Tag: Cisco

US companies take down Chinese hacker group

1220aAn alliance of US tech companies including Novetta and Microsoft hasbeen targeting the Hikit malware and have worked out a way to disrupt the Chinese cyber espionage gang Axiom’s antics.

Dubbed Operation SMN, the coalition of security companies has apparently given the hackers a Chinese burn after it detected and cleaned up malicious code on 43,000 computers worldwide infected by Axiom.

The effort was led by Novetta and included Bit9, Cisco, FireEye, F-Secure, iSIGHT Partners, Microsoft, Tenable, ThreatConnect Intelligence Research Team (TCIRT), ThreatTrack Security, Volexity, and was united as part of Microsoft’s Coordinated Malware Eradication (CME) campaign against Hikit.

Hikit is custom malware often used by Axiom to burrow into organisations and nick data. It works quietly and evades detection, sometimes for years.

Axiom used a variety of tools to access and re-infect environments including Derusbi, Deputy Dog, Hydraq, and others. Ludwig says, they expanded the group and its scope “so that we absolutely did the best possible job of clean-up and removal” and rolled it all into a Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) released Oct. 14.

Novetta thinks that while the MSRT was comprehensive, it may be only a temporary setback for Axiom, which will just work out another way of doing the same thing.

Novetta says it has “moderate to high confidence” that Axiom is a well-resourced and well-disciplined subgroup of the state-backed “Chinese Intelligence Apparatus.”

Axiom has been found in organisations that are of strategic economic interest, that influence environmental and energy policy and that develop integrated circuits, telecommunications equipment and infrastructure.

The target organisations are often related in some way, and once Hikit has burrowed its way into a computing environment, it can create a “mini-network,” communicating laterally with other Hikit installations within the organisation or related outside groups. What makes it difficult to track is that it uses proxies and never communicates with the command-and-control server directly. Hikit talks to companies in such a way that the traffic does not look dodgy.

 

Cisco gets into cloudbusting

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeNetwork giant Cisco said it has added 30 partners to its Intercloud initiative.

Customers want the cloud to be less hazy less than it is and Cisco believes it can help itself and them by developing standardised cloud apps as well as very secure hybrid clouds.

New partners include Deutsche Telekom BY, NTT Data and Equinix and said it will put up $1 billion for cloud financing using its equity arm, Cisco Capital.

Cisco claims that its announcements will expand the reach of its cloud initiative across 250 datacentres in 50 countries.

Rob Lloyd, Cisco’s president of sales and development said that his company is in a position to connect different cloud services by using a common stack.

Cisco signed a number of providers to build a channel programme using Comstor, Ingram Micro and Tech Data.

The firmis offering Cisco hybrid cloud bundles – a combination of tech and services – to help enterprise customers to build different kinds of cloud environments.

Cisco rules the security appliance roost

ciscologoWhile there was only moderate growth for security appliances in EMEA during the second quarter of this year, Cisco has the most market share.

That’s according to technology market research company IDC, which said the market in Q2 was worth $654.80 million, a rise compared to the same quarter in 2013 of 6.2 percent.

Cisco has 20.2 percent revenue share, up one percent year on year.

The runners up in shipments during the quarter were Check Point (17.5%), Fortinet (8.5%), McAfee (6%) and Juniper (5.5%), with the others commanding 42.3 percent.

However, McAfee’s growth between Q2 2013 and Q2 2014 was a massive 66.9 percent, IDC said.

Unified threat management (UMT) was the fast growing security appliance product category – that’s the eighth consecutive quarter and UTM appliances account for 48.4 percent of total vendor revenue.

Cisco throws weight behind firewall

Cisco FirewallNetworking giant Cisco claims it has introduced the first threat focused firewall.

Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services uses contextual awareness and controls to automatically assess threats, provide intelligence and improve defences to protect network.

Aimed at large enterprises, it includes Sourcefire’s Advanced Malware Protection and Next Generation Intrusion Prevention Systems.

The software management gives authorised users dashboards and drill down reports of discovered hosts, dodgy applications, threats and indicators of compromised systems.

