Microsoft is making OneDrive, SharePoint Online its default save locations for Office 365 apps

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Credit: Microsoft

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Starting this month (February 2019), Microsoft is changing the way that Windows and Mac users of Office 365 applications will save Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. OneDrive and SharePoint Online are going to become the default location for saving these kinds of files.

Microsoft announced officially plans for this change on January 25. This new cloud-save default is similar to what Microsoft did last year with Known Folder Migration, via which the company is working to get user data off local PCs and stored, instead, in OneDrive consumer and business.

Users still will be able to change this default by choosing a different location by changing the default working folder. (IT admins, won’t be able to alter the Office 365 default save behavior, however, Microsoft officials told Redmond Channel Partner.) It’s also worth noting that this change also won’t affect any kind of defaults already set by administrators and/or company policies.

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Survey: Professionals eager and ready to deploy 5G

5G technology holds promises of enabling never-used-before technology, improving worker productivity and customer service, cutting costs, and more. Does 5G remain a pipe dream for businesses or an actual reality? Throughout December 2018 and January 2019, ZDNet’s sister site, Tech Pro Research surveyed 164 professionals to find out.

The results demonstrate the enterprise’s enthusiasm for this new technology. The majority of respondents (85%) are, in fact, already using 5G technology or have plans to adopt it sometime in the future. Survey respondents list introducing new technology such as analytics and IoT (54%), faster mobile transfers for more productivity (50%), and the potential for reduced data spending (27%) as reasons why their companies will use 5G.

Additional reasons for introducing 5G run the gamut from faster mobile transfers to the enjoyment of being on the ‘cutting edge’ of technology. Thanks to 5G, more than 56 percent of survey respondents will enable new technology that they could not use before. Better connections for IoT applications, improving content delivery and controlling remote devices top the list of upcoming plans for 5G. Nearly half of respondents (47%) expect to deliver better customer service, while 37 percent of respondents believe 5G will increase employee productivity on the road. A smaller number of respondents (18%) expect 5G to reduce data plan spending or other costs related to communications.

Roadblocks: What may hinder 5G adoption?

Enthusiasm for 5G does not necessarily translate to 5G deployment for all respondents. A slim margin of survey takers (10%) are not preparing or planning to adopt this new technology. According to those respondents, 36 percent are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach regarding 5G implementation, and 28 percent remain satisfied with 4G and see no reason to upgrade.

Further, many respondents share concerns about 5G availability. More than half (61%) said that the simple lack of 5G service to their area may hinder adoption. Another apprehension about 5G is that 67 percent of respondents don’t believe their existing infrastructure can handle the technology. This makes sense since many organizations still rely on on-premises legacy applications.

The above-mentioned roadblocks will not slow down the inevitability of 5G. Most organizations recognize the need to upgrade their infrastructure. More than 57% are looking at ways 5G can improve upon their existing technology. One-third (36%) are setting aside integration concerns and re-platforming legacy applications and cloud-based access. Only, 21 percent of respondents are not preparing for this new technology at all.

No matter what state of deployment your company is in regarding 5G, it’s here, and it’s ready to transform the enterprise.

This infographic contains more details from the research. For all the findings, download the full report: 5G Research Report 2019: The enterprise is eager to adopt, despite cost concerns and availability (available for Tech Pro Research subscribers)

Also see

  • 5G: A transformation in progress (ZDNet)
  • 5G New Radio: The technical background (ZDNet)
  • New 5G business models  (ZDNet)
  • 5G points the way to life beyond the smartphone (ZDNet)
  • Five industries that will be most affected by 5G  (ZDNet)
  • Five ways professionals will experience 5G, and when (ZDNet)
  • How 5G will make smart cities a reality (ZDNet)
  • 5G planning: Five things CIOs should be doing now  (ZDNet)
  • Samsung and 5G: Will this time be different?  (ZDNet)
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    5G: A transformation in progress

    Analogue mobile phones first appeared in the early 1980s, and were used for voice calls only (imagine that!). Second-generation (2G) digital mobiles made their debut a decade later with GSM, offering text messaging (SMS) as the ‘killer application’ on top of voice services, becoming the dominant technology worldwide. A roughly 10-year cycle has continued ever since, with each generation adding more data bandwidth and therefore enabling a richer set of services: around the turn of the millennium, 3G (UMTS or CDMA 2000) offered data rates of around 1Mbps and could be described as ‘mobile broadband’, while 2010 saw 4G (LTE) reaching 100Mbps.

