Tories deny that budget cuts were responsible for NHS hack

{D6D0B29D-B10D-4A67-A326-C3F37E8A3B3C}While the dust starts to settle after Friday’s NHS hack, the Tory government is facing rather tough questions about whether its austerity cuts were responsible.

Generally, the Tory government is not a big fan of the NHS and is rather hacked off that it keeps having to make election pledges to maintain it. However, the huge hack on Friday made people wonder if the Tories had skimped on security with the NHS.

Ben Wallace, UK security minister was put on the spot on  BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and had to defend its record on investment in cyber-security.

Asked if the Government was to blame for cutting budgets, Wallace said reasons for failures to protect against the attack dated back to decisions made by the Labour government in 2007 in relation to agreements with Microsoft.

Wallace said the Government had committed £1 billion to countering cyber threats across all Government.

“The blame lays with these individuals who have decided to blackmail and destroy our public services,” he said.

Not those who decided it was too expensive to upgrade Windows XP to something which was developed after the Romans left Britain.

“We have always said as a government that if you follow the very basic steps, continue to back yourself up as an organisation, you will always be in a position where a ransomware attack is minimised if not entirely deferred.”

Microsoft calls for new blood

funny-vampireThe software giant has used its Build event in a bid to get more developers working with its applications

The software giant shared the latest adoption figures for its Windows 10 OS, now used by 500 million people, and also that 100 million commercial users were now using Office 365 every month.

In his keynote the firm’s CEO Satya Nadella appealed to the developer community to get more involved with the vendor.

“In a world of near infinite compute power and an exponential growth in data, we are focused on empowering every developer to build applications for this new era of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge,” he alleged.

The firm has developed more services for developers on its Azure platform and extensions to Microsoft Graph, which can provide insights that should help firms manage devices better.

Rob Howard, director, Office 365 ecosystem marketing at Microsoft, said that there were plenty of opportunities for developers to work with its products and add value and even those resellers that were not developing their own programmes there were still chances to get something out of the software.

“In a lot of cases they are either taking an offer that an ISV has built around Office 365 and taking a packaged offer to those customers, so they are really tailoring Office with the ISV to their customer needs. Or in a lot of cases they are building their own custom solutions,” he said.

Microsoft said that partners who get involved with its products have the chance to flog further services.

Office offers voice, video and security areas for the channel had been able to add further services.


Changtel liquidator targets Microsoft, Fujitsu and Swann

5388444-3x2-940x627Changtel Liquidator Begbies Traynor wants a collective £50 million which the company paid to its key suppliers returned.

Microsoft, Fujitsu and Swann have all received a note from Changtel which was liquidated in 2015 following a dispute with HMRC over alleged unpaid VAT.

Jason Tsai, whose family once controlled Changtel, was recently banned from being a company director for 13 years.

In February 2016, Changtel’s liquidator, Begbies Traynor, reached a £1.2 million settlement with Entatech, an independent entity which went into administration last week.

Begbies is now chasing other parties that traded with Changtel in the lead-up to its liquidation to claw back cash when it was presented with a winding-up petition on 7 June 2013, and the date of the winding-up order, on 28 January 2015. It claims that the deals were void.

Microsoft, Fujitsu and Swann are among Begbies’ top targets because they received payments in the region of £11 million , £6 million and nearly £2 million from Changtel. Mad Catz, a gaming hardware vendor which recently ceased trading, received £600,000.

A letter dated August 2016 sent by Begbies to one of the vendors involved requests that the sums they received during this period be paid back in full if validation orders were not obtained for them.

Insolvency laws are designed to protect any dispersal of assets in the period between the presentation of a winding-up petition and the formal liquidation.

Gemalto gives Mercs smartphone keys

4550a36b2d1a5bc005e1abbfeafa461cDigital security outfit Gemalto is providing its Trusted Services Hub (TSH) to support Daimler AG’s new smartphone-based ‘digital vehicle key’ for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class range.

The premium car maker’s “innovative solution” gives drivers the freedom to lock/unlock and start their vehicles using their NFC smartphone. Gemalto’s TSH enables seamless and secure over-the-air deployment of the digital keys to any type of phone that supports the solution.

Drivers can lock/unlock their cars by simply placing the smartphone against the door handle. The engine can also be turned on with the phone in the charging tray of the dashboard and pressing the start button. It works even if the phone battery is drained and means you don’t need keys – unless your phone is out of battery, or stolen.

The Secure Element is a tamper resistant hardware platform, capable of securely hosting applications and storing confidential and cryptographic data. It can be found in a SIM provided by a Mobile Network Operator and/or an eSE (embedded Secure Element) built into phone handset by OEMs, the company claims.

