Google (GOOGL) Pushes for Cloud Computing Dominance

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is aggressively pushing for cloud computing dominance by landing a marquee with PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) in an effort to go head to head with rivals Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

And while Google is close to sealing the deal, sources familiar with the matter revealed that PayPal is still not making any final decision. The online payments system is still considering other leading providers. PayPal is also unlikely to make any major changes to its technology infrastructure because the fourth quarter is the most crucial period for online commerce.

Although Google is a major player in the rapidly expanding cloud infrastructure market, it trails behind Amazon and Microsoft, both of which are vying for a partnership with PayPal as well.

Amazon Web Services, in particular, is dominating the cloud infrastructure market after opening up large data centers across the globe. The online retail juggernaut is also offering new software tools that allow large companies and government entities to offload their computing and storage needs.

VMware (NYSE:VMW) co-founder Diane Greene has been in hot pursuit of Google’s competitors since taking the help 9 months ago. Her team is focusing on pricing as a way to lure large enterprises. To up the ante, Google provided “$80 billion in cash and equivalents at the end of the second quarter and a $10 billion annual capital expenditure budget for parent Alphabet,” to offer lower prices to attract corporations.

Google has been pouring its resources into improving its cloud technology, along with sales, marketing, and support to meet enterprise standards. During Google’s second-quarter earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai highlighted Greene and her team’s effort to push for dominance in the cloud-computing segment.

“Diane has initiated a set of changes and essentially she has integrated our go-to-market strategy with our engineering and product efforts. I see a shift to a world-class enterprise approach, and it’s definitely having an impact on the type of conversations we are having and the outcome of the RFPs (requests for proposals) we are engaged in,” he said.

Reps from PayPal, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.

PayPal, with its recognizable brand and connections to big banks, would be a covetable client for Google. As with all big banks, PayPal requires strict data protection to keep financial information safe.

In a CNBC interview, Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco said cloud computing is “really kind of reaching these tipping points in large companies, including financial services firms [which] are really starting to embrace cloud computing.”

In addition, PayPal is a large tech company built before the cloud era. Using its own data centers, the online financial institution is processing over $10,900 worth of payment volume per second and storing information on 188 million active accounts in over 200 markets.

During PayPal’s first-quarter earnings call, CEO Dan Schulman said, “We run one of the largest private cloud environments in the world.”

As far as moving its data infrastructure to the cloud, PayPal is likely to start with test and development workloads before moving forward with moving critical customer information. The move does not mean PayPal will be abandoning its own data centers and technology.

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Dropbox says password reset measures have worked following leak revelations


Cloud storage provider Dropbox has said the password reset measures the company put in place has prevented any hacking of user data, following revelations made in stories which argued that millions of account details had been accessed.

Certain Dropbox users received an email from the cloud storage provider earlier this week advising that if their account password was the same as before mid-2012, they will be prompted to change it the next time they sign in.

A blog post at the time from Patrick Heim, Dropbox head of trust and security, said it was done “purely as a preventative measure”. Yet according to a Motherboard story citing an anonymous Dropbox employee, as well as being vetted by other publications, the number of credentials taken from 2012 total more than 68 million.

Troy Hunt, a security expert who curates the ‘Have I been pwned?’ service, also obtained a copy of the data, and trawled through it finding not only his details – although his password had been changed well after the purported breach – but his wife’s.

Given her password had not been changed since April 2012, and that she uses a password manager, Hunt put two and two together. “There is no doubt whatsoever that the data breach contains legitimate Dropbox passwords – you simply can’t fabricate this sort of thing,” Hunt wrote.

Heim said in a statement today: “This is not a new security incident, and there is no indication that Dropbox user accounts have been improperly accessed. Our analysis confirms that the credentials are user email addresses with hashed and salted passwords that were obtained prior to mid-2012.

“We can confirm that the scope of the password reset we completed last week did protect all impacted users,” Heim added. “Even if these passwords are cracked, the password reset means they can’t be used to access Dropbox accounts. The reset only affects users who signed up for Dropbox prior to mid-2012 and hadn’t changed their password since.”

So what does this mean for users? David Emm is principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. He argues the importance of the ‘positive impact’ the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) could bring to the situation, but sounds a note of caution.

“Organisations should prepare on the basis that hackers will get in,” Emm said. “It’s therefore positive that we’re starting to see a shift from organisations using defensive strategies towards being better prepared.

“Dropbox hashed and salted passwords, and immediately gave advice to consumers, recommending that they change their passwords as a precaution. We know that many people use the same password across multiple online accounts, so it’s important that those affected take steps to change their password for other online accounts where they have used the same password”, added Emm.

“While Dropbox accounts are protected, affected users who may have reused their password on other sites should take steps to protect themselves on those sites,” said Heim. “The best way to do this is by updating these passwords, making them strong and unique, and enabling two-step verification.

“Individuals who received a notification from Dropbox should also be alert to spam or phishing,” he added.

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Huawei Aims to Sell the Nuts and Bolts of Global Cloud Computing

Huawei Technologies Co. intends to become a major provider of gear and software to global cloud computing providers, aiming for a $10 billion business by 2020.

The Chinese company will keep investing in the cloud, its fastest-growing business, as it seeks to supply chips, servers and other equipment to a booming market, said Ken Hu, the rotating chief executive overseeing the fledgling division.

Huawei has begun working with foreign firms including SAP SE and Intel Corp. to crack the market for cloud services. Unlike providers such as Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., it wants to supply the basic components of computing infrastructure, as domestic industries from education to health care begin to move data online. China’s largest telecommunications gear company, also the world’s third-largest smartphone brand, may benefit from the local government’s preference for local over foreign technology.

“Cloud will penetrate in industries, including traditional industries globally. Adopting cloud computing is how they digitize their businesses,” Hu told reporters at the company’s annual cloud computing conference in Shanghai. “There are many different models for entering the global cloud computing market.”

Spending on cloud computing services in China alone could reach $20 billion by 2020, consultancy Bain Co. estimates. Huawei will eventually target the global market, despite suspicions about Chinese espionage that have kept its networking gear out of the U.S. Hu said Huawei can rely on a large in-house research and development effort as well as its expertise on telecommunications equipment.

“Huawei’s experience and ability to integrate technologies in different areas is a unique advantage,” he said.

— With assistance by Robert Fenner

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