Q3 2010

Q4 2010

Q1 2011

Q2 2011

Q3 2011

Q4 2011

Q1 2012

Malware infiltration and data exfiltration almost always occurs over a network. The only way to combat the onslaught of malware threats is through an approach to security that is:

Q2 2010

Q3 2010

Q4 2010

- End-to-end - Integrated - Real-time - Context-aware - Holistically managed


short takes Month in view

Etisalat to offer LTE roaming via IPX deal with SAP Etisalat will soon be able to deliver new standards of LTE roaming across the globe to its customers, thanks to a newly signed IP exchange (IPX) agreement with SAP. The agreement will help Etisalat launch LTE roaming quickly by interconnecting with SAP Mobile Services’ IPX customer community, a

statement from SAP said. IPX is a telecoms interconnection model for the exchange of IP-based traffic between customers of separate mobile and fixed operators. The idea is to share IP-based services within a commercial framework. Commercial relationships are then underpinned with service

Acquisition

Software AG is adding mash-up and real-time analytic capabilities to its line-up with the acquisition of JackBe, whose software allows users to bring together and visualise data from multiple sources.

Public cloud services market to soar The public cloud services market is predicted to exceed $180 billion by 2015, according to a newly released report by Gartner. The research firm has forecasted continued strong growth in public cloud services and says that end-user spending on public cloud services will grow 18 percent in 2013 to $131 billion.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison jumped into the NSA debate by saying some level of government surveillance is “essential” if the nation is to minimise the incidence of terrorist strikes.

20

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

level agreements to guarantee performance, quality and security. SAP Mobile Services’ community of IPX customers includes plenty of global operators. These operators will also be able to take advantage of Etisalat’s services for any of their customers visiting the Middle East.

Survey dispels ‘myths’ about software trends

WHAT’S HOT? Salesforce.com retained its number-one position on Forbes’ Most Innovative Companies list, which ranks companies by the difference between market capitalisation and a net present value of cash flows from existing businesses. Apple’s innovation problems were highlighted as it plunged to number 79.

Salesforce.com Cisco's net income rose 18 percent, and revenue 6 percent, in its fourth quarter, compared to a year earlier, as the company continued its push to transcend its networking roots and become the world's top IT company. It also announced it will eliminate about 4,000 jobs, saying it needs to pare down middle management to speed up decisionmaking and execution.

cisco

ERP applications may run the core operations of companies around the world, but enterprises are placing a higher priority in 2013 on other types of software, in particular BI (business intelligence), according to a new Forrester Research survey. “BI leads the adoption priority list, both in terms of expanding or upgrading existing installations and new implementations,” Forrester analyst Stefan Ried wrote in the report, which is titled Ten Myths And Realities Of The Software Market In 2013. The notion that public social networks have entered the enterprise is another myth, according to Ried. “Not quite right,” he said. “While employees value the open collaboration of social technology, they aren’t moving collaboration to public social networks like Facebook and Twitter.” Nearly half of the companies Forrester surveyed “are concerned about corporate collaboration issues and are keen to keep Facebook and Twitter streams clearly separated from corporate applications,” while only 14 percent want to integrate them, Ried wrote. 

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The Microsoft veteran announced his resignation 33 years after Bill Gates hired him as the company’s first business manager, and 13 years after he took on the role of CEO. Despite his long service to the company, some analysts have said his legacy has been stained by the failures of Windows RT and the Surface tablet. Others have suggested he was forced out by Microsoft’s board of directors.

Steve Ballmer Dell reported a 72-percent drop in profit, a month before an expected shareholder vote that could shape the future of the company. Dell is in the midst of a battle between founder and CEO Michael Dell, who wants to take Dell private, and a group of discontented shareholders who say he must pay more money in order to do so.

Dell

WHAT’S NOT?


Most government IT budgets flat or increasing

Acquisition

IBM has signed an agreement to acquire security company Trusteer, and plans to set up a new cyber security software lab. The financial terms of the proposed acquisition were not disclosed.

CareFirst makes moves in mobility CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, a leading not-for-profit health care company, has selected Cognizant to support its efforts to leverage mobile technology for its 3.3 million members. Under this engagement, Cognizant is working with CareFirst to establish a direct connection with its members, to provide them quick, secure and convenient ways to manage their health coverage, access information about physicians and claims, and obtain details about benefits using their smartphones and tablets. Cognizant will leverage its Mobility Testing Lab in Phoenix, AZ, for ondemand, cloud-based testing of the mobile applications across multiple devices and carriers, helping CareFirst save time and infrastructure maintenance costs. “Our move into the mobile space is driven by the growing significance of mobility in the overall connected health effort,” CareFirst said.

Kuwait school gives students ThinkPad tablets The American University School (AUS), Kuwait’s newest Pre-K through 12th-grade school, announced it will be the first school in the country to equip all students with the ThinkPad Tablet 2 from Lenovo. The comprehensive, school-wide technological infrastructure plan is aimed at ensuring that students receive instruction using the latest and newest technological learning tools. With the opening of the school in September, all students will receive a Lenovo Touch ThinkPad Tablet 2, which operates on Windows 8.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, thanked his Twitter followers as he passed the two million mark on the social network, making him the most followed leader in the Middle East.

Almost 75 percent of government IT budgets globally were reported as flat or increasing in 2013, according to a Gartner CIO survey. Many government CIOs are reporting that their budgets have stabilised or are increasing, despite a continuing drive to lower the cost of IT services, the research firm revealed.

Nokia buys out, renames Nokia Siemens Networks

BlackBerry unveils special edition Q10 for the Middle East BlackBerry recently took the wraps off a special edition Q10 handset, which will come coloured in gold and white.  The handset is exclusive to the Middle East, and comes in white with a gold-coloured, stainless steel frame, BlackBerry said. The device will also come with a gold-accented handset and a protective leather sleeve. BlackBerry is also throwing in a range of “unique” BlackBerry PIN numbers for anyone who buys the special edition device. Under the cover, the device is identical to the existing Q10. You get a 3.1-inch Super AMOLED touch screen, the BlackBerry 10 operating system and the characteristic BlackBerry keyboard.

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Nokia has finished its buyout of Nokia Siemens Networks and renamed the company Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN). Nokia and Siemens formed the company in 2006 as a joint venture focused on wired and wireless infrastructure. But Nokia Siemens had difficulty competing against mobile network giants Ericsson and Huawei Technologies, and in 2011 it launched a restructuring in which it cut 17,000 jobs and narrowed its focus to mobile broadband and related services. Nokia's own problems keeping up in the handset business made the venture's problems worse, analysts said.  september 2013

Since the restructuring, Nokia Siemens has made a comeback, partly on the strength of LTE carrier deals in the US, Japan and South Korea. It has posted strong profits in the past four quarters. For the second quarter of this year, Nokia Siemens made $10.5 billion, while Nokia as a whole lost €278 million.  In July, Nokia agreed to buy back Siemens' share of the company for $2.2 billion and make it a wholly owned subsidiary. The leadership of Nokia Siemens won't change; Rajeev Suri will remain CEO and the company's executive board will remain the same. 

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on location GeoTab

Send in the fleet When fleet management company GeoTab set up shop in the Middle East this year, it turned to eHosting DataFort for a fully managed hosting service.

G

eoTab is one of — if not the — biggest fleet and asset management companies in the world. Having started in 1996 in South Africa, the company has grown hugely over the past 17 years. It now manages around 400,000 vehicles worldwide, measuring GPS data and trip activity, sending the information back to a server via GPRS, and then providing insight into how fleets can be managed more effectively. To run such an operation, GeoTab needs an extremely competent IT system behind it, as Johan Wolhuter, Regional Manager, GeoTab, explains. “From an IT point of view, that’s a lot of data. Our first big customer was UPS in North America, and that fleet has now grown to about 90,000 vehicles, running on a single database. It’s all that data coming through. We collect the data via GPS, so we get our positional and speed data via GPS, and then feed that back to our servers via GPRS,” he says.

What’s more, the service has to be up and running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so when it came to setting up a Middle Eastern office in Dubai earlier this year, the company had some serious thinking to do about who its providers were going to be. GeoTab’s first thought was to link its regional servers to one of its other servers in either North America or South Africa. However, this option was quickly discarded, due to two very important factors. “We basically wanted to replicate what we’ve got in North America and what we’ve got in South Africa. The option was to use their services, which are available over here. But you’ve got the problem of latency. In our business, we are literally from the road to the map in between 30 and 40 seconds. It’s really live data,” Wolhuter says. “When you look at a map, and you want to see where your vehicles are, you actually want to know where they are — not where they’ve

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on location GeoTab

“There was literally somebody whose mobile number I had, that I could call if I had an issue. With the mobile operators, it’s this faceless wall — an 800 number that you call.”

Johan Wolhuter, Regional Manager, GeoTab

been two minutes ago. With the Americans, we have a latency of about 200 milliseconds back here, and to South Africa it’s about 350 milliseconds. That may not seem like a lot, but the refreshes take time.” The other factor came down to the locality of the data. Because many of GeoTab’s clients are set to be government entities and large, local conglomerates, the company realised that it would need to keep its customers’ data in the country, or at least in the region. That effectively ruled out linking back to either of the other global offices. Quickly, Wolhuter and his team landed on the idea of procuring a fully managed service from a local provider. The provider would host all of the data in a locally based cloud, as well as provide much of the hardware at the other end. This would solve both the issue over latency and the one about keeping all of the data within the region. Eventually, GeoTab landed on eHosting DataFort (eHDF) as the perfect fit, according to Wolhuter. “I looked at offerings from the operators, and they do have offerings but it wasn’t the best fit. I came across eHDF and it’s almost cookie cutter to what we have in South Africa. There, we use MTN, the big mobile guys in Africa, as both our mobile provider and our hosting provider. And if you look at the two services next to one another, it’s almost identical, so it was a good fit. The requirements were easily met.

GeoTab’s latency amounts to just

5

milliseconds from inside the UAE to the server.

We knew what we wanted from back then, and that was it,” he says. There were a couple of other reasons why the operators missed out on GeoTab’s business, too, Wolhuter explains. “The big reason why I went with eHDF was there was a person I could speak to. There was literally somebody whose mobile number I had, that I could call if I had an issue. With the mobile operators, it’s this faceless wall — an 800 number that you call, and then you speak to somebody that you’ve never spoken to before, who doesn’t know what’s going on, who doesn’t know your solution, who doesn’t know what you’re about. It was just impersonal,” he says. Once GeoTab had settled on eHDF as a provider, the company went about setting up in order to launch in March 2013. The agreement said that eHDF would provide the hardware and the software. However, GeoTab could still use its own database, and because eHDF’s offering was so similar to MTN’s in South Africa, building it up over here was simple enough. “I think we got a server in 2008 or 2009 with a Microsoft SQL enterprise database sitting behind it. And then we’ve written our own Web server on top of that. We don’t use IIS, we don’t use Apache, we don’t use anything. We’ve literally written our own proprietary Web server that sits on top of that. This is great for a number of reasons. We don’t have the usual vulnerabilities that the mainstream Web servers have, plus we keep control of our IP,” Wolhuter says. There were a couple of hiccups in the implementation process, but Wolhuter attributes this to “normal implementation stuff”. And now that the solution is fully operational, GeoTab’s latency issues are almost non-existent. “Our guys here now get a latency of about five milliseconds from inside the UAE to the server. From outside the UAE, it’s a little bit more, but it’s not a lot more. And the data is here,” Wolhuter says. GeoTab’s story with eHDF serves as a testament to what can be achieved through fully managed services. Wolhuter says that it’s a relief not to have to worry about managing a server himself, as if anything goes wrong, eHDF will have it handled. This, he explains, allows him to do what he needs to — focus on the business. “Now, all of a sudden, you don’t have to worry about it. There’s somebody else that’s always there, so if something happens to the server, they are there. I don’t have to drive from somewhere or send somebody to take care of it. It means we can concentrate on the business,” he says.