The idea is part of the ‘Mercedes me connect’ programme.

Christine Caviglioli, vice president New Mobility Solutions at Gemalto said that digitalisation demands that companies harness their expertise to make friends and influence people with all stakeholders within the connected car ecosystems.

“For Daimler AG, this aim is supported by our solutions, which enable it to offer customers innovative services through their preferred device, without compromising security.”

Exertis pulls in more than 1,000 to shindig

1890160-1-eng-GB_exertis-slider-610Exertis managed to draw 1,000 people to its first Plug into Exertis event in West London.

Paul Bryan, managing director of, IT and mobile, told the assorted throngs that it was a tough market and a market that is consolidating. Customers are worried that their partners will shut and that is why it is important that Exertis had DCC behind it to provide it with cash.

He told the assorted throngs that it was challenging market and the industry was having to deal with Brexit, price inflation and the uncertainty of an election which also adds to the uncertainty.

Exertis was growing, operating with more than 2,000 staff and £2.5 billion turnover, developing and looking for ways to expand its footprint, both geographically and from a technology point of view, he said.

“With our organic growth, we are constantly setting up new divisions and bringing in new expertise, new product sets and we are very acquisitive. We brought three business in the UK last year. Geographic expansion, it’s not just UK and Ireland and across Europe but who’s to say those ambitions are not global,” he added.

Exertis bought AV player Medium, storage and server outfit Hammer and Siracom for wireless.

In the consumer the Smart home is a really interesting, he said.

“It is up year-on-year with some big brands coming through. We are very focused on making sure we are bringing on the right brands and making them available to retailers.”

Exertis’ business division found that Medium had helped it get more of a footprint in whiteboards, large format displays and it had kept its print revenues going.

The Hammer acquisition wrapped up in November has already had an impact in the enterprise operation thanks to the firm’s knowledge of storage and servers.

Bryan said that there had also been an increase in security sales as customers moved to make sure they were compliant and able to deal with the latest threats.

The distributor is also going to be banging the drum more over the services it provides resellers with support available across its technology portfolio. Earlier this month the firm revealed plans to double the amount of credit available to SME resellers as another demonstration of its commitment to support the channel.

Datatec issues profit warning

Fire Bell

Datatec issued a profit warning this morning as its for-sale distribution arm, Westcon, has been hit hard by an SAP roll out.

The outfit warned in April that earnings per share for its fiscal 2017 would more than halve, but no one was ready for the number to be 66 percent behind the previous year.

Datatec laid the blame firmly at the door of its distribution arm Westcon, or Westcon-Comstor as it has taken to calling it since it began negotiations to sell it.

Ill effects of the SAP roll out had devalued the business in the eyes of suitors, at least in the short term.

Westcon-Comstor’s global sales fell by seven percent to $4.53 billion, the damage mostly done in EMEA, where sales plunged by $263 million to $864 million, a whopping 30 percent slump.

Datatec stated: “Europe went live on SAP during November 2016, resulting in transitional challenges and delayed financial reporting, exacerbated by the business process outsourcing in that region. Trading conditions in MEA were weak, resulting in a poor performance across the region, with additional receivables write-offs in Africa and the Middle East.”

Datatec’s other main arm, integrator Logicalis, performed in line with expectations for the year, Datatec added.

Datatec gave no update on the possible sale involving Westcon-Comstor, other than to repeat that there can be no certainty that the transaction it is negotiating will be completed.

BT fires staff and takes CEO’s bonus away

Kitten-KongBT is axing 4,000 jobs and has stripped its CEO of his bonus after what it has called a “challenging year”.

The company had an annus horribilis thanks to a £245 million charge relating to an accounting stuff up at its Italian operation and a £42 million fine from Ofcom for regulatory breaches at its Openreach arm.

All this happened as the UK public sector and international markets all suffered. The company profit slumped 19 percent. Reported revenues rose 27 percent to £24.06 billion, but this was only because it bought EE. If that was taken out of the math, sales fell 0.2 percent.

BT’s Remuneration Committee have opted not to dish out a bonus to its CEO Gavin Pattison, meaning his total pay packet has was cut from £5.28 million to £1.34 million this year. Poor Gavin.

At least he will still have a job. More than 4,000 staff in Global Services, as well as its Technology, Services and Operations divisoin and Group Functions, are being told to clean out their desks and exit the building. BT says this is to offset “market and regulatory pressures and support investment”.

Patterson admitted it had been a “challenging year”, adding that BT is taking the Ofcom and Italian issues “extremely seriously”.

“Learning from the challenges of this year will make BT a stronger outfit for the future,” he said.

