TAC Security to foray into other markets outside India

TAC Security, an Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) empanelled information security organisation, is taking it’s new dark web threat intelligence solution, ESOF-DarkSec, to markets abroad.
This is an effort to address the growing demand for Cyber Security solutions and also add impetus to TAC Security’s global expansion plans . ESOF-DarkSec will be rolled out, to begin with in the North American market where it has a strong footprint and in the African market where it commenced operations. The company is further expanding operations in the Australian and European markets as well.

ESOF-DarkSec helps enterprises detect, measure, and identify the type of data available on the dark web about their companies.   “Data confidentiality has always been an issue for enterprise security teams, and the recent increases in the dark web exposure cases are intimidating for both governments and organizations. Cybersecurity threats are becoming more sophisticated with every passing day, and even more so during the COVID-19 outbreak where spear-phishing is being used as a tool to access critical data. We hope that the product will help inform business entities about the vulnerabilities of their infrastructure so they can secure their endpoints and networks against potential threats.” Chris Fisher, Chief Marketing Officer, TAC Security.

The launch is aligned with the rising number of data leaks on the dark web, which jeopardize sensitive information of government, businesses, and individuals alike. This cloud-based solution helps find the size, nature, and recent update (if any) of the leaked data on the darknet. ESOF-DarkSec also provides a dark web organization risk score on a scale from 0 to 10, so security teams can know the risk to the organization on available data in the dark web from and take action to mitigate the risk. The solution is available as a subscription plan in three tiers: Basic, Platinum, and Premium, with different price points based on deeper periodic scans.

Trishneet Arora, Founder and CEO of TAC Security said, “Data is the biggest asset for any entity in the current landscape. As much as it gives precious insights into enhancing customer experience, any unauthorized access to it can cause severe damage to personal, enterprise-level, or even national integrity, depending upon the nature of data. It is very difficult to get this data down once it enters the dark web. Knowing the extent of the dark web threat is pivotal as it enables an organization to analyze and limit the damages by taking preventive measures.”

TAC Security protects Banks and Financial Institutions, governments’ organisations, Fortune 500 companies, leading enterprises data around the world. TAC Security manages 5 million vulnerabilities through its Artificial intelligence (AI) based Vulnerability Management Platform ESOF. The company is also responsible for End to End Security Assessment of 200 UPI based Mobile Application for NPCI, an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

You can deep dive into cyber security and its various dynamics during W.Media’s Digital Week 2021, from February 23-26. Do check it out at https://w.media/digital-events/

Cognizant to acquire Servian, an Australian data and analytics consulting firm

Cognizant will acquire Servian, a Sydney-based, private enterprise transformation consultancy specializing in data analytics, artificial intelligence, digital services, experience design and cloud.

Servian is Cognizant’s 10th digital-focused acquisition announced since January 2020, showing Cognizant’s strategy to accelerate capabilities and growth in priority areas of data and artificial intelligence, digital engineering, cloud, and Internet of Things across the globe, the company said.  Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Cognizant expects the acquisition of Servian to expand its integrated, end-to-end digital transformation capabilities in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) to help clients move to the cloud, build digital products and services, unlock value from data, modernize enterprise applications, and achieve operational efficiency.

“Enterprises in Australia and New Zealand are at an inflexion point in their digital adoption,” said Jane Livesey, CEO, Cognizant Australia and New Zealand. “Cognizant’s extensive digital expertise combined with Servian’s strengths as the premier technology partner in the region will open up the full power of digital transformation for our Australasian clients. We look forward to welcoming Servian’s talented digital-native professionals to Cognizant.”

“Enabling clients to leverage their data assets for accelerating business transformation and driving competitive advantage is at the heart of our success,” said Tony Nicol, Founder and CEO, Servian. “We share Cognizant’s passion for innovation powered by digital technologies. With Cognizant’s deep industry expertise and global scale, we will be able to apply our strengths in strategic advisory, engineering delivery, and managed services across an even broader spectrum of challenges and opportunities presented by the digital economy.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory clearance and other closing conditions.

Malaysia’s Time dotCom cashes in on cloud computing, buys 60% stake in local firm

TIME dotCom Berhad, one of Malaysia’s leading internet service providers, have revealed that it is investing in the tech potential of a homegrown cloud computing provider.

The company has acquired a 60% stake, or $14.5 million (RM58.7 million), in AVM Cloud Sdn Bhd, a private cloud computing company to drive its business.

As Malaysia continues to battle COVID-19, remote work has gradually become the new norm in the country. Therefore, surging demand for data storage, greater connectivity, and other internet services can only be handled by cloud technology.

With the acquisition, TIME said that cloud computing is now the latest pillar of its business.

“We believe we’ve found the right partners in AVM, considering their comprehensive product suite and customer base,” said TIME commander-in-chief Afzal Abdul Rahim.

Meanwhile, AVM CEO David Chan said that TIME’s decision has given AVM the opportunity to scale and grow its existing products and services, and expand the company’s footprint for its regional cloud business.

As for the remaining 40% stake, TIME said that AVM has acquired the rest via local cloud computing company Integrated Global Solutions Sdn Bhd (IGS), making IGS its wholly-owned subsidiary.

There has been significant growth in the adoption of cloud for high-performance computing. At present, nearly 25% of enterprises are using cloud high-performance computing, and the number tends to increase rapidly over the forecast period.

Globally, half of the enterprises ae evaluating the usage statistics of cloud technology for positive values and higher efficiency.

Tencent invests $279 million in AI chip startup

Tech giant Tencent has invested a staggering $279 million (1.8 billion yuan) into an artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductor chips manufacturing company in China.

Enflame Technology, headquartered in Shanghai, has received funding from Tencent and several other investors including China’s state-owned conglomerate group CITIC, and investment firms China International Capital Corporation (CICC) and Primavera.

Tencent’s investment will allow it to segue into the booming semiconductor chip industry, which is currently dominated by NVIDIA, AMD, and most recently, Intel after its acquisition of US chipmaker Xilinx.

This move by the Chinese tech company is also expected to contribute to China’s plan to become more self-reliant in the technology sector after numerous tech-related bans by the US, such as TikTok and Huawei’s 5G development.

Founded in 1998, Tencent is best known for messaging app WeChat and multiplayer video game League of Legends. The company reported $5.88 billion in profit in the third quarter of 2020, a 29% year-on-year increase.

This is Tencent’s fourth time injecting funds into Enflame Technology, which was founded in 2018.

Semiconductor chips produced by companies such as Enflame Technology are becoming more important to the global tech market, because these chips are capable of processing large amounts of data which are used to train AI models and power data centers.

AI technology is taking over

Technological developments, increase in demand for Big Data and analytics, and increased digitisation across all sectors are factors fuelling the growth of the global AI hardware market.

