F5 Networks readies for growth 2019 with brace of ANZ hires

F5 Networks has added Kaaren Lewis and Jade Meara to its ANZ leadership team to support the business’ expansion locally.

The firm said the two appointments will help it nurture existing customers and channel relationships, but also expand its local network – in particular in the banking, financial services and insurance space – as well as support ANZ organisations’ digital growth in today’s app-driven world.

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F5 Networks ANZ Director of Channel Sales Kaaren Lewis

Kaaren Lewis, as the newly appointed Director, Channel Sales will be leading F5’s Channel strategy and execution for ANZ. Jade Meara is joining the ANZ team as Head of Marketing to lead marketing strategy and efforts for the region.

“We are proud to have Kaaren and Jade onboard to help drive growth in ANZ through their strong technology and leadership expertise,” said Jason Baden, Managing Director for ANZ.

“As organisations are moving into increasingly multi-cloud environments, our go-to-market approach needs to adapt to the new ways customers consume technologies today, and cater to their security and application service needs for tomorrow. Kaaren and Jade will be vital in helping F5 on this journey towards providing secure, flexible and easily consumable application services.”

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F5 Networks ANZ Head of Marketing Jade Meara

In addition to their local roles, and as part of F5’s Diversity & Inclusion Program, Kaaren and Jade will join F5 Connects Women’s employee inclusion group, which aims to unite F5 employees around the world to support the equality and advancement of women.

About Jade Meara

Jade joins F5 with over 12 years’ experience in the ICT industry, having held various marketing roles at leading technology organisations such as Ingram Micro, IBM, Konica Minolta, Pure Storage and Nutanix. Jade won several industry awards over the years, in particular for her work as a female leader in the ANZ tech industry. She also occupies a position as a Volunteer Executive Board member for Females in IT and Telecommunications (FitT).

“I am looking forward to working with the F5 team as we look to help customers take their digital journeys one step further in the application capital era,” said Meara.

“F5 is going through exciting changes with a lot of potential for growth in the ANZ market, and I’m excited to be driving this with the team.”

About Kaaren Lewis

Kaaren Lewis has 25 years’ experience, holding key channel and sales roles and has strong expertise in the technology space. She spent over seven years working for IBM, before moving to HP and Dell where she held various leadership positions, including managing director, SMB for HP ANZ. She more recently held sales and channel roles at Canon Australia and CommVault Australia.

“For the ANZ channel, moving to an application-first era means the need to develop new business models, provide new security expertise, and overall be able to deliver the right solutions and frameworks to build and deliver apps that are faster, smarter and safer,” said Lewis.

“2019 is going to be a big year for F5 and my focus will be on helping the ANZ channel community share this potential for growth.”

NBN Co to offer new business-grade wholesale discounts

Discount bundles to deliver improved experience for businesses

NBN Co is set to introduce new wholesale discount bundles over its fixed line NBN  access network to help improve customer experience and better meet the demands of Australian businesses.

With its new ‘business NBN’ service, the company will for the first time combine access to high speeds, committed bandwidth and premium service levels in a discounted charge in a move designed to deliver significant savings for retail providers.

Paul-Tyler-bio.jpg.thumb.1440.2560“We recognise some businesses are on NBN powered plans that have not been optimised for their needs,” said NBN Co Chief Customer Officer for Business Paul Tyler.

“Businesses should speak to their service provider about whether they require high-speeds for cloud applications, committed and symmetrical information rates for audio and video conferencing or increased service assurance for business-critical applications.”

The bundles will include:

  • Wholesale speeds of 50/20Mbps* optimised for smaller businesses;
  • Wholesale speeds of 100/40Mbps* with support for multiple phone lines for medium-sized businesses;
  • Wholesale symmetrical committed speeds of 20/20Mbps and a 100/40Mbps peak information rate**; and
  • Wholesale symmetrical committed speeds of 50/50Mbps and a 250/100Mbps peak information rate for data-intensive and multi-site organisations**.

Each discount bundle option will include a minimum 12 hour enhanced service level agreement with 24/7 support between NBN Co and retailer, as well as bandwidth which incrementally increases with higher bundles.

The company is currently working with industry to implement the discounts, with the aim of releasing them on its fixed line network to service providers from early 2019.

Germany’s imminent 5G spectrum auction comes under fire

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By David Morelo, Telecom Times Europe Correspondent

Germany’s upcoming 5G spectrum auction has been subject to heavy criticism within the country since the Federal Network Agency, known locally as the Bundesnetzagentur or BNetzA, published its 119-page draft in September 2018. The regulator has now said it will move ahead with its action plan, and major telcos in Germany, as well as industry lobby group GSMA, are flagging the plan as a commercial nightmare.

The Federal Government considers the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, which promises faster data speeds and lower latency, to be a key technology in enabling the upcoming digital transformation, offering enormous innovation and value creation potential.