    Of course, as in any evolutionary process, there have been intermediate stages: GPRS and EDGE were ‘2.5G’ packet-switching technologies that made internet connections possible, for example, while HSPA and HSPA+ brought ‘3.5G’ data rates up to 2Mbps. More recently, ‘4.5G’ LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro have paved the way from 4G to 5G, taking data rates up to 1Gbps.

    We are now on the cusp of the 5G era, with standards, spectrum allocation, network infrastructure, chipsets and devices all moving into place around the world. Fast 5G networks with low latencies and high connection densities will improve existing mobile experiences and, in due course, enable new use cases. In the meantime, as the 5G ecosystem develops, we will inevitably see a lot of marketing activity — some of it distinctly questionable.

    This article sets the post-CES 2019 5G scene: for more detail, see the remaining content in this ZDNet special feature.

    5G specs and use cases

    The road to 5G began back in 2015, with the ITU’s IMT-2020 framework, which set out the general requirements and future development of the next-generation mobile technology (IMT stands for International Mobile Telecommunications). Here’s how the performance requirements (which were approved in November 2017) compare to the previous-generation IMT-Advanced (a.k.a. 4G):

    4G (IMT-Advanced)

    5G (IMT-2020)

    Peak data rate (downlink)

    1Gbps

    20Gbps

    User-experienced data rate

    10Mbps

    100Mbps

    Latency

    10ms

    1ms

    Mobility

    350km/h

    500km/h

    Connection density

    100,000 devices/sq km

    1,000,000 devices/sq km

    Energy efficiency

    1x

    100x

    Spectrum efficiency

    1x

    3x

    Area traffic capacity

    0.1Mbps/sq m

    10Mbps/sq m  

    The ITU’s broad goal for IMT-2020/5G was to accommodate “new demands, such as more traffic volume, many more devices with diverse service requirements, better quality of user experience (QoE) and better affordability by further reducing costs”. The key driver for this effort was the need to “support emerging new use cases, including applications requiring very high data rate communications, a large number of connected devices, and ultra-low latency and high reliability applications”.

    Here’s the IMT-2020 vision for broad classes of 5G use cases:

    itu-imt-2020.png

    Image: ITU IMT-2020

    It’s clear from these scenarios that 5G will be as much about businesses as it is about consumers. Yes, there’s Ultra-HD and 3D video, augmented reality, smart homes, self-driving cars and more. But there’s also a multitude of business opportunities to be exploited in 5G-enabled smart offices, cities, factories and farms.

    These mobile use cases are enabled by three classes of service: eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband); URLLC (Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications); and mMTC (massive Machine Type Communications).

    eMBB essentially delivers faster and better mobile connectivity — not only for consumer smartphone users, but also for mobile professionals with 5G-enabled tablets or laptops, or field workers using AR apps and smart glasses, for example. Now enshrined in the June 2018 3GPP Rel 15 standard, which includes NSA (non-standalone, built on LTE-A/Pro) and SA (standalone) elements, eMBB is the first phase of 5G. The second phase will address the kinds of connections required by self-driving vehicles (reliable, low-latency — URLLC) and IoT device-heavy environments like smart cities (moderate bandwidth, high density — mMTC), and will be covered by the developing 3GPP Rel 16 standard, which was originally due for completion in December 2019 (see below) but has now been put back by three months.

    3gpp-4g-5g-releases.png3gpp-4g-5g-releases.png

    Image: 3GPP

    Another 5G use case is FWA (Fixed Wireless Access), which enters the picture because data rates will be sufficient to compete with wired broadband (over copper or optical fibre — even fibre-to-the-premises). According to recent research from Ovum (sponsored by UK mobile operator Three), 5G is expected to deliver data rates of 80-100Mbps in the UK and could replace traditional wired broadband connections for 85 percent of the country’s 26 million fixed-line customers: 

    5g-fwa-addressable-market-uk.png5g-fwa-addressable-market-uk.png

    Chart: Ovum / Data: Ofcom

    Other advantages of FWA, says Ovum, include plug-and-play setup, flexible contracts and portability — customers simply take the wireless home broadband box with them when they move. (Note: Three has a stake in this market via its UK Broadband-operated subsidiary Relish, which currently offers FWA on its 4G LTE network).

