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On email security in the era of hybrid working

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With remote working the future for so many global workforces – or at least some kind of hybrid arrangement – is there an impact on email security we are all missing? Oliver Paterson, director of product management at VIPRE Security, believes so.

“The timeframe that people expect now for you to reply to things is shortened massively,” says Paterson. “This puts additional stress and pressure on individuals, which can then also lead to further mistakes. [Employees] are not as aware if they get an email with a link coming in – and they’re actually more susceptible to clicking on it.”

The cybercriminal’s greatest friend is human error, and distraction makes for a perfect bedfellow. The remote working calendar means that meetings are now held in virtual rooms, instead of face-to-face. A great opportunity for a quick catch up on a few emails during a spot of downtime, perhaps? It’s also a great opportunity for an attacker to make you fall for a phishing attack.

“It’s really about putting in the forefront there that email is the major first factor when we talk about data breaches, and anything around cyberattacks and ransomware being deployed on people’s machines,” Paterson says around education. “We just need to be very aware that even though we think these things are changing, [you] need to add a lot more security, methods and the tactics that people are using to get into your business is still very similar.

“The attacks may be more sophisticated, but the actual attack vector is the same as it was 10-15 years ago.”

This bears true in the statistics. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found in its Phishing Activity Trends Report (pdf) in February that attacks hit an all-time high in 2021. Attacks had tripled since early 2020 – in other words, since the pandemic began. 

VIPRE has many solutions to this age-old problem, and the email security product side of the business comes primarily under Paterson’s remit. One such product is VIPRE SafeSend, which focuses on misaddressed emails and prevents data leakage. “Everyone’s sent an email to the wrong person at some point in their life,” says Paterson. “It just depends how serious that’s been.”

Paterson notes one large FMCG brand, where a very senior C-level executive had the same name as someone else in the business much lower down. Naturally, plenty of emails went to the wrong place. “You try and get people to be uber-careful, but we’ve got technology solutions to help with those elements as well now,” says Paterson. “It’s making sure that businesses are aware of that, then also having it in one place.”

Another part of the product portfolio is with EDR (endpoint detection and response). The goal for VIPRE is to ‘take the complexities out of EDR management for small to medium-sized businesses and IT teams.’ Part of this is understanding what organisations really want. 

The basic knowledge is there, as many organisational surveys will show. Take a study from the Enterprise Security Group (ESG) released in October in terms of ransomware preparedness. Respondents cited network security (43%), backup infrastructure security (40%), endpoint (39%), email (36%) and data encryption (36%) as key prevention areas. Many security vendors offer this and much more – but how difficult is it to filter out the noise?

“People understand they need an endpoint solution, and an email security solution. There’s a lot of competitors out there and they’re all shouting about different things,” says Paterson. “So it’s really getting down to the nitty gritty of what they actually need as a business. That’s where we at VIPRE try to make it as easy as possible for clients. 

“A lot of companies do EDR at the moment, but what we’ve tried to do is get it down to the raw elements that every business will need, and maybe not all the bells and whistles that probably 99% of organisations aren’t going to need,” Paterson adds.

“We’re very much a company that puts a lot of emphasis on our clients and partners, where we treat everyone as an individual business. We get a lot of comments [from customers] that some of the biggest vendors in there just treat them as a number.”

Paterson is speaking at the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Global, in London on December 1-2 around the rising threat of ransomware, and how the security industry evolves alongside this threat. Having a multi-layered approach will be a cornerstone of Paterson’s message, and his advice to businesses is sound.

“Take a closer look at those areas, those threat vectors, the way that they are coming into the business, and make sure that you are putting those industry-level systems in place,” he says. “A lot of businesses can get complacent and just continue renewing the same thing over and over again, without realising there are new features and additions. Misdelivery of email is a massive one – I would say the majority of businesses don’t have anything in place for it.

“Ask ‘where are the risk areas for your business?’ and understand those more, and then make sure to put those protection layers in place to help with things like ransomware attacks and other elements.”

(Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash)

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.


