Cybersecurity leader Shinesa Cambric on Microsoft’s innovation journey to identify, detect, protect, and respond to emerging threats against identity and access

This month’s cover story highlights a cybersecurity program protecting billions of users.

Welcome to the latest issue of Interface magazine!

Interface showcases leaders at the forefront of innovation with digital technologies transforming myriad industries.

Read the latest issue here!

Microsoft: Innovation in Cybersecurity

Shinesa Cambric is on a mission to drive innovation for cybersecurity at Microsoft. Moreover, by embracing diversity and opening all channels towards collaboration her team tackles anti-abuse and delivers fraud-defence. Continuous Improvement doesn’t just play into her role, it defines it…

“In the fraud and abuse space, attackers are constantly trying to identify ways to look like a legitimate user,” warns Shinesa. “And this means my team, and our partners, have to continuously adapt. We identify new patterns and behaviours to detect fraudsters. At the same time, we must do it in such a way we don’t impact our truly ‘good’ and legitimate users. Microsoft is a global consumer business and any time you add friction or an unpleasant experience for a consumer, you risk losing them, their business and potentially their trust. My team’s work sits on the very edge of the account sign up and sign in process. We are essentially the first touch within the customer funnel for Microsoft – a multi-billion dollar company.”

ABB: Digital Technolgies contributing towards Net Zero

Nigel Greatorex, Global Industry Manager for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) at ABB Energy Industries, explains how digital technologies can play a critical role in the transition to a low carbon world. He highlights the role of CCS in enabling global emissions reductions and how challenges can be overcome through digitalisation…

“It is widely recognised decarbonisation is essential to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Therefore, it’s not surprising that emerging decarbonisation technology is becoming an increasingly important, and rapidly growing market.”

CSI: How can your IT estate improve its sustainability?

Andy Dunn, Chief Revenue Officer at IT solutions specialist CSI, reveals how digital technologies can contribute to ESG obligations: “Sustainability is a now seen as a strategic business imperative, so much so that 74% of companies consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors to be very important to the value of their company. Additionally, we know almost three in four organisations have set a net zero goal. With an average target date of 2044, 50% of organisations are seeking more energy efficient products and services.”

“Optimising energy use and consolidating servers and storage infrastructure form a strong basis for shaping a more environmentally friendly and efficient IT estate. It no longer needs to be the Achilles Heel of an ESG policy. “

Mia Platform: Sustainable Cloud Computing

Davide Bianchi, Senior Technical Lead at Mia Platform, explores the silver lining of sustainable cloud computing. He reveals how it can help us reduce our digital carbon thumbprint with collaboration, efficient use of applications, containerisation of apps, microservices and green partnerships.

“We’re already on an important technological path toward ubiquitous cloud computing. Correspondingly, this brings incredible long-term benefits too. These include greater scalability, improved data storage, and quicker application deployment, to name a few.”

Also in this issue, we hear from Doug Laney, Innovation Fellow at West Monroe and author of Infonomics and Data Juice. Also, we learn how companies can measure, manage and monetise to realise the potential of their data. And, Deputy CIO Melvin Brown discusses the people-centric approach to IT supporting America’s civil service at The Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Enjoy the issue!

Dan Brightmore, Editor

  • Infrastructure & Cloud

This month’s exclusive cover story features Anant Adya and Umashankar Lakshmipathy, from Infosys, who dive deep into what cloud means for digital transformation and what the Infosys Cobalt cloud offering brings to the table…

Welcome to the latest issue of Interface Magazine!

This month’s exclusive cover story features Anant Adya and Umashankar Lakshmipathy, from Infosys, who dive deep into what cloud means for digital transformation and what the Infosys Cobalt cloud offering brings to the table.

Read the latest issue here!

A global technology leader, Infosys – headquartered in Bangalore but present and active across the world – is busy not just conquering the cloud services arena, but taking its customers with it. Even at the size it is now, as a multinational tech giant, Infosys continues to hold the hands of its clients and collaborate in order to create bespoke solutions which benefit all parties. And at the heart of the business are brilliant experts pushing the agenda that community is key.

For both Lakshmipathy and Adya, cloud is a way of life, and a foundational pillar in the digital transformation of any business. Digital transformation has never been more important; it was forging forward even without COVID-19, but the pandemic has accelerated its march to a startling degree. So why exactly is cloud so vital? For Lakshmipathy, cloud is no longer something unreachable – it’s fully landed.

Elsewhere, we speak to Jon Walton who is bridging the digital divide in San Mateo County, California and catch up with Boldt Group CIO Miguel DeSantis regarding the massive digital transformation programme at the Argentinian technological services giant. Plus, we ask ‘where are the female founders in tech?’ and list 5 ways in which tech has adapted to our shifting health habits…

Enjoy the issue!