    The state of play: early 2019

    Next-generation 5G networks will operate on three broad radio frequency bands, each of which have different characteristics and address different use cases. Low frequency (sub-1GHz) spectrum is well suited to wide-area and indoor coverage, and will be important for improving mobile coverage in underserved rural areas as well as mMTC and URLLC applications. Mid-frequency (1-6GHz) spectrum supports a good combination of capacity and coverage, and is the initial focus for eMBB and FWA, with mMTC to and URLLC to follow. High-frequency spectrum — a.k.a. millimetre wave, or mmWave (>24GHz)– supports very high speeds and low latency within local ‘hot-spot’ areas and can deliver ‘full’ eMBB and high-speed FWA, although indoor coverage is poor.

    The precise bands used will vary around the world, but here’s the picture in the UK (as of March 2018 — the 2.3GHz and 3.4-3.6GHz auctions referenced below are now complete):

    5g-spectrum-ofcom.png5g-spectrum-ofcom.png

    Image: Ofcom (Enabling 5G in the UK, March 2018)

    Following its May 2017 acquisition of UK Broadband (UKB), Three currently holds the most 5G spectrum among the UK’s four mobile network operators, although there are upcoming 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz auctions in 2019 (which Ofcom aims to conclude by spring 2020):

    ofcom-5g-spectrum-uk.pngofcom-5g-spectrum-uk.png

    5G spectrum holdings among UK mobile network operators (H3G = Three, Telefonica = O2)


    Image: Ofcom

    In its March 2018 Enabling 5G in the UK report, Ofcom noted that high-frequency mmWave spectrum has not been used to deliver mobile services to date, but is likely to support new high-capacity, low-latency 5G applications. The UK regulator has called for input from MNOs and other players on the 26GHz (24.25-27.5 GHz) band, and has also prioritised 66-71GHz as a second stage high-frequency band, with 40.5-43.5GHz targeted as a priority band for study.

    All four UK network operators are now trialling 5G services: EE in London; O2 at London’s O2 Arena; Vodafone in Salford, Greater Manchester (with six more cities to follow); and Three in London. Areas of high demand — i.e. big cities — may get limited 5G services (FWA and eMBB) in 2019, but it will take years before 5G coverage is widespread and new (URLLC and mMTC) use cases are fully supported.

    gsa-report-cover.pnggsa-report-cover.png

    Looking further afield, in November 2018 the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) estimated that 192 operators in 81 countries were actively investing in 5G — that is, “have demonstrated, are testing or trialling, or have been licensed to conduct field trials of 5G technologies, are deploying 5G networks or have announced service launches”. By mid-January 2019, the number had risen to 201 operators in 83 countries.

    The GSA identified over 524 demonstrations or tests in its November 2018 report, noting that:

    Key 5G technologies being explored include new radio (NR) interfaces operating in spectrum bands not previously used for mobile telecoms services and network slicing to support delivery of services tailored to specific types of customer or service; combinations of technologies such as massive MIMO, or complex beam-forming that are needed to achieve very high speeds; and backhaul, cloud- and edge-computing arrangements to support very low latencies.

    At least 87 of the 524 projects tested massive MIMO involving 64 or more transmitters or some other 5G-specific technology, while 26 explicitly featured network slicing, the GSA reported. The most common frequency band in the tests was 3.3-3.8GHz (107 trials), followed by 26.5-29.5GHz (87 trials). Many of the trials reported peak downlink speeds of well over 1Gbps, although the GSA noted that the very highest speeds will not be deliverable by commercial networks for some time:

    gsa-trials-speed.pnggsa-trials-speed.png

    Image: Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA)

    As far as latencies are concerned, most of the 68 trials examined by the GSA achieved 1-1.99ms, although again these test results may not be representative of production networks:

    gsa-trials-latency.pnggsa-trials-latency.png

    Image: Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA)

    According to the GSA’s latest (January 2019) figures, eleven operators claim to have launched 5G services (either mobile or FWA): AT&T (USA), Elisa (Finland and Estonia), Etisalat (UAE), Fastweb (Italy), LG Uplus (South Korea), KT (South Korea), Ooredoo (Qatar), SK Telecom (South Korea), TIM (Italy), Verizon (USA), and Vodacom (Lesotho). All of these services are limited in terms of geography, device availability and customer coverage, according to the GSA. Seven other operators have turned on 5G base stations but not yet launched commercial services.