The onset of COVID-19 has fuelled utility & adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) hardware, due to its ability to screen, track and predict the present and future patients affected by coronavirus infection.  According to the NewVantage Partners, the number of companies that invest over $500 million annually in big data increased to 21.1% in 2019 from 12.7% in 2018, indicating the importance of AI and Big Data across organizations, hence propelling industry growth.

Meanwhile, Asia Pacific market is anticipated to experience robust growth over 2020-2027, owing to increasing investment in AI technology by different end-use industries, and rising demand for big data and analytics in the region.

Star Alliance moves to AWS cloud

Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, will now move to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud .

Star Alliance, which boasts some of the world’s most well-known member airlines including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS Airlines and Air Canada, will be moving all of its IT infrastructure to AWS.

The world’s first aviation alliance will also be using AWS’ portfolio of cloud services, including analytics, security, managed databases, storage, and machine learning to provide its member airlines with real-time insights that will enhance the travel experience of their passengers.

“We decided to go all-in on AWS to gain the reliability and scalability we needed to support the increasing number of global travelers joining the alliance each year, but the pandemic also proved how valuable it is to have a flexible and agile infrastructure in the cloud,” said Jeremy Drury, Head of Digital & Technology at Star Alliance.

“No one could have predicted what has happened so far in 2020, but because of our collaboration with AWS, we were able to quickly adjust our goals and scale back our expenses,” he continued.

This decision has saved the Alliance 30% of its expenses, a much needed move at a time where the global aviation industry is in shambles.

David Peller, Managing Director of Travel and Hospitality at AWS, said that Star Alliance’s decision to embrace the cloud is a prime example of a global organisation that has successfully embraced the cloud to steer through times of uncertainty.

“As the world anticipates opening up again, we are excited to work with Star Alliance as they leverage AWS’s comprehensive suite of services to innovate new offerings at scale while raising the bar for what is possible for the next era of global air travel,” he added.

IBM appoints Gary D. Cohn, former Trump advisor, as Vice Chairman

Tech giant IBM has announced the appointment of Gary D. Cohn as its new company Vice Chairman.

Mr. Cohn joins from the White House, where he was chief economic advisor to President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, he served as President and COO of Goldman Sachs.

With his expertise and wide range of contacts in the business world, Mr. Cohn will be working alongside CEO Arvind Krishna and the IBM Executive Leadership Team to work on matters such as business development, client services, public advocacy and client relationship management.

Mr. Cohn expressed delight in the company’s decision.

“With the company’s long history of innovation and transformation for every technology era, and a focused growth strategy that will capitalize on the enormous opportunity in hybrid cloud and AI, this is an exciting time to begin working alongside Arvind, the IBM team and IBM’s incredible roster of clients,” he said.

“Gary is a globally respected leader with deep experience operating at the center of business and government,” said CEO Mr. Krishna.

“As a senior representative of IBM, his knowledge of technology and business transformation, combined with policymaking expertise, will bring unique value to our clients and stakeholders as we accelerate our hybrid cloud and AI strategy,” he continued.

Mr. Cohn is currently Co-Chairman of Cohn Robbins Holding Corp. (CRHC), a company that specialises in mergers and acquisitions. He also has investments in various sectors in tech, including cybersecurity, blockchain infrastructure, regulatory technology and medical technology.

SK Telecom launches the first 5G Edge Cloud service in South Korea

South Korea’s largest telecommunications provider, SK Telecom has launched the country’s first 5G cloud service that supports edge computing.

Named ‘SKT 5GX Edge’, SK Telecom joined hands with cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the launch.

SKT 5GX Edge uses AWS’ Wavelength technology, and the service will allow users to build and perform a variety of services and functions, including ultra-low latency mobile apps, video games, Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning tools.

Alongside this, the collaboration between SK Telecom and AWS has also seen the establishment of ‘AWS Wavelength Zones’, which are infrastructure deployments that facilitate, in this case, SKT 5GX Edge.

As of now, South Korea’s first AWS Wavelength Zone is located in Daejeon, the country’s administrative and transportation hub. Both companies plan to expand the Wavelength Zone to Seoul this year.

IBM and Samsung join forces to spur cloud and 5G development

IBM and Samsung have signed an agreement that will see both tech giants collaborate on hybrid cloud, 5G, and edge computing to steer towards the Industry 4.0 Revolution and encourage digital transformation.

Samsung will be combining its signature Galaxy 5G mobile devices, and end-to-end enterprise network solutions with IBM’s network management hybrid cloud and edge computing offerings.

“The move to standalone 5G has accelerated the adoption of Industrial IoT solutions and will require businesses to adopt an edge computing strategy that allows them to manage their IT environments from anywhere,” said KC Choi, EVP and Head of Global Mobile B2B Team for the Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics.

IBM and Samsung’s collaboration will be built on Red Hat’s open architecture. IBM acquired the open source software company in 2018 for $34 billion.

“We are excited to work with IBM to discover how our unique devices, mobile IoT and network solutions can provide frontline workers with access to better data and more actionable insights to take their business to the next level.” Mr. Choi added.

Both companies plan to set out to lend their expertise to develop private 5G networks, which will also be built on Red Hat via the company’s flagship open source container application platform, OpenShift.

“The transition of communication networks from proprietary architecture to intelligent, software-defined hybrid cloud platforms enables the creation of enormous new value in the 5G and edge era,” said Steve Canepa, Global GM and Managing Director of IBM’s Communications Sector.

The goal of the partnership is to leverage hybrid cloud solutions, which will enable enterprises to draw greater insights from data at the edge, improving operational performance, increasing worker safety, and minimising downtime.

“5G devices and network solutions from Samsung, along with IBM and Red Hat’s open, hybrid cloud capabilities, can help organisations across all industries accelerate their transformation and solve real business problems, while unlocking the true power of 5G and edge,” added Mr. Canepa.

Samsung, IBM, and Red Hat also plan to deliver AI-powered solutions for Industry 4.0 and beyond by leveraging the power of 5G devices, cloud-native 5G networks, and advanced edge computing platforms.

Amazon to train 29 million cloud-ready professionals by 2025

E-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon announced a grand plan to roll out a worldwide training program that would produce 29 million cloud-ready professionals by 2025.

In a blog post written by AWS Worldwide Public Sector Vice President, Teresa Carlson, AWS will be investing ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ to provide free cloud computing training to individuals from over 200 countries and regions all around the world.

This latest initiative builds upon its job upskilling project last year, where the company invested US$700 million to train 100,000 Amazon employees in cloud computing fundamentals.

“Amazon focuses on building innovative programs that have a lasting, positive impact for the communities in which we operate, and designing STEM and skills training programs are central to this approach,” wrote Ms. Carlson.

“We intend to continue increasing access to skills training to give anyone who wants to further their cloud skills the tools to achieve this,” she added.

