Kaseya Enhances Technician Experience And Improves Automation With Kaseya VSA 9.4 For Remote IT Monitoring and Management

Kaseya recently announced the general availability of Kaseya VSA 9.4, the company’s flagship IT management platform that specializes in remote monitoring and management solutions for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and small to mid-size businesses. Designed for on-premise, cloud-based and hybrid cloud environments, Kaseya leverages advanced analytics in conjunction with machine learning algorithms to create baselines of infrastructure and application performance. In addition to the development of baseline analytics regarding a company’s infrastructure, Kaseya remediates and proactively mitigates performance degradation and relevant IT issues of interest. Kaseya VSA 9.4 boasts enhanced support functionality for technicians that empowers customers to perform remote troubleshooting of IT infrastructures, even in cases marked by the lack of the installation of a Kaseya agent. Enhancements to the Kaseya technician experience also include the ability to troubleshoot issues from a mobile device as well as the related capability to deploy and use the technician’s preferred support applications on any device. Technicians using Kaseya also enjoy the benefits of a centralized search platform that accelerates access to users, groups and other views of the organization in question. Moreover, Kaseya technicians can now use a single dashboard to remotely managing networked devices such as printers and routers.

Separate from its slew of technician-related enhancements, Kaseya VSA 9.4 features updated discovery capabilities that improve the discovery and tagging of devices within a customer’s infrastructure as well as multi-subnet scanning support that facilitates the discovery of infrastructures spanning more than one network boundary. Kaseya VSA 9.4 strengthens Kaseya’s positioning as a leading IT management platform for MSPs and SMBs, particularly given the enhanced operational agility it confers on technicians and customers with respect to augmented remote support functionality. Expect Kaseya’s footprint in the IT management space to grow as the corresponding market for remote monitoring and management solutions expands in tandem with the proliferation of hybrid cloud infrastructures and their attendant demands for increasingly sophisticated and simple IT management frameworks.

Cisco Acquires AppDynamics For $3.7B

Cisco has announced plans to acquire AppDynamics just a day before the latter’s intended IPO. Cisco will acquire AppDynamics for $3.7 billion in cash and equity in a deal that signals its interest in transitioning from a hardware and networking company to a software company with investments in cloud technologies. AppDynamics, which specializes in application performance monitoring, competes with the likes of New Relic and Datadog. Given that AppDynamics was valued at $1.9 billion, its acquisition for $3.7 billion underscores its perceived market value for Cisco as the networking hardware giant transforms its business model to recognize the criticality of application and infrastructure monitoring, management and optimization to contemporary enterprise IT. The deal proleptically illustrates the beginning of a tidal wave of tech mergers and acquisitions as tech behemoths attempt to reinvent themselves by acquiring promising startups as evinced by HPE’s recent acquisition of CloudCruiser to help understand IT infrastructure consumption and usage. Cisco’s acquisition of AppDynamics means that 2017’s first tech IPO has fallen by the wayside even as the year awaits a number of promising IPOs that could include the likes of Dropbox, Spotify, Airbnb and AppNexus

Platform9 Announces General Availability of SaaS-based Managed Kubernetes Service

Platform9, the company behind a SaaS OpenStack-based private cloud, today announces the general availability of its Managed Kubernetes service. Platform9’s Managed Kubernetes service is available via a SaaS deployment model that reduces the operational complexity of deploying and managing a Kubernetes-based infrastructure. Platform9’s SaaS-based Managed Kubernetes platform empowers customers to create microservices-based applications that are agnostic to the underlying infrastructure on which they run. Customers can use Platform9’s Managed Kubernetes service to rapidly develop container-based applications that leverage Google’s Kubernetes container management framework and subsequently enjoy the benefits of the enhanced portability enabled by a SaaS platform. In addition to its Managed Kubernetes service, Platform9 today announces details of Fission, a serverless framework that delivers an interface to write functions that can be used to develop Kubernetes-based applications. Fission gives customers the ability to write and deploy functions that are triggered either manually or in correspondence with data-driven events that govern the timing of their execution. Fission enhances the intuitive interface delivered by Platform9’s Managed Kubernetes service by giving customers greater control of Kubernetes-based applications and bringing functionality analogous to that delivered by AWS Lambda to container-based applications.

Platform9’s Managed Kubernetes service enhances its OpenStack-based private cloud offering by deepening its ability to productize open source technologies for both infrastructure and application development. Today’s introduction of Fission marks yet another feather in Platform9’s cap by augmenting customer abilities to write functions that operate directly on container-based applications. Importantly, the nexus between Platform9’s infrastructure play qua its OpenStack private cloud offering and its application development functionality as evinced by its Managed Kubernetes platform strongly positions Platform9 to embrace both infrastructure and development use cases. As such, the general availability of its Managed Kubernetes service marks a milestone in its evolution and consolidates its diversification beyond infrastructure, rendering it an attractive acquisition target for a larger vendor seeking to ingest its demonstrated ability to deliver open source technologies as a service.