Cisco claims its firewall is enterprise class, and supports VPN, advanced clustering and granular application layer and risk based controls.  Open source integration with Snort, OpenAppID and ClamAV let companies customise security.

No details of pricing are available.

Dell engages in channel love in

dellbudaTen years ago, the very word Dell was enough to send VARs, VADs and, let’s face it, the rest of the channel into streams of invective, punctuated by words you wouldn’t want your nan to hear you speak. Like the expletive “direct sales”, for example.

But, it seems, everything has changed and now Dell loves the channel and, incredibly, the channel seems to love Dell too.  Channel Eye took time out from our incredibly stressful schedule to spend a day at a security partner reseller conference in Budapest and got to chat to several senior executives and resellers too, for that matter, who spelled out the sea changes that have happened at the Round Rock company.

While Dell is still seen by many as the PC tin maker that put the wind up conventional and indirect players like HP and the rest, it’s made a number of acquisitions in the last few years that mean the barque is now being steered in an entirely different direction. Those include SonicWALL, Quest and others.

The changes have been engineered at the highest level – that is to say by Michael Dell himself – with the assistance of senior exec Cheryl Cook. Unbelievably for an old channel hack like me, 32 percent of Dell’s business now goes the indirect route, worth an estimated $20 billion of revenue, under the umbrella of Partner Direct.

Channel Eye interviewed senior members of the EMEA channel team, including Andy Zollo and Marvin Blough – executive director of Dell’s worldwide channels and alliances. We also had the opportunity to talk to Patrick Sweeney, executive director of product management at the corporation.

Sweeney said: “Dell is in the process of becoming an end to end supplier of scalable systems. Dell continues to build PCs, but relies on value added resellers (VARs) to be trusted advisors [to customers].” He said that Dell is now a serious player in software and security and offers products that he claimed favourably compete with the likes of Cisco, Fortinet and others.  The company, he said, invests heavily in R&D, has a wide breadth of products and the idea of Dell as a major player in security and software is promoted by Michael Dell himself when he makes major announcements.

In fact, Dell has something like 124 VARs in the EMEA region. The trend is that larger companies have started to rely on VARs to help them through the IT maze, whether that be in the cloud, in big data, or in security.  Florian Malecki, who is the international product marketing director at Dell, said his company also relies on value added distributors (VADs) to generate events and training schemes.

How does it all work? Under the Dell umbrella of Partner Direct, the company operates certification for its channel partners at different levels, said Zollo. The tiers are premier partners, preferred partners and registered partners, but, he said, Dell is about to introduce a fourth category – managed service providers (MSPs).  Dell continues to roll out partnership initiatives and concedes that while it still has direct customers, the trend is to move towards an indirect model to allow it to penetrate different markets.  It’s impossible to operate a direct model in the many markets it now plays in.

Zollo says that the company has a “direct touch” sales team that cross sells all the products it has – and this umbrella model means that Dell GCC is able to operate across a wide area of customers and partners.

Who would have thought it? Dell was once a company that wouldn’t even talk to channel publications like ours. But it looks as if it will be talking to us more and more in the future. It relies on its VARs and its VADs for deep levels of specialisation, training and support.

We guess that HP must be gazing at all of this with quite some alarm. And Lenovo, for that matter.

Cloud Distribution signs A10

Adam Davison, Cloud DistributionValue added distributor Cloud Distribution said it has signed up A10 Networks.

A10 produces high performance products for accelerating, optimising and securing apps cost effectively.

Adam Davison, director at Cloud Distribution said that the Application Delivery Controller market has gone through a shake up after Cisco discontinued its ACE product.

And, he added, a number of enterprise customers need to refresh existing IT products that have now reached the end of their lives and have discontinued support.

“The recent addition of A10’s dedicated DDoS offering is an added bonus for our partners because it broadens the market opportunity with an enlarged portfolion of products,” he said.

According to Gartner figures, the Application Delivery Controller market and will doubtle to be worth $2.9 billion in the next few years.