Amazon has also pledged to expand its 12-week AWS re/Start program to provide tech training for individuals from underrepresented communities. The program currently operates in 25 cities across 12 countries, and Amazon is planning to double the number of cities 2021.

As of now, AWS already has two free cloud upskilling courses online for interested individuals, the AWS Training and Certification program and AWS Educate.

Twitter moves to public cloud for the first time with AWS

Twitter is set to fly up to the clouds after selecting AWS to provide their infrastructure to deliver Twitter timelines in a multi-year deal.

 

The social media giant will work with AWS to create architecture that extends Twitter’s on-premises infrastructure to enable them to seamlessly run and scale the real-time service globally, increase its reliability, and rapidly move new features into production.

 

Matt Garman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at AWS, said that Twitter’s decision to rely on AWS infrastructure and services for its real-time workloads will help the company instantly scale their global footprint without compromising the user experience of those on the social media platform.

 

“By using AWS container services to create a seamless hybrid on-premises and cloud environment, Twitter can innovate and deliver new experiences quickly and cost-effectively,” noted Mr. Garman.

 

Twitter will take advantage of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud’s (Amazon EC2) processors, AWS Graviton-2, to power its cloud-based workloads.

 

Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer, also agrees that deploying AWS’ infrastructure will improve the performance of Twitter, and those who use it.

 

“In addition to helping us scale our infrastructure, this work with AWS enables us to ship features faster as we apply AWS’s diverse and growing portfolio of services,” added Mr. Agrawal.

 

Twitter will continue to use AWS’ other services, including Amazon CloudFront, its low-latency delivery network service, and Amazon Dynamo AB, a key value database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance.

Amazon and bp continue cloud partnership for renewable energy

Global oil and gas company bp have signed an agreement to continue its longstanding partnership with e-commerce giant Amazon and its cloud computing arm, AWS. 

As part of the agreement, bp will triple the renewable energy supplied to Amazon’s data centers in Europe, and AWS will continue to support bp’s digital transformation journey by modernisation via data migration to the cloud.

With bp, Amazon’s new wind projects in Sweden and Scotland will be supplied with 275 MW and 129 MW of wind power respectively.

“Amazon is helping bp with innovative digital technologies and, using our trading capabilities and scale, we will give Amazon the reliable and flexible renewable energy supplies they need to meet their ambition to decarbonise,” said William Lin, Executive Vice President for Regions, Cities & Solutions at bp.

Nat Sahlstrom, Director of Amazon Energy, commented that this extended partnership with bp will help Amazon towards their goal of reaching net-zero carbon emission by 2040, in line with the company’s commitment to The Climate Pledge.

“These new agreements with bp help us toward our goal of powering our operations with 100 percent renewable energy,” Mr. Sahlstom added.

AWS to help bp with digital transformation

On AWS’ end, the company will continue to help bp with its increasing digital transformation, including data migration to the cloud and the application of more cloud-native technologies.

Both companies will also be teaming up to deploy AI and machine learning technologies.

This will include using Talk2Me, an AI-based language processing system powered by Amazon’s Alexa; using Amazon’s business intelligence tool Amazon QuickSight; and migrating to the Amazon Aurora cloud database for bp trading, operational resiliency, and performance improvements.

bp and Amazon’s partnership is an extension of the success that both companies found from their collaboration in 2019, where bp supplied AWS with 170MW of renewable energy, and Amazon agreed to help bp migrate over 900 key applications.

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Exclusive Networks Malaysia signs service agreements with HPE and Nutanix

Cybersecurity and cloud solutions company Exclusive Networks Malaysia (ENMY) has signed agreements with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Nutanix to improve the efficiency of enterprise operations in Malaysia.

Under the agreement, ENMY will officially be given the rights to distribute the complete suite of HP’s and Nutanix’s products to the public and private sectors. They include a line of hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, including Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud platform, HPE ProLiant DX Servers and HPE GreenLake with Nutanix, 

“As a one-stop shop for a complete range of innovative solutions, including security and hybrid cloud solutions, as well as professional and maintenance services, we often see first-hand the issues that aging IT infrastructures create for Malaysian enterprises,” said Yuri Zaharin, Country Manager at Exclusive Networks Malaysia.

Industries that are set to benefit from ENMY’s product offerings include the financial services industry, telecommunications, and manufacturing.

“By partnering with HPE and Nutanix, ENMY will enable enterprises to deploy their IT applications faster and reduce their overall IT costs, enabling them to thrive in Malaysia’s increasingly digital economy,” he continued.

Hyperconverged infrastructure can reduce unplanned downtime by 85% and the time spent on backups by 60%, increasing data recovery speed by 41%. The study adds that revenue could increase by 1-2% as a result of the reduction in unplanned downtime. To top it off, Hyperconverged Infrastructure can also help enterprises to reduce IT operational costs by 62%

Avinash Gowda, Country Manager for Nutanix Malaysia, said: “As more Malaysian enterprises scale for transformation in the cloud, capabilities that deliver on increased agility, flexibility and visibility will be top-of-mind.”

Chaw Kit San, Country Channel Manager for HPE Malaysia, pointed out that in 2020, distributed enterprises need secure, flexible, edge-to-cloud architectures, which can be offered by consumption-based IT and hyperconverged infrastructures.

Exclusive Networks Malaysia, HPE and Nutanix recognised the need to seal the deal after finding that organisations with legacy data centers and IT operations are facing a big challenge today, as their aging IT infrastructure is not equipped for agile and secure processing of exponentially increasing data volumes, particularly during the rising work-from-home trend.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Two Singaporean cloud migration companies acquired by US private equity firm

US private equity firm I Squared Capital (ISC) has announced the acquisition and merger of Infofabrica Holdings Pte Ltd and Cloud Kinetics Tech Pte Ltd, two cloud migration services companies based in Singapore.

The acquisition was completed through ISC’s ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund II as part of its Asia Digital Infrastructure platform, a service with over 300 experienced deep tech professionals that offer cloud-based solutions to ISC’s clients.  

“The future of data and computing will be driven by the corporate adoption of hybrid cloud solutions through an orchestrated mix of on-premises infrastructure, co-location and cloud services. The combination of Infofabrica and cloud Kinetics will result in a powerful cloud migration solution provider for our clients,” said Gautam Bhandari, Managing Partner of ISC.

With the acquisition of both companies, I Squared Capital now has an accumulated total of US$2.6 billion dollars in digital infrastructure investment.

“The debate on the need for Cloud has ended after the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Haji Munshi, Group CEO of Infofabrica and Cloud Kinetics.

IDC predicts that Southeast Asia’s Cloud computing market will reach $40 billion by 2025.

“Whether businesses are developing and testing their new applications, scaling their online e-commerce offerings, or running their core business workloads, this is possible only because of the stable, scalable solutions offered by the public cloud,” said Mr. Munshi. 

