Apple Reveals Plans That Will Boost U.S. Economy, Create New Jobs

Today’s topics include Apple spending $350 billion to boost the U.S. economy; Google introducing Security Center for the G Suite; CA Technologies moving into collaborative robots; and Microsoft adding custom cloud assessments to Azure Security Center.

Apple announced Jan. 17 that it is planning business investments that will contribute more than $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years, including capital expenditures of over $30 billion, the creation of over 20,000 new jobs at existing Apple locations, and a new campus to be built at a new location.

Apple also plans to spend $10 billion to build new data centers around the U.S., and add $5 billion to its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which is being used to support the development of innovative manufacturing technology at U.S. companies.

Apple’s massive expansion is due in part to the recent tax law change enacted by Congress at the end of 2017 that is allowing the company to repatriate more than $250 billion in cash from overseas earnings in return for paying federal taxes of $38 billion.

Google has introduced a new security management tool for customers of its G Suite cloud-based office productivity and collaboration applications called Security Center, which gives administrators a centralized view of key security metrics pertaining to their data and a way to quickly act upon that information. The tool will soon be available for use within the Admin console on Google's cloud service along with instructions and best practices.

According to Google, the new tool delivers two key capabilities. The first is a unified dashboard for viewing key security metrics in one location. Security Center also provides security analytics that administrators can act upon to head off threats.

In addition, the new tool offers best practice recommendations for reducing risk based upon an organization's security settings, covering topics such as data storage, file share and sync and secure settings for mobility and communications.

CA Technologies announced on Jan. 17 that it is breaking into the collaborative robot research and development space, partnering with Finland’s Tampere University of Technology and Finnish IT software and service company Tieto on something called cobotics.

A cobot, or collaborative robot, is a robot intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. Conventional robots are designed to operate autonomously or with limited guidance. The collaboration project will attempt to solve the challenges of building safe, secure and effective human-to-robot workflows.

CA CTO Otto Berkes told eWEEK, “Developing the right models and algorithms for that collaboration, while paying careful attention to safety and cyber-security, will define the next phase in the robotics field. … Collaborative robotics is the fastest-growing area in the domain of robotics.” The first phase of the project is expected to conclude at the end of this year.

On Jan. 16, Microsoft announced the preview of a new customization feature that offers Microsoft Azure Security Center users more leeway in how the cloud-based security platform reports potential vulnerabilities.

With the custom security configuration capabilities, users can now enable or disable specific rules or make changes to a specific setting within a rule, such as setting a password expiration time of 60 days versus 30 days. Users can also add entirely new rules based on currently supported rule types.

After making any necessary changes—a process that includes downloading a configuration file and uploading a modified version—the new rule set is applied within 24 hours, or the time it takes the service to deliver a new assessment.