IT security professionals had a rough week due to the proliferation of the WannaCry ransomware virus. The virus locked the IT systems of several corporations and hospitals over the weekend.
IBMers also had another rough week. Even more employees are being asked to abandon work from home and come back into the office. IBM also announced that they are sun-setting their procurement platform Emptoris and moving customers over to rival Ariba.
Ariba owner SAP recently announced compatibility with the big three cloud providers AWS, Google, and Azure… which should give those migrating customers more options.
- Apple acquires AI company Lattice Data, a specialist in unstructured ‘dark data’, for $200M
Specifically, Apple has picked up Lattice Data, a company that applies an AI enabled inference engine to take unstructured, “dark” data and turn it into structured (and more usable) information. We’ve heard from a single source that Apple has paid a price of around $200 million.
The deal was closed a couple of weeks ago, the source said, and about 20 engineers have joined the larger company.
- SAP Cloud now compatible with AWS, Google and Azure
With this announcement, SAP has positioned itself as the first end-to-end digital enterprise platform to allow customers to choose between the major infrastructure-as-a-service providers. SAP will provide full multi-cloud support for the cloud platform, and all cloud actions can be controlled by the client through a simple, unified command center.
Customers may select infrastructure powered by SAP, or by Amazon Web Services. Microsoft Azure is currently available as a public preview and Google Cloud Platform as a demo showcase, and all may be managed using the new SAP Cloud Platform cockpit.
- EMEA 2017: Google Cloud Keynote
This is 90 minutes, but they go into real details about the platform
- IBM builds its most powerful universal quantum computing processors
Launched in March 2017, IBM Q is an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems for business and science applications. IBM Q systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform. IBM first opened public access to its quantum processors one year ago, to serve as an enablement tool for scientific research, a resource for university classrooms, and a catalyst of enthusiasm for the field. To date users have run more than 300,000 quantum experiments on the IBM Cloud.
With the introduction of two new processors today for IBM Q, the company is building the foundation for solving practical problems in business and science that are intractable even with today’s most powerful classical computing systems.
- Cosmos DB launches Microsoft Azure databases at Oracle
For those lost on the type of cloud computing tasks that Azure handles: Microsoft Azure is not your typical cloud computing service that allows you to directly upload your selfies and work on documents. Cosmos DB is designed for “planet-scale” applications, giving developers fine control over the replication policies and reliability.
Cloud-computing providers like Microsoft and Amazon often use examples like Black Friday to pitch their services.
- SAP Ariba and IBM Join Forces to Transform Procurement with SAP Leonardo and Watson
“We’ve built a cognitive procurement platform trained specifically to understand procurement transactions and unstructured data such as weather, non-standard part numbers in contracts and complex pricing structures,” said Jesus Mantas, General Manager, Cognitive Process Transformation, IBM Global Business Services. “By combining the power of IBM Watson on the IBM Cloud with SAP Ariba, we are leaping existing procurement benchmarks and delivering unprecedented value to our joint clients.”
Emptoris: A Eulogy for a Great Company
Rather than tossing barbs at IBM in this final chapter as we slowly bury Emptoris over the coming years — or complain about what did and did not work in earlier Emptoris releases — we should remember everything the firm did to lead the technology charge for procurement. It’s easy to forget that Emptoris got its start back when FreeMarkets was still running auctions over a dedicated IP network and Ariba was still proving out the market opportunity for its operational resource management solution (ORMS).
- Oracle crushed in defeat as Java world votes ‘No’ to modular overhaul
The database goliath has lost a Java Community public-review ballot by 13 to 10 that was to have approved its Java Platform Module System (JPMS) specification as a final draft. Executive Committee members ignored dire warnings from Oracle spec lead Mark Reinhold in an open letter where he claimed that a “no” vote would not only delay Java 9 but also be a “vote against the Java Community Process itself”.
The JSR, number 376, needed a two-thirds majority to pass.
In that bluntly worded letter, Oracle’s Java platform chief also chastised IBM and Red Hat for suggesting that they might vote against JPMS.