“The demand for technical capability to migrate to Cloud has far outstripped supply in Asia Pacific thus far and the combined company will be a market leader in cloud migration services,” he added.

Mr. Munshi co-founded and will lead the new Asia Digital Infrastructure platform. He has held senior leadership positions at Google Cloud, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell.

“We are really pleased to be partnering with I Squared Capital, their expertise and breadth in Asia, along with existing large-scale investments in telecoms and data centers, will certainly accelerate and move us closer to our vision to be the top cloud migration and managed services provider in the region,” commented Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, Chairman of InfoFabrica.

InfoFabrica was founded in 2013, and has operations in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Cloud Kinetics was founded in 2012, and has operations in Singapore, Thailand, and the US.

Both companies are certified partners of Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Nokia continues 5G, cloud partnership with Japan’s SoftBank

Nokia has announced that Japanese telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank has selected their 5G Core software to enable the launch of Softbank’s standalone 5G services.

Nokia’s 5G Core is developed around cloud-native and DevOps principles, which is expected to benefit SoftBank users by delivering higher connectivity, scalability, and bandwidth, all with lower latency.

“Nokia 5G Core’s near-zero-touch automation capabilities, high-level operational efficiencies, scale and performance will help SoftBank deliver advanced services and experience, and boost network reliability,” said John Lancaster-Lennox, Head of Market Unit Japan at Nokia.

SoftBank will also be leveraging two of Nokia’s cloud offerings, Cloud Mobility Manager and Cloud Mobile Gateway, to support the company’s 5G rollout.

“We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Nokia as we enable fast and reliable 5G service for our subscribers. This 5G core solution will catapult us into the next phase of our 5G transition,” said Keiichi Makizono, Senior Vice President and CIO of SoftBank.

The new partnership will aim to support new use cases, virtual and augmented reality, fixed wireless access, video surveillance and analytics, cloud robotics, and connected vehicles.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Image Credit: The Bruneian

Equinix rebrands Equinix Fabric, expands Network Edge capabilities

Equinix has announced the rebranding and upgrade of its two digital infrastructure services, Equinix Fabric and Network Edge, to respond to increasingly dynamic business needs.

Formerly Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric, the digital infrastructure interconnectivity platform is now rebranded as Equinix Fabric to more accurately reflect its current operations.

The platform now allows service providers to use it as a single interconnection approach to connect between all their physical and virtual devices located within Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers, which was previously not done before.

“No longer just about cloud connectivity, Equinix Fabric is now the new standard interconnection approach for digital leaders on Platform Equinix. The product name change we’ve made further signifies the pivotal shift in how the Equinix Fabric capabilities have Evolved,” said Bill Long, Senior Vice President of Core Product Management at Equinix.

This means that enterprises on Equinix Fabric can now directly connect with any other customer or to the world’s major cloud providers, including Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud available on Platform Equinix.

“With the pandemic accelerating the pace of digital transformation today, many enterprises are challenged with traditional infrastructure that was not built to meet the demands of a digital business world. Solving these challenges requires a new approach,” said Jennifer Cooke, Research Director, Cloud to Edge Data Center Trends at IDC.

“By deploying their digital infrastructure on Platform Equinix, many enterprises can quickly and easily achieve this today,” she added.

Physical devices located within Equinix data centers, as well as automated bare metal servers available with Equinix Metal, can also be connected with virtual devices like routers, firewalls and SD-WAN gateways available on Network Edge, thus bridging the distance between their distributed digital infrastructure.

Rakesh Inamdar, Senior Director of Core Infrastructure Services at Aon, pointed out that Aon was one of the many enterprises that benefited from Equinix’s upgrade.

With the pandemic creating a massive shift to remote work, Mr. Inamdar said that Equinix Fabric allowed their company to continue remotely without any reduction in services.

By harnessing the power of the Equinix platform, we were able to bring together and connect our core infrastructure globally, in a highly secure and cost-effective manner,” he continued.

Network Edge expands ecosystem services

Additionally, Network Edge, Equinix’s virtual network function (VNF) services ecosystem, has now made the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect virtual SD-WAN appliance available on their platform.

This means that Network Edge now has a full suite of vendor-neutral SD-WAN services, and companies are now able to deploy VNFs in real-time from multiple vendors, including Cisco, CloudGenix, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, Palo Alto Networks, and VMware.

“As enterprises advance digital transformation initiatives, a cloud-first WAN architecture is essential to an organization’s overall digital infrastructure and long-term success,” said Fraser Street, the Vice President of Technical Alliances at Silver Peak, which was recently acquired by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Equinix’s Network Edge was adopted on Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect virtual SD-WAN appliances to enable enterprises to scale globally by virtually deploying a secure, digital-ready infrastructure at the edge.

With Equinix Fabric integration, Network Edge customers can also interconnect their virtual edge devices with cloud and network providers located in distributed global markets, extending their reach to up to thousands of new business partners around the world.

Equinix Fabric will enable customers to gain access to network service providers like AT&T, BT, Cloudflare, Colt Technology Services, HKBN and Verizon Business.

“This year has proven what we have long known, which is on-demand networking coupled with a technological ecosystem of like-minded providers is key to powering enterprises’ rapid transformations. By extending our collaboration with Equinix, together we’re giving enterprises greater agility and control over their most critical asset in today’s business landscape – their network,” said Peter Coppens, the Vice President Product Portfolio at Colt Technology Services.

Network Edge is currently available in Singapore and Sydney, and In 2021, Equinix expects to have Network Edge available in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Malaysia’s GDEX selects Nutanix for cloud-powered digital transformation

Malaysian logistics company GD Express (GDEX) has selected Nutanix Hybrid Cloud to lead its e-commerce digital transformation.

GDEX will scale Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud Platform to keep up with Malaysia’s growing e-commerce industry, which is predicted to contribute US$41.05 billion (RM170 billion) to the post-pandemic economy this year.

“As Malaysia’s digital economy continues to advance, a new generation of digital consumers have emerged and driven the growth of E-commerce,” said Avinash Gowda, Malaysia Country Manager for Nutanix.

To date, GDEX has migrated its core applications for governing shipments to Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud Platform, and has since put in place three Nutanix Clusters, Nutanix’s hybrid cloud infrastructure.

“The logistics industry is fast changing, and the pandemic has made the business landscape even more challenging to navigate. As a customer-focused and technology-driven company, we partnered with Nutanix to ensure that we are always ready to adapt to changes in customer and market demands,” said Teong Teck Lean, Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of GDEX.

Before adopting Nutanix, GDEX was already managing up to 180,000 consignments a day, which its legacy infrastructure could not support, especially with their vision to scale even more.