Andrew Woods (Editorial Director)

Significant Investment Growth of 200% over the Next 5 Years

A new study from Juniper Research has found that network operator spend on MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) will grow from $2.7 billion in 2020 to $8.3 billion in 2025, as operators invest heavily in upgrading network capacities and infrastructure to support the increasing data generated by 5G networks.

5G Infrastructure Upgrades

The study also revealed that by 2025, the number of deployed MEC nodes will reach 2 million globally in 2025, up from 230,000 in 2020. These devices, which take the form of access points, base stations, and routers, will play a vital role in managing the vast quantities of data generated by connected vehicles, smart city systems and other emerging data-intensive services.

For more insights, download our free whitepaper: Edge Computing: 5G’s Secret Weapon?

Preparing for the 5G Future

The new report, Edge Computing: Use Cases, Innovation Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2020-2025, notes that this increase in investment is a result of network operators enhancing key network functions, by moving infrastructure used for processing data from core network locations, to base stations at the edge of their networks. It anticipates that the capabilities of 5G technologies, such as high throughput, low latencies and high device densities, will necessitate roll-outs of MEC nodes in urban areas.

The research identified smart cities as a key industry that will benefit from MEC node roll-outs, as operators and planning authorities identify how best to install 5G-compatible edge nodes. It suggests that these parties explore utilising existing city structures, such as street lighting and sidewalks, to mitigate issues of space limitation inherent to densely-populated areas. 

Consumers to Benefit from Operators’ Take-up of Edge

The research forecasts that over 920 million individuals will benefit from edge‑enhanced Internet connectivity by 2025; rising from 100 million individuals in 2020. Services, such as music streaming, digital TV services and cloud gaming, will be the biggest beneficiaries of the ultra-low latency provided by operators’ increasing roll-outs of MEC nodes over the next 5 years.

Edge Computing market research:

Download the whitepaper:

Strategic senior hires and innovative new solutions will support European customers on the pathway to 5G

Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions, today announces its rapid expansion into Europe with senior hires, investment in new teams and new product offerings.

With a strong heritage in the US to build upon, a clear addressable wireless WAN market in Europe and the emergence of 5G networks, the company is ready to truly ‘go global’ in 2020, winning more customers across Northern, Central and Southern Europe.

Evert Suur, previously Head of Channels for Northern Europe at Forescout, joins Cradlepoint as Area Director for Northern Europe. He brings to the role 25+ years of experience in the IT and networking industries and will be responsible for driving forward Cradlepoint’s ‘go-to-market’ strategy in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Nordics.

Lorenzo Ruggiero also joins the company, as Area Director for Southern Europe. Based in Milan, Lorenzo will lead customer satisfaction initiatives, partner relationships and revenue growth across Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. Lorenzo joins from Vodafone and previously worked at French software company, Infovista, where he was in charge of leading the enterprise market proposition. 

There will be expansion and new hire announcements for Central Europe, in the coming months.

In each region, a sales and support team will be built throughout 2020, with team leaders, sales engineers and business development executives being hired.

Cradlepoint’s ‘go-to-market’ strategy in Europe will be driven through third parties and partner programmes in each geo, with the company actively recruiting partners across Europe as part of its expansion plan.

James Bristow, SVP EMEA, Cradlepoint comments, “We invented the wireless WAN/ Edge movement and lead the industry. This will grow to a $5bn Market in EMEA by 2025 – but now it’s time to establish our presence in Europe and tap into the growing demand for mobile, branch and IoT networks. We want to win more Fortune 500 companies in the year ahead and dominate the market as 5G infrastructure rolls out across the region.”

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Cradlepoint has been rolling out new solutions to support the European market. The organisation has seen an increase in demand for products that can support pop-up healthcare environments, home working and retailers to onboard an influx of new staff quickly and securely. Some of its new product offerings include:

·         The E300 Series Enterprise Router, which supports the increased performance and advanced LTE, Wi-Fi, security, and management requirements of high-traffic pop-up sites, including quarantine centres, small clinics, and treatment facilities 

·         Expansion of vehicle solutions for the UK emergency services network:  A new Gigabit-Class MC400 Modular Modem, which upgrades the IBR900 Mobile Router to being an ESN ‘Connect Critical Approved Solution’ for UK emergency services

·         A comprehensive portfolio of 5G solutions powered by the company’s NetCloud Service, built exclusively to meet the business imperatives of availability, interoperability, security, and manageability. The new portfolio of “5G for Business” solutions enables customers to deploy fast and reliable wireless business internet and wide-area networks (WANs)

Bristow conclud

es, “We have responded rapidly to the needs of our customers in Europe during the COVID-19 crisis with best in-class products and solutions in the wireless WAN market. We are confident, that when we come through this crisis, the rise of high speed wireless 4G Gigabit LTE and 5G networks will present huge opportunities for enterprises to cut the wire and build better, more agile and manageable networks. A huge number of ideas, innovations and new companies will be born out of the 5G movementglobally, and Cradlepoint is at the forefront of this change.”