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Vodafone Ireland turns to Amdocs to drive enhanced customer experience

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Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


Vodafone Ireland has chosen Amdocs, a provider of software and services to communications and media companies, to transition its infrastructure and application workloads to the cloud, enabling an enhanced customer experience and rapid adoption of the latest 5G innovations.

Under the agreement, Amdocs Customer Experience Suite (CES) will migrate from Vodafone Ireland on-premise to the cloud, providing the Irish operator with greater flexibility and capacity to support its future growth.  

Mairead Cullen, CIO at Vodafone Ireland, said: “Moving to the cloud is a key part of our strategy as we look to become even more dynamic, agile and responsive to our customers’ needs. We have a long-standing relationship with Amdocs and we’re pleased to be collaborating with them on this important initiative.”

Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs, said: “By migrating its IT services infrastructure to the cloud, Vodafone Ireland can ensure it has the foundations in place to achieve growth and further enhance the experience of its customers.

“We are excited to be taking such a central role in the company’s cloud strategy.”

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

With access to large amounts of data made available to businesses, maintaining and governing the kind of data that is accessible to users have become significantly essential.

Proper data and analytics governance in organizations can help them in achieving on-point data and analytics processes.

The use of data and analytics is increasing across practically all industries. Due to the availability of inexpensive storage alternatives, organizations have access to more data. It’s not surprising that the usage of analytics due to access to extensive data has expanded to every part of the company when you take into account the growing number of user-friendly tools for managing, retrieving, and analyzing data. 

However, a lot of effort goes into managing data and analytics. Thus, organizations must ensure that their efforts are aligned with their business priorities, and the data is accurate in nature and thoroughly secured. Without analytics governance, even if the organization has a good hold on its data governance policies, the advantages of establishing policies and processes to govern the analytics process still stand. As data governance guarantees your business has processes and standards around the use of data, analytics governance provides the same level of oversight to the way analytics initiatives are built and delivered.

Aligning Data and Analytics Governance

Data and analytics governance initiatives must be closely related to organizational strategies. However, businesses frequently base their data and analytics governance processes on data rather than the business. Here are a few points on how businesses can align their data and analytics governance with their business outcomes.

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Trusted Governance

Forming business decisions based on the notion that “all data is equal” is no longer a sound strategy because data and analytics capabilities exist across a company and differ in nature. Instead, create a paradigm of trust-based governance that allows for a dispersed data and analytics ecosystem and is able to help business executives make decisions that are more confidently appropriate to the circumstances.

Digitization

With the essence of developing technology, digitization has taken over almost every business to stay relevant in the market. However, for businesses to gain the best outcomes from the digital space, digitization is essential. And for successful digitization, data and analytics governance must function based on factors like digital ethics and transparency. Therefore, ensuring that the values and concepts of digitization are reflected in the data and analytics governance is crucial to significantly align it with business outcomes.

Data Security

Today, organizations are aware of the potential risks associated with their businesses and securing data has become a necessity. This awareness implies that they address both the threats and the possibilities brought about by data and analytics. Organizations frequently manage risk and market potential independently, and they also do not really prioritize information security when assessing business results. Therefore, data and analytics governance authorities should have interdisciplinary teams capable of making decisions that are well-balanced, giving risk, opportunities, and security the appropriate weight while considering the organizations’ future interests in mind.

 

Today, businesses are aware of the fact that without effective data and analytics governance, their initiatives and investments in data and analytics won’t be able to satisfy important organizational goals like increased revenue, cost reduction, and improved customer experiences. Therefore, aligning it with business outcomes is critical for business success.

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IBM launches new way to partner through IBM Partner Plus

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IBM has developed IBM Partner Plus, a new program that reimagines how IBM engages with its business partners through unprecedented access to IBM resources, incentives, and tailored support to deepen their technical expertise and help speed time to market.

The program is designed to fuel growth for new and existing partners, including resellers, hyperscalers, technology providers, independent software vendors and systems integrators, by putting them in control of their earning potential. IBM Partner Plus is central to the company’s Hybrid Cloud and AI strategy and aims to empower partners to help clients automate, secure and modernize their businesses.

