Archive for July 21, 2020

Citrix Survey Shows How Canadians Imagine The Home Office Routine Of Tomorrow

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2020 by itnerd

Lockdown restrictions in Canada have begun to lift and companies are beginning to strategize on how they will create a secure return to work process. However, before companies can fully reopen their doors, there are some things they will need to amend or even rethink completely.  From the work models being offered, technology being used, or the overall company culture — the workplace will need to change, according to employee expectations. In a recent Citrix survey, 55 per cent of polled office workers state that they would prefer to work from home more frequently, while 41 per cent agree that the era of the 9-to-5 is now over. 

Flexible Work: From Nice-to-have to Must-have

Before the Corona crisis, the office was the place you went to perform your job, with very few Canadian employees allowed to work from home. In fact, Canadian office workers only worked from home an average of 2.89 days a month, with 7 per cent revealing they never worked from home.  Upon return, companies will need to rethink traditional work models, with 62 per cent of employees considering the office a place mainly for exchange and collaboration and 42 per cent wanting to see more flexible work models, allowing them to switch between the office and their home.

New Technologies and Culture Required

Before returning staff to the office, employers need to get busy. In the light of the current pandemic, 69 per cent of those surveyed are concerned about coworking and hot-desking concepts. 61 per cent of polled Canadian office workers consider the home office, if equipped with the proper technology, on par with working in an office. While less than one fourth of survey participants (19 per cent) state that they are currently using software and tools on their work computers that has not been approved by the IT department – or even is explicitly prohibited – a more digitally-forward culture is required where IT teams can be flexible, adaptable and anticipate workers’ technology needs to avoid shadow IT challenges in the future. The tools accounting for the largest shares are video conferencing software (50 per cent), personal devices (43 per cent) and instant messengers (42 per cent).

Even beyond technology, the effects of the crisis on corporate culture should not be underestimated as more home office usage is expected to improve the employer/workforce relationship. Of those polled, 37 per cent believe that in the future, flexible work models and remote work will improve the company culture. Furthermore, 44 per cent of respondents believe their company will have more of a digital culture and will embrace new technologies rapidly to better serve the workforce. The industries that believe this the most include hospitality and events management (63 per cent), teaching and education (60 per cent) and charity and voluntary work (58 per cent).

The abrupt switch to the home office due to the crisis required trust on both sides. More than a quarter of those surveyed (29 per cent) now hope that this strengthened trust and increased autonomy will be maintained, if not increased, after the crisis. More than half of those polled (58 per cent) think that there will be a better understanding of the human factor in the workplace, and almost one-third (31 per cent) agree that the Corona crisis experience will help soften established corporate hierarchies. 

Key Canadian Facts:

  • Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, office workers from Canada worked from home an average of 2.89 days a month, with 7 per cent revealing they never worked from home. Mandatory work-from-home measures changed all that, with working days shifting for many. 
  • 33 per cent of respondents said their working day is longer now that they are working from home, compared to 19 per cent who said their working day is shorter. However, 48 per cent said that the length of their working day hasn’t changed.
  • When asked how the impact of Coronavirus has affected the structure of their working day, nearly half (49 per cent) of office workers said that they are working to a more flexible schedule. This was followed by:
    • ‘I am eating meals at irregular times’ (29 per cent).
    • ‘I have had to use my time more efficiently to complete tasks in my working hours’ (23 per cent).
    • ‘I am often working late into the evening’ (23 per cent).
  • 56 per cent of respondents said that they enjoy the flexibility to dip in and out of work when they choose.
    • 29 per cent said they have to make a conscious effort to stop working at their normal time.
    • 22 per cent said they are finding it really difficult to switch off from work.
    • 20 per cent said they struggle to end their working day and find that they are working into the evening.
  • In order to increase productivity during the Coronavirus lockdown, 27 per cent of employees said their company has deconstructed jobs into component tasks to make it easier to see which tasks can be performed by workers working remotely or in other geographical locations.
    • 17 per cent said they have introduced more automation and ‘intelligent technologies’.
    • 17 per cent said that traditional organizational hierarchies have now been disregarded.
  • 31 per cent of respondents said they are more productive when working from home, compared to working in the office.
    • 47 per cent said their productivity is the same.
    • While 22 per cent said they are less productive. 
  • 46 per cent of employees said they are getting extra rest or sleep with their additional spare time. This was followed by:
    • ‘I am exercising more frequently’ (34 per cent).
    • ‘I am now pursuing wellness activities’ (20 per cent).
    • ‘I am now pursuing creative activities’ (20 per cent).
  • 24 per cent of employees said their organization introduced monitoring or surveillance technology to check up on employees while they are working from home.
    • 19 per cent said they were comfortable with this.
    • While 5 per cent said they were not comfortable with this.
    • Of those whose organization did not install this technology, 43 per cent said they would not be comfortable with this. 
  • 19 per cent are using some apps, software or devices for work purposes that have not been officially approved, or have been explicitly banned by their IT or leadership team. Of those who are using unapproved technology, 50 per cent are using video conference apps. This was followed by:
    • 43 per cent are using their own personal device(s)
    • 41 per cent are using instant messaging apps
    • 38 per cent are using social media
  • 62 per cent of office workers from Canada agree with the statement ‘I really miss the social aspects of office working’.
    • Contrastingly 52 per cent disagreed with the statement ‘I am finding it difficult to learn how to use all the new and different digital tools since working from home’.
  • To help stop the spread of bacteria and viruses, 69 per cent of employees would like to see hand sanitizer available in all communal areas on their return to the office. This was followed by:
    • ‘More frequent and better-documented office cleaning policies’ (51 per cent).
    • ‘Only required to go to the office on certain days/for certain activities’ (49 per cent).

About the survey

Commissioned by Citrix, OnePoll surveyed 7,500 office workers in mid-sized and large enterprises across Germany, the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, and the Netherlands working mainly from home due to the current situation. The survey was conducted in April and May, 2020.

Packetlabs Launches National Search For Canada’s Top Hacker

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2020 by itnerd

Packetlabs, a collective of ethical hackers specializing in real-world simulated cyber-attacks to protect governments, businesses and organizations, has launched an aggressive national search to uncover the country’s top hacker for a prime position with the Packletlabs’s team. 

Packetlabs admits they expect a lot from their full-time staff, but they are willing to pay a premium for the right hacker. The job will pay between $70-$100k + benefits, and security training.

Packetlabs’s Gruelling 72-hour hacking challenge:

After submitting a standard job application via LinkedIn, a video screening, CV/resume review, and a technical assessment, the top 20 applicants (on paper) will move on to the brand new Offensive Security Proving Grounds for the active hacking test which will challenge their abilities and skills to hack into a live system within 72 hours. The top 5 candidates who make it through will have a final interview. Packetlabs plan to hire Canada’s Next Top Hacker from that group.

  • Challenge participants will be required to write a report outlining the vulnerabilities they’ve discovered and outline how their client can address the issues found and improve cybersecurity.
  • Applicants will be awarded points based on the amount of systems compromised, and the level of sophistication demonstrated through their attacks.
  • As a fully Canadian owned and operated company, Packetlabs would like to hire a Canadian for the position.

Packetlabs is accepting applications for the position until August 15th, 2020.

Commvault Accelerates Kubernetes Application Development With New Hedvig Container Support

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2020 by itnerd

Today at Commvault FutureReady, Commvault announced new enhancements in the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform for Kubernetes running in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Kubernetes has fast become the standard container infrastructure platform for application modernization. Businesses need to ensure the storage infrastructure supporting containerized workloads have an integrated solution for Kubernetes deployments. This infrastructure must integrate across all types of Kubernetes deployments (cloud-managed or self-managed) and deliver seamless migration, data protection, availability, and disaster recovery for the entirety of these containerized environments. Seamless migration features are key for a DevOps audience, whether their Kubernetes deployments are managed outside the organization or in-house. 