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september 2013

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27


CIO Spotlight Joseph Aninias

Joseph aninias, Manager of information technology and telecommunication services, university of wollongong in dubai

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CIO Spotlight Joseph Aninias

The best of home Using the high-octane approach to IT found in his hometown of Manila, the University of Wollongong in Dubai’s Joseph Aninias has emerged to become one of the most respected IT heads in the UAE.

“i

n Manila’s IT scene, the competition is high. You have to always be on your toes. You cannot be left behind in terms of training, in terms of implementation and in terms of the projects you do. It’s always about raising the bar.” The UAE’s IT scene might have its own levels of competition, but what we have in the Middle East is a far cry the Philippines capital. However, it is this high-octane approach to IT that has allowed Joseph Aninias, Manager of Information Technology and Telecommunications Services, University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), to emerge as one of the most respected IT heads in the business. It’s funny how Aninias’s career turned out, given that, when he first visited Dubai, he was simply working for an Internet service provider in Manila. He had come to the UAE for a holiday to visit his sister in 1999. However, he liked the environment so much that he figured he should extend his trip. Having overspent his travel budget a little, Aninias began looking around for employment options in Dubai. After all, he liked the Emirates life, so saw no reason to stop living it. “I’d learnt at the early stage that I could make quick bucks with part-time jobs,” he says. Having adopted a freelance mentality to working, Aninias soon became involved with a local TV organisation. He helped to build up the channel’s small local network. “Back in those days, remuneration wasn’t entirely clear, so I could price in my own way. To these guys, it made no difference — they just wanted me to fix something,” he says. Of course, there was a little bit of haggling, but because Aninias had that Manila mentality toward IT, he could justify his prices. Business heads would ask him why he charged what he did, and he’d respond by assuring that he would build them networks that last — because that’s what’s expected of IT managers in the Phillipines. “I said to them, ‘I will fix this stuff, and then you’ll never need to get someone in again. And I won’t need to come back again until it’s due for replacement,’” Aninias explains. “And after more than a year, it never broke.” During this freelance phase, one of Ananias’s clients offered him a full-time position, sensing that he could be a valuable asset to the IT department. Aninias accepted without hesitation, viewing the position as a stepping stone onto the regional IT scene, which he had decided he could thrive in. “So I resigned from my old job, I stayed here in Dubai, and I

worked at that company for almost three years,” he says. “Life then was nice and easy.” Aninias’s job revolved around looking after technological logistics. The company had offices in both Jebel Ali Free Zone and Deira, and it was up to Aninias to connect the two offices as best he could. Obviously, this proved difficult — online connectivity was only at the dial-up level, and the only way to get between both offices was to take the long drive down a much smaller Sheikh Zayed Road. Back in those days, if Dubai Marina had existed, it would have been seriously out of the way. However, after almost three years, when Aninias had succeeded in linking the two sites, he came to find the position a little boring. He resolved to re-start his career as a fully fledged IT manager, and thought it best to get going quickly. And that’s when he stumbled across a job advertisement at UOWD. “At first, I wondered what I’d do at a university — a university has pretty much got an established infrastructure,” he says. “But I thought I’d give it a go. When I was interviewed, I met one of the professors and the IT manager. They asked me all of this technical stuff, and the interview went for about two hours. “So I asked them, ‘What is the problem here that you’d like to solve? What do you want to fix?’ Then they ran through all the issues they were facing — the dial-up, the host network, the infrastructure, the emails, the website, and all that. And so I went to the whiteboard, and showed them a diagram of how we were going to fix it. I think they liked that, so they gave me the job as a network engineer.” At the time, UOWD only catered to around 200 to 300 students, so the IT team was simply composed of Aninias and the IT manager. However, this was perfectly manageable, and the pair found that they didn’t need anyone else. Aninias would handle the support side of things, while the IT manager would write the policies. However, soon after Aninias joined, things would move along much more quickly than he had anticipated. “After my first year, there was a plan to move to Knowledge Village, because the growth became exponential. We were going from 200 students to 500 to 1,500 and so on. We had a feeling that it was unstoppable because the economy was really growing. Around about that time, I felt we needed a technical support person.” What’s more, Aninias felt that the service level agreements that the university had with its vendors were not up to scratch. He advised the team that they needed to get rid of their vendors and draw up

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31


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CIO Spotlight Joseph Aninias

new service level agreements from scratch. “We were paying all this money but they weren’t coming here,” he recalls. Having discontinued their service level agreements with vendors, UOWD’s IT team then had a financial justification to hire someone as technical support. Aninias took it upon himself to shape the new employee on how UOWD ran its network. And once again, Aninias showed that his ability to turn high-stress problems into pragmatic solutions was something to be reckoned with. “We wanted to be technology-agnostic and cost-conscious,” he says. “And the finance people liked that. At the early stage, we had finance on our side already. Coming from a commercial background, I could see that driver. If you don’t have finance on your side, it’s always going to be a battle. Sure, you can always win the battle by injecting some technological terms, but you want finance to be on your side. You want to look out for the benefits of the company — you need to keep that in mind.” By 2003, Aninias’s Australian IT manager had decided to go back to his home country with his family. At the time, the university was going through a major restructuring — a new director had been appointed (a member of the Australian parliament, no less), and the organisation was keen to fill the missing gaps in management. Aninias seemed like a natural fit for the IT manager role, but he wasn’t entirely keen on taking the job at first. For one thing, he wasn’t sure he wanted the pressure of the top position, and for another, he enjoyed his down-in-the-wires job that allowed him to play with his technological toys. The biggest reason, however, was as ever a pragmatic one — throughout his time at UOWD, Aninias had come to be doing several jobs at once, meaning it would be nigh-on impossible to replace him. “I said to the director, ‘If you want to replace me, you’ll need to get five more people. You won’t find a generalist with the same attention to detail,’” Aninias explains. Despite this warning, though, the director asked Aninias to write those five job descriptions and hand them into HR. “In the same week, I saw the postings for those four or five positions,” he says. And within three months, Aninias had been appointed to the role of IT manager. That was in 2004, and Aninias has since overseen a massive expansion at UOWD. The university has moved to Knowledge Village, and built up one of the most robust IT systems in the business. Ever one to relish a new challenge, Aninias has also embarked on major projects, such as a desktop virtualisation initiative that has allowed new levels of learning flexibility. And in terms of his personal development, he completed his Master of Business Administration degree a few years ago. And having been at UOWD for more than 10 years, Aninias sees no reason why he won’t carry on as the university’s IT manager for many more years to come. He describes UOWD as a fantastic place to work. And while it may not be the high-octane and competitive approach to IT that he enjoyed in Manila, Aninias sees UOWD as the ideal place in which to put his skills to the test. “I’m bringing that spirit in Manila back here,” he says. “Raising the bar is what we do.”

TIMELINE

www.cnmeonline.com

1976

Born in Manila, the Philippines capital.

1999 Having visited his sister in Dubai for a holiday, Aninias decides to stay a little longer than he originally planned.

1999

Begins work at a logistics company.

2001 Offered a job at UOWD as a network engineer.

2004 Despite initial reluctance, accepts role of IT manager at UOWD.

2007 Completes a Master of Business Administration degree.

2010 Pioneers a desktop virtualisation project at the university.

september 2013

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33


on location Masdar

A lesson in cost reduction Masdar has turned heads around the world as the organisation behind an unprecedented and ground-breaking planned city run entirely on renewable energy resources. This time, however, it’s Masdar’s ICT transformation which is taking the spotlight

A

bu Dhabi stole headlines around the globe in 2006 when it financed a hugely ambitious $22 billion project to build the world’s first zero-carbon city. The extraordinary Madsar City plans, which rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable resources, were originally projected to take eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be completed in 2009. However, despite the project being largely funded by one of the richest states in the world, it could not avoid the consequences of the global financial crisis, and a change in strategy was required. The new plans scheduled phase one to be completed in 2015, and pushed overall completion back to between 2020 and 2025. More 34

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

importantly, the estimated cost was reduced by 10 to 15 percent, rebudgeting the development between $18.7 and $19.8 billion. With the new budget came a need for reduced costs across the organisation, and the Masdar management subsequently tasked every department with substantially lowering expenditure. Over in the ICT department, the Head of Enterprise Applications, Alok Srivastava, was appointed the Acting Head of ICT. Eagar to prove his bosses right for the appointment, and hopeful to bag the full position, Srivastava set out on leading an enormous project to drive down costs. At the heart of the mission was the plan to rid of Masdar’s complete outsourcing model, and bring 50 percent of its ICT in-house.

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Masdar’s IT department is now running at less than

50%

of the OPEX budget when compared to 2010.

The prospect of creating vast infrastructure — including applications, storage, servers and security — from scratch, and in a tight three-year time period, was no doubt daunting. But the IT team’s hard work paid off, with the restructuring contributing to the incredible ICT budget reduction of Dh35.5 million in 2010, to Dh18.7 million in 2013.

Under pressure The transformational journey in fact began in 2011 with a presentation from Srivastava and his team to the top management. “My take was that we know our business and department the best,” Srivastava says. “So if we all put our heads together, we would come up

with challenges and solutions to overcome them, and we did. “We were under pressure to justify our investments in IT, and demonstrate better ROI to management in the form of enhanced services and optimised operating costs. The first step was to know what we have, what it costs, and what are the pain points and gaps in all domains of IT.” Masdar’s biggest operational expenditures were on outsourced resources and telecommunication, followed by licenses and support costs of applications and hardware. With management also pressuring the department to decrease head count, it would have been impossible to bring all the IT in-house, so the decision was made to only take on critical domain knowledge. Restructuring the IT team’s organisation structure and job description was the first step to balancing the team. “The market was challenged and the business downturn was at its worst,” Srivastava says. “Every employee had to raise their bar and deliver. “In the process, some employees could not take up the pressure or fit into the restructured IT organisation structure. The objective was to have a lean in-house team which formed the core of the IT department, while we leveraged on our vendors for outsourced resources to ramp skills based on the business and project demands.” On the applications side, Masdar set out to reduce costs by eliminating applications and consolidating those processes on its key applications. It also consolidated storage, servers and network, and virtualised for further agility. “We did a critical review of the way our outsourcing model was structured — value addition by different models — and we moved away from complete outsourcing or managed services to a resourcebased outsourcing model,” Srivastava says. This decision saved Masdar more than Dh4.1 million a year, leaving the ICT team with a 50:50 ratio of in-house and outsourced resources. But with time so restricted, the implementations did not have the luxury of being phased out across multiple initiatives. Instead, Masdar had to start focusing on all the domains of ERP, EDMS, apps, infrastructure, data centre, service delivery, telecommunication, IT security and governance at overlapping time periods. “It was tough for me and the team to multi-task all these projects together, but there was that drive within all of us to transform the IT department and make the difference by adding value to Masdar,” Srivastava says.

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on location Masdar

His team created a PMO (project management office) portal on SharePoint with a RAID log to start tracking and prioritising the projects and their inter-dependencies. He drove his IT team with aggressive KPIs in the form of set targets and timelines, which formed the basis for individual and department performance evaluation. “The way KPIs are structured at Masdar, the focus is on team work, not on individuals, which sends a very positive message to everyone to work as one team,” Srivastava says. “We had weekly meetings to discuss the progress and bring focus on the critical initiatives with monthly management reporting on the performance of the department, KPIs, initiatives, revenue, budget verses actuals, the challenges ahead, and the PMO dashboard.” The restructuring meant touching almost each and every nut and bolt in Masdar’s IT department. Such an environment meant the team was operating in a very fluid business model where things evolved, plans changed, deadlines were extended, and unexpected business demand pushed them to the limits. “We were questioning the existence of almost everything in the department,” Srivastava says. “And we were very ruthless in our approach to consolidate and optimise costs. “Legacy creates comfort”, and “one tends to protect that love for the past”, he adds, attributing his infancy with the set-up for providing the leverage to look from a “cost verses value addition” perspective. “I had to pull plugs on so many aspects in the IT department to ensure we remained focused on the transformation journey to consolidate IT and optimise costs,” he says. “Sometimes my team used to wonder on my drive as I was only Acting Head of IT waiting for Head of IT to be recruited, but this did not bother me, as the professional in me wanted to add value back to Masdar, and also prove my boss right for putting his trust in me to be Acting Head of ICT.” But the strain and determination was worth it in the end, with Masdar’s IT department now running at less than 50 percent of the OPEX budget when compared to 2010. Every year, the department is spending under the budgeted amount, and in 2012 it saved more than 21 percent of its OPEX budget due to the cost optimisation initiatives on telecommunications, and overall IT spend. Looking back at the transformation, Srivastava says he feels “phenomenal” about the achievements. “I’m extremely proud,” he says. “I love challenges, and in all my jobs I try to set new benchmarks of performance and achievement.

