Daily Tech Briefing: Oct. 23, 2014

Microsoft's cloud-in-a-box solution is nearing release, thanks to help from Dell. The Microsoft Cloud Platform System, an Azure-compatible system, will be available beginning Nov. 3 from Dell. CPS is the culmination of an 18-month effort to bring Microsoft's experience in deploying and operating cloud IT infrastructures to customer data centers.

Sam Greenblatt, chief technology evangelist at Dell Enterprise Solution Group, explained that the solution is ready to run, pre-validated and is an Azure-consistent cloud infrastructure delivered to the data center. Microsoft claims to have worked closely with Dell and component makers to ensure reliability and software compatibility.

Data storage giant EMC is buying out most of Cisco's stake in converged infrastructure vendor VCE. EMC plans to fold VCE into its federations of businesses. The two companies and VMware--of which EMC owns about 80 percent--launched VCE in 2009. Since then, the joint venture has grown rapidly, and officials with both Cisco and EMC said that the increasing demand for VCE products, coupled with the increasing competition in the converged infrastructure space, calls for a more traditional business model.

A recent survey of consumer users conducted by the Widmeyer research firm and underwritten by unified identity management provider Centrify showed companies lose $420 of productivity annually per employee due to workers merely wasting time--and taking dangerous shortcuts--in fighting with passwords.

These findings underscore a crying need for a better approach to passwords, and they pose the question: Can companies afford the double-whammy of security risk alongside the gouge in productivity?

Recently, GreatFire.org, a Website shedding light on the filtering done by China's Great Firewall, posted an analysis of a man-in-the-middle attack that masquerades as the authentic login portal for Apple's iCloud service. Many victims essentially handed the attackers, thought to be the Chinese government, the keys to their personal information.

While businesspeople should be wary of these attacks as signs of the capabilities of potential nation-state adversaries, the attacks currently target pro-democracy protestors and supporters. However, Steven Adair, founder and CEO of Volexity, says use of these types of attacks may grow.

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