- Microsoft Guns for Oracle Customers with Database Migration Service
In a blog post, Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie, executive vice president in the cloud and enterprise group, said the new service “seamlessly migrates third-party and SQL Server databases into Azure SQL Database with near-zero application downtime.”
The Azure database migration service sounds like a similar play by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2015, which saw companies move 1,000 databases over to AWS in week one, according to Business Insider. Not all of these were Oracle customers.
But as the database leader in customer-run data centers, Oracle is most at risk from the new Microsoft offerings, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with the research firm Moor Insights & Strategy, told Fox Business.
- IT Giant IBM to layoff 5000 Employees (India)
The ongoing layoffs by the leading IT companies in India is continuing, in fact on an increasing note with IBM joining the league newly. In a major development, sources close to IBM disclosed that the company may release at least 5,000 employees over the next few quarters.
“The process has already started. Managers have been asked to identify under performers,” says a person close to the development.
IBM rubbishes reports of firing 5000 employees; says “re-skilling”, “re-balancing” workforce
“This is factually incorrect. We are not going to comment further on rumours and speculation. Re-skilling and rebalancing is an ongoing process as we accelerate the benefits of cognitive and cloud technologies for clients around the world,” a spokesperson for IBM told ET.
ET quotes a source saying IBM had handed over pink slips to 200 employees in a business unit last year.
- Hospitals Across England Infected With Ransomware, Leaving Patients Without Care
In a statement, NHS Digital said it believed the malware variant is Wanna Decryptor, a Trojan virus that employs AES-128 encryption to render files inaccessible.
The BBC reports the attack struck hospitals in London, Blackburn, Cumbria, Hertfordshire, and Nottingham. Phone systems in certain areas also appear to be down.
Without computer access, many healthcare providers are resorting to pen and pads to keep track of their patients. A physician in Liverpool told the Guardian that his unit manually severed its connection to the broader NHS system in an attempt to stave off the infection. “[N]o computers means no records, no prescriptions, no results,” he said.
Today’s Massive Ransomware Attack Was Mostly Preventable—Here’s How To Avoid It
If you think you might be vulnerable to WannaCry, or you don’t remember installing any updates over the past month, your first step is to address that issue immediately. As Sean Dillon, the RiskSense security analyst who reverse engineered DoublePulsar, told ThreatPost: “This is the most critical Windows patch since [Conficker],” which is one the largest similar infections to date.
Despite having been patch nearly a decade ago, the Conficker worm is still in circulation. “I find it everywhere,” says Dillon, adding that WannaCry, too, “is going to be on networks for years.”
Microsoft president blasts NSA for its role in ‘WannaCry’ computer ransom attack
“This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, wrote in the wake of the “WannaCry” computer virus attack, which crippled computers worldwide.
He compared it to the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. “And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today — nation-state action and organized criminal action,” he added.
- Amazon made landline phones trendy again
You can shout “Alexa, call grandma” and your grandmother will appear on the screen of the device. You know that if your grandmother is not at home she won’t even get notified, so it won’t feel like you’re interrupting something.
More importantly, everyone will be able to use the device, young kids and elderly people included. It’s much easier to buy an Echo Show and give it to the grandparents than explaining to them how to use a smartphone if they aren’t using one already. The Echo Show will be at the center of the living room or kitchen. It’s going to bring the family together and people are going to love this thing.
- IBM, a Pioneer of Remote Work, Calls Workers Back to the Office
The company won’t say how many of its 380,000 employees are affected by the policy change, which so far has been rolled out to its Watson division, software development, digital marketing, and design—divisions that employ tens of thousands of workers.
Why IBM’s Move To Rein In Remote Workers Isn’t The Answer
It’s not about where people work. Where people work isn’t as important as how or why they work. Remember from Daniel Pink’s research on Motivation 2.0 that autonomy is one of three main drivers for people, along with purpose and mastery. If employees don’t feel their autonomous needs are being met, then off to another job they go.
Shameless plug: I covered this topic on SourceCast Episode 59
Photo: Tyson Dudley