Since 2010, Masdar has decreased its IT budget by

dh16.8m 36

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“We were under pressure to justify our investments in IT, and demonstrate better ROI to management in the form of enhanced services and optimised operating costs. The first step was to know what we have, what it costs, and what are the pain points and gaps in all domains of IT.” Alok Srivastava, Head of ICT, Masdar

In the past, I have delivered the fastest and most comprehensive implementations of ERP and business intelligence at Emaar and Sorouh, but what I have been able to deliver at Masdar will be really tough to beat. “Some people find it really hard to believe what we have delivered at Masdar over the last two years, as the focus was not just on costs but on overall IT services performance, green aspects and delivery.”

Against the tide Such a project appears to go against the upward trend of enterprises moving towards models of outsourced IT, but Srivastava believes that’s not necessarily the case. “We have not gone against outsourcing,” he says. “Outsourcing will continue its upward trend as IT becomes more and more complex to manage with the fast-paced business-world dynamics. “What we have done at Masdar is critically evaluate multiple models of outsourcing, and choose the one which best met our current business demands. Moving from managed services to resource-based made enormous sense for Masdar, but it may be a mistake for another business organisation.” With the market so competitive, and the skill sets needed to run today’s IT so vast, it is very difficult to have IT completely in-house, he adds. “You have to leverage the vendors and their resource skill-sets to deliver the services to business. The challenges of retention, performance-driven rewards and skill upgrade remain with the inhouse team.” With the huge success of IT cost optimisation contributing to Masdar’s overall goals of reducing expenditure, it serves as no surprise that Srivastava was offered the official Head of ICT position, effective from January 2013.

www.cnmeonline.com


The Power To Say Yes To BYOD THE BYOD CHALLENGE As smartphones and tablets multiply in the workplace, do you know the best way to take advantage of these devices while retaining control of your network? Fortinet provides security for users, applications, and data, enabling secure mobile device access in any networking environment, regardless of other technologies or solutions in place. With promises of increased productivity and worker satisfaction Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is now at the forefront of most IT discussions today. From a security perspective BYOD opens up numerous challenges around network, data, and device security. It blurs the lines between privacy and accessibility, security and usability.

Many organizations have tried a variety of approaches to allow for BYOD, to capitalize on this trend by shifting maintenance costs to the employee, eliminating the standard-setting role of IT, with limited success. Workers have discovered the power of constant connectivity and have come to expect secure access to their corporate network regardless of location. End users want the ability to use personal devices for work purposes, their belief being that personal devices are more powerful, flexible, and usable than those offered by corporate. Talk to Fortinet or Secureway representative today about securing BYOD.

If you have any questions or concern please call us on +9715 50 600 7996 or email us on customersupport2@secureway.ae


FEATURE

Cloud

Dark skies ahead Just as cloud was beginning to gain acceptance in the Middle East, concerns over data security came to a head this year as news of the PRISM surveillance programme broke. Can the big cloud vendors work around this, or is there a gloomy outlook for cloud in the region?

A

nd it was all going so well. As vendors began to build more comprehensive cloud-based product roadmaps, Middle Eastern users were beginning to see just how cloud services can streamline their businesses. According to a Gartner report from earlier in the year, cloud adoption was due to grow monumentally in the region up to 2016. This was largely due to issues surrounding security and compliance being ironed out. It’d be easy to say that the rest is history, but earlier this year, an NSA contractor called Edward Snowden leaked documents suggesting the existence 38

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of a blanket digital surveillance programme known as PRISM. The documents inferred that the US government had access to any file hosted by the country’s big tech vendors — including the ones that provide cloud services to millions around the globe. Suddenly, vendors’ assertions that your cloud data will always be secure seemed much less sincere. According to Natalya Kaspersky, CEO, InfoWatch, businesses need to take these news developments seriously, even if they’re not even adopting a cloud strategy. “If we talk about Google Docs, for example, now we clearly understand that Google shares information of its clients with the USA National Security Agency. www.cnmeonline.com


STRATEGIC IT INNOVATION PARTNER

SOLUTIONS WORLD

“If you don’t use Google Cloud, you’d probably use Google Search or maybe Facebook, Microsoft Office or other computer tools developed in the USA. That means, one way or another, you will be under Big Brother’s eye.” Natalya Kaspersky, CEO, InfoWatch

This causes concerns, so if you don’t use Google Cloud, you’d probably use Google Search or maybe Facebook, Microsoft Office or other computer tools developed in the USA. That means, one way or another, you will be under Big Brother’s eye. This is the reality that companies need to understand,” she says. For those looking to adopt a cloud strategy, the allegations over NSA spying are much more pertinent. It speaks volumes that, when we contacted the big American vendors about this article, the question on whether regional customers are now wary of US-based cloud services was dodged in more than one case. But according to Jatin Sahni, Vice President, Large Enterprise and Business Solutions Marketing, du, www.cnmeonline.com

Middle Eastern businesses definitely are wary about US-sourced cloud services. “It is a key question that is driving a lot of the decisions to adopt cloud services from American companies or cloud services storing data in American data centres,” he says. This is good news for a local telco such as du, as regional operators have begun to offer world-class cloud services to rival the American ones. Now that the PRISM news has broken, the likes of du and Etisalat have enticed users with assertions that data is hosted locally — not in the US where the NSA might have access to it. “More advanced services, such as hybrid clouds, PaaS and niche applications platforms, are being developed and offered locally, and would put local september 2013

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FEATURE

Cloud

“More advanced services, such as hybrid clouds, PaaS and niche applications platforms, are being developed and offered locally, and would put local providers on par with international offerings.” Jatin Sahni, Vice President, Large Enterprise and Business Solutions Marketing, du

providers on par with international offerings,” Sahni says. Even the big, American corporations have to admit that local cloud service providers look a little more attractive these days. But according to Ahmad Muammar, Systems Engineer Manager, Gulf, EMC, this isn’t just down to concerns over privacy. What’s more, larger customers might still want to go for the bigger providers. “I believe that local service providers, or global ones with a strong local presence, are the ones who will win more business in the enterprise sector, and this is not specific only to the Middle East,” he says. “For SMBs, the market will split between local CSPs who are more attractive due to data privacy and regulations, and others who will go to global providers who give them a cost advantage due to the scale of economy.” Cost isn’t the only advantage that comes from dealing with a large cloud provider, according to Louay Dahmash, Head of Middle East, Autodesk. He believes that companies looking to pursue a cloud strategy should be more concerned about technical knowhow than data privacy. Sure, the NSA might potentially have access to your data, but — as we wrote earlier this year

A few tips to consider in order to ensure that your data is safe: 1) Secure your data transfer: Make sure your data is always travelling through a secure channel; only connect your browser to the provider via a URL that begins with 'https://'. 2) Secure your software interface: Customers should be aware of software interfaces, or APIs, that are used to interact with cloud services. Reliance on a weak set of interfaces and APIs exposes organisations to a variety of security issues related to confidentiality, integrity, availability, and accountability.

Louay Dahmash, Head of Middle East, Autodesk

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

Sudheer Subramanian, Senior IT Solutions Manager, Huawei Enterprise Middle East Security and privacy of data is the number-one priority for all businesses when moving to the cloud. The challenge facing IT managers today is how to realise the benefits of cloud while maintaining control over the data and ensuring the organisation is protected from damaging data breaches.

“Businesses in the Middle East realise that, to reap the benefits of cloud technologies, it is important to work with providers with a high level of sophistication and knowhow with regards to the technology.”

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How to secure your cloud data

www.cnmeonline.com

3) Secure your stored data: Data should be encrypted to ensure that it is secured in the service provider’s storage system. 4) Separate your data from others: Should a customer wish to migrate their data to a cloud service provider, they should ensure that their data is not exposed to other customers who may have their application hosted in the same environment. A multi-tenant DC environment, for instance, should ensure that data is compartmentalised and encrypted, so that there is minimal risk of unauthorised data access.


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FEATURE

Cloud

— that shouldn’t be an issue if you have nothing to hide. “Businesses in the Middle East realise that, to reap the benefits of cloud technologies, it is important to work with providers with a high level of sophistication and knowhow with regards to the technology,” he says. “Local controversies will have a short-term impact on businesses, but eventually, for the benefit of the customer, businesses will have to partner with the best, some of which are organisations from mature economies.” Kaspersky, a big advocate of data privacy, admits that “the Middle East isn’t a leader in software development, so Gulf companies need to use solutions from international vendors.” What’s more, Kaspersky believes that cloud computing will still continue to be adopted more widely, simply because businesses can save on costs using it. Indeed, there’s no doubting that cloud services make up a compelling prospect to the average SMB owner, says Rajesh Abrahim, Director of Product Development, eHosting DataFort. “Not many enterprises bought into the idea straight away but the hype is now turning into reality and we are seeing increased uptake. We see a higher uptake for non-critical workloads and more and more small businesses adopting the public cloud because of benefits such as access to latest technology, monthly subscription fees and low total cost of ownership,” he says. EMC’s Muammar says that businesses shouldn’t look at cloud differently because of the PRISM allegations. Instead, they should be looking at how the cloud can help them cut costs and become more agile. If businesses align their cloud strategies to their business objectives, the prospect of adopting cloud becomes too good to ignore, he believes. “Cloud can be seen as the efficiency frontier — one which can add a lot of agility to the organisation’s foundation of execution. Cloud will continue to

“I believe that local service providers or global ones with a strong local presence are the ones who will win more business in the enterprise sector, and this is not specific only to the Middle East.” Ahmad Muammar, Systems Engineer Manager, Gulf, EMC

Until 2016, the UAE cloud market is set for a compound annual growth rate of

43.7%

“We see a higher uptake for non-critical workloads and more and more small businesses adopting the public cloud because of benefits such as access to latest technology, monthly subscription fees and low total cost of ownership.” Rajesh Abrahim, Director of Product Development, eHosting DataFort

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be one of the biggest drivers of IT and business transformation, helping enterprises achieve efficiencies that were not possible earlier. As we go further in this journey, there is no doubt that we will see more and more organisations revamp their strategies to continue to align IT objectives to larger business goals to further drive growth and competitive differentiation,” he says. The numbers are on Muammar’s side. In a recent survey conducted by IDC, over 80 percent of high-level IT decision makers in the region’s financial sector — a vertical traditionally opposed to cloud computing — acknowledge that cloud computing offers significant benefits. And according to the research house, the UAE cloud market alone is set for a compound annual growth rate of 43.7 percent until 2016. This might be great news, but what about the privacy risks now associated with cloud? What’s more, were the previous issues around security and compliance really ironed out before the NSA leaks? According to Kaspersky, there are still problems that need addressing, but there are solutions, too. “Service providers don’t take the legal responsibilities for client’s data in the cloud. But as soon as the clients put their data in the cloud they essentially lose control over the information. It’s extremely hard to provide a legal environment for using data in the cloud since service providers give no guarantees that client’s data won’t leak. Therefore, securing a client’s data through insurance companies can be one of the proposed solutions, which still hasn’t been implemented so far,” she says. Whether it is worth taking that risk now is up to CIOs themselves. Some have adopted cloud strategies simply because of the benefits it can bring their businesses — and they’ve done it using big, American tech vendors. Others may want to be more cautious. One thing is for sure, though — with the controversy surrounding PRISM continuing to rage, coming up with a good cloud strategy just got that much harder.