“We would not have achieved this success if we continued with our legacy infrastructure. The cost of scaling and management would have eaten into our margins, but with Nutanix, we are able to sustain and scale our operations to consistently meet customer and market demands,” said Charles Ong, Special Project Advisor at GDEX.

GDEX’s IT team will now be using Nutanix AOS and Nutanix Prism Pro, Nutanix’s enterprise management softwares, to manage server, storage and networking resources.

“E-commerce is both a great business opportunity and a great IT challenge for logistics companies such as ours. Nutanix’ platform is incredibly elastic, enabling us to scale quickly and efficiently, without compromising our service and costs,” added Mr. Ong.

Nutanix’ platform enabled GDEX to scale in minutes to accommodate large order spikes for key E-commerce events such as Singles Day, resulting in an approximately 100% increase in GDEX’ overall business revenues.

GDEX was established in 1997 in Malaysia to provide express delivery services for domestic and international markets. Today, GDEX operates a network of 425 stations, comprising 99 branches, 64 agents, 11 lodge-in centres and 251 reseller agencies across Malaysia and Singapore. It has a fleet of 1277 trucks and vans and over 4,500 employees across its operations.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Okta announces new AWS integration for Okta Identity Cloud

Okta has announced its identity verification software, Okta Identity Cloud, is now available on the AWS Marketplace.

The new integrations enable access with AWS Control Tower, providing a streamlined way to set up and govern a new, secure, multi-account AWS environment based on best practices established through AWS’s experience working with thousands of enterprises as they migrate to the cloud.

“As more businesses move a higher percentage of their application portfolio to the cloud, modernised identity and access management has become increasingly important,” said Dave McCann, the Vice President of Migration, Marketplace, and Control Services at AWS.

Identity platforms play a critical role in helping organisations securely and efficiently run their businesses in the cloud, enabling seamless access for employees while still maintaining visibility and control over sensitive data and information.

“By working together, we are ensuring that organizations have simplified access to our market-leading technologies that help them solve complex challenges, with better security and compliance,” said Frederic Kerrest, the Executive Vice Chairman, Chief Operating Officer, and Co-Founder of Okta.

Okta has been used by more than 9,400 organisations, including etBlue, Nordstrom, Slack, T-Mobile, Takeda, Teach for America,Twilio and Zoom

“Working with AWS and Okta helped us to deliver on our strategic technology initiatives to meet this goal. We look forward to tighter integrations and a more robust cooperation that ultimately makes it faster, easier, and more productive for us to digitally transform,” said Velchamy Sankarlingam, the President of Product and Engineering at Zoom.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Zoom continues cloud partnership with AWS

Video conferencing giant Zoom will continue its multi-year cloud partnership with its preferred cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Zoom will continue to leverage AWS’ cloud technology in compute, storage, content distribution, and security to maintain the quality of its data centers.

On top of that, Zoom and AWS will collaborate to develop new video conferencing solutions in order to deliver a smooth remote working and hybrid office experiences.

This could mean that Zoom may let go of its existing partnership with major cloud player Oracle. Just months ago, Oracle revealed that it is Zoom’s partner of choice for cloud operations. 

“COVID-19 changed everything for Zoom, putting demands on the company to meet the video conferencing needs of hundreds of millions of new participants around the globe, and AWS was there from the beginning to ensure Zoom could scale to meet these new requirements virtually overnight,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS.

Over the past year, Zoom has grown on AWS to accommodate an increase from 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019 to more than 300 million a day regularly since April 2020

“Faced with unprecedented global demand this past year, we’ve been able to handle it in significant part by running the substantial majority of our cloud-based workloads on our preferred cloud provider, AWS, and relying on AWS’s performance and scalability,” said Eric S. Yuan, the CEO of Zoom.

Back in August, Zoom opened its first data center in Southeast Asia with a new facility in Singapore to enhance its services in Southeast Asia.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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uCloudlink and NTT partner on cloud SIM development

Hong Kong-based mobile technology company uCloudlink has announced it will partner with NTT Group to launch DoRACOON, a new initiative that will pilot a commercial cloud SIM to power a stable mobile broadband access environment in Japan.

The initiative will see uCloudlink joining forces with NTT Media Supply, NTT Group’s tech development subsidiary, to provide a stable, cloud-based mobile broadband environment to public and private sectors in Japan.

The Cloud SIM is intended to allow users to obtain superior network connection quality, guaranteed high network speed, improved connectivity reliability and network capacity.

DoRACOON will leverage uCloudlink’s cloud SIM, its core patented technology, and Jetfon Smart-Fi devices jointly developed by uCloudlink and MAYA, a Wi-Fi and smartphone company.

The project is expected to bring greater connectivity to remote areas in Japan, and boost the development of businesses in the country. This is particularly important, as a Government report from November revealed the essential need for digitalisation of society for boosts in productivity and future economic growth in the ‘new normal’.

uCloudlink and NTT Group expect to provide a stable mobile broadband access environment across the country, even in areas where it is difficult to lay optic fiber.

In fact, DoRACOON was already on trial for business users in July this year, but it is expected to expand into other important sectors, including education, tourism, medical treatment, catering, and agriculture.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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IBM to slash thousands of jobs as it prepares for hybrid cloud

Since CEO Arvind Krishna’s historic decision to break up the company’s century-long hardware business in early October, IBM has been actively gearing up to supercharge their cloud technology.

Today, the veteran tech titan has come forward with another major announcement: it is looking to cut up to 10,000 as part of a company restructuring process to prepare for hybrid cloud development.

“Our staffing decisions are made to provide the best support to our customers in adopting an open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities,” said an IBM spokeswoman in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

The job cut will be seen primarily in Europe, with the UK and Germany set to be the most affected. Employees in Italy, Belgium, Poland, and Slovakia are also expected to be laid off.

The mass layoff would be equivalent to the loss of 20% of IBM’s workforce in the region. Bloomberg reports that the job cut in Europe is expected to be completed by the end of mid-2021.

“We also continue to make significant investments in training and skills development for IBMers to best meet the needs of our customers,” the statement added.

IBM has set its sights on India’s workforce by collaborating with India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to deliver labour upskilling courses to tech professionals in the country.

“This collaboration with IBM aligns with the National Education Policy’s emphasis on learning 21st century skills to ensure the future-readiness of India’s youth and realising the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” said Dinesh Tyagi, the Managing Director of the Common Services Centre e-Governance Services.

Through MeitY’s Common Services Centre (CSC) Academy, IBM will be curating STEM content, including cloud and AI, for not only professionals in the industry, but also women and underprivileged youths.

On the partnership with the Indian government, Sandip Patel, Managing Director at IBM India/South Asia, said: “Exponential technologies like AI and Hybrid Cloud can drive path-breaking innovations and fuel the nation’s digital India vision. To make this a reality there is a need to create the right avenues and platforms for learners to be equipped with industry-ready skills.”

