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Microsoft Azure Sphere chip for end-to-end IoT security from the Cloud to Network Edge

“MediaTek is a good partner [for Microsoft] to have for its Azure Sphere secure IoT chip,” said Laura DiDio, principal analyst with ITIC. “They will provide a Wi-Fi controller, the processor will run Microsoft’s Linux-based IoT OS and you’ve now got a highly secure, connected device at a decent price point.”

Channel Futures, April 17, 2018

Microsoft Reorganization:

“Microsoft has actually been moving away from Windows and more towards the cloud, analytics and AI for the past ten years,” explained Laura DiDio, an analyst at ITIC. “This did not happen overnight.” DiDio pointed out that Nadella has made major changes quickly during his tenure. “That’s the way you have to move,” to stay relevant, she said. “You’ve got to be agile to stay ahead of the game.”

The changes don’t mean that Microsoft is totally giving up on Windows, DiDio said. But they do mean that Nadella is focusing the company’s energies around stronger assets.

“They’re de-emphasizing Windows,” she said, in order to become a stronger “player in cloud and artificial intelligence, because that’s where the money is.”

CNN Money, March 29, 2018

Failure to deliver reliability and uptime:

“Time is money,” DiDio says. “Systems, networks and connectivity devices are subject to failure. If the downtime persists for any significant length of time, it can be expensive in terms of monetary losses. It can disrupt operations, decrease worker productivity and negatively impact the organization’s business partners, customers and suppliers.

“A security outage of any significant duration can also be a PR nightmare and damage the company’s reputation, causing lost business,” DiDio says. “Reliability and uptime go hand in hand with a comprehensive, detailed backup and disaster recovery plan that also includes an internal operational level agreement that designates a chain of command in the event of any type of service disruption.”

Every organization should have a disaster recovery plan that includes an itemized list of who to contact at vendor organizations, cloud and third-party service providers, DiDio says. “The CISO should also know what the company’s contracts stipulate as the response time from vendors, cloud, and third-party service providers to respond to and thwart security incidents and track down the hackers,” she says.

CSO Online, November 21, 2017

Cal State University and Hartnell College Launching Cohort Program:

“Since 2013, the two institutions have promoted this program as a way to attract minorities, women and students who are the first in their families to attend college to Computer Science and STEM subjects. The Cohort program nurtures these students by having them take their CS classes as a group.” DiDio says. It also helps them adjust more quickly to college life by providing them with group study and life skills classes to help them stick with CS as a major and graduate.

“So far, so good. A 75% majority of students enrolled in the CSUMB/Hartnell CS Cohort program graduate. This is well above the national average of about 30%,” DiDio notes.

ITIC Corp, November 17, 2017

Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess:

“In the Internet of Things environment, where you can have “an ecosystem or ecosystems of ecosystems interconnected, the attack vector universe is potentially limitless,” noted Laura DiDio, research director for IoT at 451 Research.

The risks are “everywhere, and what you can do is mitigate risk to an acceptable level,” she told the E-Commerce Times — but that requires vendors to make secure products.

E-Commerce Times, April 13, 2017

United Airlines Customer Service Snafus:

United’s behavior was “cavalier and callous,” said Laura DiDio, research director for IoT at 451 Research.

“The deck is stacked against passengers these days,” she told CRM Buyer.

However, this situation “is a PR nightmare for United Airlines,” DiDio added, “and it’s not going away.”

CRMBuyer, April 11, 2017

To reiterate, ITIC’s fifth annual reliability survey results indicate that the inherent reliability and uptime of nearly all of the 14 major server hardware and 18 server operating system distributions continues to improve. But at the same time, user error is becoming more of a factor undercutting overall reliability.

This is based on technical advances in the underlying processor technology from companies like Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices, memory and disk technology, as well as improvements to the core server hardware and server OSs that improve performance, scalability, security and the ability to support heavier workloads.

As organizations strive to accomplish more with fewer resources, IT departments must rely even more heavily on their vendors to deliver more reliable servers and server OS platforms and top notch technical support in the form of regular patches and documentation.

For businesses leveraging IT, time is literally money. Even a few minutes of downtime can result in significant costs and cause internal business operations to grind to a halt. Downtime can also impact adversely a company’s relationship with its customers, business suppliers and partners. Reliability or lack thereof can potentially damage a company’s reputation, result in lost business and raise the risk of litigation.

Vendors’ ability to deliver top notch technical service and support – including a quick response with updates, fixes and patches to known flaws and security vulnerabilities –also figure prominently in reliability. Technical service and support – good and bad – also distinguishes and differentiates vendors from their competitors. How promptly, efficiently and effectively vendors respond to corporate customers when issues arise has a definite impact on customer retention and the company’s willingness to upgrade and purchase new equipment and software and to expand their usage of specific products and renew service contracts. Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Stratus all scored high marks for technical service, support and responsiveness. Dell, for example, has benefitted greatly from its decision to move its online technical support back onshore in the past several years. Dell support received high praise in anecdotal essay comments and in the first person customer interviews for fast, friendly and efficient service.

The survey results also showed that the strong technology gains in hardware, software, security and virtualization technologies were undercut by other issues that adversely impacted reliability, including:

  • Human error
  • Understaffed and overworked IT departments
  • Prolonged refresh rates for aging server hardware that are inadequate for data intensive workloads

The ITIC 2013 reliability survey marks the first time that respondents had the option of choosing “user error” as negatively impacting reliability and it shot to number two on the list, with 28% of respondents acknowledging for the impact of IT staff mistakes on downtime. In fact, user error was second only to “bugs and flaws in the server operating system” as a cause of downtime. Nearly one-third or 31% of attributed bugs/flaws in the operating system as negatively impacting downtime, while 24% of participants attributed instability/problems with server hardware as a cause of downtime. And 22% of respondents indicated that security issues and the fact that their IT departments were understaffed and overworked also negatively impacted network reliability.

There is clearly a direct correlation between the 28% of survey respondents who blamed human error for reliability issues and the 22% of participants that specified understaffed and overworked IT departments and administrators as undermining reliability. Additionally, 47% of respondents indicated that when a significant portion of their main line of business (LOB) server hardware is more than three and a half years old there has been at least some adverse impact on overall network reliability.

The percentage of businesses with server hardware five years old doubled from 6% in 2011 to its present rate of 12% in 2013. At the same time, the percentage of organizations whose servers are new or one-year old or less also rose to 12% up from 7% a year ago. Organizations cited a number of issues related to system patches/patching processes:

  • Some 26% of businesses spend more than one hour applying patches manually; down from 40% in the 2011-2012 survey. And only 11% of respondents spent >4 hours applying patches vs. 29% in the 2011-2012 survey.
  • Over one-third of companies – 34% — now use group policy to automate/apply patches
  • Notably, only 4% of IBM server users reported experiencing1 to >4 hours of per server/per annum downtime compared to 6% of Oracle users and 7% of HP server users

Additionally, the survey data coupled with anecdotal responses and first person customer interviews indicated that the reliability of virtually all server OS distributions and underlying hardware has improved. The overwhelming majority of unplanned Tier 1 and Tier 2 outages and downtime are directly attributable to integration and interoperability issues such as incompatible drivers, trouble applying patches (particularly in highly customized environments), misconfigurations and human error and the lack of a specific component or software fix for a particular platform.

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