Icewarp taps into Cisco Developer Network

ciscologoMessaging provider IceWarp has been accepted into the Cisco Developer Network, meaning it can now develop software that will be integrated and embedded into Cisco products.

Developers for IceWarp can now use the Cisco Developer Network to speed up development.

IceWarp’s president, Ladislav Goc, said that his company wants to expand on the growing trend of customers using the messaging platform within Cisco products.

“The goal is to develop a family of products that would allow our customers to deploy messaging and telephone solutions in one integrated package,” Goc said.

Because IceWarp architecture is based on universal standards, it doesn’t depend on a client and can support all mobile devices on the market. The company hopes by integrating Cisco office telephone systems with IceWarp on the server level, customers will be able to do away with using multiple systems and can instead rely on a single package.

 

IBM tops server charts, revenues fall

ibm-officeIDC’s latest worldwide server market figures are out, and IBM was top dog yet again despite a 10 percent yearly decline in factory revenue, and soft demand for System x and Power Systems.

Factory revenue overall worldwide decreased by 6.2 percent – but still netted $11.9 billion for the second quarter of 2013 alone. This was the second consecutive year of revenue decline as demand weakened in most regions around the world, while server unit shipments dropped 1.2 percent to 2.0 million units, the third consecutive quarterly decline.

Volume systems dropped 2.4 percent, while midrange system demand decreased a chunky 22.3 percent. High end systems decreased 9.5 percent.

HP was just behind IBM with 25.9 percent of the market. HP also experienced a 17.5 percent decline in factory revenue, as well as poor demand for the x86 ProLiant servers and continued declines in HP Integrity demand.

Dell came in third with 18.8 percent factory market share for the quarter, but factory revenues were up 10.3 percent compared to the same time last year, pitching Dell at its highest ever market share.

Oracle stayed at number four, holding six percent market share, with factory revenue decreases of 5.7 percent compared to the same time last year. Cisco was fifth with 4.5 percent share, but experienced a 42.6 percent yearly revenue growth, putting it above last quarter’s tie with Fujitsu.

IDC’s GM for enterprise platforms, Matt Eastwood, said: “Mainstream SMB and enterprise server customers around the world continue to focus on consolidation, virtualization, and migration initiatives aimed at increasing efficiency and lowering datacenter infrastructure costs. At the same time, challenging economic conditions are dampening demand for new IT projects necessary to grow the server market globally”.

“It is clear that the competitive dynamics in the server market remain fierce as the leading server vendors work to offset weak demand for generally higher margin Unix and blade servers with lower margin rack and density optimised servers,” Eastwood said.

Avnet wins EU Cisco contract

avnettsMassive global distie Avnet has won the first EMEA contract from Cisco to supply Cisco UCS servers running SAP HANA, which will let resellers approach SAP customers all over Europe.

UCS lets customers run data analytics and warehousing in real time, quick, as well as providing the base for running other SAP enterprise applications on SAP HANA. The idea is that by using Cisco UCS for SAP HANA, customers will get simplified management, scalability, operational automation, and a range of quality storage options, helping them exercise greater control of critical enterprise applications.

Avnet EMEA veep Miriam Murphy said in a statement that in-memory computing should be expanding rapidly in Europe, as companies look for products that will help them make data driven business decisions quickly and on the fly.

“We can install the SAP in-memory computing platform and ship the rack mounted servers in as little as three days from receiving an order on most models,” Murphy said, “placing our partners in pole position to address new SAP customers”

Cisco’s director of partner operations for EMEA said the company had been working with SAP on HANA since 2010, and chose Avnet for the first European distributor considering its experience with Cisco and capabilities to built to order, plus the company’s logistic strengths.

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Kcom invests in Cisco certification

ciscologoKcom has got some more Cisco certification on its roster that open it up to selling and delivering further Cisco’s cloud products.

The programme gives partners cash rewards for selling cloud services as well as other incentives.

From getting the Cisco Master Service Provider certification, Kcom will now be able to flog at least two Cisco services, that is, managed or cloud services labelled Cisco Powered.