“In the future, there will be billions of objects, sensors or machines worldwide that communicate with each other. The consumer internet will be enlarged and will become an industry internet,” explained The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), in 5G Strategy for Germany. “This industrial and intelligent interconnection creates unprecedented challenges in terms of connectivity, capacity, safety and security, as well as service quality.”

Even though Germany’s 5G strategy is clear, the country currently does not meet the standard for 4G coverage, so the political pressure to improve the situation is huge. That pressure might have been a reason why the proposed 5G auction plan won a nod from lawmakers after months of controversy, with the BNetzA agency immediately opening applications and saying the auction would kick off in early 2019.

“Our decision sets vital preconditions for the digital transformation of industry and society. Through the award of frequencies, we are creating planning and investment certainty, and contributing to a fast, needs-based rollout of the mobile radio network in Germany,” said Jochen Homann, BNetzA President.

In the first 5G auction round, the BNetzA aims to auction spectrum in the 2.0 Gigahertz and 3.6 Gigahertz bands, which are ideal for industrial applications but not suitable for boosting Germany’s patchy data coverage due to their relatively short range. However, the 3.7–3.8 Gigahertz and 26 Gigahertz ranges, which are suitable for local applications, will be on offer as well.

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Jochen Homann, Bundesnetzagentur President

“A nationwide buildout with 5G technology would be excessively costly,” said Homann, who cautioned that the frequencies on offer were not suitable for countrywide coverage and noted that longer-range frequencies could be auctioned in future licensing rounds.

The BNetzA included several conditions for the upcoming 5G auction. Coverage obligations for the 3.6 GHz band include a population coverage of 98 percent with 100 Mbps and 10 ms latency by the end of 2022, as well as all major transport routes, and they will not be applicable to any new entrant.

Spectrum license holders are also required to negotiate with other players seeking network access, with the regulator acting as an arbitrator in the event the companies are unable to reach commercial agreements. Also, each existing carrier must install 1,000 5G base stations and 500 other base stations in certain areas by the end of 2022.

The requirement for operators to provide coverage across the country and the fact that newcomers are allowed to meet significantly lower coverage requirements and invoke a negotiation requirement for national roaming immediately led to pushback from Germany’s telcos and GSMA.

“The mobile industry is essential to delivering on Germany’s vision for 5G leadership. We are alarmed that—despite real and substantial concerns raised by the mobile industry on the original proposals—the proposed terms make the situation worse by doubling down on unrealistic conditions that put Germany’s 5G future at risk,” said Mats Granryd, Director General at GSMA.

“Although the frequencies on offer can provide very high capacity, they only cover a relatively small area and are not well suited to wide area coverage such as countryside roads, waterways, and railways. The investment needed to achieve the obligations far outweighs the value of the licenses. The auction rules contain massive advantages for newcomers that undermine fair competition by allowing them to meet significantly lower coverage requirements and to invoke a negotiation requirement for national roaming,” added GSMA.

Vodafone, one of Germany’s three major mobile operators—along with Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica Deutschland—even threatened legal action, arguing that the proposed terms are too onerous and “clearly unlawful.” The operator would like to see any attempt to ease the entry of a fourth network operator removed from the auction conditions because new operators would otherwise have no incentive to invest in their own infrastructure or expand coverage outside metropolitan areas.

Vodafone has even provided some data to disprove the idea that a new operator, most likely United Internet and its subsidiary 1&1 Drillisch, is needed to drive competition in the German market. According to the company, prices have been falling 2.1 percent per year since 2010, and, at 23 percent, Germany already has the highest share for virtual operators in Europe.

Increasing the number of virtual operators in the country could further the digital divide between urban and rural environments and decrease the telcos’ ability to invest just as the industrial and intelligent interconnection is creating unprecedented challenges and causing connectivity demands to grow at a massive rate.

Lack of decentralised tech leaves mobile operators prone to major outages: Bluzelle CTO

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Bluzelle Networks CTO Neeraj Murarka

Last week, UK mobile network operator O2 left millions of customers unable to get online as its 4G data services went down due to an expired security certificate.

According to Bluzelle Networks CTO Neeraj Murarka, a specialist in blockchains and decentralized technology, the outage brings to light the risks of failing to implement a comprehensive security certificate management plan, and the general problem for operators relying on a single provider of proprietary software.

