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Huawei warns of ‘difficult’ year ahead amidst ongoing trade ban



Huawei is rallying its employees to prepare for a “difficult” year ahead as sales of its products remain restricted in the US and the global economy continues its downward trajectory. The Chinese tech giant goes into “survival” mode for 2020, where it will look to further diversify its supply chain to mitigate risks to its business. 

While it clocked a revenue growth of 18% to hit 850 billion yuan (US$121.48 billion) this year, sales figures were lower than its initial forecasts, said Huawei’s rotating chairman Eric Xu. However, 2019 had been an “extraordinary” year for the company despite the US government’s “concerted efforts to keep us down”, Xu penned Tuesday in his year-end address to employees. 

He said Huawei’s carrier business unit continued to roll out 5G networks worldwide and the company introduced two major products this year, pointing to its artificial intelligence (AI) processor Ascend 910 and AI cluster service for model training. It also shipped 240 million smartphone units. he added. 

Huawei: Easier to bribe telco staff than build backdoors

It requires so much effort to build backdoors into networking equipment that work across different global communications networks and system configurations that it likely is easier and more effective to bribe a telco executive, says Huawei’s chief cybersecurity officer.

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He noted that significant opportunities were afoot as commercial applications of new technologies matured, specifically, 5G, cloud computing, AI, and blockchain. 

The global economic outlook, though, was uncertain and external market conditions were increasingly complicated. Xu said: “In the long term, the US government will continue to suppress the development of leading technology, [resulting in] a challenging environment for Huawei to survive and thrive.”

He added that the company would remain on the US Entity List into the new year, which he said would prove “difficult” for Huawei and see lower growth rates compared to the first half of 2019. 

“Survival will be our first priority,” he said, noting that the Chinese vendor would focus on sustaining growth, boosting its capabilities, “optimising” its organisation, and controlling risks in 2020.  

Specifically, Huawei needed to widen its supply chain diversity to safeguard its supply and ensure business continuity, Xu said. The company also would continue to beef up its software development capabilities, bolstered by a five-year $2 billion investment plan.

In addition, it would “go all out” to build up its Huawei Mobile Services ecosystem, which was essential to its ability to drive sales of its smartphones outside China and support its application partners, he said. 

He also pointed to the company’s Kunpeng and Ascend processors as the “cornerstone” of its cloud and computing, and stressed the need. in 2020, to drive the number of applications and products running on these chips. 

In a final call to galvanise all employees, he said: “The US government’s campaign against Huawei is strategic and long-term. It’s a great opportunity for us to motivate ourselves and build up some muscle. A great opportunity for us to be more united as a team and develop the capabilities we need to better navigate future challenges.”

Huawei last week dismissed reports that its success was fuelled by billions of dollars in financial support from the Chinese government, arguing that The Wall Street Journal article that suggested so was based on “false information” and wild speculation. The article said Huawei had access to as much as $75 billion in financial support from its government, enabling the vendor to offer attractive service terms and undercut its competitors’ pricepoints by 30%. 

In response, Huawei said it had invested close to $73 billion in R&D over the past decade, with $15 billion poured into such efforts in 2018 alone. It also invested more than $4 billion into 5G between 2009 and 2019, which it said was more than the total investment major equipment vendors in the US and Europe collectively had invested in 5G. 


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The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security



This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise



This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions



Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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