Arvind Krishna’s decision to focus on cloud came at an opportune time, and IBM’s latest quarterly results show that the company has time to compete in the market. Although total revenue fell by 2.6% to $17.56 billion, it earned $6 billion in cloud revenue, which was a 19% increase year-on-year.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Equinix invests $55 million in Osaka data center

Data center giant Equinix has announced plans to invest $55 million on the construction of a data center in Osaka, Japan.

The data center is set to be the company’s third International Business Exchange (IBX) facility, named OS3.

Osaka’s rising digital and financial hub

Home to many innovative startups, Osaka is fast becoming Japan’s newest digital and financial center.

“With the rising adoption of digital transformation, together with the acceleration of advanced technology such as AI and IoT, we are expecting a strong growth of demand for digital infrastructure in Japan, despite the short-term economy slowdown amid COVID-19,” said Mimei Ito, Research Manager for IT Services at IDC Japan.

Osaka ranks just behind Tokyo in terms of concentration of businesses in the country, with many firms in the region involved in important sectors such as energy, financial services, medical services, and manufacturing.

The expansion of the Equinix data center in Osaka reflects a rapid increase in the deployment of digital workloads among enterprises and their customers in Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area, which is expected to accelerate further through enhanced interconnectivity of cloud ecosystems.

“As a large metropolitan area with many global and locally based enterprises, Osaka has emerged as a significant market. In the past years, we have seen rising demand for secure, high-performance, and low-latency connectivity in the Kansai area,” said Kuniko Ogawa, Managing Director of Equinix Japan.

OS3’s establishment is hoped to contribute greatly to the digital ecosystem in the region, offering close proximity to major internet and peering exchanges along with low latency connections to nearby major cities such as Kyoto and Kobe.

“With our planned OS3 IBX data center, backed by our global footprint and vast array of services offered on Platform Equinix, we are set to expand our ability to bring together and interconnect the infrastructure that businesses need to fast-track their digital advantage,” Ms. Ogawa continued.

Expanding connectivity

OS3 will integrate Equnix’s interconnectivity solution, Equinix Fabric, to allow businesses to connect between their own distributed infrastructure and any other company’s cloud infrastructure.

“The expansion of the Equinix data center in Osaka reflects a rapid increase in the deployment of digital workloads among enterprises and their customers in Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area. This is expected to accelerate further through enhanced interconnectivity of cloud ecosystems,” said Ms. Ito.

The first phase of the facility is expected to be approximately 33,000 square feet wide, providing over 900 cabinets of storage space. When completed, it will have up to 2,500 cabinets in a 89,340 square feet space.

Jeremy Deutsch, President of Equinix Asia-Pacific, commented: “Our expansion in Osaka marks another key milestone in our ongoing plans to deliver Platform Equinix to more businesses in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. With our world-class infrastructure and solutions, we will continue to be the trusted partner of digital leaders by enabling them to seize the opportunity with agility, speed and confidence.”

Equinix’s two existing IBX data centers in Osaka currently host content for over 130 companies in a 64,500 square feet colocation space.

Earlier this year, Equinix announced a US$1 billion joint venture with GIC to develop and operate hyperscale data centers in Japan. The three initial facilities, one in Osaka and two in Tokyo, will serve the unique core workload deployment needs of a targeted group of hyperscale companies, including the world’s largest cloud service providers.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Mitratel and Pos Properti to develop digital infrastructure in Indonesia

Telecommunications company Mitratel and property management consultant Pos Properti have partnered to further develop digital infrastructure like ICT and IoT in Indonesia.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the state-owned enterprises, Miratel and Pos Properti will also work to support 5G readiness in the country.

“The signing of this memorandum of understanding opens the initiation of mutually beneficial strategic cooperation by utilising the potential, expertise and facilities owned by Mitratel and Pos Properti for infrastructure development and communication technology services in an effort to support 5G readiness in Indonesia,” said Teddy Hartoko, President and Director of Mitratel. 

The collaboration will include a feasibility study for the deployment of these technologies.

Indonesia’s digital transformation potential

As an emerging market in Southeast Asia, Indonesian corporations have been actively pursuing digital transformation strategies and partnerships to unlock the region’s tech potential. Huawei’s and Microsoft’s collaboration with the government are latest examples of international tech giants working to push the country towards greater digitalisation.

Mitratel currently has more than 22,000 cell towers in the country, and possesses expertise in important areas in IoT, including disaster management and smart monitoring. The collaboration is expected to benefit different industries that both companies are involved in, including businesses in economic, financial, legal, and operational sectors.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Servian expands into Singapore to address urgent need for digital transformation in Southeast Asia

Servian, one of Australia’s leading IT consultancies, announced it is expanding into Singapore, bringing its expertise in cloud, data, machine learning, DevOps and cybersecurity to the local and regional market.

The expansion comes off the back of an urgent need for companies within the region to digitalise in order to remain competitive in the current environment.

At the Future Economy Conference and Exhibition, Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing stressed the importance of digital transformation in helping rebuild the new economy. He said Singapore’s position on the world stage hangs on businesses’ ability to adapt, with now being the time to re-engineer processes.

New research from DBS Bank supports this, revealing that Southeast Asia is falling behind its US and UK counterparts in digital strategy. Almost all businesses surveyed in the region said they faced external pressure to transform digitally, with challenges including speed of change, execution complexity and lack of digital talent.

“Organisations recognise where they need to get to, they just don’t seem to know how to get there,” said Pete Gatt, Partner & Singapore Expansion Lead at Servian.

Servian works with clients in multiple sectors across the region, assisting them in deploying data-driven, cloud-based solutions to enable them to evolve at speed.

“Having worked with hundreds of organisations in different segments, verticals and of varying sizes, the conversation is always the same. They want to take advantage of data to make money and they want to optimise their operations to save money, with technology now at the heart of that conversation,” added Mr. Gatt.

Among others, the company has worked on a Singapore Government project for GovTech to build security and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) capabilities, providing teams with the skills and reference architectures for IaC in cloud environments.

Servian’s new operation in Southeast Asia will offer its suite of technology-agnostic advisory, consulting and managed services to SMEs whose digital transformation efforts can be hampered by fear of complexity and cost.

The company has close partnerships with technology retailers including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Hashicorp.

Indonesia’s Lintasarta data centers achieve 99.982% SLA thanks to Schneider Electric

Lintasarta, Indonesian data communications and internet service provider, announced it has achieved a 99.982% service level agreement figure with its corporate clients after adopting data center solutions by Schneider Electric.

Going forward, Lintasarta will deploy sustainable data center solution, EcoStruxure for Data Centers by Schneider Electric, on three of its colocation data centers in South Tangerang, Banten.

