SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Rocket Ushers in New Era in Space Operations

Today’s topics include a look at what the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch means for private industry; a former Intel president launching chip company Ampere Computing; Rapid7 previewing InsightPhish for email security; and Microsoft rolling out Planner scheduling tools and a OneDrive storage offer.

With the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk ushered in a new era of practical space operations for private industry. Not only have Musk and his team designed a vehicle that will move space exploration ahead immeasurably, more importantly they have also designed the means to lift heavy items into space.

One example of where being able to do so would benefit organizations is being able to move high-speed communications away from the terrestrial sources and into space.

The ability to provide launch services for space-based communications that provide broadband everywhere can be a powerful asset to companies and their need for access to communications. For that to work, you need to be able to lift a lot of satellites into orbit fairly quickly, and they need to be bigger and more capable than what we have today.

Former Intel President Renee James along with several other ex-Intel executives this week launched Ampere Computing, a company that will use the Arm architecture in server processors that are aimed at private and public cloud data centers.

James said the distributed nature of the cloud and the requirements around memory and power of the new generation of applications and workloads like artificial intelligence require a rethinking of how processors are built.

“The Ampere team’s approach and architecture meet the expectation on performance and power and gives customers the freedom to accelerate the delivery of the most memory-intensive applications and workloads such as AI, big data, storage and database in their next-generation data centers,” she said.

Security firm Rapid7 announced on Feb. 6 a beta release of its new InsightPhish service, which provides phishing simulation, analysis and investigation capabilities and is built on top of the Rapid7 Insight platform that includes security analytics.

"InsightPhish is purpose-built for [security operation] teams to drive phishing awareness among employees and improve the efficiency of security analysts," said Lee Weiner, chief product officer at Rapid7. InsightPhish provides multiple capabilities, including the ability to conduct phishing simulations, and can also enable users to catch potential attackers and classify indicators of phishing.

Weiner said, "InsightPhish makes it easy for even the most time-constrained employees to report suspected phishing emails to catch the potential attacker with one-click reporting for G Suite, Office 365 and Outlook users."

Microsoft’s Office 365 application Planner now has a handful of new scheduling features. Using a board-and-card layout, Planner now allows workers to organize their tasks and associated deadlines in a visual manner by reordering activities with a drag-and-drop interface, adding comments, and attaching content from Office 365 document repositories.

Microsoft has also issued new time-management updates, including a new Schedule view, which overlays tasks over a traditional calendar. An iCalendar feed that will enable users to publish tasks to their Outlook calendars will be part of a future update.

Additionally, Microsoft launched a promotional offer to get businesses to switch their cloud file storage provider. Microsoft is "offering free OneDrive for Business for the remaining term of ... existing contract[s] with Box, Dropbox or Google," said Ron Markezich, a Microsoft corporate vice president.