F-Secure buys Digital Assurance

2_180923-2130x2708F-Secure has written a cheque for the security consultancy Digital Assurance to get its products in front of more Brits.

This is the second consultancy it has acquired in the space of three months as the vendor takes steps to bolster its position in the market.

Digital Assurance has been providing security assessment services to firms operating in the public sector, financial, retail and defence markets.

It is not clear how much F-Secure paid for the outfit. The deal will add the consultancy’s customer base and market knowledge along with the F-Secure endpoint and cyber security products.

Jens Thonke, executive vice president of F-Secure’s cyber security services said:

“Digital Assurance has a deep understanding of cyber security, and delivers a broad range of security testing, consultancy and training services to organisations in both the private and public sectors. This acquisition will help F-Secure grow our successful service business to meet the ever-increasing demand for cyber security services.”

Digital Assurance founder and managing director Greg Jones said: “Over the past decade, we have built one of the UK’s leading security consultancies and worked together with many customers delivering leading edge security assessments.”

This is the second similar deal F-Secure has done this year. F-Secure wrote a cheque to vertical player Inverse Path, another consultancy that had a formidable reputation in the security service space.

Carbon Black poaches channel bloke from HPE

milesripponclearswift-370x229Miles Rippon has been named as Carbon Black’s EMEA channel director and has been ordered to sort out the outfit ‘s European channel business following its strategic distribution agreement with Arrow.

Apparently, Rippon will be building up Carbon Black’s relationships with channel partners, expanding its reach and increasing enterprise sales through the region. To do this he will have to push Arrow and Carbon Black’s joint offerings in cyber security.
In a statement, Rippon pointed out that traditional AV products were going no-where because they could not deliver the improvements needed to protect organisations against modern threats.

While there is a huge demand from customers for a leading NGAV solution, by combining Cb Defense with Arrow’s vast network, Carbon Black is greatly increasing its global footprint, providing high margins for resellers and continuing to stay at the cutting edge keeping businesses protected from cyberattacks, he said.

There is a huge opportunity for Carbon Black to work with its channel partners to grow its market share this year and Rippon said was happy to be behind the wheel.

Rippon joins Carbon Black from HPE’s enterprise security products division, where he served as EMEA channel and alliance director. Prior to that, he has held roles as VP of global channels for Clearswift and VP of EMEA channels for RSA Security.

Mark Reeves, VP for EMEA sales at Carbon Black, said: “Miles is an EMEA channel expert with extensive experience and hands-on sales territory and sales management skills. He has maintained strong sales performance records in developed and emerging territories. With the recent launch of our streaming prevention technology and the appointment of Arrow, we are now well set up to service the channel and build momentum in the market.”

UKCloud wants to get into healthcare

market_street_thumbG-Cloud supplier, UKCloud wants to push into the cloud-hating healthcare market.

The outfit has opened a new division which will deliver a “sovereign, secure and open” platform to NHS bodies and the wider healthcare sector.

Dubbed UKCloud, Health the new division will learn from UKCloud’s government experience. The outfit saw a 37 per cent share of Infrastructure-as-a-Service spend through the G-Cloud public sector framework.

CEO Simon Hansford said that cloud adoption in government stands at eight per cent, compared with two per cent adoption in healthcare.

He said that the market is ripe, and when they see that there is a sovereign, secure and open platform they will go for it.  He said the situation was similar when UKCloud launched six years ago.

It built a platform at its own cost and risk, and stood it up, and believed customers would come to us.

The new UKCloud Health platform is a replica of its existing platform and would encompass “tens of thousands of VMs and petabytes of storage”. It will run on the same physical datacentres, but it’s a segregated platform.

One important aspect of the platform is that it allows healthcare bodies, pharmaceutical companies and regulatory bodies to share data sets with each other and partners in the supply chain, where appropriate, Hansford explained.

Hansford said that UKFast is price neutral, and in the majority of cases cheaper, than AWS and Azure across the whole basket of storage and compute.

He also claimed the US hyperscalers’ recent investments in UK datacentres were “tiny” and that their data residency claims were no more than ‘FUD’.

Hansford pointed out that last week, Azure ran out of storage capacity in the UK, so moved customers over to the Netherlands. Amazon has also run out of a compute platform in the UK and moved over to Ireland.

The big outfits had made tiny investments in the UK to win hearts and minds and they don’t give data residency, let alone data sovereignty.

Dell claims client computing is still its core

michael-dell-2At the inaugural Dell EMC World event in Las Vegas this week, Dell pledged that client computing “remains core to our business” and said that the PC will be back with augmented reality, subscription payment models, and wireless charging.