“EcoStruxure for Data Centers has been proven to increase energy consumption efficiency by up to 38%, energy cost efficiency by up to 30%, increase productivity up to 60% and data center uptime by up to 100%,” said Yana Achmad Haikal, Business Vice President for Secure Power Division and Energy Management Business at Schneider Electric Indonesia.

Collaboration between the two has been ongoing for a while, as Schneider Electric’s solutions have been deployed in two Lintasarta data centers in Indonesia, in TB Simatupang, Jakarta and Jatiluhur, West Java.

To date, Lintasarta’s tier three colocation data centers have served 2,400 clients across multiple sectors, including telecommunications, finance, oil and gas.

“Through the solutions offered, we hope that Schneider Electric is able to address the challenges that the industry is facing at this time so that it suits the different needs of each industry,” said Ginandjar Alibasjah, Director of IT Services at Lintasarta, during the Innovation Summit East Asia 2020.

Lintasarta has committed to continue improving the quality of their services and SLAs through more cost efficient and eco-friendly data centers.

An SLA is a formal agreement that lays out the expected level of service between a vendor and its customers once both parties work together. It is measured by key operations or goals, such as the form, quality, speed, and reliability of services.

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Equinix revenues beats estimates, COVID-19 impact less than expected

Equinix has beat analyst estimates for Q3 2020 and has lowered their predicted impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from US$50 million forecast in May to US$20-30 million.

Equinix’s revenue was up 9% to US$1.520 billion compared to the same quarter last year, marking the data center provider’s 71st consecutive quarter revenue growth and beating estimates from Zacks REIT and Equity Trust by 1.14%.

“As businesses navigate the economic, health and societal changes happening in the world, Equinix is in a unique position to help our customers adapt, respond and accelerate their digital transformation – a key driver for economic recovery,” said Charles Meyers, the President and CEO of Equinix.

Equinix has made various advancements this year, including the announcement of Equinix Metal, partnerships with Nokia and Rakuten Mobile, investments in Singapore and Hong Kong, and a significant expansion into India.

“Companies in every sector are embracing digital transformation as a critical business priority, and we are well-positioned to help our customers scale with agility and create digital advantage,” added Mr. Meyers.

For 2020, Equinix expects to incur $20 million in integration costs related to acquisitions.

As a result of their investments, Equinix has over 386,000 physical and virtual interconnections, adding 8,500 net interconnections driven by video conferencing, streaming, enterprise cloud connectivity and work-from-home local aggregation.

“We continue to invest in our strategy, evolving our platform in response to evolving customer needs, expanding our global reach to accelerate digital delivery, committing to a more sustainable future and ensuring that our culture is widely recognised as a place that attracts, embraces, inspires and develops exceptional and diverse talent,” said Mr. Meyers.

Equinix Internet Exchange also experienced peak traffic, up 43% year-over-year, with a 7% increase quarter-over-quarter.

“We delivered another strong quarter … ahead of our expectations. Every key operating metric was positive. Interconnection activity remained healthy with net adds towards the high end of our targeted range,” said Keith Taylor, Equinix CFO.

Many of Equinix’s data centers were identified as essential businesses or critical infrastructure by local governments, with all IBX data centers remaining operational as of publication.

Looking ahead, the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s financial condition or results of operations remains uncertain and will depend on a number of factors, including its impact on Equinix customers, partners and vendors and the impact on, and functioning of, the global financial markets, Equinix said.

“The things we were most worried about is what customers were going to go out of business, what payments we were not going to receive. It’s hard to quantify, there’s certainly some impact from COVID-19, I think I’d size it in the US$20 to US$30 million range,” said Mr. Taylor.

Mr. Taylor came to this figure by seeing success in bookings, despite some fallout from COVID-19 and making concessions for the pandemic.

“We are delighted with there we are vis a vis of what could have been when we started in Q1 and locking things down. Clearly we have done meaningfully better than we originally anticipated from the original guide. That’s because the company has been running seemingly well and customers have been paying their bills,” said Mr. Taylor.

For Q4 2020, Equinix expects revenues to range between US$1.549 and US$1.569 billion, an increase of between 2% and 3% quarter-over-quarter.

For the full year of 2020, Equinix expects between US$5.983 and US$6.003 billion in revenue, representing approximately 8% increase over 2019.

The Company’s past results may not be indicative of future performance, and historical trends may differ materially, said Equinix.

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HGC teams with CyberSecurity Malaysia to strengthen telecoms cybersecurity

HGC Global Communications Limited (HGC) has signed an agreement with CyberSecurity Malaysia to strengthen telecommunication cybersecurity and foster innovation.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two organisations will look to enable CyberSecurity Malaysia, the national cybersecurity specialist and technical agency under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia, to achieve its purpose of overcoming national cybersecurity challenges and deliver greater ICT benefits to its users.

“Today, cyber security is a major concern for most industries and the vulnerabilities are rising at an alarming rate; hence IT professionals are in high demand to analyse and overcome these threats. Moreover, these attacks could have been dealt with if those businesses have better cyber resilience,” said Dato’ Ts. Dr. Haji Amirudin Bin Abdul Wahab, CyberSecurity Malaysia’s Chief Executive Officer.

The MoU will first look to benefit large to medium enterprises, the financial services industry, government and semi-government bodies.

“Organisations today are beginning to complement their cybersecurity strategies with cyber resilience. CyberSecurity Malaysia … identifies collaboration as one way to strengthen the cybersecurity ecosystem in Malaysia,” added Dr. Wahab.

The agreement between HGC and CyberSecurity Malaysia is expected to have an impact beyond Malaysia by reaching HGC’s overseas customers, as the company is a fully-fledged fixed-line operator and ICT service provider with extensive local and international network coverage, services and infrastructure.

“Cybersecurity is a paramount asset, key to HGC’s vision of a connected world. As a global telecommunications service provider, we are committed to promoting sustainable development of technological innovations, keeping cybersecurity at the centre of business solutions,” said Ravindran Mahalingam, HGC’s SVP of International Business.

HGC serves a wide range of industry verticals such as e-health, e-commerce, e-education initiatives across Asia.

Under the collaboration, the MoU will cover cybersecurity cooperation in key areas including telecom security, IoT security and threats intelligence. The exchange of information on telecommunication networks, ICT solutions and cybersecurity could further improve cyberattack readiness and prevention measures.

“More, cybersecurity is important in a smart city as the infrastructure can be vulnerable and needs to avoid any breaches. HGC is dedicated to support cybersecurity for ICT and network initiatives, ensuring a secure and reliable digital business environment,” added Mr. Mahalingam.

With its international exposure, HGC is tasked with provisioning its cybersecurity expertise, including consulting, managed security services, engineering, risk management, cloud security and advisory services. This is expected to enable CyberSecurity Malaysia to boost its range of cyber security innovation-led services, programmes, and initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of digital systems, and at the same time strengthen Malaysia’s self-reliance in cyberspace.