    As of January 2019, 86 telecom operators in 46 countries had announced their intentions of making 5G available to customers before the end of 2022, the GSA said.

    5G at CES 2019

    5G has been a key topic at CES in recent years, and the recent 2019 show predictably saw plenty of activity. Here’s a summary of ZDNet’s 5G coverage at CES 2019:

    CES 2019 news (ZDNet) Summary
    Qualcomm President Amon is convinced you’re going to be thrilled with 5G Qualcomm’s president, Cristiano Amon, took some time at the Consumer Electronics Show to discuss how 5G cellular will amaze consumers. He also reflected on how AI processing on smartphones will become more prevalent.
    Sprint rounds out CES 2019 with 5G call Working with Nokia and Qualcomm, Sprint has made a 5G data call on its live commercial network in San Diego, including streaming YouTube videos, making Skype video calls, and sending and receiving messages.
    CES 2019: Intel details autonomous vehicle trial in Israel Intel is extending its autonomous driving trials in Israel to provide an entire mobility-as-a-service offering across car, software, platform, mapping, and safety mechanisms.
    CES 2019: Telstra CEO Andy Penn talks 5G smartphones Speaking with ZDNet at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Telstra CEO Andy Penn discussed 5G devices, possible pricing, download speeds, and what 5G will mean for IoT.
    CES 2019: Las Vegas and Los Angeles see 5G as a game changer for smart cities AT&T is working with Los Angeles and Las Vegas on multiple smart cities projects, with the two cities saying 5G will bring even more opportunities.
    CES 2019: Telstra confirms 5G smartphones by mid-2019 Telstra has announced multiple agreements to offer commercial 5G smartphones to customers in the first half of 2019.
    CES 2019: First look at the Samsung 5G smartphone Samsung is showing off its 5G smartphone prototype at CES 2019, giving users a first taste of what the device will look like.
    CES 2019: Cisco talks 6G While everyone else spent CES 2019 talking about 5G, Cisco is already looking towards a 6G future.
    CES 2019: Verizon showcases the potential of 5G with drones, Disney and more 5G connectivity will be “a quantum leap compared to 4G,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said during his CES keynote.
    CES 2019: Sprint pairs Curiosity IoT with 5G to power smart cities, autonomous vehicles Sprint is combining its Curiosity IoT platform and its 5G mobile network to power a smart city in South Carolina and an autonomous vehicle test track in Georgia, and to launch more precise mapping technology.
    CES 2019: AT&T 5G to connect hospitals and stadiums AT&T is working on hospital and stadium use cases for its newly launched 5G network, as well as announcing that it will be connecting Toyota and Lexus cars with LTE between 2019 and 2024.
    CES 2019: Intel’s Mobileye signs deal with UK mapping agency Mobileye and Ordnance Survey have announced that they will collect and share map data for better management of infrastructure aimed at enabling smarter cities.
    CES 2019: Sprint unveils smart home Magic Box, confirms Samsung 5G phone Sprint has used CES 2019 to unveil a small cell smart home product with LTE and Alexa integration, as well as confirming a Samsung 5G smartphone launching in the summer.
    T-Mobile marks 5G milestone with first data call on 600 MHz spectrum The carrier said it has completed a series of successful 5G service tests in the 600MHz band with partners Intel and Ericsson.
    CES 2019: Ford demos cellular V2X with Qualcomm chipset Ford is using CES 2019 to demo how its Qualcomm-powered cellular V2X technology enables multiple cars to negotiate rights of way at four-way intersections without traffic lights and stop signs.
    samsung-5g-prototype-phone.jpgsamsung-5g-prototype-phone.jpg

    Samsung’s protoype 5G handset at CES 2019.


    Image: ZDNet

    Samsung’s prototype 5G phone received a lot of attention, even though it simply sat in a perspex box on the booth wall, running a video (from internal memory) about the company’s 5G goals. It has a conventional form factor, but no technical details were revealed about its internals. However, the US network Sprint revealed at CES that it will be carrying Samsung’s 5G smartphone later this year on its LTE and 5G networks using the 2.5GHz, 1.9GHz, and 800MHz spectrum bands.