Commvault’s new native API Kubernetes enhancements in the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform provides customers the flexibility to develop and run new modern applications with encryption and third-party KMIP support for data security in any Kubernetes environment. It also offers the ability to seamlessly protect, migrate, and use the data stored in Hedvig to speed the DevOps process and remove any cloud-managed or self-managed Kubernetes service barriers.

Coupled with the industry’s broadest integration for on-premises infrastructure, cloud storage, and container orchestrators, Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform provides a comprehensive solution capable of managing data regardless of where it lives across containers, cloud native applications, and traditional workloads.

Key Features:

  • Integrated Container Snapshots provide point in time protection for stateful container workloads.
  • Container Migration delivers an efficient and intelligent data movement of unique changes across Hedvig storage clusters, on-prem to cloud, to support the DevOps process for new modern application development and enable HA/DR for Containerized workloads.
  • Integrated Policy Automation enables granular control over the frequency of snapshot and migration operations and the targeted environment to which the data is intelligently sent. 

Commvault is a silver member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. 

Hedvig for Containers is currently available. For more information, please visit: https://commvault.com/product-announcement.

Commvault Launches HyperScale X

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2020 by itnerd

Today at Commvault FutureReady 2020, Commvault announced the launch of Commvault HyperScale™ X. HyperScale X is the latest generation of Commvault’s fully integrated scale-out data management solution, and is the first product in the portfolio to integrate technology from the recent Hedvig acquisition. 

Commvault Hyperscale X is an intuitive and easy to deploy scale-out appliance that is fully integrated with Commvault’s intelligent data management platform. Integrated with the power of Commvault Hedvig, Hyperscale X provides unmatched scalability, security, and resiliency to accelerate an organization’s digital transformation journey as they move to hybrid cloud, container, and virtualized environments. Its flexible architecture allows customers to get up and running quickly and grow as their needs demand.

Improvements include enhanced resiliency by maintaining availability in the event of concurrent hardware failures, providing improved SLAs and minimized operational impact. HyperScale X also delivers high performance backup and recovery via the Hedvig file system’s scale-out capabilities that improves performance as you scale. 

Commvault HyperScale X delivers:

  • Simple, flexible data protection for all workloads including containers, virtual, and databases
  • Optimized scalability to easily grow as needed, on-prem and to the cloud
  • Trusted security, including built-in ransomware protection and AI/ML anomaly detection

Commvault HyperScale X is generally available as an integrated appliance. For more information, please visit https://commvault.com/product-announcement.

Commvault Accelerates Cloud Adoption With New Intelligent Data Management Portfolio

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2020 by itnerd

Today at Commvault FutureReady, Commvault announced a new portfolio of products and services to intelligently manage data. In addition, the company also announced new flexible subscription pricing, optimizing value and making it easier for customers to simplify data management in hybrid cloud. 

New to the portfolio are Commvault® Backup & Recovery, Commvault® Disaster Recovery, Commvault Complete™ Data Protection and Commvault HyperScale™ X. 

  • Commvault® HyperScale X The next generation of Commvault HyperScale is a scale-out integrated solution that delivers simple, flexible data protection for all workloads (including containers, virtual, and databases), optimized scalability, and built-in ransomware protection. The first Hedvig integration with the Commvault portfolio, HyperScale X enables customers to simplify and accelerate hybrid cloud adoption.

  • Commvault® Backup & Recovery
    The new standalone backup & recovery product ensures data availability for all workloads – including containers, cloud-native, and virtual – across cloud and on-premises environments, delivering simple, reliable, data protection through a single extensible platform. 
  • Commvault® Disaster Recovery
    As a comprehensive disaster recovery product, Commvault Disaster Recovery enables customers to ensure business continuity and verify recoverability across cloud and on-prem environments, delivering simple, automated disaster recovery orchestration, flexible replication, and verified recovery readiness.
  • Commvault Complete™ Data Protection The combination of Commvault Backup & Recovery and Commvault Disaster Recovery brings Commvault’s industry-leading functionality into a single data protection solution to ensure data availability and business continuity for all workloads across cloud and on-prem environments. 