According to CyberSecurity Malaysia, from January and September 2020, Malaysia has recorded 8,366 cybersecurity incidents, including fraud, intrusion, and malicious code – an increase of nearly over 10% compared to 2019.

Given that the increase in the number of Internet users has a direct implication on the increase in potential threat on information systems, HGC and CyberSecurity Malaysia believe it is essential to take the necessary precautionary measures.

The Malaysia Government recently announced a US$434 million (RM1.8 billion) Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy (MCSS) to upgrade the country’s cybersecurity measures.

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Facebook adds cloud gaming to its platform

Facebook launched a free-to-play cloud gaming feature on its social media platform, allowing users to stream and play games like Asphalt 9: Legends and WWE SuperCard instantly with no download required.

Facebook said in a blog post: “we’re not spinning off a separate cloud gaming service,” adding that all cloud-streamed games can be played on the platform’s Gaming tab or News Feed.

The social media giant recently had 200,000 people playing their cloud-streamed games per week in limited regions.

While Facebook’s gaming feature is said to be smaller in scale than cloud gaming platforms like Stadia by Google, Amazon’s Luna, and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, the movement towards cloud gaming is clear. 

At present, the cloud gaming platform will be available to Android and web users, Facebook said, while it was working on alternative options to launch the feature on Apple’s iOS. 

Facebook said: “Unfortunately, we’re not launching cloud games on iOS. Even with Apple’s new cloud games policy, we don’t know if launching on the App Store is a viable path. Mobile browsers may wind up being an option, but there are limitations to what we can offer on Safari. Apple treats games differently and continues to exert control over a very precious resource.”

Despite the advancements in cloud gaming, strong and reliable digital infrastructure is of critical importance to ensure low latency and lag, which is absolutely necessary for gamers who need a seamless experience. This may come in the form of 5G or edge computing technology.

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KT Corp launches KT Enterprise to expand cloud and AI efforts

South Korea’s largest telecommunications provider, KT Corporation has announced the launch of KT Enterprise, a new brand that will provide next-generation tech services to businesses in the country.

This new brand comes as part of KT Corporation’s ambition to expand its artificial intelligence, big data and cloud services for corporate clients.

KT Corporation also revealed its plans during their Digital-X Summit 2020 to launch a new digital transformation platform for its clients in November, which will link its AI, big data and blockchain technology services together for corporate clients.

The South Korean telecom giant has also been making moves in the data center industry to strengthen its market presence in Southeast Asia. In September, the company signed an agreement with Thailand’s JTS to develop an internet data center in Thailand.

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Bain-backed Chindata opens ‘Asia’s largest single data center’ in China

Chindata Group has successfully opened ‘Asia’s largest single data center’ in Datong, North China’s Shanxi province, on Sunday 25 October.

The data center has an IT capacity of 50 MW to support artificial intelligence-based computing.

“The opening of the data center is of great importance to boosting Datong’s energy information technology development,” said Zhang Jifu, the Secretary of the Datong Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The data center is based in Chindata’s energy data industrial base, the Taihang Mountain Energy and Information Technology Industrial Campus of the Pan-Beijing Area.

“Chindata’s energy data industrial base, where the data center is based, is a strategic project in Datong. Currently, the industrial base is taking shape. It is injecting strong impetus to the city’s development of new infrastructure, new technology, new material and new equipment,” added Mr. Zhang, first reported by China Daily.

Established in 2018, the energy data industrial base spreads across more than 1.5 million square meters of land, with seven phases of construction. The first and second phases of the project were put into operation in 2019, while the third and fourth phases will come into service by the end of 2020.

Once all seven phases are completed the base will form an integrated data aggregation together with the Chindata’s hyperscale data zones in Beijing and Hebei. The aggregation will effectively meet the digital demands from Beijing and Tianjin as well as the Xiong’an New Area in Hebei province.

During the opening ceremony, Bain Capital-backed Chindata and the Datong Government also signed an investment agreement of another data center in Chindata’s energy data industrial base to support the tremendous computing power demand in AI, automatic drive and quantum communication. The hyperscale data center provider will build the next-generation facility, spanning 333,000 square meters at an investment cost of US$2.2 billion (15 billion yuan).

“The company should seize opportunities to make full use of the integration of data center and renewable energy, to turn Datong’s advantage in energy to the advantage in strategic newly emerged industries,” added Mr. Zhang.

Recently, Chindata successfully raised US$540 million in a US initial public offering less than a month after the data center provider announced the IPO.

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Microsoft beats sales estimates thanks to cloud growth

Microsoft earned a total of US$37.2 billion in revenue in the first quarter of their fiscal year, a 12% increase compared to the previous fiscal year.

The company cites the drastic increase in demand for cloud services as the main driver behind this impressive growth.

As the global workforce shifts to remote work due to the pandemic, Microsoft’s flagship cloud services arm Azure has benefited the company greatly. Revenue in Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud unit increased by 20% year- over- year, thanks to Azure’s revenue growth of 48%.

“The next decade of economic performance for every business will be defined by the speed of their digital transformation. We are innovating across our full modern tech stack to help our customers in every industry improve time to value, increase agility, and reduce costs,” said Satya Nadella, the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft.

Demand for Microsoft’s cloud offerings drove a strong start to their fiscal year, with their commercial cloud revenue generating US$15.2 billion, which is up 31% year-over-year.

Revenue from Microsoft Office’s commercial products and cloud services grew by 9%, thanks to a 21% revenue uptick in its signature workplace management software Office 365. Microsoft Office 365 also hit 45.3 million consumer subscribers this year.

As jobseekers flooded onto Microsoft-owned LinkedIn for employment opportunities, revenue from LinkedIn increased 16% year on year.

According to Reuters, some of Microsoft’s success comes from a change in accounting rules for Microsoft’s servers, but the better margins were also driven by sales of lucrative software such as Dynamics 365, which competes with Salesforce.

“Microsoft’s strong earnings beat shows its market share in cloud computing is expanding while its legacy software products such as Windows and Office are in great demand during the pandemic,” said Haris Anwar, senior analyst at Investing.com.

Microsoft’s innovation continues

It has been a wildly successful year for Microsoft. The company’s relentless innovation, especially during a difficult time for many, has borne fruits in 2020. In September, the company successfully trialled an underwater data center, opening up new possibilities for more sustainability in the data center industry. 

Its popular gaming platform, Xbox’s new cloud gaming service launched in mid-September is also expected to contribute to a jump in Microsoft’s gaming content revenue in the next quarter.

On top of that, Microsoft will be launching a brand new space project with satellite operators including SpaceX to develop a cloud-driven networking and data sharing platform.

“We continue to invest against the significant opportunity ahead of us to drive long-term growth,” said Amy Hood, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft.

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