    Coming soon: Mobile World Congress

    Naturally, 5G is a major theme at the other big tech show at the start of the year — Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona (25-28 February). Among the unveilings expected is a 5G phone from OnePlus using Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 chipset and X50 5G modem. This is expected to launch in the spring on the UK EE network (using sub-6GHz spectrum), before becoming available from other carriers worldwide. LG has also flagged up an MWC 5G handset announcement based on the Snapdragon 855 chipset.

    What the surveys say

    There have been plenty of surveys of different parts of the 5G ecosystem, by various interested parties. Here’s a selection from the past six months or so.

    IHS Markit
    Business information provider IHS Markit polled 17 mobile operators for its August 2018 Evolution from 4G to 5G: Service Provider Survey. The headline finding was that 14 (82%) were trialling and testing 5G technology, while two (12%) — both from North America — were planning commercial rollouts by the end of 2018. South Korea is expected go live with 5G in 2019, said IHS Markit executive research director Stéphane Téral in a statement, while most European networks were not planning to deploy 5G until 2021 or later.

    5g-ihs-trial-deployment.png5g-ihs-trial-deployment.png

    Image: IHS Markit

    Ultra-low latency was the main 5G technical driver for 82 percent of the mobile operators, followed by decreased cost per bit (76%) and increased network capacity (71%). When it came to challenges, 53 percent cited radio as requiring the biggest development effort to make 5G happen, followed by transport (24%) and management (14%).

    The highest-rated 5G use case was eMBB, although FWA was expected to be ready for commercial development first. “The bottom line is early 5G will be an extension of what we know best: broadband, whether in FWA or eMBB form,” Téral said. “Don’t expect factory automation, tactile low-latency touch and steer, or autonomous driving to be ready on 5G anytime soon despite being touted as the chief 5G use cases,” he added.

    Gartner
    In May-June 2018, Gartner investigated the demand and adoption plans for 5G among 185 survey respondents (85 Research Circle members and 100 others). IoT communications was the most popular 5G use case (59% of respondents), followed by video (53%). However, echoing IHS Markit’s findings, Gartner senior research director Sylvain Fabre warned in a statement that 5G networks were far from ready for all use cases: “In the short to medium term, organizations wanting to leverage 5G for use cases such as IoT communications, video, control and automation, fixed wireless access and high-performance edge analytics cannot fully rely on 5G public infrastructure for delivery.”

    Gartner noted that a new network topology is required to fully exploit 5G, including new network elements such as edge computing, core network slicing and radio network densification. This will take time: “Most CSPs [Communications Service Providers] will only achieve a complete end-to-end 5G infrastructure on their public networks during the 2025-to-2030 time frame — as they focus on 5G radio first, then core slicing and edge computing,” Fabre said.

    As a result, organizations keen to deploy 5G quickly may need to look beyond CSPs. “Private networks for enterprises will be the most direct option for businesses that want to benefit from 5G capabilities early on,” said Fabre. “These networks may be offered not only by CSPs but also directly by infrastructure vendors — and not just by the traditional large vendors of infrastructure, but also by suppliers with cloud and software backgrounds.”

    Deloitte
    In a June 2018 survey of nearly 4,000 UK smartphone users (The Race to 5G), Deloitte found that just 12 percent of respondents would switch to a 5G network as soon as it became available. A further 19 percent would switch on hearing positive reports, while 32 percent would ‘probably switch to a 5G network eventually’. Hardly evidence of pent-up demand, although the release of the first 5G handsets during 2019 is likely to change this picture fairly quickly.

    deloitte-5g-survey.pngdeloitte-5g-survey.png

    Image: The Race to 5G (Deloitte, 2018)

    PwC
    In September 2018, PwC surveyed a sample of 1,000 Americans aged 18-64 to investigate several things: their satisfaction with current home and mobile internet services; how they feel about 5G’s potential; what they expect from 5G (in the home and on mobile devices); and their willingness to pay for 5G.

