By Grant Bennett, country manager for SUSE South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
There are some big things set for 2019. Customer expectations continue to evolve, new technologies are developed to push the envelope and all of that leads to continuous transformation of our business, our people, our processes and, of course, the technology and infrastructure. So, what is to come over the next twelve months and how should IT teams be
- The rise of Partner Eco-systems: With the uncertain political and economic market right now, the vendor ecosystem will become crucial to business success in 2019. While we can’t quite predict where the political sphere may end up, we can control the technology that business use. Understanding that they can’t be the jack of all trades, companies will need to develop a strong and compliant vendor network to ensure they are able to remain relevant in a constantly changing market, as well as to deliver the right solutions to their customers. Identifying the right partner can be a complicated task, with many identical offerings in an increasingly saturated market. Discovering a route into new geographic regions or new verticals through partnerships will help businesses to continue to
grow,while supporting their own partners in a symbiotic relationship.
- Businesses will need to focus on skills: The need for skilled developers continues to be a challenge for many companies. In 2019, vendors will start to partner with more foundations as a way to attract new talent. Open source vendors are looking for developers that are invested in the larger community and have contributed to a variety of projects. By tapping into a foundation, they can find individuals that are engaged and devoted to the open source philosophy and strengthen their overall networks. To retain talent, companies must give developers the opportunity to expand their knowledge, achieve certifications and gain vital experience in new technologies (especially around IoT and security).
- Data explosion will continue to drive new storage models: Industrial IoT, smart cities and wearables are bringing together and producing more sophisticated data than ever before. While the proliferation of data is nothing new, the volume of unstructured data and the way in which it is managed is. Additionally, many enterprise IT teams are moving to hybrid-environments that have on-prem systems and cloud environments, creating additional challenges for these teams. In 2019, more companies will adopt software-defined storage (SDS) to address the performance and availability challenges caused by the data explosion. One of the biggest advantages of SDS is automation which self-manage themselves. This system sends professionals alerts when a change (both good and bad) occurs in the environment.
- More Security Breaches: Serious data hacks seem to be coming thick and fast. If businesses don’t have a strong security plan and measures in place – it may already be too late. The security landscape is continuously changing and evolving as cybercriminals continue to find new ways to steal what’s most valuable to them: data. Storage professionals must now toe the line between IT and security, ensuring they have a mix of skills and an understanding of what both departments need to be successful. As IT and security grow closer, new jobs are developing and roles are being created specifically to oversee data governance and policy. In addition to job creation, the marriage of security and IT may result in policy changes as well.
Click here to read more about blockchain’s applications beyond finance, and machine learning solutions will become the backbone of industries.
Huge appetite for foldable phones – when prices fall
Samsung, Huawei and Motorola have all shown their cards, but consumers are concerned about durability, size, and enhanced use cases, according to Strategy Analytics
Foldable devices are a long-awaited disrupter in the smartphone market, exciting leading-edge early adopters keen for a bold new type of device. But the acceptance of foldable devices by mainstream segments will depend on the extent to which the current barriers to adoption are addressed.
Major brands have been throwing their foldable bets into the hat to see what the market wants from a foldable, namely how big the screens should be and how the devices should fold. Samsung and Huawei have both designed devices that unfold from smartphones to tablets, each with their own method of how the devices go about folding. Motorola has recently designed a smartphone that folds in half, and it resembles a flip phone.
Assessing consumer desire for foldable smartphones, a new report from the User Experience Strategies group at Strategy Analytics has found that the perceived value of the foldable form does not outweigh the added cost.
Key report findings include:
- The idea of having a larger-displayed smartphone in a portable size is perceived as valuable to the vast majority of consumers in the UK and the US. But, willingness to pay extra for a foldable device does not align with the desire to purchase one. Manufacturers must understand that there will be low sell-through until costs come down.
- But as the acceptance for traditional smartphone display sizes continues to increase, so does the imposed friction of trying to use them one-handed. Unless a foldable phone has a wider folded state, entering text when closed is too cumbersome, forcing users to utilize two hands to enter text, when in the opened state.
- Use cases need to be adequately demonstrated for consumers to fully understand and appreciate the potential for a foldable phone, though their priorities seemed fixed on promoting ‘two devices in one’ equaling a better video viewing experience. Identification and promotion of meaningful new use cases will be vital to success.
Christopher Dodge, Associate Director, UXIP and report author said: “As multitasking will look to be a core selling point for foldable phones, it is imperative that the execution be simplified and intuitive. Our data suggests there are a lot of uncertainties that come with foldable phone ownership, stemming mainly from concerns with durability and size, in addition to concerns over enhanced use cases.
“But our data also shows that when the consumers are able to use a foldable phone in hand, there is a solid reduction of doubt and concern about the concept. This means that the in-store experience may more important than ever in driving awareness, capabilities, and potential use cases.”
Said Paul Brown, Director, UXIP: “The big question is whether the perceived value will outweigh the added cost; and the initial response from consumers is ‘no.’ The ability for foldable displays to resolve real consumer pain-points is, in our view critical to whether these devices will become a niche segment of the smartphone market or the dominant form-factor of the future. Until costs come down, these devices will not take off.”
New exploit exposes credit cards on mobile phones
Check Point Security has found that handsets using Qualcomm chipsets that hold credit and debit card credentials are at risk of a new exploit.
Now it’s more important than ever to update your phone.
Check Point security has found a vulnerability in mobile devices that run Android, which allows credit card details to be accessed by hackers.
Mobile operating systems like Android offer a Rich Execution Environment (REE), providing a hugely extensive and versatile runtime environment, which allows apps to run on the device. However, while bringing flexibility and capability, REE leaves devices vulnerable to a wide range of security threats. A Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is designed to reside alongside the REE and provide a safe area on the device to protect assets and to execute trusted code. Qualcomm makes use of a secure virtual processor, which is often referred to as the “secure world”, in comparison to the “non-secure world”, where REE resides.
But Check Point “fuzzed” a “hole” into this secure world
In a 4-month research project, Check Point researchers attempted and succeeded to reverse Qualcomm’s “Secure World” operating system. Check Point researchers leveraged a “fuzzing” technique to expose the hole. Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a quality assurance technique used to discover coding errors and security loopholes in software, operating systems or networks. It involves inputting massive amounts of random data, called fuzz, to the test subject in an attempt to make it crash.
Check Point implemented a custom-made fuzzing tool, which tested trusted code on Samsung, LG, and Motorola devices. Through fuzzing, Check Point found 4 vulnerabilities in trusted code implemented by Samsung (including S10), 1 in Motorola, 1 in LG, but all code sourced by Qualcomm itself. To address the vulnerability, the runtime of Android needs to be protected from both attackers and users. This is typically achieved by moving the secure storage software to a hardware-supported TEE.
Check Point Research disclosed its findings directly to the companies and gave them time to patch vulnerabilities. Samsung patched three vulnerabilities and LG patched one. Motorola and Qualcomm responded, but have yet to provide a patch, and there is no confirmation of a release date yet.
Check Point Research has urged mobile phone users to stay vigilant and check their credit and debit card providers for any unusual activity. In the meantime, they are working with the vendors mentioned to issue patches.