Wednesday Jan 13, 2016

Transcending the Dark Ages of Information Security in 2016

It’s been said aspects of our industry is living in the “Dark Ages” of security. Businesses are tied to outdated views and rely on tools and tactics from the past, yet we are surprised when chaos breaks out. Security breaches and other vulnerabilities continue to create significant disruptions to our customers’ businesses.  As an industry and society, we must leave antiquated approaches behind and forge a new path as data volume and data sources proliferate.


Here are two points of view on how to address the problem of data vulnerability.

Focus one: The changing role of IT security

The first focus is on data security and data science changing the role of IT security. In recent years, the overall IT market has seen the rise of four technologies that continue to have a profound impact on the dynamics of the industry:

  • Mobility: Usage of smartphones, tablets and other devices connected to the Internet has grown dramatically.
  • Social Media: Defined as a group of applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content over the Internet, social media’s relevance has evolved from closely-knit groups of friends to large communities and the enterprise world.
  • Cloud Computing: A model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.
  • Big Data & Analytics: The gathering and processing of massive amounts of information, fueled by the increasing number of mobile devices (ranging from phones, transponders, sensors and other network enabled embedded devices).

These four areas are driving growth in the IT industry but they also impose a number of new constraints, especially when it comes to security. As more and more devices get connected to global networks, getting us even closer to the Internet of Things, the potential for security breaches is constantly increasing and the level of protection of enterprise and government IT security systems have been consequently lowered.

In the past, IT security systems were modeled like a fortress with impressive walls, moats and arrow slits. All features were dedicated to protect from intrusion. But this model is now evolving to a more open and inviting model, which is driving organizations to open the walls of the IT “fortress”. In turn, security needs have not at all gone away and have only increased.

Focus two: Secure to the Core

At this year’s Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle emphasized shifting the focus of infrastructure to security. Security features should be pushed down the stack as low as possible (think as low as the silicon in microprocessors) to allow for the highest security possible. That way, every application using a particular database inherits the security encryption and data protection capabilities. In fact, the last we checked, hackers have not yet figured out a way to download changes to a microprocessor because silicon is so hard to alter.


Part two is that security features should be always-on. There should be no way to turn off encryption or data protection. This seems like common sense but it’s good to reiterate.

SPARC M7: Now is the time

Oracle’s vision for security is embodied by the following three precepts:

  • Security at each layer;
  • Security in between layers;
  • Security between systems.

In each of these areas, Oracle’s philosophy is to follow best practices by default, integrate security at the design phase, implement security policies reflecting business imperatives and provide tunable controls.

Since Oracle owns the complete stack from silicon to database and applications, we are in a unique position to address security at every layer in the stack and bring them together in our servers, storage and engineered systems.


At the bottom of the stack you now find the SPARC M7 processor, which takes Oracle’s engineered systems philosophy into the core technology for computing systems: co-engineering the chip with software for optimum security and efficiency.

The M7's biggest innovations revolve around what is known as "software in silicon," a design approach that places specific software functions directly into the processor through specialized engines. Because these functions are performed in hardware, a software application runs much faster. And because the cores of the processor are freed up to perform other functions, overall operations are accelerated as well. Such speed and efficiency is essential for platforms in which security should be on by default.

Customer and partner momentum

The powerful message here is around the dramatic innovations we’ve made with software in silicon on the SPARC M7 processor, especially around the topic of security.

But don’t take our word for it. Oracle has a number of customer and partner testimonials on these new systems as well as new world record benchmarks which demonstrate why these new servers are a big deal to the infrastructure needs of the secure cloud.

Oracle also offers partners, customers and university researchers access to the Software in Silicon Cloud, which provides developers a secure and ready-to-run virtual machine environment to install, test, and improve their code in a system with SPARC M7 processors running Oracle Solaris.

The calendar year may have just come to a close, but we can expect the size, severity and complexity of cyber threats to continue increasing.

As the age of digital transformation continues to pave the way for our industry, information security needs to remain a chief priority. Let’s work together to ensure the security and reliability of our information systems.

Cheers,
The OPN Communications team

Tuesday Dec 17, 2013

Year-in-Review: Oracle PartnerNetwork’s Top 10 Triumphs

Year-in-Review: Oracle PartnerNetwork’s Top 10 Triumphs

With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, it’s safe to say we’re all feeling a bit frazzled. In the midst of everyone’s hurried schedules, we wanted to stop and take a moment to thank all of our partners for another great year together.

With that, let’s take a quick look at OPN’s top 10 achievements of 2013:

  1. We started the year off on an M2M and big data note, outlining how our customers can leverage Java to manage heavy volumes of structured + unstructured data.
  2. The announcement of Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 in March, which extends the use of Oracle Database Appliance while simultaneously boosting hardware configuration. Oracle Database Appliance X4-2 with enhanced hardware was launched last month, as well.
  3. The launch of Oracle’s new SPARC Servers took us into the summer months, teaching customers how to increase their share of wallet. Fun fact: Oracle’s SPARC T5 Servers are powered by the world’s fastest T5 processor, and have achieved 17 world record benchmarks!
  4. Oracle’s partners took center stage at this summer’s FY14 Global Partner Kickoff. Thanks again to those who participated in our highly-entertaining Twitter contest. It’s definitely a must-do for next year!
  5. Oracle OpenWorld 2013 was another huge success this year and came complete with the Oracle PartnerNetwork Exchange. Get the full download here.
  6. We’re keeping the lines between hardware and software clear as IT migrates toward a converged architecture. Or as Oracle likes to call it, Engineered Systems. Read more.
  7. The greatest come-from-behind victory in modern history came at the 34thAmerica’s Cup and belongs to Oracle! Read more about ORACLE TEAM USA.
  8. An interesting case study on the Internet of Things (IoT) and how Oracle takes the complexity out of designing, building and maintaining an IoT infrastructure for VARs.
  9. Enablement –> Cloud –> Incentive Programs –> Exastack = the four major initiatives that make Oracle the vendor of choice for some of the industry’s biggest hitting VARs. Get the full story here!
  10. Last but certainly not least, the customer experience (CX) revolution is near. See what Oracle is doing with Oracle CX and how VARs can get involved here.

What are your business’ top 10 achievements in 2013? We’ll give you some time to think them over. In the meantime, cheers to a very happy holiday season and prosperous New Year.

Season's Greetings,

The OPN Elves