    Only 46 percent of respondents were familiar with the term ‘5G’ without prompting (57% male, 37% female), although 62 percent found it ‘very appealing’ once defined. The main ‘must-have’ across both home and mobile internet was reliability (33% home, 32% mobile), with portability (66%), DIY installation (57%) and wireless (39%) adding to the appeal of 5G FWA in the home. On average, consumers would be willing to pay $5.06 extra/month for 5G home internet and another $4.40/month for 5G mobile internet. The main driver for this willingness to pay more was faster data speeds, both for home (49%) and mobile (63%) internet.

    Given that 5G handsets are not yet available, it’s perhaps no surprise that PwC’s respondents weren’t exactly clamouring for the new technology: 74 percent would wait until they were eligible for an upgrade, while only 26 percent were prepared to buy a new device regardless. Having said that, there was some willingness to change mobile habits for 5G: 32 percent would switch providers; 21 percent would switch mobile device brands; and 19 percent would switch platform or OS.

    An ‘end-to-end’ approach to 5G

    You can’t go far in 5G-land without encountering the term ‘end to end’ (or E2E) with reference to network architecture. That’s because there’s a lot more involved in being a network operator than winning RF spectrum and building a radio-access network (RAN): other key components are backhaul (or transport) from the base stations to the core network, plus supporting IT operations. A full 5G deployment requires architecture changes at every stage:

    three-end-to-end-5g.pngthree-end-to-end-5g.png

    Image: Three UK

    For example, as well as acquiring a healthy 5G spectrum portfolio, UK mobile operator Three has:

    * Signed an agreement for the rollout of new cell site technology to prepare major urban areas for the rollout of 5G devices, as well as enhance the 4G service

    * Built a super high-capacity dark fibre network, which connects 20 new, energy efficient and highly secure data centres

    * Deployed a world-first 5G-ready, fully integrated cloud-native core network in new data centres, which at launch will have an initial capacity of 1.2TB/s, a three-fold increase from today’s capacity, and which can scale further, cost effectively and rapidly

    * Rolled out carrier-aggregation technology on 2,500 sites in the busiest areas, improving speeds for customers

    Investments of this order — Three has committed to spend £2 billion — underscore the fact that different 5G use cases (eMBB, URLLC, mMTC and FWA) have different requirements when it comes to bandwidth, latency, mobility, security, reliability and pricing. Early 5G deployments are concentrating on traditional more consumer-oriented areas such as eMBB and FWA, are based on the finalised 3GPP Rel-15 standard, and can utilise a lot of existing 4G LTE infrastructure. But phase 2 of 5G will be based on the still-developing Rel-16 standard, and will require new spectrum and infrastructure to support advanced business use cases like URLLC and mMTC.

    Enabling all this requires a cloud-native, service-oriented architecture that supports network slicing, where multiple virtual networks coexist on the same physical infrastructure, leveraging technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV).

    5g-network-slicing.jpg5g-network-slicing.jpg

    Image: ITUNews

    In a May 2018 white paper, Ericsson described a trial with Swisscom showing how network slicing supports critical railway communications on a public network carrying mobile broadband traffic. High-definition video — from cameras on platforms and in the front of trains — was isolated, with guaranteed performance levels. “Assurances are required when trains are in areas with only moderate radio signal coverage, or during periods of particularly high mobile broadband traffic loading,” Ericsson said. “Although capacity demands from critical communications are low, RAN radio resource partitioning can be used to maximize available capacity for other lower-priority demands, without affecting performance guarantees.”

    Although it’s crucial to full 5G deployment, network slicing is still very much a work in progress: in the November 2018 GSA report described earlier, just 26 out of 524 5G demos or tests (5%) explicitly featured the technology. There’s plenty at stake though: according to the GSMA, network slicing will permit operators to address revenue opportunities worth $300 billion by 2025. “To unlock this opportunity, Network Slicing will enable operators to create pre-defined, differing levels of services to different enterprise verticals, enabling them to customise their own operations,” the GSMA said. “However, the opportunity could become even bigger. Automation and the ability to quickly create slices could pave the way for operators to dynamically package and repackage network capabilities for different customers. This is the end goal of Network Slicing.”

    Outlook

    Network operators are implementing the first phase of 5G, and 5G smartphones are beginning to surface, all of which means that general awareness of 5G is increasing. However, there’s still a lot of end-to-end work to be done before fully operational 5G networks can support the advanced use cases that could transform business.