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FEATURE

Open-source networking

The opensource network With many mature and proven open-source networking tools now available, many organisations have called time on buying the expensive products put out by big vendors. A brand new network built using free tools sounds great on the face of it, but what are the pitfalls? CNME investigates. 44

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strategic it networking partner

network WORLD

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etworking has come on leaps and bounds in the past decade. And as the sphere continues to expand and diversify, encompassing both wired and wireless devices, all manner of commercially available tools have been released from the big vendors. But while the likes of Cisco, HP and countless others promise much with their feature-rich tools for building up and managing networks, the open-source community has also stepped in with robust offerings. Indeed, products such as Nagios Core 3.5, NetXMS 1.2.7 and OpenNMS 1.10.9 are now fully mature network monitoring solutions that promise users more flexibility than they’d otherwise get from big vendor products. Likewise, other tools have surfaced to help users build and define their networks, and they’re gaining steam quickly. www.cnmeonline.com

september 2013

300,000 The number of downloads that PacketFence, an open-source network access control solution, has seen.

Computer News Middle East

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Open-source networking

FEATURE

“People have looked to try to do things faster, try to automate things. And with regards to scripts and small programs, they’re taking up open-source off the Web, bolting them together, and ultimately coming up with a little program or script that goes and does things a little bit faster for their own particular area.”

Cisco invests about

$10bn per year into R&D.

Den Sullivan, Head of Architectures for Emerging Markets, Cisco

But is it right to go with open-source when it comes to networking? After all, if a company’s network goes wrong because it was set up using open-source technologies, it has no-one to blame but itself. What’s more, patches and fixes may not be as easy to manage as they are with the standard commercial products. According to Den Sullivan, Head of Architectures for Emerging Markets, Cisco, however, it is possible to see why people would go down the route of open-source networking. “I think that there’s often a perception in the market that the vendors — such as the Ciscos of the world, and other network technology vendors — have closed boxes. People think they’re closed and there’s a lack of innovation. I think, as a result of that perception that some have, they’re always looking for alternatives. We do that in our lives with consumer products, and we do that in our lives with professionals as well — if there is an alternative, I think we’ll definitely try to explore it,” he says. However, he believes that people might be misguided when they cite a lack of innovation on the part of the vendors as a reason to move to open-source. “Cleary, from Cisco’s point of view, we invest over $5 billion a year in our R&D, which is more than 10 percent of the company’s

“What I see people use it for today is largely automation of tasks. And I don’t think that has really changed. People have looked to try to do things faster, to automate things.”

www.cnmeonline.com

annual revenue. That sort of innovation track is realistically not true,” he says. That said, Sullivan admits that he does see open-source networking tools being used for the right reasons, too. He points out that network managers might use these tools in order to get a little more from their boxes, or else automate tasks. And from that point of view, open-source networking tools look reasonably attractive. “What I see people use it for today is largely automation of tasks. And I don’t think that has really changed. That has been all the way through my career history. People have looked to try to do things faster, to automate things. And with regards to scripts and small programs, they’re taking opensource off the Web, bolting them together, and ultimately coming up with a little program or script that goes and does things a little bit faster for their own particular area,” he says. Sullivan believes this is all that open-source networking is limited to in the region. And it’s easy to see why someone might be interested in exploring the option. Of course, another draw for exploring open-source networking tools is cost – many of these tools are available for free on the Web, meaning an enterprise could save a significant amount by not purchasing a commercially available tool. That said, Sullivan says that the main reason why someone would explore open-source networking tools isn’t about saving money; he believes the main draw for it is trying to achieve more programmable flexibility. Indeed, he has his own ideas about the costs involved in opensource networking, and he says that the pitfalls to exploring open-source tools could very well negate the benefits. september 2013

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Open-source networking

“When you’re down there in the weeds, sticking it all together, building it yourself, when you can actually go out there and buy it, I think you’re probably increasing your cost base whilst you actually think that you may be getting something cheaper,” he says. “Having been the CIO at Cisco for a very large region indeed, I think, really, that’s not the value of IT — to be creating your own thing, stitching it all together, whether it’s from various different vendors or whether it’s actually creating programs and actually building it all yourself. I think the role of IT is really around the issue within the business, and enabling your business to achieve its goals.” According to Sullivan, building a network using open-source tools would demand that the head of IT was pretty much always on-hand to help with the work. This would mean that the CIO or IT manager would then have less time to work out how the IT department can best serve the business. In the long run, this could mean that building the network with open-source tools could lead to more money spent, as the IT head may miss important opportunities or problems. “You look at where the business is going. Is that about you getting faster to market, is that about growth in the market, is that about going into new markets? What is that? How does the IT group align with that strategy, and then how best do they deliver it? Ultimately, I don’t think that is always about going and building it yourself, and stitching it all together,” he says. “It’s almost like the application world. Say you’ve got 10,000 sales people — why would you go and build a sales tool to track their forecasting, to track their performance, to track your customer

Open-source network monitoring tool Zabbix is said to be able to monitor up to

10,000 devices at once.

“It’s almost like the application world. Say you’ve got 10,000 sales people — why would you go and build a sales tool to track their forecasting, to track their performance, to track your customer base?” www.cnmeonline.com

FEATURE

base? These things are readily available. They’re built by vendors who have got years and years of experience, so why are you going to start trying to grow your own?” Perhaps, then, that’s why open-source tools aren’t widely used to build networks in the Middle East. Indeed, Sullivan claims he “doesn’t come across it all”, aside from when it’s limited to adding a little more flexibility to the network. That said, Sullivan does admit that the word “open” resonates with a lot of CIOs in the Middle East, but that instead they should be concentrating on software-defined networking (SDN) in order to achieve more openness. “Of course, I see people very interested in the word ‘open’, in regards to software-defined networking, but I don’t see them actually going and creating their own networks through opensource, readily available programs out there on the Internet. I do see an interest in regards to openness, flexibility and more programmability — things like the Open Network Foundation and everything in regards to SDN,” he says. Whether a CIO is ready to take on SDN is another subject entirely — particularly given the lack of standards and the emerging nature of the technology. So perhaps it’d be advisable to explore proven open-source technologies if you can’t find what you want from the major vendors. That said, Sullivan advises caution when taking the decision to design and build a network using open-source tools, even if the project is only small-scale. “While you may consider that you’re putting it all together, or you’re creating something highly customised specific to your area, is that fundamentally your role in the group? Is that value creation for your company? Is that value creation for your board in the direction that the company is trying to achieve? How much are you going to spend on it? There’s always that classic example of build versus buy. You’ve got to make those decisions based upon your own interests of the time,” he says. The open-source debate may be raging elsewhere in the world, but in the Middle East, there doesn’t seem to be much of an appetite for it. Some organisations may pursue these tools for specific projects or to add a little more flexibility, but in terms of the network at large, it would seem that people in the Middle East prefer buy over build. september 2013

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FEATURE

Flash memory

Quick as a flash With the disk-based storage industry struggling to keep up with demand, and the speed increases promised by flash storage, many businesses are doing away with their traditional storage systems, opting instead for all-flash arrays.

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Strategic Technology Partner

storage advisor

W

hichever way you look at it, hard-disk storage space is running out. It might sound like an impossibility — after all, vendors can simply carry on creating more disks. But the reality is that, because of super-fast Internet and Big Data, the supply of storage can’t keep up with demand. Industry insiders estimate that the storage demand is going to continue to grow north of 50 percent. “What we’re struggling to do as an industry is keep up,” Mark Whitby, Vice President of EMEA Sales and Marketing, Seagate, tells CNME. “The rate at which we squeeze the data onto the disk is growing at about 15 percent, and that’s finite.”

Whitby acknowledges that, as a storage vendor, it’s a good problem to have, but that doesn’t change the fact that, at some point, an enterprise will have to compromise on the amount of storage it can have — at least when it comes to traditional disk storage. Surprisingly, though, the answer could lie in flash storage. It’s surprising because, even up to a couple of years ago, the notion that flash storage could replace traditional storage altogether was branded nonsense. Flash technology simply wasn’t able to offer the kinds of capacities that enterprises — or individual users — demanded. What’s more, it was still prohibitively expensive. www.cnmeonline.com

september 2013

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FEATURE

Flash memory

“Traditional storage solutions are neither agile nor fast when it comes to accessing that stored data. Flash storage enables businesses to expand their storage capacity quickly while maintaining agility and gaining overall efficiency.” Aaron White, General Manager, Middle East and Turkey, Hitachi Data Systems

Now, though, the vendors have worked out how to make flash storage a genuine contender against traditional, disk-based storage. Many vendors now offer all-flash-array storage stacks, and they’re asserting that, in the long run, it’ll actually be cheaper to run these devices. Aaron White, General Manager, Middle East and Turkey, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), explains why the idea of flash storage is beginning to take hold. “Today, enormous amounts of data are being created from a variety of sources, such as applications, new mobile devices, Big Data analytics, and the cloud. This is changing the speed with which business is conducted and the scale at which it occurs. Many businesses are now turning to flash to implement new and innovative ways to provide enterprise-grade service while delivering higher performance, lower costs and increased efficiencies across the data centre. When done right, flash systems allow companies to accelerate access to information for faster decisionmaking, analysis and productivity,” he says. According to White, the flash systems of today can offer businesses the ability to access information more quickly, and consolidate data in less space. This should deliver both cost and time savings. He also claims that modern flash systems offer increased performance and durability over hard drive-based systems. That said, not all vendors are offering such good flashbased options.

“What we’re struggling to do as an industry is keep up. The rate at which we squeeze the data onto the disk is growing at about 15 percent, and that’s finite.” 52

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www.cnmeonline.com

“The majority of flash storage vendors use industry standard SSDs for flash, which have technical shortcomings in enterprise situations. To combat this, HDS engineers its own controllers that prevent this — offering customers four times the performance at a similar cost,” he says. HDS hasn’t got the market to itself, though — HP’s new all-flash arrays have also been highly rated, as have a number of new systems from EMC. The upshot is that there are now a number of serious options for anyone looking to update an outmoded disk-based storage system. But is flash really the way to go? According to White, if you’ve got the budget for the initial investment, all-flash arrays provide significant advantages over the ageing disk-based competitors. “Businesses of all sizes can benefit from all-flash arrays. Regardless of business size, they are coping with massive amounts of data from applications on mobile devices, tablets, the cloud and other sources. Businesses are often so overwhelmed by the amount and variety of file and other data cascading through their operations that they struggle just to store the information, much less make it easily accessible for business analysis and interpretation,” he says. “Traditional disk-bound storage can’t keep pace with the growing volumes of data. Traditional storage solutions are neither agile nor fast when it comes to accessing that stored data. Flash storage enables businesses to expand their storage capacity quickly while maintaining agility and gaining overall efficiency.” What’s more, businesses should see a significant return on investment from an all-flash system — White claims that HDS’s Accelerated Flash Storage system can lower the cost per bit by up to 46 percent. Indeed, HDS claims that its new infrastructure solutions can reduce the total cost of ownership by up to 30 percent — and other vendors claim similar savings with their


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Flash memory

solutions. This, with the added benefits described by White, makes flash storage an altogether more appealing prospect. But what about cloud? Can smaller businesses forgoe the need for much on-site storage at all by migrating their storage needs over to the cloud? Many are already doing this with the likes of DropBox, Google Drive and Amazon Web Services. With cloud services offering a compelling alternative to traditional disk-based storage, is flash storage a moot point? According to Whitby, the answer is no. Yes, many smaller businesses have benefitted immensely from cloud-based storage systems, but the cloud won’t be the answer to everyone’s problems, he says. After all, the data still needs to be stored somewhere, and if everyone suddenly migrated to the cloud, it would mean that the cloud providers would have to invest in warehouses of storage. That cost would be passed onto the customer, meaning that one of the biggest benefits of cloud storage would then be lost. If cloud isn’t the answer to the problems behind traditional disk storage, then, we land squarely back on the flash argument. But this need not be a bad thing. According to White, flash memory will end up playing an enormous part in allowing businesses to take advantage of the global explosion of data. “Flash memory will play a large role in helping businesses manage the exponential growth of data. Enhanced solutions will enable businesses to accelerate insight, improve decision-making and free up resources to attain innovation that transforms businesses. Cost-effective flexibility and elasticity of private cloud deployments offer the speed and ability to sustain peak workloads. These benefits are vital to support the service levels enterprises require to meet user demands,” he says. In the Middle East, IT departments are beginning to wake up to the benefits of flash storage. As prices go down and the technology begins to offer the same — if

Industry insiders estimate that the storage demand is going to continue to grow north of

50%

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september 2013

A flash array is a solid-state storage disk system that contains multiple flash memory drives instead of spinning hard disk drives. Flash memory, which has no moving parts, is a type of non-volatile memory that can be erased and reprogrammed in units of memory called blocks. It is a variation of erasable, programmable, read-only memory (EEPROM), which got its name because the memory blocks can be erased in a single action or “flash”. A flash array can transfer data to and from solidstate drives (SSDs) much faster than electromechanical disk drives. Flash is generally more expensive than spinning-disk technology. However, the development of multi-level cell (MLC) flash has lowered the price of SSDs.  MLC flash is slower and less durable than singlelevel cell (SLC) flash, but companies have developed software that improves its wear levels to the point where MLC is acceptable for enterprise applications. SLC flash still remains the choice for applications with the highest I/O requirements, however.