Additional enhancements include new data insights and governance solutions, rich Kubernetes support in the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform, and broader availability of Commvault’s subscription-based licensing model.

  • Commvault® Data Governance, Commvault® eDiscovery & Compliance and Commvault® File Storage Optimization
    • These solutions, previously bundled together as Commvault Activate, give customers greater visibility into their data, identify opportunities for storage efficiencies and manage risk. Leveraging Commvault’s simplified pricing model, organizations can now purchase these solutions in alignment with how they consume other Commvault offerings.
  • Enhanced Container Support for the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform
    • Commvault’s new native API Kubernetes enhancements in the Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform provides customers the flexibility to develop and run modern applications in any Kubernetes environment with the ability to seamlessly protect, migrate, recover, and use their data.
  • Optimized Subscription Pricing
    • As customers are increasingly looking to shift toward OPEX-based and cloud-like pricing, they require the flexibility and efficiency that a subscription pricing model enables. Commvault has led this transition, with more than 40 per cent of its software and product revenue coming from subscription licensing. Today’s announcement, further enables Commvault’s products and ecosystems to lead with subscription pricing models, enabling simplified choice for customers. Commvault will continue to support customer requirements for a perpetual pricing model.

COVID-19 Apps Meant To Be Privacy Focused Ask For Device Location Access On Android…. WTF?

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2020 by itnerd

When Google and Apple released their COVID-19 exposure notification API, it was promised to put privacy first. But that may not be true. At least on the Android of the fence as The New York Times describes:

When Google and Apple announced plans in April for free software to help alert people of their possible exposure to the coronavirus, the companies promoted it as “privacy preserving” and said it would not track users’ locations. Encouraged by those guarantees, GermanySwitzerland and other countries used the code to develop national virus alert apps that have been downloaded more than 20 million times. But for the apps to work on smartphones with Google’s Android operating system — the most popular in the world — users must first turn on the device location setting, which enables GPS and may allow Google to determine their locations. 

And what is interesting is that Apple iPhones don’t require this setting. So this is just a Google thing. That sounds sketchy to say the least. And to the surprise of nobody, this has caused some alarm:

Some government officials seemed surprised that the company could detect Android users’ locations. After learning about it, Cecilie Lumbye Thorup, a spokeswoman for Denmark’s Health Ministry, said her agency intended to “start a dialogue with Google about how they in general use location data.” Switzerland said it had pushed Google for weeks to alter the location setting requirement. “Users should be able to use such proximity tracing apps without any bindings with other services,” said Dr. Sang-Il Kim, the department head for digital transformation at Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health, who oversees the country’s virus-alert app. Latvia said it had pressed Google on the issue as it was developing its virus app. “We don’t like that the GPS must be on,” said Elina Dimina, head of the infectious-disease surveillance unit at Latvia’s Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Google’s location requirement adds to the slew of privacy and security concerns with virus-tracing apps, many of which were developed by governments before the new Apple-Google software became available. Now the Android location issue could undermine the privacy promises that governments made to the public.

Google for its part had this to say:

Pete Voss, a Google spokesman, said the virus alert apps that use the company’s software do not use device location. That’s including for people who test positive for the virus and use the apps to notify other users. The apps use Bluetooth scanning signals to detect smartphones that come into close contact with one another — without needing to know the devices’ locations at all.

Well, that’s a lame answer as if it doesn’t use location services, why does it ask for it?

For these apps to work, as many people as possible have to download them and use them. And by as many people as possible, I mean something in the range of 70% or more. This news does not help that adoption rate as this will scare users into not downloading the app. This is one situation where Google’s sketchy behavior threatens to undermine the response to the greatest health crisis this planet has ever seen. Which means that if they truly aspire to “do no evil”, which by now should be clear that they don’t mean that, then they need to respond to this in a much more robust manner so that it encourages people to use these apps to help to get the planet out of this crisis.