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    Cyberbit: A military approach to training cyber security teams

    More security news

    There’s a war raging between criminal hackers and corporate computer defense systems — and when it comes to wars, military organizations know how to fight them best. The Israeli military is known for the high quality of its cybersecurity training, and that’s what Cyberbit’s Cyber Range offers: The same military-grade training and simulation systems.

    Also: Pentagon documents the military’s growing domestic drone use

    Cyberbit was founded in 2015 as a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, a leading Israeli defense contractor. Its goal is to commercialize the cybersecurity training and technologies Elbit had developed in its work with Israel’s military and government agencies.

    Distributing this former military technology more widely makes sense in today’s world, because all companies are essentially on the front lines of a raging cyber war. The military is good at monitoring national borders, but today’s borders are much closer. They are in the firewalls and routers. 

    A corporation’s cybersecurity teams are its first responders to a serious attack, and they need to coordinate the use of many different tools within a tight timeframe.

    “It’s not enough to buy security tools — you need to make sure your people know how to use them and how to combine them against multi-stage attacks,” says Adi Dar, CEO of Cyberbit. “When a company is under attack, people have to know how to work in teams and how to make quick decisions under intense pressure. We make sure they know what to do under many different situations.”

    Cyberbit’s Cyber Range systems get its name from a firing range — a place where the military tests its weapons and the skills of its soldiers. Cyberbit argues that the same approach should apply to corporate security training: The ability to test the performance of security tools and people in real-world environments.

    A key capability of the Cyber Range is being able to create a virtual model of a company’s IT network — its routers, servers, and software, and then simulate many different types of attacks in real-time. These systems are regularly updated to train teams on best ways to respond to the latest types of cyberattacks such as Ransomware. They can also used to research future possible attack scenarios and proactively prepare defenses. 

    “The best cybersecurity teams are the ones with the most experience,” says Dar. “Our simulations are hyper-realistic which means teams can build experience in dealing with some of the worst and most damaging attacks and then learn from any mistakes without risking the organization.” 

    The shortage of cybersecurity experts in the US is a key driver of Cyber Range system sales as universities and colleges create new courses to meet high demand. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts as many as 3.5 million open cyber security jobs in 2021.


    Must read


    Dar says that customers also use the Cyber Range systems to test job applicants and make sure their teams have the required mix of skill sets. 

    Cyber Range systems have been installed in many US locations and also in India, Australia, France, Germany, and Austria.

    Cyberbit also offers Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response software; Industrial Control Systems security; and Endpoint Detection and Response tools. These help filter out high alert volumes created by the complexity of IT systems and can be used in combination against multi-level attacks. 

    The company is constantly evaluating new security threats. Its Malware Research team recently analyzed a new version of the Ursnif Trojan, a highly sophisticated malware creation that uses a file-less technique to hide and steal data:  New Ursnif Malware Variant — a Stunning Matryoshka (Матрёшка) — Cyberbit

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    Apple apologizes for FaceTime eavesdropping bug, update coming next week

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    Earlier this week Apple was forced to disable its Group FaceTime feature on its servers after it was discovered that users could eavesdrop on someone without them even answering the call. Shortly after videos of the bug started appearing on social media, Apple said it would release a software update for iOS and MacOS devices this week that would fix the bug.

    On Friday, Apple issued a statement apologizing to users for the issue and stating the company has fixed it — but the update is now set for release next week.

    Apple also thanked the Thompson family, who originally reported the bug over a week before Apple took action and disabled group calls. The family’s complaints failed to reach the right people for Apple to take action. Apple has promised it will improve its bug reporting process for its users.

    Here’s the full statement Apple provided to ZDNet:

    “We have fixed the Group FaceTime security bug on Apple’s servers and we will issue a software update to re-enable the feature for users next week. We thank the Thompson family for reporting the bug. We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected and all who were concerned about this security issue. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this process.

    We want to assure our customers that as soon as our engineering team became aware of the details necessary to reproduce the bug, they quickly disabled Group FaceTime and began work on the fix. We are committed to improving the process by which we receive and escalate these reports, in order to get them to the right people as fast as possible. We take the security of our products extremely seriously and we are committed to continuing to earn the trust Apple customers place in us.”

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