“Flash memory will play a large role in helping businesses manage the exponential growth of data. Enhanced solutions will enable businesses to accelerate insight, improve decisionmaking and free up resources to attain innovation that transforms businesses.”

54

? What is a flash array?

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not better — capabilities as traditional, disk-based systems, businesses have realised that flash storage is now a real alternative to what they were using before. “HDS has seen increased adoption in the region for flash storage,” White says. “One in three of HDS’ clients last quarter represented new relationships, all of which were about modern storage strategies. Flash storage offers a solution that boosts businesses performance power, storage capacity, and reduced costs.” And with disk-based storage already running out, perhaps many businesses are thinking that it’s better to get on the flash train sooner rather than later. Whatever happens, though, it’s clear that disk-based storage can’t keep up with the demands of modern businesses. And with few other alternatives around, flash-based storage looks like the safest bet.


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The rise of cloud is providing a good fit for disaster recovery, but is it ultimately changing the way organisations should approach it? CNME broaches DR in the cloud era.

www.cnmeonline.com

september 2013

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Disaster recovery

U

nlike many IT solutions, disaster recovery is not a difficult one to explain. No knowledge awareness is necessary, and it doesn’t take a whiteboard and several coffees to make management understand its purpose. The trouble is, people tend to think a disaster won’t happen to them. Floods, hurricanes and earthquakes are the last things on the mind of CIOs in, say, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. Furthermore, traditional DR is expensive, often requiring a large upfront expense for the hardware, software and network infrastructure required across multiple sites. Not to mention the costs and complexities to manage and maintain the sites once complete, and the strain it puts on already overburdened IT staff. As such, surely you’d rather spend your budget on one of those fancy Big Data appliances, or an exciting new mobility scheme, than invest it in something you’ll probably never need? However, there is more to disaster recovery. Cyber-crime is nothing to scoff at, and nobody is safe. One minute, everything’s fine, the next your servers have been brought down by some weird group of hacktivists in a far-away country. Then you’ll really wish you had invested in disaster recovery. Fortunately, cloud computing is on hand to save the day. With as-a-service being applied to almost all IT functions these days, it was only a matter of time before DR joined the bandwagon. Gartner predicts that over 30 percent of midsize companies will have adopted cloud-based DR, or ‘recovery-asa-service (RaaS)’, by 2014.

“As we are gradually shifting to the new cloud-based IT model, the entire philosophy on how organisations approach their information technology operations is changing.”

FEATURE

“Cloud shouldn’t be seen as a drastic, scary change — it should be a gradual and seamless evolution to greater efficiency, flexibility and cost-savings.” Savitha Bhaskar, General Manager, Condo Protego

Not only is RaaS providing a much easier and cheaper way to set up and manage DR, it also appears to offer more benefits. “Disaster recovery is commonly an afterthought for small, medium and large enterprises,” says Jatin Sahni, VP, Large Enterprise and Business Solutions Marketing, du. “Another interesting finding coming out of reports is that roughly 22 percent of enterprises can only survive a few hours without having access to mission-critical IT resources, while 40 percent can only make it one or two days.” The result of this is that traditional DR plans focus mostly on off-site back-up approaches. RaaS, on the other hand, makes use of the cloud’s elasticity and scalability to minimise cost and maximise benefits. “With the ability to quickly spin up new virtual machines, in a disaster recovery scenario, the tenant would have the same benefits as hosting the fully specified systems on a 24/7 basis,” Sahni says. With the thought of replicating all of an organisation’s data in an off-site location, there is no wonder why CIOs find the task so daunting. There’s even less wonder why RaaS is gaining such steam. The brutal fact remains that the biggest disaster when a disaster occurs is not having back-up and recovery at all. The cloud offers permanent back-up space to replicate the data off-site, so nobody loses their job in the aftermath. Cloud can also be used for fail-over for servers to a secondary data centre on even a different continent, says Dietrich Kanz, Managing Director, ConSol MENA. “In this case, minimal disruption in services is thus achieved,” Kanz says. “However, these scenarios are very bandwidth-intensive, and the adoption for www.cnmeonline.com

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Disaster recovery

SMEs, for example, will depend on the affordability of high-bandwidth internet lines in this region.” Rajesh Abraham, Director, Product Development, eHDF, notes that, whilst RaaS may be attractive to SMEs, other companies may hesitate. “For large organisations that have mission critical data, they might prefer to use a physical dedicated secondary DR site with periodic or real-time replication based on their RTO and RPO requirements,” he says. “This is especially true in the case of banking and financial organisations, and other public organisations where the reliance on data is heavy. “The downtime in the event of a disaster has to be minimal, and the loss of any data can amount to

FEATURE

great loss for the business. For such organisations, the cloud may not necessarily change any strategy for them.”

“With the ability to quickly spin up new virtual machines, in a disaster recovery scenario, the tenant would have the same benefits as hosting the fully specified systems on a 24/7 basis.” Jatin Sahni, VP, Large Enterprise and Business Solutions Marketing, du

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Growing tide But there are certainly a growing voice of others in the region who believe those hesitancies are misguided. Even for those large enterprises that are already heavily invested in DR, cloud doesn’t dramatically change the situation, according to Savitha Bhaskar, General Manager, Condo Protego. “Cloud can powerfully augment existing infrastructure and be embraced as appropriate,” she says. “Cloud shouldn’t be seen as a drastic, scary change — it should be a gradual and seamless evolution to greater efficiency, flexibility and cost savings.” Kanz adds that it offers them a complimentary solution to build on what they already have. “Cloud-based DR is not tied to a particular type of hardware, business size or industry, so can offer another DR option for companies,” he says. “They could use the cloud to protect certain types of data, or departments, to see how it works and scale up or down as needed.” Indeed, the cloud also could be yet another DR layer, thus adding more safety for the company to protect and recover data, applications or systems. september 2013

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Disaster recovery

But for those that do choose to take the full plunge, they will see the early-adopted benefits before others follow. Initially they will see little difference. They will still have to perform a business impact analysis and a risk assessment before proceeding in setting their RTO and RPO requirements. But from then on, they will find RaaS a refreshingly simpler implementation compared to its tricky older brother, and save greatly on the cost sheet, too. “As we are gradually shifting to the new cloud-based IT model, the entire philosophy on how organisations approach their information technology operations is changing,” Satni says. “Recovery is now easier and more affordable because of the ability to replicate all aspects of a company’s infrastructure. From the network to every application, virtual servers store this information via the cloud, and it can be rapidly recovered.” Ahmad Muammar, Systems Engineer Manager, Gulf, EMC, points to the major hold-back in adoption of traditional DR as the exact reason why RaaS will catch on. “DR and BC often mean significant expenditure that doesn’t immediately reflect ROI or quick business returns,” Muammar says. “With the adoption of cloud models and pay-as-you-go services, this scenario is slowly changing as more enterprises will be able to leverage the benefits of these technologies without necessarily making the huge investments in their own infrastructure, or invest in dedicated resources to manage this infrastructure.

FEATURE

“For large organisations that have mission-critical data, they might prefer to use a physical dedicated secondary DR site with periodic or real-time replication based on their RTO and RPO requirements.” Rajesh Abraham, Director, Product Development, eHDF

“ With the adoption of cloud models and pay-as-you-go services, this scenario is slowly changing as more enterprises will be able to leverage the benefits of these technologies without necessarily making the huge investments in their own infrastructure, or invest in dedicated resources to manage this infrastructure.” www.cnmeonline.com

“Also, the shift from a CAPEX model and a big bang DR approach to an OPEX and servicecentric approach, is more attractive for most of the customers.” To that end, RaaS will continue to become more mainstream, even more so as more cloud service providers add it to their offerings. As more and more applications are designed for cloud, the new approach to DR will become a lasting transition. “Today, most people have to juggle multiple devices to access all their services,” says Cyril Voisin, Regional Technology Officer, Microsoft Gulf. “By storing their data and preferences in their own profile in the cloud, they can benefit from automatic backups, and data replication in multiple locations, while at the same time being able to use any device to access their data in a very flexible way.” According to the Gartner report, the worldwide RaaS and business continuity market will experience a 55.2 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2018, increasing from $640.8 million to $5.8 billion during that time frame. As large organisations see the benefits in a more gradual timeframe, it is thought the most drastic uptake will come from the SME organisations that have previously not been able to invest in DR. “Cloud has already had quite a material impact on the DR landscape,” Kanz says. “It has made DR available and accessible to a broader set of businesses and consumers. “It has helped and will continue to help to make DR more mainstream rather than just for medium and large enterprises. Cloud computing also does not require the use to have a skilled IT team.” september 2013

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FEATURE

Partnerships

integration advisor

Extending partnerships CNME looks into the all-important decision of partnership extension. How do you approach such a stage, and is termination really an option?

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P

artnerships between vendors and systems integrators form an invaluable part of the value process for delivering solutions to enterprises. This is apparent no more so than in the Middle East, where local expertise is always sought to make an implementation a success. However, with all partnerships based on contracts, they all inevitably reach their expiry, at which point the period of partnership extension occurs. At the core of this extension is an analysis of the partner’s track record throughout the relationship, which if without major problems makes the whole process much simpler and quicker. Ultimately, the vendor does not want the partnership to end. The partner has already had the experience of accessing and understanding the true value of the partnership, not only in terms of the technology, but also the support and added value that the vendor provides. However, when extending the partnership to include new products and solutions, the process is different. Stephan Berner, Managing Director, help

AG, says in these cases partners should evaluate the solutions as if they were engaging with the vendor for the first time. “This unbiased analysis will ensure that the new solution set remains in line with the partner’s road-map,” Berner said. “It is also possible that the vendor’s new product offerings are due to a merger or acquisition, in which case the partner may not have the same experience as with the existing solution range.” The enablement of partners to perform at the top of their abilities is always at the top of the agenda when extending partnerships. Jawad Squalli, Regional Vice President Middle East, Epicor Software, recommends to invest in this through a number of ways. “They should focus on extensive training by putting a training plan in place like they do with their own employees, and provide a certification programme to ensure partners become as skilled as the vendor,” Squalli says. “They should help partners with their sales and marketing activities. Ideally the company should have a dedicated ‘marketing development fund’ towards this purpose. Regular communication is also important www.cnmeonline.com

