Posts Tagged ‘Network’

Google to offer own cellular network plan

March 4th, 2015

Google will soon be offering cellular network plans in a bid to bridge the gap between the realms of Internet services and mobile device software it dominates.

Vice President Sundar Pichai says Google, the leading Internet search engine and mobile software provider, is working with unnamed network operators on developing a cellular plan.

“You will see us announce it in the coming months,” he said at the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona. “I think we are at a stage where it is important to think about hardware, software and connectability together.

“We want to be able to experiment along those lines.”

Pichai called Google’s plan to offer cellular services “a project” and insisted that the Internet company isn’t a threat to traditional telephone and Internet service providers.

Pichai compared Google’s latest move to its decision to launch its own line of Nexus smartphones, which he said Google uses not to compete with other smartphone makers, rather to introduce innovations in the greater world of mobile hardware.

“We don’t intend to be a network operator at scale,” he said. “Our goal here is to drive a set of innovations which we think the ecosystem should evolve and hopefully will get traction. Again, we will do it on a small enough scale so that, just like Nexus devices, people see what we are doing and hopefully carrier partners think our ideas are good.”

Pichai offered finding a way to provide a “seamless” Internet connection when a device moves from Wi-Fi to cellular coverage as one example of goals Google would like to target.

Pichai said that Google is also working on “Android Pay,” a mobile payment system similar to “Apple Pay,” that will work across all Android-powered devices.


Network Virtualization at AT&T Yields Services

September 18th, 2014

AT&T Inc. T +0.20% says that by year-end it will begin to roll out the first services based on its new virtual network, which is controlled mostly by software rather than hardware.

Beyond lowering costs and speeding the deployment of services, the shift makes it possible for customers to manage their telecom services on their own, in real time, over the cloud.

AT&T said Tuesday that it had been testing the service at the University of Texas at Austin and that it will be available commercially in the city of Austin by year’s end.

Beginning next year AT&T will roll out on-demand services for businesses in Houston, San Antonio, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Dallas, said Roman Pacewicz, AT&T senior vice president of marketing and global strategy.

In creating these services, AT&T is redesigning its network to be more software-centric rather than hardware-centric, enabling the company to more easily automate service delivery to customers.

The effort marks the first service made available through the telecom provider’s move to virtualize hardware in its public network, which it announced in February.

Virtualization began years ago with mainframes but grew in popularity over the past decade with server virtualization and the ability to put several server operating systems on one physical machine. Server virtualization helped pave the way for modern data centers and many kinds of cloud computing.

Many people believe that the impact of network virtualization will be just as great, making it possible to reconfigure networks online with a few clicks instead of today’s laborious manual process.

AT&T’s ability to more easily manipulate network equipment using software means that business customers can get new service in just a couple of days instead of 60 to 90 days, said John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T architecture, technology and operations. And now, in minutes, customers will be able to increase bandwidth, which once took 30 to 45 days, he added.

—Rachael King

Support for Microsoft MSFT -0.51% Windows Server to End

A large number of businesses still run Microsoft Windows Server 2003, and it’s unlikely that all of them will have upgraded before Microsoft Corp. ends support on July 14, 2015, say analysts. Companies that don’t upgrade increase their cybersecurity risks because the company will no longer issue security updates and these systems will be more vulnerable to hackers.

Businesses world-wide run an estimated 23.8 million physical and virtual instances of Windows Server 2003, according to data released by Microsoft in July 2014. Analysts say the technology is more prevalent in industries such as health care, utilities and government.

“Microsoft does not plan to extend support for Windows Server 2003 and encourages customers who currently run Windows Server 2003 and have not yet begun migration planning to do so immediately,” said Vivecka Budden, a Microsoft spokeswoman.

“In general, everyone has been slow to migrate,” said Rob Helm, vice president of research at Directions on Microsoft consulting firm.

The problem in industries such as health care and utilities is that companies run legacy apps written by vendors who still require Windows Server 2003.

For now, analysts are recommending that companies work out their risk of exposure and make plans to first migrate those applications that will be most difficult.

Companies should make plans to harden servers that can’t be updated. That might entail putting those systems on an isolated network, where they’d be less prone to outside attack, Mr. Helm said.


Exabeam Raises $10 Million For Network-Tracking Security Software

June 11th, 2014

Security software developer Exabeam has raised $10 million in a Series A round of financing to protect businesses from the latest kinds of hack attacks.

These days, businesses are being targeted by a more savvy kind of attacker, according to Exabeam chief executive Nir Polak. Rather than simply try to penetrate a network using brute force, today’s secret data espionage warriors mimic real users — sometimes corporate partners, sometimes colleagues — to infiltrate a network using hijacked identities. Once inside, these hackers (under the guise of a real employee or partner) are free to wander around networks at will.

Exabeam’s software services track employees’ activities on a network using existing log data to create profiles of how a typical user interacts with different aspects of the network. When an employee does something that appears anomalous, the same security-tracking program can flag the behavior for a company’s crack team of white hat network defenders.

It’s fundamentally different from the way most people approach security, says Polak. “Typically, somebody builds a bigger fence and somebody will build a better way to go around it,” he says. Exabeam is trying to stop the attackers without the fence.

The software, engineered by the team behind the security company Imperva, was interesting enough to attract investment from Norwest Venture Partners, Aspect Ventures and angel investor Shlomo Kramer who has a track record of founding, funding and growing successful security companies, such as Check Point, Imperva, Palo Alto Networks and Trusteer.

For investors like Theresia Gouw, who previously worked as a partner at Accel before launching her own investment shop Aspect Ventures, the Exabeam deal reunited her with Polak and Kramer after their work together at Imperva, and it gave her the opportunity to work with Norwest’s Matt Howard. “Matt is someone whose security portfolio I have always admired, but was we both tend to like to do the early rounds we hadn’t been able to work together before now, since Aspect Ventures’ model is to partner in Series A rounds,” Gouw wrote in an email.

Howard, an investor in security companies like FireEye, MobileIron, 41st Parameter, and Shape Security also leapt at the chance to work with the Imperva team. “Exabeam brings a different approach to a very noisy industry full of alarms, loggers, SIEMs, and firewalls,” he wrote in an email. “It leverages existing logs and a machine-learning technology to home in on attacker behavior. The team has proven high tech and security experience, with veterans of Imperva and Sumo Logic, and I believe their approach has the potential to both simplify and improve security.”

As a result of their investments, both Howard and Gouw will join the Exabeam board of directors, which includes founders Polak and Gil, as well as Kramer.

“Organizations are losing the battle against cyberattacks, and the industry is in need of an effective approach to reverse the asymmetric advantage favoring hackers,” Polak said. “Our investors have an impressive history of building transformative companies, and their confidence in Exabeam’s big data security analytics will help us solve the most persistent and important challenge in the security industry – stopping data breaches in their tracks.”


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