May 16, 2022
Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why cash-rich ransomware groups might be hiring AI experts sooner than anyone would like, Microsoft’s channel chief leaves the company, and this week in enterprise tech startup investments.
A surge of interest in observability tools hasn’t yet translated into faster responses to incidents when they are detected. According to research from Logz.io, 64% of survey respondents said it usually takes them more than an hour to recover from incidents, up from 47% last year.
In the perpetual battle between cybercriminals and defenders, the latter have always had one largely unchallenged advantage: The use of AI and machine learning allows them to automate a lot of what they do, especially around detecting and responding to attacks. This leg up hasn't been nearly enough to keep ransomware at bay, but it has still been far more than what cybercriminals have ever been able to muster in terms of AI and automation.
That’s because deploying AI-powered ransomware would require AI expertise. And the ransomware gangs don’t have it. At least not yet.
But given the wealth accumulated by a number of ransomware gangs in recent years, it may not be long before attackers do bring aboard AI experts of their own, prominent cybersecurity authority Mikko Hyppönen said.
While doom-and-gloom cybersecurity predictions are abundant, with two decades of experience on matters of cybercrime, Hyppönen is not just any prognosticator. He has been with his current company, which until recently was known as F-Secure, since 1991 and has been researching — and vying with — cybercriminals since the early days of the concept.
If cybercrime groups hire AI talent with some of their windfall, Hyppönen believes the first thing they'll do is automate the most manually intensive parts of a ransomware campaign. The actual execution of a ransomware attack remains difficult, he said.
While AI talent is in extremely short supply right now, that will start to change in coming years as a wave of people graduate from university and research programs in the field, noted Ed Bowen, managing director for the AI Center of Excellence at Deloitte.
The speed at which security has been built up over the last 12 months has been a derivative benefit of what we’ve seen during the pandemic. Privacy, compliance and security are three legs of the same stool. What we’re seeing increasingly is that intersection continuing to happen. RingCentral has invested in all those elements.
Microsoft channel chief Rodney Clark is leaving the technology giant to take a job at an outside company.
The 24-year Microsoft veteran’s departure comes just more than a year after being appointed to what he then described as a “destination role” and “dream job” at Microsoft. Last March, he replaced Gavriella Schuster, who had held the channel chief role for five years.
As corporate vice president of Channel Sales, Clark oversaw the Microsoft Partner Network’s 400,000-plus companies that sell and support its enterprise products and services and build their own solutions and devices around them.
Clark joined Microsoft in 1998 and had been leading its IoT and mixed-reality sales for more than 3.5 years when he landed the channel chief position.
“For 24+ years I have been able to learn, grow and work for the best company in the world,” Clark said in a LinkedIn post on Monday. “My family has been raised with Microsoft, and my community has been shaped by Microsoft.”
Clark has accepted a new job as an executive officer at an unnamed, publicly traded company that partners with Microsoft, according to a blog post on Monday by Nick Parker, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Global Partner Solutions.
Parker said Microsoft is actively discussing Clark’s replacement and expects to have a new leader in place by the beginning of its new fiscal year in July. The company plans to introduce its new channel chief at Microsoft Inspire, its annual partner conference that runs July 19-20.
Join Protocol enterprise editor Tom Krazit May 18 at 10 a.m. PT for a series of high-level executive interviews filmed at SAP Sapphire 2022. Hear from CIOs from leading consumer packaged goods companies on the role of enterprise tech in transforming their business models and navigating a new era of digital transformation.
Rippling was valued at $11.25 billion after raising $250 million for its HR platform.
Abnormal Security was valued at $4 billion after raising $210 million to provide security services for cloud-based email systems.
Aiven was valued at $3 billion after raising $210 million for its open-source cloud data platform.
Paddle was valued at $1.4 billion after raising $200 million to provide back-end billing services for SaaS products.
Stord was valued at $1.3 billion after raising $120 million for its supply chain logistics software.
Material Security was valued at $1.1 billion after raising $100 million for its email-based security services.
Evisortraised $100 million to provide AI-based contract management services.
Supabaseraised $80 million for its open-source alternative to Google’s Firebase development platform.
North Korean technology workers are trying to get IT jobs inside U.S. companies in order to steal trade secrets, according to a federal government warning.
Rakuten is dumping OpenStack in favor of a homegrown application development platform, as even stalwart telco users move on from OpenStack.Santander, Spain’s largest bank, has moved 80% of its IT infrastructure into AWS and Microsoft Azure, it said in reporting last year’s financial results Monday.
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