Murarka offers a warning to global mobile carriers:
“The bigger issue here is that mobile carriers all over the world, including in Great Britain and in Japan are all running some of the software in question, with control over maintenance of this proprietary software completely in the hands of a single vendor, in this case Ericsson.
Indeed, if it was just human error, it is understandable and a statistical reality. But this very fact is precisely what makes such dependence so vulnerable.
The software is likely not open source, therefore, nobody other than Ericsson themselves was likely to be aware of it. This, combined with a failure to update the software has resulted in misery for millions of people and huge costs to O2 as a result.
Yet again, this is another example where a more decentralized approach should be adopted. For example, if the software in question had been deployed by the carriers themselves, who took open source software, customized it to their needs, audited it and then deployed it, the carriers would have had the foresight to anticipate this and avoid these losses.
Additionally, another form of decentralization that I expect to see introduced in the near future is the use of mesh networks, where mobile phone users no longer directly depend on a centralized carrier.
Rather, mesh network technology will allow users to collaborate to share connections to the Internet such that dependencies such as those we see now, are minimized or eliminated altogether.
It is imperative that dependence on centralized owners of code (proprietary software) is reduced over time to give the public an opportunity to contribute to this code and catch problems long before they happen, and for the provision of services to move from large, oligopolistic providers to decentralized approaches that we see the beginnings of with the likes of RightMesh, Orchid, Bluzelle, etc.”

Vertiv: Edge will drive change in 2019

Vertiv experts anticipate self-sufficient, self-healing edge in service of IoT, 5G

The edge of the network continues to be the epicenter of innovation in the data center space as the calendar turns to 2019, with activity focusing on increased intelligence designed to simplify operations, enable remote management and service, and bridge a widening skills gap.

This increasing sophistication of the edge is among the data center trends to watch in 2019 as identified by Vertiv experts from around the globe.

“Today’s edge plays a critical role in data center and network operation and in the delivery of important consumer services,” said Vertiv CEO Rob Johnson. “This is a dramatic and fundamental change to the way we think about computing and data management. It should come as no surprise that activity in the data center space in 2019 will be focused squarely on innovation at the edge.”

“The drivers behind edge computing are increasingly high-demand, low-latency applications such as artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics,” said Robert Linsdell, managing director Australia and New Zealand, Vertiv.

“As always, Australia and New Zealand’s need to get the edge right is greater than most – we have a highly-disperse geography and many of our primary and resurging industries such as mining and manufacturing aren’t done in cities with access to centralised data centers. They’re in far-flung destinations where even basic connectivity can be poor or absent.

“The only way to harness the power and benefits of IoT and smart city applications in these areas is through edge computing and we need further investment in this area to make sure technology expectations among customers, staff and businesses are met across the region.”

Simplifying the Edge: A smarter, simpler, more self-sufficient edge of the network is converging with broader industry and consumer trends, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and the looming rollout of 5G networks, to drive powerful, low-latency computing closer to the end-user.

For many businesses, the edge has become the most mission critical part of their digital ecosystem. Intelligent infrastructure systems with machine learning capabilities working in tandem with cloud-based analytics are fundamentally changing the way we think about edge computing and edge services. The result will be a more robust, efficient edge of the network with enhanced visibility and self-healing capabilities requiring limited active management.

“In Asia, the edge is no longer just a buzzword but a reality and many organisations are realising the value of having a strong core to edge ecosystem to support high compute and low latency demands,” said Anand Sanghi, president, Asia and India, Vertiv. “As the edge becomes a critical and strategic part for many organisations, it’s no longer about simply having availability, but protecting and optimising the edge with the right infrastructure to deliver the best customer experience.”

  1. Workforce Revolution: A workforce aging into retirement and training programs lagging behind the data center and edge evolution are creating staffing challenges for data centers around the globe. This will trigger parallel actions in 2019. First, organisations will begin to change the way they hire data center personnel, moving away from traditional training programs toward more agile, job-specific instruction with an eye toward the edge. More training will happen in-house. And second, businesses will turn to intelligent systems and machine learning to simplify operations, preserve institutional knowledge, and enable more predictive and efficient service and maintenance.
  2. Smarter, More Efficient UPS Systems: New battery alternatives will present opportunities for the broad adoption of UPS systems capable of more elegant interactions with the grid. In the short term, this will manifest in load management and peak shaving features. Eventually, we will see organisations using some of the stored energy in their UPS systems to help the utility operate the electric grid. The static storage of all of that energy has long been seen as a revenue-generator waiting to happen. We are moving closer to mainstream applications.
  3. Pursuing Normalisation: The data center, even in the age of modular and prefabricated design, remains far too complex to expect full-fledged standardisation of equipment. However, there is interest on two fronts: standardisation of equipment components and normalisation across data center builds. The latter is manifesting in the use of consistent architectures and equipment types, with regional differences, to keep systems simple and costs down. In both cases, the goal is to reduce equipment costs, shorten delivery and deployment timelines, and simplify service and maintenance.
  4. High-Power Processors and Advanced Cooling: As processor utilisation rates increase to run advanced applications such as facial recognition or advanced data analytics, high-power processors create a need for innovative approaches to thermal management. Direct liquid cooling at the chip – meaning the processor or other components are partially or fully immersed in a liquid for heat dissipation – is becoming a viable solution. Although most commonly used in high-performance computing configurations, the benefits – including better server performance, improved efficacy in high densities, and reduced cooling costs – justify additional consideration. Another area of innovation in thermal management is extreme water-free cooling, which is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional chilled water.