The service designation are in Cisco Powered Hosted Collaboration Solution and Cisco Powered Managed Hosted Collaboration for Contact Center, complementing the company\s existing services.

The idea is to use Cisco Powered services to boost connectivity to boost customer connectivity and take away unnecessary technology to reduce both cost and risk. For their buck they get 24/7 partner and Cisco support plus the sway of a big name.

Internet of Everything becomes something

map-of-internetAccording to a report from Cisco the latest buzzword on the world wide wibble, the Internet of Everything, will become a major market earner by the end of the year.

The Internet of Everything is the networked connection of people, process, data and things so that “everything” joins the network.

Cloud computing is one of the early examples of the Internet of Things along with the boom in the mobility market.

According to the Internet of Everything Value Index study released by Cisco the global private-sector businesses to generate at least $613 billion this year.

Companies who optimise the connections among people, process, data and things will generate the largest profits, the report said.

Rob Lloyd, Cisco President of Development and Sales said that the study of 7,500 global business and IT leaders in 12 countries reports that the United States, China and Germany will earn the most.

They will be chasing the promise of nearly doubling their profits by adopting business practices, customer approaches and technologies that use Internet of Everything ideas.

He said that the Internet of Everything is already driving private-sector corporate profits, it is estimated that an additional $544 billion could be realised if companies adjusted their strategies.

“The Internet of Everything has the potential to significantly reshape our economy and transform key industries. The question is who will come out on top and win in this new economy. This study shows us that success won’t be based on geography or company size but on who can adapt fastest,” Lloyd said.

SmartThings CTO Jeff Hagins said that the study confirms the potential for the Internet of Everything.
“With the SmartThings platform and open community, we believe that more developers and inventors will be able to participate in the value chain and ultimately bring the physical graph to life,” he said.

Global businesses can pursue as much as $14.4 trillion over the next decade by using the Internet of Everything to improve operations and customer service.

 

Will Cisco’s partners back its global domination plans?

World-DominationLast week Cisco Worldwide Partner Summit in San Diego heard how the networking giant is planning to kill off its rivals in what it is calling a “brutal consolidation.”

The cunning plan is to eliminates the majority of the market incumbents in the next few years.

It was all blunt stuff. CEO John Chambers did not mince his words, and appeared to want to make mincemeat of anyone who dared to look at Cisco’s market share in a funny way.

“Far too often a competitor makes a statement and the market accepts it; but we have never lost a major battle in one of our core competencies,” he said. “Of our competitors from 15 to 20 years ago, none of them are here today. From 10 years only Juniper still exists, and we are going to get them.”

A few years ago Cisco was  worried about HP, Huawei and Avaya but we have left them behind as well, he added.

Chambers is right, but at the same time Cisco has had a fair few problems of its own. It has had to do a fairly brutal restructuring of its own. The pain of the last few years certainly is not over.

On top of that, Chambers has promised to remove three out of five of its rivals which is a fairly difficult task even for Captain Evil.

To the cheers of his minions, er partners, he said that there will be much consolidation and Cisco will end up on top.

Part of the success is because Cisco is providing most of the hardware for companies who have cloud and big data plans. The other is that it has been planning for something it calls the Internet of Everything for a while.

Chambers said that the internet of everything represents a $14.4tn  sales over the next decade. If he is right then VARs in particular will have to change their approach to what they sell.

Instead of switches, routers and servers, they will be called upon to flog connected products. At the moment they are not really in this headspace.

At least they can understand cloud products and that data has to be supported and accessible. In the short term Cisco partners will probably be looking at Hosted Collaboration Solution and so-called smart services, more geared to analytics and monitoring.

Cisco is going to want to see a push around and Cisco’s monitoring and support services.

At the conference Cisco talked a lot about the future of services for partners. It had to in many ways. Much of its bold vision requires its channel partners to change their cunning plans. But the issue is that some of Cisco’s partners do not want to move into services and just want to keep selling hardware.