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FEATURE

Partnerships

through a variety of communication channels to ensure that partners can access the support they need, at the time they need it.” So approaching partnership extension is essentially all about approaching partnerships overall, for it is the performance and factors of that relationship that will ultimately decide the fate of extension. Berner attributes transparency as the most important factor in any relationship, and to save from any nasty surprises when the partnership is heading toward an extension process. “Unless the SI makes it very clear what their business objectives are, and frequently communicate both positive and negative aspects of their business, it would be difficult to build a sturdy relationship,” he says. To help with this he recommends the hiring of relationship managers, who are gaining popularity in the region. Relationship managers are trained to listen and understand the bigger picture of a customer organisation, and could help to build stronger relationships both with the channel and the end customer. John Spoor, Regional Manager, Middle East, Watchguard, says his company works on business plans to act as a reference point for the performance and progress of a partnership. “This is where you can actually determine who is going to be a strong partner and who is probably not going to be what you call an expert of professional partner for us,” Spoor says. “All the companies that meet their objectives and object points within their allocated time frame are probably going to be the partners that are most committed to us. Those are the people we will focus on more in the long term.” Whilst it may sound quite simple on reading, it should be known that mistakes are aplenty, and all

“We had to terminate the relationship with my number one partner for one particular region because they were acting unethically, which affected not only the other partners in the channel, but the distributors as well.” John Spoor, Regional Manager, Middle East, Watchguard

“Is terminating a contract really an option? I don’t think so. That is why it is extremely important for every organisation to do its due diligence before signing.” Stephan Berner, Managing Director, help AG

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vendors, and indeed systems integrators, have their own disaster stories. Lack of trust, commitment and ownership are often words you’ll find in these stories. “Not to forget lack of quality and being afraid to discuss the negative aspects of a contract or project right from the beginning,” Berner says. “Don’t wait until something happens — go and solve the problems proactively. Every customer will appreciate this.” Quantity-based hiring is another mistake people make by focusing on recruiting as many partners as possible, rather than just those that can deliver great services. “Another is hiring partners with no relevant experience,” Squalli adds. “For example, hiring partners who don’t have experience within the vendor’s key sectors, or with the vendor’s type of solutions, could be another mistake.” Spoor identifies another common mistake, which, whilst not as freely talked about by pride-seeking executives, is perhaps as significant as any other. “Sometimes sales people, by their general nature, are optimists, and they’re also very good at talking,” he says. “So when the partner is giving the whole spiel about how they’re going to be a great partner, one of the problems we have is we believe people too easily. “I think you can actually fall into a trap where you spend too much time, which is wasted time, on what are not real opportunities.” Spoor also has a disaster story of his own from when he was with a previous company. “We had to terminate the relationship with my number one partner for one particular region because they were acting unethically, which affected not only the other partners in the channel, but the distributors


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FEATURE

Partnerships

as well,” Spoor says. “So in order to look at the long term view, and protect the rest of the channel, we had to terminate that partnership. “We tried every way we could to come to an amicable agreement with them but they weren’t having it, and they continued using these unethical methods to try and increase their market share. That’s the only time I’ve had to terminate a partner relationship, and I don’t regret it.” Indeed, the termination of a partnership is very unusual, which some believe can lead to complacency. “[Because partnership extension is often expected] people can fall into a comfort zone, not only from the partner side, but our side as well,” Spoor says. “We’ll start to rely on them too much and they’ll start to get too comfortable. So we continue in the way we’ve been going without actually pushing ourselves. Right now, we need people to push themselves.”

Terminating a partnership in itself has several hidden dangers, including negative publicity and brand damage. “The brand is also susceptible to losing customers as partners may take the customers away with them as they leave,” Squalli says. “Another danger is the consequences an abrupt termination may have on the joint customer. “Vendors need to protect the customers and ensure a continuation of services so as to not interrupt any business activities that may prevent the customer from operating its business as per usual.” However, Berner believes terminating partnership is not really an option. “That is why it is extremely important for every organisation to do its due diligence before signing,” he says. “Highlight the risks and if you can accept them than go and sign the document. If not then it is better not to sign at all.”.

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FEATURE

Cloud

What do Edward Snowden and a data centre provider have in common? They’re both boosting the Middle East’s cloud industry. Ben Rossi reports.

$13.5bn was pumped into US cloud computing companies in 2011.

70

T

he NSA leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden will go down in the history books as a heroic or reckless (depending on what camp you’re in) example of press freedom and the public’s right to know. Even more so, it will act as a landmark moment when the masses finally realised the dark consequences of the celebrated digital age; that their personal information is available to people who they may or may not think have their best interests at heart. Whilst the global debate has been much an ethical one up to now — albeit with the word ‘terrorism’ batted around a lot — a new report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has highlighted the potentially drastic financial implications of the fiasco. Taking the main hit in the report is the US cloud computing industry, which the ITIF believes could lose between $22 and $35 billion over the next three years. Forrester Research took a much broader view and estimated a maximum loss of $180 billion. These grim projections are a direct result of the NSA’s PRISM programme, an “immediate and lasting” problem that will grow even larger “if foreign customers decide the risks of storing data with a US company outweigh the benefits”, the ITIF report claimed. In recent years, cloud services have emerged as the next generation of IT platform. As organisations look for more cost-efficient and productive ways to store data and support functions, the cloud has materialised to be one of the more revolutionary, not to mention

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

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lucrative, products of the Internet. To date, it has been the US who has taken the lion’s share of this new global market. The ITIF reports that $13.5 billion in investments was pumped into US cloud computing companies in 2011 alone, with nearly half of that coming from overseas. Today, about half of all spending on cloud services comes from US sources, with the remainder originating from the non-US market. If these reports are to believed, there is an awful lot of business up for grabs, especially considering the cloud is still in the very early stages of adoption when compared to the huge scope of CIOs who freely admit that cloud is indeed the future of their organisation’s IT, but not quite yet That is certainly a description that can be applied to Middle East CIOs, who have so far largely cited security concerns as holding them back from entrusting their data with a cloud company. The NSA debacle could just be the tip of the iceberg for completely disregarding American cloud vendors. At the same time as all of this, the number of cloud offerings from regional companies is ever-increasing, giving Middle East enterprises the opportunity to store their data with a local company they already trust, and without the headache of their data ever having to cross borders. This surge in offerings has largely been driven by the arrival in the region of Equinix, a provider of carrier-neutral data centres. Equinix essentially builds and operates the physical infrastructure of a data centre, and then sells the space to carriers, cloud providers and managed services vendors, who use


strategic telecom partner

telecoms WORLD the infrastructure to offer cloud services to their own customers, as well as enterprises who wish to use the space to set up their own private cloud. Equinix operates in 31 strategic markets around the world, and counts 900 carriers amongst its customers. It announced its presence in the Middle East in November last year, when it also revealed an alliance with du, one of the UAE’s leading telcos. The data centre, based in Dubai, officially opened on January 1st 2013, and since then has brought 11 carriers into its “transit zone”, which acts as the heart of the data centre. Those carriers include global tier 1 providers bringing large connectivity to the region, as well as Middle East players looking to boost regional distribution. “It was a good first half-year,” says Jeroen Schlosser, Managing Director, Equinix MENA. “We’ve built up a good team and good momentum in carriers.” Schlosser says he believes Equinix’s position as the first carrier-neutral data centre provider in the Middle East is creating an environment where regional cloud companies can be successful. “That’s what we aim to achieve in this region,” he says. “We see the demands and we believe that we can create the place for them to grow. “We see cloud as one of the significant growth drivers of the Internet and of our data centres, so that’s what we recognise in the Middle East, and that’s one of the reasons why we moved into this hub position because we believe in the UAE we can create, with our international carrier base, a hub position for cloud

“People recognise that they now have the opportunity with Equinix to bring their central systems into the region. We see many enterprises that still have their systems outside the region.” Jeroen Schlosser, Managing Director, Equinix MENA

Ex-NSA computer analyst, Edward Snowden, sparked a global debate when he leaked files exposing US state surveillance

www.cnmeonline.com

providers to be successful in this region.” Whilst Equinix provides the necessary tools for regional cloud providers to grow, it is ultimately down to them to capitalise on the market opportunity; an opportunity which has grown even bigger with Middle East cloud business being driven away from the dominating American powerhouses. Government surveillance is of course not unique to the US. All countries watch Internet traffic, but what varies is how transparent they are about it. Indeed, Middle East entities have historically had little qualms with revealing the extent of their own surveillance. Furthermore, if enterprises assume their data is accessible by the state in which it is stored, they’ll likely feel more comfortable with that being the state where they are based, and which is open about its access. “People recognise that they now have the opportunity with Equinix to bring their central systems into the region,” Schlosser says. “We see many enterprises that still have their systems outside the region. “With a facility like Equinix, they suddenly have an opportunity in the country to run their systems. That has been very successful, and that is the opportunity that the enterprise market now has.” Equinix’s first key focus, he adds, is to drive network density to ensure that global carriers connect to the UAE and are able to make sure there is an easy access for content into the region. “We then use regional carriers to get a low-cost and efficient distribution into the region,” he says. “Then technologies like cloud are suddenly given an environment where they can benefit and grow.” Through a mixture of natural progression and pure circumstance, the motions are now firmly in place for the Middle East cloud industry to flourish. It will be down to the regional telcos and service providers to grasp the opportunity. september 2013

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FEATURE

Social

The dus and don’ts of social media du found itself in hot water last month, when customers reacted furiously to news that the telco was revising its home services prices. But following two days of social media meltdown, du came back to its customers with an option to opt out of the new packages. Tom Paye asks, does this prove the power of social media?

d

u could easily have ignored all of those angry tweets and Facebook messages. Hundreds may have been using the #dupricehike hashtag to vent their anger about the revised prices, but there was no telling that du would actually listen to its customers. After all, why would it need to? Most home customers don’t get to choose their broadband providers. Users are simply told which operator is looking after their area or building, and they have to go with it. But then again, this was a big part of why people were so outraged by the package revisions. Under the new pricing plans, customers signed up to the 8 Mbps ‘Talk and Surf’ package, would see their monthly bills go from Dh199 per month to Dh275 per month — an increase of 37.5 percent. The other home packages that du offers saw similar price rises, and it looked like customers would just have to live with it. Sure, du said that the price rise was justified with the addition of free calls to UAE landlines, a number of free international minutes, and faster upload speeds, but the response did little to quell the ensuing social media super-storm. du’s Twitter feed was inundated with angry complaints, with most arguing that they did not want the benefits of the new packages, and would prefer to save cash by sticking to the old ones. Anger also arose from the fact that du hadn’t properly announced the new pricing plans — someone had simply found the revised prices on du’s website. The situation came to a head when the official du Twitter account issued a particularly blunt response to one disgruntled user. “Hey! If you don’t want to continue with the services, you can cancel your 72

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account at one of our stores,” the tweet read. It promptly went viral. And there it was — du had effectively said that people could either swallow the new prices or else live without home broadband. It could have ended there. Seeing as these unhappy customers were unlikely to disconnect their lines en masse — who’s going to live without Internet just to make a statement? — du could have simply taken a little more flak and let the matter fizzle out. But the following day, du did something amazing — it responded to its customers with an understanding statement, which concluded with an offer to opt out of the revised packages. Admittedly, customers would have to opt out within three months, or else suffer the new charges, but du had thrown the masses a bone. The person behind that blunt tweet had also been taken off of the social media team, a separate statement said. The announcement brought home the power of social media with a deafening blow. Under no real obligation, du had decided to reverse a plan that could have made it millions more dirhams — all because it sensed the tide of social media turning against it. The operator’s management clearly thought it was more important to have happy customers than to implement its new plans, and they’re to be applauded for taking this stance. In a business environment that almost guarantees success, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of not considering your customers. du almost fell into that trap, but its willingness to take advantage of social media feedback saved the company from developing a bad reputation. After all, even if your customers are forced to use you, it’s always better to make sure they’re happy about it.

www.cnmeonline.com


analyst corner Linda Price

The evolution of IT skills With digitisation driving a need for new IT skills into the enterprise, and organisations struggling to find suitable talent, CIOs must adapt to survive.