Businesses can expect 2019 to be another dangerous year: Palo Alto

Cybersecurity forecast for 2019: predictions and tips for Australian businesses

2018 saw upheaval for Australian businesses with the introduction of the government’s mandatory Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme along with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which affects some businesses. 2019 promises to be an equally disruptive year for businesses that don’t prioritise their cyber security measures.

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Palo Alto Networks APAC VP and and chief security officer Sean Duca

“Australians have lost more than $94 million and counting since January 2018 due to online scams, with phishing scams topping the list. (1) This is an increase on 2017 when Australians lost a total of just under $91 million for the entire calendar year. (2)”

“If this trend continues, businesses can expect 2019 to be another dangerous year. It’s therefore important to be aware of what’s on the horizon and act to protect the business,” said Palo Alto Networks APAC VP and and chief security officer Sean Duca.


Palo Alto Networks has identified five key cybersecurity trends to be aware of in 2019:

1. Business emails with nasty surprises attached

As the theft of passwords and login details becomes increasingly common in enterprise environments, attackers have grown more confident and motivated, targeting small and large organisations by masquerading as partners or internal stakeholders, a pattern that will continue to plague businesses if they fail to adapt. This alarming rise in business email compromise underscores the increasingly diverse and sophisticated methods attackers use today, from mimicking corporate websites to targeting employees’ personal social media accounts to launch exploits. As attackers find increasingly crafty ways to bypass internal checks, 2019 is unlikely to be the year businesses beat cyber criminals at their own game.

2. Supply chain will be the weakest link 

The digital age has helped break down barriers to create an interconnected, global supply chain, making it very easy for businesses to work with different suppliers. Increased connectedness and sharing of data and networks have empowered organisations to embrace new efficiencies through connectivity and analytics. However, this will also prove a boon to opportunistic attackers preying on weaknesses in existing security. These risks have become more apparent in the healthcare sector, where third-party connected medical devices – such as MRI and X-ray machines – plug in to internal networks daily, providing multiple new attack surfaces and vulnerabilities over which hospitals have almost no control. Pinpointing and avoiding cybersecurity risks will soon be nearly impossible as the global supply chain becomes increasingly complex.

3. Data protection legislation gains ground 

As Asia-Pacific countries pledge greater cooperation with cybersecurity initiatives, the move towards formalising data protection frameworks seem inevitable. NDB and GDPR are just the first steps in data protection legislation and countries around the APAC region are likely to follow suit. In New Zealand data breach notification legislation is on the cards for 2019 as well. As digital maturity varies across the region, the framework for these countries to roll out their own version of NDB could take some time to develop, and the path ahead is not straightforward. However, 2019 could be the year many countries take the first steps towards protecting their citizens’ data.

“All businesses, regardless of whether they’re technically subject to NDB or GDPR, need to pay attention to the data they collect and store. Compliance can provide a baseline to assess gaps and help determine an overall prevention posture. As a start, businesses should minimise unnecessary personal data collection, which could help minimise risks and exposure,” Duca said.

4. Cloudy skies ahead

Implementing a cloud computing strategy often means that mission-critical data and systems will sit with third parties. These assets will need to be securely stored and transmitted, and only accessible to authorised personnel. The shared security responsibility model means enterprises must grapple with the security of data, applications, operating systems, network configurations, and more. This intertwined ecosystem has made security a much more complex undertaking, especially for organisations already dealing with the difficulty of finding cybersecurity talent and making sense of the many point products available in the market today.

5. Why Critical Infrastructure is so critical

Critical infrastructure (CI) includes public infrastructure and resources and other essential sectors such as banking and financial services, telecommunications, and the media. As CI goes digital and automated, cross-pollination between corporate and industrial networks has made them easier targets for cybercriminals. This is especially dangerous as industry systems such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and industrial control systems (ICS), which are critical to the energy, water and public transport sectors, often rely on legacy and unpatchable systems.

“To date, infrastructure owners have primarily focused on the confidentiality of information and overlooked the other two principals of information security: integrity and availability. This will be especially crucial as countries in the region adopt industry 4.0 technologies. These innovations will rely on telemetry and always-on connectivity, putting the lives of the public in the hands of systems that rely on accurate and accessible data. As a start, CI owners, both public and private, will have to put in place zero-trust systems and segregate access,” said Duca.

(1) https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/about-scamwatch/scam-statistics
(2) https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/about-scamwatch/scam-statistics?scamid=all&date=2017