Senior vice president of Cisco Services Edzard Overbeek tried to wave a carrot at them. He pointed out that Cisco wrote more than $200 million in rebates to partners who generated more than $6 billion.
Overbeek thought the future of Ciscos channel lay in consulting services; platform services; and industry services.

Industry services, encompassing services created for specific vertical markets such as retail, finance or manufacturing, will be the most important, he predicted.

Whether its channel partners will sign up for that vision is still unknown.

VMware hires new channel honcho

Hands across the waterVMware has added a new recruit to its senior management payroll.

The virtualisation and cloud infrastructure company hired Dave O’Callaghan as senior vice president of Global Channels and Alliances.

It is hoped that in his new role O’Callaghan will lead the vision and strategy for VMware partners globally across all routes to market, including service providers, distributors, OEMs, system integrators and outsourcers, and independent software vendors.

His CV boasts positions in the tech industry spanning 30 years and includes positions in senior sales and indirect sales roles at Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems and Memorex Telex.

Most recently, in 2011, O’Callaghan founded and led his own consulting firm specialising in go-to-market strategies for high-tech manufacturers, distributors and solution providers. Prior to this, O’Callaghan served as vice president of worldwide commercial sales at Cisco, where he led sales, strategy and programs of the midmarket and SMB segments.

During his 12 years at Cisco, O’Callaghan also held vice president roles in worldwide distribution and regional sales. He said he was “excited” to be helping his new  customers “solve their biggest IT infrastructure challenges of today and in the future”.

Dell attacks Cisco in mid-market

mikedellcloseupDell is talking big about taking on network behemoth Cisco, announcing its SonicWall NSA firewalls that it believes will disrupt the market.

Dell is promising protection for mid-sized organisations with its latest firewalls, promising customers that the SonicWall NSA software will assure “optimal network performance and total cost of ownership”, going on to say that its technology will even “render competitors’ traditional firewalls obsolete”.

Using a patented single pass, low latency Reassembly Free Deep Packet Inspection, or RFDPI engine, this kit, Dell claims, has enough power to take note of all network traffic, no matter the port or protocol, and can block threats before they worm their way into the network.

Dell boasts that the RFDPI engine has the twin benefit of combining a firewall with an intrusion protection system, and the software sports features like 10GbE SPF+ interfaces and high performance SSL decryption. Medium sized organisations will be able to use the kit to take advantage of security usually only afforded for enterprise grade network security, Dell claims.

Dell exec director in product management, Patrick Sweeney, said the company believes these “products are game-changers as we take on Cisco in the critical mid-market”.

As web threats get more sophisticated, penny pinching mid sized organisations swamped by economic stagnation need excellent security to make sure they are not even more vulnerable than they already are. Problems with funding staff training or specialisation are common, too, so Dell thinks its latest product can help.

Supply chain standard aims to eliminate counterfeit gear

server-racksCounterfeit iPhones, sunglasses and handbags have been around for years, but so have counterfeit IT products, and they tend to be a bit more dangerous and costly than a fake Gucci bag crafted from genuine imitation faux leather.

The Open Group has published a new technical security standard with the aim of improving supply chain safety and weeding out counterfeit products, or gear that has been tampered with. The Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS) is a 32-page document containing a set of guidelines, requirements and recommendations that should mitigate the risk of acquiring counterfeit products, or products that were “maliciously tainted.”

The standard is being backed by the likes of IBM and Cisco. It should address concerns raised by governments and the US Department of Defense, which tends to be rather picky when it comes to networking gear. Junipar, Huawei, EMC, Raytheon, HP, Microsoft, the NSA, Booz-Allen Hamilton, Boeing and NASA are also on board, reports Network World.

It is still unclear when the group will start issuing accreditations, or how it plans to go about it, but the backers feel that the IT industry should get acquainted with the new standards. With such high profile names on board, the industry should listen closely.

Big outfits are expected to embrace the new standard first, but in doing so they will also reduce the risk for smaller businesses. Still, the best way of steering clear from dodgy routers and switches is to simply avoid buying gear from unknown companies altogether.