Dell Technologies chief marketing officer Jeremy Burton said that the PC will evolve in the coming years, as well as some of the technology the vendor is ready to bring to market now.

He showed off the Latitude 7285, which Dell claims is the world’s first wireless-charging two-in-one laptop and the Canvas, a 27-inch monitor pitched at the design industry. The latter involves a stylus, for drawing, and a ‘totem’ dial-style tool for cursor control. He said:

“The PC is smack bang in the centre of what is going on in the world Augmented reality and virtual reality are technologies that are now at the tipping point. This will be a $45bn [annual] hardware market, and a $35bn software market by 2025.”

Dell is also looking to forge partnerships with other AR and VR players, and is launching a partner programme through which to formalise ties with industry specialists.

“We want to work with a broad ecosystem to make this a reality,” said Burton.

Michael Dell showed off VMware’s AirWatch enterprise mobility management which has been embedded into some of its client computing devices he also revealed that the vendor’s PC-as-a-service offering will be available across the world during 2017.

“We are announcing the global rollout of our PC-as-a-service, which combines the latest Dell PCs with financing services and support for a single predictable price per month,” he said.
Dell added: “To make it extremely clear: the PC remains core to our business and strategy – it is how work gets done.”

Ironscales needs security resellers

0941dac383f60a9f815aeac28fead1e3Email phishing remediation outfit Ironscales is looking for security resellers to roll out its goods in the UK

Ironscales was founded in 2013 by CEO Eyal Benishti to provide and intelligence capabilities on phishing emails.

He said that there were only two major email security solutions. The first is the more traditional gateway or filter that sits on the network or the cloud, with the emails going through and trying to decide if they should be let through or not.

While these are good at filtering out spam or known attacks, but it’s at least a couple of hours before they can spot new attacks. The other technique involves training which stops around 80 per cent of attacks.

Ironscales works on the idea that you use machine learning and human interaction. The machine learning aspect of the software quarantines malicious content, but it will also learn from the use commands.

It operates both on end-point devices – in the form of a plug-in for the likes of Microsoft Outlook and Gmail – and also on the perimeter or in the cloud.

The company launched into the UK two months ago and now has two employees, with more set to follow soon to increase its sales and presales presence. The vendor has four UK channel partners, but wants more managed security service providers.

It signed a deal with Check Point, which sees the vendor support Ironscales’ sandbox solution, which Benishti said provides a strong proposition for current Check Point partners to bolt on Ironscales’ products.

However, the company wants channel partners that have no anti-phishing solution and those who want to replace a traditional solution like email filtering.
A channel programme is expected to be launched in the coming months along with moves into mainland Europe with an initial focus on the Nordics.

British companies waste £37 billion on failed Agile IT projects

contortionist-1-e1426130003119UK business will waste £37 billion on failed Agile IT projects in the next year, according to a new report from independent IT consultancy 6point6.

6point6 commissioned a survey of 300 CIOs in the UK and the US to examine their experiences of Agile and measure how successfully the principles of Agile are being applied and executed.

The results were shown at the CIO Insight Summit in Frankfurt today in a major new report with the catchy title “An Agile Agenda: How CIOs Can Navigate the Post-Agile Era.”

Chris Porter, CTO and co-founder of 6point6 and one of the authors of the report said: “Agile IT in the UK is facing a hidden crisis – 12 percent of Agile projects are failing completely.

CIOs tell us they expect to undertake six agile projects next year, one in eight of which will fail completely. Given there are about 6,000 CIOs in the UK and that the average Agile IT projects costs £8 million, that is a huge amount of waste. The truth is that, despite the hype, Agile development doesn’t always work in practice.”

The research also uncovered that over half of CIOs regard Agile development as “discredited” while three-quarters are no longer prepared to defend it. Three quarters of CIOs think Agile IT has now become an industry while half say they now think of Agile as “an IT fad”.

Chris Porter said: “This is a conservative estimate. We have only looked at Agile IT projects that fail completely. This does not include the waste involved in Agile projects that fail only partially. UK and US CIOs now estimate that a third of Agile projects fail. The failure to apply Agile effectively is a huge problem for the UK.”

It said that 32 per cent of Agile projects that fail, do so because teams are geographically scattered. As Agile is increasingly being used at scale, organisations have been forced to look across local, regional, and international boundaries to find the talent they need in the quantity they require. Agile favours co-location of teams and business people but this is increasingly a luxury so organisations must develop ways to successfully overcome this limitation, which will involve more process, communication, governance, and management.