Linda Price, Group VP, Service Delivery, Gartner Executive Programs

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igitisation continues to drive change in the business landscape and this is having an impact on IT, including potential for the IT budget to move to other departments within the organisation. Another significant change being wrought by the advent of digitisation is the need to reassess the skills required by IT and by the organisation. We need to adapt our talent attraction, development and retention programmes accordingly. One enjoyable requirement of my job is to travel extensively and meet CIOs and IT leaders. Despite the differences in economic and employment conditions, CIOs often bemoan the fact that, although there are 74

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ample numbers of applicants for any open positions, the specific skill sets required to leverage the opportunities presented by the current digitisation of the front office are very scarce. They also point to the fact that we are operating in a truly global market now. Any applicants with an attractive skill set are being approached by global organisations, and this is pushing the cost for scarce skills to new levels. The impetus for this change in IT skills is that IT itself is changing — from being primarily about service delivery to being required to design and implement technologyenabled, information-rich transformed business processes. Expertise in this area requires a new type of IT professional. Traditionally,


analyst corner Linda Price

the CIO has relied on external sourcing to identify talent for open roles. This method will no longer return the benefit previously enjoyed. This is because the typical IT organisation currently devotes approximately 70 percent of its resources to running operations, 25 percent to designing and building applications required by the business, and only five percent to innovation. Over time, this will significantly change. This is the because of the talent dilemma currently facing CIOs. Gartner predicts that by 2020, only 35 percent of resources will be required to maintain operations, 50 percent will be dedicated to designing and building, and 15 percent will be required to continually foster and support innovation, if the enterprise is to continue to compete. CIOs need to seriously consider how they are going to support the new service delivery model of lighter-weight technologies via the cloud, social computing, and the need for technology-driven innovation. Current models will not easily adapt. Importantly, if IT does not reskill their organisations to delivery greater

innovation, it risks becoming a mere commodity service provider. A new talent strategy is required — one that is a key part of the evolving IT strategy, and one that focuses on a blend business and modern IT skills. As parts of IT become commoditised, a new, lighter IT is emerging where most CIOs will need several capabilities to define and establish roles. One is the ability to operate effectively by providing quality infrastructure and application services, and business operations support, whilst they should also be able to create solutions with innovations that exploit new technologies. Furthermore, CIOs should possess the knowhow to design and build IT services that meet business demands to accomplish more with technology. Work with your external academic institutions, your HR professionals, and your business partners to ensure your future IT skill requirements are covered. Taking a proactive approach to the provision of the right talent will establish a platform from which you can leverage all the opportunity digitisation will provide.

According to Gartner, CIOs should use the following three approaches to cultivate the new IT skills born from digitisation:

1) Buy from the market in the short term.

2) Influence the market in the long term by working with educators, academic communities and suppliers. The practice of working closely with academic institutions to provide for future requirements is maturing well in India in particular.

3) Contribute to the market in the intermediate term by building internal capabilities through continuing education and reskilling.

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Face to face Madhav Narayan

Madhav Narayan, Senior Regional Director for the GCC, Enterprise Business, Samsung

The mobile business It’s no secret that Samsung has come to dominate the consumer smartphone market. However, until recently, the manufacturer hadn’t made many inroads into the enterprise mobility sphere. With so many BYOD employees now using their Samsung smartphones for work, though, the vendor has cottoned on to the fact that there’s plenty of scope to dominate the enterprise market, too. We speak to Madhav Narayan, Senior Regional Director for the GCC, Enterprise Business, Samsung, who explains that the company has the right tools for any business looking at mobility. www.cnmeonline.com

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ow does Samsung help enterprises deal with the BYOD trend? Security and privacy are understandably held up as barriers to businesses embracing BYOD demands. Meanwhile, users are seeing the latest smartphones and tablets, and knocking at the door of IT demanding to be able to use their own devices. The solution is clear — combine the business and personal in a single device. [We have] SAFE (Samsung For Enterprise), which describes Samsung devices that include the necessary security and feature enhancements suitable for enterprise use. Through our internal research, we have found that 65 percent of employees report greater productivity with the personal devices they bring to work. While this is a huge problem, it also presents a huge opportunity.

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Face to face Madhav Narayan

What is Samsung doing to make devices safe and productive for the enterprise? SAFE ensures peace of mind with Advanced Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync features, on-device AES 256-bit encryptions, VPN connectivity, and top-tier multi-vendor mobile device management (MDM) support. We provide extensive support for email, contacts and calendar with advanced features and sync functions. Encryption stores proprietary documents, presentations and other corporate data on your mobile device — while keeping that sensitive data protected. Indeed, state-of-the-art AES 256bit encryption helps to prevent unauthorised access to confidential data without sacrificing speed and functionality. VPN allows users to wirelessly and securely access data from your corporate network while travelling or working in the field. SAFE devices support protocols and authentication measures that enable improved security and faster access to sensitive work assets. Enterprise users are provided a secure path to corporate resources from their device anytime, anywhere, so they can access things like corporate intranet and email, network resources and software applications. Samsung Mobile works with leading VPN providers to enable IP-based encryption for secure and behind-the-firewall access to critical data and business applications via Wi-Fi and cellular network connections. With VPN, we’re compatible with Cisco and Juniper, and we’re in the process of becoming compliant with Good, McAfee, Zenprise and Authentec.

How does Samsung help enterprises with MDM, mobile malware and security? Samsung’s mobile solutions can be effectively integrated in various business verticals such as healthcare, security, banking and hospitality. To provide more value to our regional customers, Samsung’s R&D team is working closely with various enterprises to develop customised solutions that fit the specific needs of their remit.

Samsung’s comprehensive MDM enables efficient and scaled mobile deployments while offering solutions that address even the most challenging management and security issues.  Under the SAFE programme, Samsung Mobile works directly with leading third-party MDM providers to offer more than 338 IT policies. For MDM, we’re compliant with Mobile Iron, Sybase Afaria, SOTI, Juniper Junos Pulse and Airwatch. Samsung has helped many enterprises across a variety of sectors with their

“We have found that 65 percent of employees report greater productivity with the personal devices they bring to work. While this is a huge problem, it also presents a huge opportunity.” respective mobility issues. An example of this is Samsung’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Dr. Smart mobile solution, which can be used in hospitals to access records quickly and share information with doctors anywhere and anytime. Dr. Smart currently works on all Galaxy devices. It will be available to doctors with data synchronised with the medical database of their hospitals. The Tabs can be easily carried by the medical staff and used to not only check and update previous records, but also to share information with each other instantly, improving efficiency and saving valuable time. Samsung also worked with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) to transform www.cnmeonline.com

Amro Bin Al A’as School in Al Ain from a traditional classroom to a smart classroom using e-boards, Galaxy tablets and classroom management software.

Can you tell us more about Samsung’s MDM offerings? There are three critical areas to Samsung MDM; application management, configuration management and security management. With application management, enterprises can deploy and control Samsung applications and control access to the Android market. With configuration management, we provide control over various functions — such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, camera, microphone, roaming, and network configuration. And Exchange Client Configuration allows users to configure a native email client With security management, enterprises can enable password protection, ondevice encryption, remote lock and wipe, and certificate installation. They can also track asset usage reviewing information such as device info, network info, roaming restrictions, and more. How has Samsung’s B2B growth and performance been in this region? On the enterprise side, we have had sustained growth in the digital signage and interactive display solutions, both taking clear leadership positions in the market. Samsung’s portfolio of display solutions can be effectively integrated in various business verticals, such as education, government, hospitality, healthcare, aviation, retail, corporate and shopping malls. Furthermore, businesses continue to invest in our IT and printing solutions, which help reduce costs and increase productivity. At Samsung, we remain focused on bringing cutting-edge technology to business customers in this region, and our latest offerings truly demonstrate our innovation capabilities.  Display solutions growth reached 78 percent in 2012. september 2013

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Insight Zero-day attacks

Zero-day attacks: How to fight back Most users are vulnerable long before and long after the patch comes out.

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ith cybercrime hitting more than 500 million victims globally and costing $100 billion annually, it’s clear that security breaches are a problem very far from being solved. One particularly dangerous threat that doesn’t seem to be getting its fair share of attention is zero-day attacks. True, zero-days are just one part of the overall threat landscape. However, virtually everyone is at risk from a zero-day attack. And the threat from zero-day vulnerabilities occurs long before vendor or public discovery, and remains active long after patches are released. Kasper Lindgaard, Head of Research, Secunia, explains that “a zero-day vulnerability is a vulnerability that has only been discovered by hackers. The vendor does not yet know of the vulnerability and therefore has not developed a patch for it. In contrast, a general vulnerability is disclosed by the vendor who typically has a patch ready.’’ Zero-day attacks can affect just about any user. These attacks arrive through different vectors, including viruses, email attachments, Web pages, pop-up windows, instant messages, chat rooms, as well as by social engineering or other types of deception.  Satnam Narang, Security Response Manager, Symantec, says: “Recently we’ve seen a lot of zero-day vulnerabilities in Web browsers, as well as in third party applications required to run on some websites. For instance, vulnerabilities in WordPress allowed attackers to inject malicious code into WordPress-based websites. That malicious code takes you to a webpage that will direct you to an exploit

Zero-day attacks last on average

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days, hitting multiple targets.

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kit that will target a vulnerability in a thirdparty application in your machine such as Flash, Java or your browser.” Scott Gerlach, Director of Information, Security Operations, Go Daddy, adds: “You see the growth of attacks targeting websites because they’re easy to reach and because there are millions of them; the footprint of what you can attack is huge.” Today, that represents 2.4 billion Internet users.  Leyla Bilge and Tudor Dumitras of Symantec Research Labs released a study last fall based on four years of data from 11 million real-world hosts around the world. They found that zero-day attacks last on average 312 days, hitting multiple targets worldwide. In some cases, the attacks remained undiscovered for up to two-and-a-half years. Even after the vulnerabilities are disclosed, the number of attacks exploiting them skyrocket as much as five orders of magnitude. Even more frightening — one in 10 patches have security bugs of their own. Just because a zero-day vulnerability is patched by the vendor does not mean the threat is gone. Gerlach pointed out that “most users don’t update Java regularly and it seems like every updated version of the Java runtime engine has some kind of zero-day workaround to whatever they fixed in the previous version. As a result, just by visiting any number of websites, systems get infected with a Java attack that is a new zero-day as well as revived former zero-days, and they have little way to protect themselves other than not running Java”. Sure enough, while 1.1 billion desktops run Java, 93% of Java users are not running the latest version.  How can you defend yourself from something that you don’t know exists? According to James A. Lewis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, there are four measures which, deployed in combination, can stop almost all attacks. The measures were whitelisting, rapid patch deployment for OSs, the same for september 2013

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Insight Zero-day attacks

applications, and minimising the number of staff with “administrator” privileges.  Narang adds this advice: “First, isolate machines that have critical data, such as financial information, from the main network. By keeping them separate, applications are less likely to be compromised and, if users need to browse to websites that could potentially be infected, they would be better protected. “Next, employ today’s layered security; from applying patches regularly to installing and maintaining antivirus, antispam, antimalware, intrusion detection and applying proper account permissions. Then, always being suspicious. Finally, and something that is often ignored, especially in smaller offices, user education. A well-run, regular user security awareness training programme can help bring the dangers from cyber threats down to a dull roar.” New ways to nab zero-day attacks Of technologies claiming to trap neverbefore-seen forms of zero-day attacks, two seem promising. One is an innovative way to visualise and interact with anomalies in massive data sets of system activity, and the other is a just-released and mostly automated system that detects suspect autorun settings. One of the most frustrating aspects of zero-day detection is the nature of the data itself. This is so especially in enterprise environments where the data is massive, multidimensional, includes both live and static data, and comes from myriad applications and devices often with different protocols and formats. In short, it is overwhelming. VisiTrend created a solution for the US

1 in 10

patches have security bugs of their own.

