Protecting data in the cloud
When we spoke to IBM's Global MD, CTO and VP of global technology services Bridget Karlin, she made clear that her job of building technical communities depends on mechanisms that encourage partnership to build out ecosystems. With the growth of computing, the internet, and now digitization, migration to the cloud, AI, blockchain and edge computing, IBM realized that its ability to lead depends on embracing partnership and innovation.
Over the past ten years IBM and Veritas Technologies (founded in1983) have forged a powerful strategic relationship the value of which is evident from the fact that 94% of Fortune Global 100 companies as well as most leading banks, financial services and telecoms companies rely on Veritas to reveal data insights that drive competitive advantage and for their core data protection capabilities. “We're focused on the recovery aspects of data protection, and we're trusted with more data than any other data protection company on the planet.” explains Mike Walkey, VP of global channels, strategic partners and alliances.
It's no wonder then that this year, 2021, IBM has certified NetBackup 9.0 to run on the IBM Cloud to offer clients additional data protection for cloud-based workloads. NetBackup 9.0 now supports integration with IBM SKLM (key management) when used with NetBackup, and delivers data encryption for backup data that increases ransomware resiliency as encrypted data is harder to extract and exploit.
The Veritas NetBackup application simplifies data protection in physical, virtual, software-defined or cloud environments. It's a solution that lets organizations choose the right software for managing and protecting data while simplifying backup administration, improving efficiency and delivering scalable capacity.
The dramatic shift of businesses to remote working drove the pace of digitization and cloud migration, and with that the level of ransomware threats, says Walkey. “Being able to recover from any attack in a timely predictable fashion – and if they occur, a partner that you trust to recover from those events, is absolutely critical to every business today.” However, it's not all about secure backup. Veritas empowers businesses of all sizes to discover the truth in information – their most important digital asset. Using the Veritas platform, customers can accelerate their digital transformation and solve pressing IT and business challenges including multi-cloud data management, data protection, storage optimization, compliance readiness and workload portability – with no cloud vendor lock-in. “We support all of the modern workload containerization platforms that customers are using to manage their multi-cloud environments like Red Hat OpenShift, Kubernetes and VMware. These are the solutions customers are asking about when they want to migrate or execute their digital transformation.
“Software defined storage is another important area,” Mike Walkey continues.” It offers greater flexibility and choice, better economics and enterprise class service levels. Finally, multi-cloud is a critical aspect for most companies: they have a large on-premise footprint, and they want to leverage capabilities and flexibility whether it's in hybrid cloud, private cloud, or public cloud. Giving them the ability to migrate and protect their data in all of those cloud environments is critically important for our strategy going forward.”
NetBackup is Veritas's flagship product, Walkey confirms. “It protects customers' most valuable asset, their core data infrastructure while giving them the resilience to recover in the event of a ransomware attack, or any other type of outage, man-made or otherwise. It also ensures availability for mission-critical applications as we look at our overall strategy in our enterprise data services platform. Availability, protection and insight are the three key foundational legs of the stool that we bring together with IBM to deliver those capabilities to their customers.”
Who Will Be the Next Tech Giant to Back Bitcoin?
PayPal was the first truly major tech giant to throw its weight behind Bitcoin, unveiling a cryptocurrency buying-and-selling service in October. Next was Tesla, which shocked onlookers in February by announcing the purchase of $1.5 billion in bitcoin, as well as plans to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.
Since then, things have calmed down as far as Big Tech and Bitcoin are concerned (although a number of banks have rolled out cryptocurrency investment services for their wealthier clients). This raises the question: when will another significant tech firm take the plunge and back bitcoin?
This is a difficult question to answer, if only because the bitcoin market is in something of a funk right now. At the same time, regulators worldwide are looking to restrict crypto in the name of curbing money laundering and other illicit activities. Nonetheless, rumours continue to swirl through the sector that a few other important names in the tech industry may be on the cusp of embracing bitcoin, with Apple being the most notable.
Is Apple Buying Bitcoin?
If you tend to spend any amount of time on Crypto Twitter, you may be aware of rumours to the effect that Apple has recently bought something in the region of $2.5 billion in bitcoin.
Such rumours were almost certainly a desperate attempt to boost the price of bitcoin. And given that the market didn’t witness a sudden, dramatic rise (but rather a steep loss), it seems pretty clear that Apple didn’t buy a substantial quantity of bitcoin in the past few weeks or so.
That said, there remains a good chance that Apple will enter the cryptocurrency sector at some point, even if it won’t be adventurous enough to buy crypto for itself. Back in May, it placed a job ad for a business development manager for “alternative payments.”
Such a manager would be tasked with cultivating partnerships with “strategic alternative payment providers,” implying that Apple may be weighing up the possibility of launching its own cryptocurrency-purchasing service (à la PayPal) via Apple Pay.
Needless to say, it would be huge for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency if the Cupertino company were to follow through with this.
Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook?
Rumours have also revolved around possible bitcoin interest from Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, although there’s a little less substance to most of these rumours.
Back in October former Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager Raoul Pal predicted that Microsoft (along with Apple) would buy bitcoin in five years. Unfortunately, a CNN interview with Microsoft’s Brad Smith in February (shortly after Tesla’s bitcoin purchase) revealed that the company had no plans to purchase crypto, although Smith vaguely hinted that it might one day change its collective mind.
More interestingly, Amazon purchased three cryptocurrency-related domain names back in 2017: amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, amazoncryptocurrencies.com. Nothing has been heard since then, while a job listing from February of this year revealed that the retail giant may be planning to launch its very own digital currency.
Facebook is another tech firm with plans for its own digital currency (Diem, formerly known as Libra). As for whether it’s likely to turn to bitcoin, a few relatively respected figures within the cryptocurrency industry (e.g. Alistair Milne) did spread rumours in April that the social media company would disclose bitcoin holdings on its Q1 financial statement. This didn’t happen, although Mark Zuckerberg did reveal in May that one of his pet goats is called “Bitcoin,” fuelling further speculation as to his and his firm’s interest in the cryptocurrency.
Risks and Rewards of Cryptocurrency
Again, it’s arguable that some or most of the rumours are generated largely to pump crypto prices. But if bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do continue to appreciate in value and attract more adoption, it will become increasingly harder for large tech companies to ignore them.
But at the moment, it’s likely that most major tech firms will shy away from actually buying bitcoin, if only because it remains highly volatile and unpredictable as an asset. And as we saw with Tesla, buying a massive chunk of the cryptocurrency effectively turns you into a hedge fund overnight, something which can adversely affect your stock price if bitcoin goes down.
Even so, there’s clearly a considerable amount of money tied up in the cryptocurrency market. And with numbers of holders growing every year, it’s only a matter of time before other big tech firms attempt to siphon off some of this value for themselves.