6point6’s research showed 95 per cent of CIOs have worked in a scaled Agile environment involving multiple teams working on multiple projects concurrently. But Agile does not offer a means to scale up or out. Instead, organisations must either set up their own scaled Agile method or embrace an existing one.

The report revealed 44 per cent of Agile IT projects that fail, do so because of a failure to produce enough documentation. Agile teams cannot service a piece of software indefinitely. At some point, it will have to be handed over to others to run it and they will need a set of instructions that simply cannot be written at the end of a project. Be ready with up-to-date architecture, designs other mechanisms such as wikis, automated tests, dynamically generated documentation, and Clean Code.

6point6’s research demonstrated that the average life expectancy of a CIO is just 14 months which is not long enough to affect the cultural change and ensure the ongoing boardroom support required to nurture success in an Agile environment.

CEOs must empower and support their technology leaders if they want to succeed in the digital economy, the report said.

The survey found that 34 per cent of failed Agile projects failed because of a lack of upfront and ongoing planning. Planning is a casualty of today’s interpretation of the Agile Manifesto, which can cause Agile teams to lose their way and their customers to lose visibility of what they are getting for their money, now and in the future.

Agile teams require more Architects. From defining strategy, to championing technical requirements to ensuring development teams stick to the rules of the game, the role of the Architect is missed in the Agile space. It must be reintroduced.

Brother uncloisters SMB print offering

2c43014a23e409b5b0d7adaa2c8dfd58Brother UK is boosting its SMB print offering with its latest colour laser launch.

The big idea is that the new L8000 and L9000 ranges will help channel partners capitalise on a buoyant colour laser market, which has grown 28 per cent year-on-year.

The ICT services provider is introducing seven new models, which are all specifically designed to increase efficiency and improve workflow in SMBs and small corporates.

The company said that javing generated the largest sales growth last year, the L8000 and L9000 series launch cements Brother’s position as one of the leaders in the colour laser market.

Replacing the L8000 and L9000 models currently available, the five-strong L8000 range comprises two A4 printers and three multifunction devices. The L9000 series includes a higher volume A4 printer and the flagship MFC-L9570CDW, which features a fully customisable 16.5cm LCD touchscreen.

Models offer advanced paper handling, fast print speeds of up to 31 pages per minute (ppm) and scan speeds of up to 50 images per minute (ipm), as well as compatibility with mobile cloud and connectivity services such as Google Cloud print and AirPrint – all of which facilitate improvements in efficiency and workflow.

Both ranges are well suited to SMBs – as well as providing cost-effective printing, the option of added lower and tower trays means devices are scalable as businesses grow, Brother said.

Models in the L9000 series are suitable for higher volume users, with high-yield toners and print management solutions such as b-guard and PaperCut for greater control.

Hassan Masaud, Product Manager at Brother UK, said: “We’re building on our industry leading colour laser proposition with the launch of these two new ranges, helping partners to take advantage of growing revenue opportunities.

“At the moment, there’s a huge focus on the SMB market within Brother, and we’re confident these models perfectly meet the needs of small business customers.

“Businesses are increasingly looking to make workflows faster and more intuitive, to ultimately increase efficiency, and the L8000 and L9000 ranges have been designed with these priorities in mind.”

Dell in the clouds again

Michael DellGrey box shifter Michael Dell talked up the importance of a ‘multi-cloud’ world and waded in to AWS, Microsoft, and Google by claiming that, for many customers, “public cloud is twice as expensive as on-premise”.

Dell said that while all styles of cloud computing have their merits and applications, customers should not relytoo heavily on any one model, – particularly public cloud.

“If you have a public cloud-first and -only strategy, you will find yourself uncompetitive in the long term. On-premise offers automation capabilities on an unprecedented scale. Many customers have already told us that the public cloud is twice as expensive as on-premise,” he said.

David Goulden, president of Dell EMC, added that Dell’s cloud offering addresses not only generalist productivity and business applications, but also core applications that many enterprises would not typically consider suitable for the cloud arena.

“Most clouds target the millions of general-purpose applications,” he said. “Our cloud strategy targets those, but also targets performance-intensive, mission-critical applications that most customers would not [otherwise] consider running on a cloud or as-a-service basis. We, uniquely, have a hybrid cloud strategy for all your applications.”

Dell EMC is adding its 14th generation of its PowerEdge range of servers this summer and the new VMAX 950F all-flash storage array.

The vendor also boosted its VxRail suite of hyper-converged technology, including the launch of a single-processor unit which allows businesses to invest in hyper-converged infrastructure for a capital investment as low as $25,000.

Dell Financial Services is to a launch a payment offering for hyper-converged infrastructure providing customers with the option of “cloud-like consumption” of the technology.