IBM Wins Contract With U.S. Army For Private Cloud Solution Worth Up To $62M

Head on the heels of Microsoft Azure’s announcement of its achievement of Provisional Authority Level 5 accreditation for the Department of Defense, IBM detailed its finalization of a five year contract with the U.S. army that has the potential to amount to $62M. Under the terms of the contract, IBM will create a private cloud solution for the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, which is located close to Huntsville, Alabama. IBM will deliver Infrastructure as a Service solutions for the Redstone Arsenal facility as part of the Army Private Cloud Enterprise program. The army plans to migrate up to 35 applications to the U.S. army during the first year of the private cloud. IBM’s ability to win this contract with the army was predicated on securing the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Impact Level 5 (IL-5) Provisional Authorization. IBM is the first company to obtain Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Impact Level 5 (IL-5) Provisional Authorization and plans are in place for it to achieve Level 6 authorization, which would enable it to manage classified information in contrast to the ability to manage controlled unclassified information as a result of its Level 5 certification. IBM’s contract with the U.S. army to develop and manage a private cloud for its Redstone Arsenal builds upon its success delivering a hybrid cloud solution for the U.S. Army’s Logistics Support Activity. The deal consolidates IBM’s leadership as a cloud contractor for the U.S. military and suggestively illustrates further potentialities for the expansion of IBM’s cloud market share via cloud-related U.S. military use cases.

Microsoft Azure Becomes First Commercial Cloud Vendor To Achieve Level 5 Provisional Authority From Department of Defense

On Friday, Microsoft Azure announced it became the first commercial cloud vendor to achieve Level 5 Provisional Authority for the “the DOD regions of Microsoft Azure Government and Office 365 U.S. Government Defense” as noted on Microsoft’s website. Azure’s achievement of Level 5 accreditation from the DOD empowers it to handle controlled unclassified information (CUI) and subsequently build and host applications that require a higher level of security than Level 4 accreditation. In conjunction with the news of its Level 5 DOD accreditation, Microsoft Azure announced the general availability of DOD regions of Microsoft Azure Government and Office 365 U.S. Government Defense with Level 5 authorization marked by dedicated infrastructure for the DOD spanning a multitude of U.S.-based data centers. Azure’s achievement of Level 5 Provisional Authority adds to its FedRAMP certification and bolsters its leadership in the government and defense-related cloud computing space. The announcement of its Level 5 Provisional Authority as granted by the Department of Defense represents a significant differentiator for Microsoft Azure given a contemporary political climate marked by increased sensitivity to U.S. government hacking and security breaches. With its enhanced security credentials for the DOD, Azure stands poised to continue spearheading Microsoft’s renaissance under CEO Satya Nadella by giving investors increased confidence in the company’s ability to serve defense-related contracts that are likely to increase in quantity and scope given President-elect Trump’s avowed interest in expanding the U.S. military.

Google Announces Cloud Key Management Service To Give Customers Ownership Of Cloud Encryption Keys

Google has announced details of a key management service in Beta in select countries that allows enterprises to manage the encryption keys for their cloud-based deployments. The ability of Google Cloud customers to manage their own encryption keys enhances the cloud security of Google’s public cloud platform because customers now have the option of taking ownership of the encryption keys for cloud deployments. Branded Google Cloud Key Management Service (Cloud KMS), Google’s expanded encryption functionality gives it parity with the AWS Key Management service and the Azure Key Vault with respect to customer-owned encryption options. Customers interested in retaining control over their encryption keys have the choice to store the encryption keys in the cloud or on premise. Google’s ability to give encryption keys to its customers is enabled by technology that “uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), in Galois/Counter Mode (GCM), the same encryption library used internally at Google to encrypt data in Google Cloud Storage,” as noted in a blog post.

Google Cloud Platform’s decision to give customers the option of controlling their encryption keys puts it on par with its competitors AWS and Azure while concurrently satisfying the cloud security needs of customers in highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance, that typically require greater ownership of the mechanism of encryption and de-encryption. Cloud security promises to be an intense area of interest in 2017 and Google’s achievement in coming up to speed with two its key competitors with respect to encryption functionality points to the tip of the iceberg of a broader conversation about cloud security that stands to unfold over the next 12 to 18 months. Given the dramatic proliferation of high profile cloud security breaches in recent months, expect Google Cloud Platform, AWS and Azure to keep enhancing their cloud security options in 2017, particularly since cloud security could represent the game-changer for cloud market share in the public and hybrid cloud space.

Apple’s CareKit For Healthcare Mobile Apps Integrates With Tresorit’s ZeroKit For Enhanced Cloud Security

Apple has announced that CareKit, its framework for creating healthcare-related apps, integrates with ZeroKit, a platform created by a company called Tresorit that delivers enhanced security for CareKit apps and their associated data. Even though CareKit data is encrypted on the iPhones of its individual users, CareKit does not manage encryption to the servers of developers and the sharing of healthcare-related data via its file sync and sharing functionality. Tresorit’s ZeroKit SDK enhances the security of the CareKit framework by bolstering the authentication protocols used for accessing the app and encrypting data prior to its storage on cloud-based servers. ZeroKit’s enhanced authentication protocols mitigate against hacking or compromises of user authentication data, more generally. In addition, ZeroKit delivers “zero knowledge” end to end encryption that allows no one, not even developers, to see patient data or passwords because of the application of encryption to all data.

ZeroKit’s encryption protocol is so strong that data is encrypted before storage in the cloud, thereby ensuring that data in motion, created during the development process, is as protected as data stored within CareKit’s cloud infrastructure.  ZeroKit’s SDK for cloud security is currently used by CarePro and DrNearMe. Because ZeroKit helps CareKit-based apps achieve HIPAA compliance, its partnership with CareKit strengthens CareKit’s positioning within the space of mobile app development for healthcare apps that empower healthcare providers to follow-up with patients regarding their conditions by enabling patients to track medication usage and metrics such as glucose, blood pressure, temperature and swelling.