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”Most users don’t update Java regularly and it seems like every updated version of the Java runtime engine has some kind of zero-day workaround to whatever they fixed in the previous version. As a result, just by visiting any number of websites, systems get infected with a Java attack that is a new zero-day as well as revived former zero-days and they have little way to protect themselves other than not running Java.” Department of Defense that is also slated for commercial release late this year. NDVis is a Web application that enables users to see graphic representations of the data and to actually interact with it. More precisely, it is a security information and event management (SIEM) system where layers are rules that can show visual alerts or post to a table of alerts. While at first glance the information hardly seems intuitive, a little training enables users to identify even a single anomaly among what can be more than a million events on the screen. It also enables users to use a mouse and touch the data on the screen to immediately evaluate relationships, project effects, plan courses of actions (COA), and view the relationships between cyber and kinetic operations. Intended for enterprise environments with trained IT staff, this new form of interactive visual analytics can provide early indicators of zero-day attacks before they do damage. Sampan Security, a new player in the field, takes an interesting approach. The company assumes that — no matter what you do — some attacks will land on your PC. www.cnmeonline.com

But, since most malware needs to set itself up to autorun and to survive both reboots and system scans, certain low-level changes to the system are required, and that is just what Sampan Security has done with its Fire Tower Guard Technology. Unlike other autorun detection systems that require scans, and also require subject matter experts (SME), Sampan’s product works automatically in real time and has a cloud-based authentication feature. The result is a solution that helps your own IT staff identify suspicious autorun changes that indicate that malware has tried to set itself up to wreak havoc. This is a good thing considering that, according to Mandiant, 97 percent of advanced persistent threat (APT) malware they collected for their 2011 report used either Windows Services or Registry Run keys, all of which are tracked by FireTower Guard. Finally, for anyone who thinks that zero-day attacks won’t land in their systems, consider this: for you to be personally at risk, they don’t have to. Just think about what risks are posed by the information garnered from compromised machines wherever they are.


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Face to face Jean-Luc Lasnier

Jean-Luc Lasnier, GM, MEA, Orange Business Services

Growth by numbers Three years ago, Orange Business Services announced its ‘Conquests 2015’ strategy for high growth in several areas, one of which being to generate revenues of €1 billion ($1.34 billion) in emerging markets. CNME caught up with its MEA GM, Jean-Luc Lasnier, to see what part this region is playing in that plan.

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ow long has Orange Business Services been operating in the region? Orange has been operating with a presence in the region for more than 20 years, and more than 50 years in Africa. But the latest chapter of the story really began in June 2006, when France Telecom rebranded all of

its global B2B operations under the Orange brand, and instilled the Orange values into the new global B2B organisation, including greater customer focus, simplicity and ease of doing business, with a single point of contact and billing. Since then, growth across the region — with a strategic focus on the markets of the UAE, KSA, Turkey www.cnmeonline.com

and Qatar — has been very solid and sustainable. However, to support the goals of Conquest 2015, we need to accelerate this growth strongly, and have been looking at three main areas to help drive the business forward through a classic marketing approach — with a focus on the go-to-market strategy for the region, defining and refining september 2013

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Face to face Jean-Luc Lasnier

the appropriate service portfolio, and defining and segmenting target markets.

What is the company’s current strategy in the Middle East? Our go-to-market routes are adapted to each of our focus markets. We sometimes go direct and sometimes through partners, such as Etisalat in the UAE. Orange operates in a ‘co-peting’ environment, sometimes partnering and competing with organisations and channels — so Orange serves some business customers directly and others through partners. With telcos in the region, the relationship can be more complex and multifaceted; we may be selling our network and services to them and through them, and the partners sometimes jointly invest with us in infrastructure, such as submarine cables.

What services do you offer, and where? We continue to serve our traditional MNC customers, such as those in the key verticals of oil and gas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), mining, banking and finance, industry, and offering network/IT infrastructure and data centre services. Our new customer segments in the region, such as new smart cities, bring a clear focus on to the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where there are especially large investments being made. In terms of services for MNCs, Orange covers IT and telecoms, and network services, such as telepresence and VOIP — Orange has the license to offer VOIP in the UAE — and data centres. In terms of markets, the regional markets are maturing and there are increasing concerns about IT security, following some high profile cyber attacks recently. Because of Orange’s position and role as a telecoms operator and IT integrator, we cover the security of IT infrastructure from all perspectives, including data centres — the questions of where they are sited, how they are backed up, and the recovery strategy, are all part of what Orange does. What are you doing differently in the growing smart cities space, and what are the challenges there?

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Smart cities is a really interesting segment for Orange in the GCC, and this tends to be more localised customer businesses working with local developers and allowing Orange to explore two major areas in which we have an especially strong offer; M2M and e-health. In the Middle East, there are two major issues — security and water — and these are where Orange has really distinctive know-how. The Orange approach is only to go to market when we know we can deliver — for example, M2M and smart metering, where Orange has solid experience and capability — and our high levels of customer satisfaction reflect this approach.

infrastructure, which is what Orange does with our MOFA clients, for example, who are especially tough on security. This is understandable when you consider the importance and sensitivity of their roles and the data they use. What are you doing in Africa? In Africa, Orange Business Services’ business is performing very well with solid double digit growth and, in 2012, bandwidth was increased significantly. We have witnessed a significant increase in the average size of our deals, which are now more in the range of $10-15 million, and we have invested

“Orange has recently launched a new CIO user group in the Middle East and the forum has already discussed cloud, an area in which the group’s members have registered a lot of interest. But the region does not yet appear to be ready to invest in or develop this interest.”

What are you doing to capitalise on the opportunity of cloud in the Middle East? Orange has recently launched a new CIO user group in the Middle East and the forum has already discussed cloud, an area in which the group’s members have registered a lot of interest. But the region does not yet appear to be ready to invest in or develop this interest. The sense of giving up ownership of data is a concern, so the first step of outsourcing some elements like data centre recovery initially may be a starting point. These CIO customers have already outsourced their network to Orange, but it will take more time to build trust and confidence in cloud.

What does Orange Business Services offer in security and managed services? These must be integrated and delivered as a service, and incorporated into the overall www.cnmeonline.com

significantly in the MEA region to achieve this. We have been operating in Africa for 50 years and today Orange Business Services operates in 52 countries supporting MNCs in South Africa, principally because this is the preferred regional HQ location for around 70% of MNCs working in Africa. Orange supports the Sub Saharan market from South Africa and only sells where the business arises.

What are your plans for 2013? In terms of plans for 2013, strong double digit growth is the aim and Orange Business Services has already opened a new JV local company in Qatar, and is actively developing Saudi Arabia and partnerships through our own local entity. We are investing in infrastructure and people all over the Middle East, as we actively transform the Orange Business Services organisation to deliver our business objectives — to secure even bigger contracts. .


PRODUCTS

Launches and releases

PRODUCT WATCH A breakdown of the top products and solutions to launch and release in the last month.

PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

Product: BlackBerry 9720 Vendor: BlackBerry What it does: BlackBerry this month released its new 9720 smartphone in the UAE, promising a “super social” experience for users. The device features an upgraded version of the BlackBerry 7 operating system that still dominates much of the vendor’s remaining market share. However, the added features are most welcome; this phone now has added buttons to make sharing to social networks easier, and the overall feel of the device has improved. What you need to know: When the device launched in the UAE, Robert Bose, Regional Managing Director, EMEA, BlackBerry, said, “This really is an ideal smartphone for customers looking to upgrade from a feature phone or entry-level Android or Windows Phone device, as well as for existing BlackBerry smartphone customers looking for an upgrade in style and performance.” BlackBerry is still largely dependent on users from its “old-school” range, so it needs this BB7 device to make up for a lack of consumer interest in the new BlackBerry 10 platform.

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PRODUCTS

Launches and releases

Product: My Passport Ultra Vendor: WD What it does: WD recently launched its My Passport Ultra line of portable hard drives, which combine additional layers of data, USB 3.0 connectivity and a slim, compact design. Available in 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB capacities, the new line comes with built-in WD SmartWare Pro back-up software, which offers Dropbox integration, hardware encryption and password protection. What you need to know: The new line is available in four different colours, and are protected by a three-year limited warranty. When it was launched, Jim Welsh, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Branded Products and Consumer Electronics Groups, WD, said that the line creates “the ultimate portable digital safe for today’s active consumer.”

Product: T272HUL monitor Vendor: Acer

Product: Portégé Z10t Vendor: Toshiba What it does: Toshiba’s new Portégé Z10t, an Ultrabook– tablet hybrid device, targets a specific market of users who need a single, portable device that is both a full-size laptop and a Windows-powered tablet. Powered by the latest Intel Core processors, Toshiba said that the new device delivers excellent speed and performance, as users may expect from a device built for business.  What you need to know: The 11.6inch, Full HD touchscreen display can be detached from the keyboard instantly to turn it into a tablet. There is also a built-in digitiser for those who want to and take notes on the screen, providing a technology that effectively mimics the handwriting experience. The Z10t will be be available with both Windows 8 and Windows 7, Toshiba said.

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What it does: This ultra-highdefinition PC monitor provides serious levels of clarity with its high 1.07 billion colours and fast, fivemillisecond response time. Windows 8 compliant, it enables consumers to take advantage of the features in Windows 8 with a 10-point multitouch screen, whether using a new PC or an old PC upgraded to the new operating system. What you need to know: This 27-inch monitor comes with a stunning 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution. Meanwhile, the stand enables users to view images tilted back from 30 to 80 degrees to make the most of the capacitive-touch capabilities. For connectivity, the monitor is outfitted with VGA, DVI, HDMI and a one-up, two-down USB 3.0 hub.

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Column The word on the street

Tom Paye

Let the numbers man go

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here’s been a lot said of Steve Ballmer’s announced departure from Microsoft in the next year. Some have waved a teary-eyed goodbye to the Microsoft CEO of 13 years, while others have practically responded with, “Good riddance.” At first, I was in the latter camp — I didn’t see that Ballmer had done a great job with Microsoft during his tenure. But after some thinking, I had to admit that Ballmer did some great things at Microsoft. Profits have tripled since he replaced Bill Gates as CEO, and Windows and Office remain the dominant players in their respective fields. Windows Server is coming along nicely, too. Yet despite that, Microsoft’s share price has stagnated, and the company completely missed the boat on the now overflowing smartphone and tablet markets. You could call Ballmer’s tenure a mixed bag, then, but I think that actually his successes and failures are intertwined. Let’s look at his background. Ballmer was brought on to head up the sales and marketing team at Microsoft. He had a keen business mind, and knew how to drive efficiency. Eventually, he became a master at pushing a good product into a dominant position, and of course, extracting profits from it. When Ballmer took over, then, Microsoft adopted a culture structured around maximising revenue and profits. Ballmer incentivised employees through cash bonuses and stock grants, and kept performance rankings on everyone. Employees were measured against their worth, and were pushed hard if they weren’t delivering. This is great if you’re selling a highly commoditised product, such as boxes of Windows or Office. But the problem with this

CNME’s man about town gives his spin on the latest IT news and trends. 94

Computer News Middle East

september 2013

strategy is that it leaves very little room for innovation. Ballmer created such a culture of incentives through measurables that the entire company began to think only in measurables. This means that any new ideas would be weighed up and discounted if they appeared not to make financial sense. But if you’re going after the consumer market, which Microsoft eventually decided it would, it’s the immeasurable things that matter most. Immeasurable things like what a device is made from, what it looks like and how it feels are important in the consumer market. That’s why the iPhone caught on like it did — everyone loved it, and they couldn’t really explain why. Developers demanded access to it, and consumers paid way over the odds for it. Sure, other smartphone vendors are now making a killing too, but Microsoft definitely isn’t. Perhaps it’s because Ballmer had his workforce chasing numbers that no-one inside Microsoft could think outside the box a little. The company came up with the tablet concept way before Apple did, yet Apple’s product was the one that caught on. Designing by numbers just doesn’t seem to work — you need to design something that people will love, and Ballmer’s workforce hasn’t been able to do that. Perhaps things will change when Ballmer’s replacement — whoever he or she is — comes on board. But I think it’ll be easier said than done. The company that Ballmer created will still be there, and it’ll take a lot of work to change its mindset. The next CEO will have to do something drastic, or else Microsoft faces becoming utterly irrelevant. It’ll be like a fridge-freezer vendor or a washing machine manufacturer — making the products we need but not the ones we love.


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Computer News Middle East