IBM Partner Plus offers partners a transparent, simple and modern experience. By growing technical expertise and demonstrating sales success, participants can progress to three tiers – Silver, Gold and Platinum – which unlock specialized financial, go-to-market support and education benefits. In the new program, badging will become the standardized measure of skills and validated solutions will demonstrate expertise. The enhanced IBM Partner Portal consolidates and tracks all expertise, revenue, and deals globally, offering each partner a clear line-of-site into their progression through the program.

“IBM Partner Plus introduces a new way for IBM to deliver value to new and existing partners by helping them gain skills, grow faster and earn more,” said Kate Woolley, GM, IBM Ecosystem. “We’ve heard from partners that they want a simplified experience that helps them win with clients. I’m confident these changes and our continued investment in our ecosystem will make IBM the partner of choice across the industry, and together we can drive growth for partners, clients, and IBM.”

IBM Partner Plus results from the company’s journey to put partners at the centre of IBM’s go-to-market strategy and act as a growth engine to help capture the $1 trillion hybrid cloud and AI market opportunities. IBM has invested in elevating the role of partners and accelerating partner-led sales by enabling the ecosystem to become a preferred route to market, offering clients an optimal mix of technology, services, and consulting expertise. To drive continued growth, IBM will increase its capacity to support partners by doubling the number of partner-facing brand and technical specialists to help them prospect and win additional client business.

“The new IBM Partner Plus program provides an enhanced experience that sets our company up for success by offering employees access to skills and opportunities, so we can help more clients utilise IBM’s technology portfolio to modernise their operations,” said Bo Gebbie, President, Evolving Solutions. “IBM is more serious than ever about putting partners first. They’ve listened to our feedback, and it is reflected in the new partner experience that makes it easy for us to collaborate, rewards our investments and fuel growth.”

IBM Partner Plus brings all partner types and programs together – whether they sell, build on or with, and/or provide services for IBM technology – into one integrated ecosystem. For example, to help broaden the market opportunity and create new revenue streams for its ecosystem, IBM recently enabled partners in North America to resell IBM products through other cloud marketplaces. This allows for independent software vendors to embed IBM Software from partner marketplaces into their own solutions. All partner sales through the marketplace accumulate towards their progression in IBM Partner Plus. 

Competitive incentives

Partners can advance through tiers to unlock benefits and demand generation programs which could offer them up to a threefold increase in total investment from IBM. The IBM Partner Portal gives partners real-time visibility into the incentives they are eligible for, predictability into potential earnings, and includes an automated deal share engine that helps them surface quality leads. This has improved deal registration and introduced partners to more than 7,000 potential deals valued at over half a billion dollars globally.*  IBM investments in co-marketing campaigns and co-sell support with partners can also help bring solutions to market and generate demand.

Insider access

IBM Partner Plus builds on the successful release of its October badging and selling enablement materials to partners, which has driven more than 15,000 partner enrollments in sales and technical badges. Offering partners the training, enablement, and experiential selling resources available to IBMers at no cost can help better equip them to win with clients. Additionally, access to IBM’s seller tools can help them generate competitive and transparent pricing. Partners can also attend IBM’s quarterly Sales Kickoffs together with IBM sellers, and participate in live training sessions and other global technical advocacy events to help upskill, increase eminence, and engage with technical experts. For new partners, IBM is launching the IBM New Partner Accelerator, which provides onboarding, training, and other benefits during their first six months in the program to help accelerate their path to profitability.

Enhanced support and benefits

Partners can grow skills, develop solutions, and build sales expertise with technologies like AI, security, and cloud on an open hybrid cloud platform by leveraging technical experts from IBM. IBM will also assist partners in the development of minimal viable products, proofs of concept, and custom demos to help them win client business and accelerate growth. In addition, as partner businesses grow with IBM, they can unlock additional benefits designed to help them expand capabilities and find new clients.

PartnerWorld will transition to a new IBM Partner Plus experience on January 4, 2023, with the new incentive program taking effect on April 1, 2023. Registered PartnerWorld members will maintain their current tier through July 1, 2023 and can progress to the new tiering system during this time as they meet criteria.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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