The headline costs of cloud services from providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft appear to be remarkably good value….

The headline costs of cloud services from providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft appear to be remarkably good value. However, there is more to running a service in the cloud than these suggest, and organisations need consider the full picture to avoid an unpleasant shock when their first bill arrives.

Public cloud is not a bad choice, but it is vital to prepare a fully costed business case first, ensuring that all the ‘extras’ are identified. Once an organisation has got rid of its in house infrastructure and staff, it is very difficult to revert back, and once a cloud supplier has been selected it is not straightforward to change. Different cloud vendors have alternate approaches to configurations, with strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered in line with business requirements. 

The business case should consider three factors. First, what is included in the proposed cloud service and its charging structure? If other elements are required to safely run the application and are not included in the core price, such as security, resilience, management, patching and back-up, these need to be factored in. Second, what are the likely usage patterns? All public cloud services are metered, which can be good or bad, depending on the service and its use. Thirdly, how quickly is use of the service likely to grow, in terms of both user numbers and data volumes? Flexibility is a strength of cloud provision, but if the usage grows by 50% so do the costs and you have no choice but to pay.

A useful analogy is to think of buying public cloud like renting a flat. You get access to the basic premises but need utilities, flooring and furniture to make it a home. In the case of the cloud, this includes management and monitoring of back-end components, backup, anti-virus and patching. As you are sharing the facilities with other residents, you need to provide locks for the internal doors and other security features. Also, fire alarm drills can be run at very inconvenient times when you have no choice but to vacate the building.

Take a service that you believe is primarily used between 8am and 6pm, such as customer relationship management (CRM). With metered cloud costs, hosting this in the public cloud can look significantly cheaper than the fully loaded internal costs of a service which is available 24×7. However, running CRM requires additional systems, such as login/authentication and security. These need to be powered up beforehand, and you need to back up the data, so 8-6 quickly becomes 7-7 or longer, especially if staff need to access it out of hours, which is almost always the case.

Then consider multiple interactive systems. Your CRM service probably integrates with other systems which may not be able to be powered down. By now you have probably concluded your organisation needs to run CRM 24×7. Your costs are more than double the headline price and you still need to add security, monitoring and management.

The second aspect requires an understanding of the applications you are planning to move. In public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), it costs 1p per GB each time servers in different domains talk to each other, and 8p per GB to send data over the Internet. This seems minimal, but with some applications, servers have a constant two-way dialogue, or transfer ever increasing amounts of information, and costs can quickly escalate. Similar problems can arise when trying to put a custom application into Microsoft Azure. If an application is not optimised for public cloud, it may be more appropriate to retain it in-house or use a managed cloud service.

Finally, the service level agreement (SLA) and service delivery for cloud services may not match your business or user expectations. Businesses that have moved to cloud-based CRM systems have had outages and performance issues far worse than when running in-house solutions. Yet these are within the 99.9 percent SLA the cloud vendor stipulates (which is 8.77 hours of downtime per year plus maintenance windows). If a user calls your service desk saying why can’t I access CRM and when it’s there it is much slower, how do you explain that this is an improvement for the business and that there is nothing anyone within the organisation can do about getting the service back?

Now factor in the cost of migration, the sunk costs of your existing IT infrastructure and facilities and the additional cost of a disaster recovery solution (no cloud provider can guarantee 100 percent availability). What was initially an easy cost justification becomes a more nuanced decision.

Some services can and should run in public cloud. If a cost effective, fit for purpose Software as a Service (SaaS) is available, with suitable SLAs to meet your requirements, it is likely to be a good option. However, many providers currently offer something that is more like Platform as a Service (PaaS), so you will need to provide some aspects of the service yourself, use a managed cloud service, or retain the service in-house until a suitable SaaS becomes available.

To prepare a watertight business case, the first step is to baseline your existing IT provision against business requirements. This enables you to categorise and prioritise the systems appropriate to be migrated to cloud. You can then design new architecture for those services and plan the migration before going to market, which may need external expertise. Most suppliers have different cost models, but armed with this definitive blueprint you can make a realistic comparison between the various offers.

The end result is likely to be a hybrid infrastructure that needs managing and monitoring. You should therefore retain key skills in-house to ensure effective management, security and cost realisation.  For any cloud delivered service (public/private/hybrid) you are still the owner of the data, therefore are responsible for information security.

Drew Markham is a service strategist at Fordway