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Array boosts remote office environment connectivity

ICYMI: Array unveils low-cost WAN optimization; Cisco layoffs are more strategic than you might think.

Array Networks Inc. filled a gap in its WAN optimization portfolio with a new appliance tailored to small and remote office environments. The aCelera WAN1100, available now, is a tabletop device that has a throughput of 10 Mbps and the capability to handle up to 40 concurrent TCP connections, said Paul Andersen, Array's senior marketing manager.

"We want to give people a cost-effective alternative to [working with higher-priced] vendors," he said, adding that Array considers WAN optimization a key component of its core application delivery controller (ADC) business. Software as a service (SaaS) providers that are already using Array's APV ADCs at data center locations, for example, could offer the WAN1100 to customers located in remote offices where limited connectivity is an issue.

Andersen said Array engineered the appliance to be used in remote office environments and locations that are serviced by smaller Internet connections and are unlikely to be staffed by IT employees. Workers at these locations still require applications to function seamlessly to carry out their job functions and maximize productivity. "It's plug-and-play. You install it and the job is done," he said.

Array said the device can accelerate a broad range of traffic, including applications from Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. It can also handle file transfers, backup and replication.

The WAN1100 is priced at $2,000. It joins a lineup that includes four other Array WAN optimization appliances.

Cisco layoffs: A business strategy?

Beating Wall Street's estimates for its fourth quarter earnings was not enough to keep Cisco from announcing another restructuring, this one resulting in the elimination of 6,000 jobs, or 8% of the vendor's workforce. Fortune magazine explains that the company is pruning employment rolls in an effort to refocus its resources on security, data center, software, cloud and the Internet of Everything.

"The market doesn't wait for anyone. We are going to lead it, period," Chief Executive Officer John Chambers told analysts on a conference call. "The ability to do that requires some tough decisions. We will manage our costs aggressively and drive efficiencies."

Zeus Kerravala tells Reuters that evolution is necessary. "As the market transitions, your staff has to transition. I see a lot of what they are doing as a reallocation and I think it is the right thing for the company," he said. Even though an announcement about job cuts can seem alarming -- especially for a company that reported earlier layoffs in 2011 and 2013 -- it might just be what Cisco needs to stay competitive.

Internet-based building automation to gain traction

Building owners are adopting building automation (BA) systems to tackle rising energy costs, according to a new study released by Frost & Sullivan. The report, Global Building Automation Market, predicted that the market for these systems will exceed $7.2 billion by 2018, a 26% increase from 2013's earned revenue figures.

This emerging market is gathering traction as governments increasingly pass new regulations governing greenhouse gas emissions. The countries expected to see the largest increase in building automation are Brazil, Russia, India, China, Germany and the U.S., all because of their high infrastructure spending tendencies, according to the report.

The Frost & Sullivan report also mentioned that data center and hospitality industries will see rapid growth in building automation because of increasing Internet connectivity and the growth of the tourism industry.

"Government regulations and policies designed to improve energy efficiency in buildings are driving the market for BA systems, especially in North America, Europe and parts of Asia-Pacific," said Balaji Anand Sagar, energy and environmental research analyst for Frost & Sullivan. "Market participants realize that BA systems are essential to achieve energy efficiency targets dictated by government regulations and are offering reliable solutions at competitive prices."

Yet the firm also issued two caveats that could slow the growth of BA. The first is a lack of standards; the second, building owners still need to be persuaded of the technology's potential benefits and ROI.

A report from MarketsandMarkets predicts that the BA market -- including network the IT hardware and software necessary to make a building intelligent --will grow to $74.8 billion by 2019. MarketsandMarkets says building owners are using these systems to cut CO2, reduce maintenance and operating costs and enhance the life of their structures.

North America is leading the global intelligent building automation technologies market with a share of more than 40% in 2014, followed by Europe, with an estimated share of about 30%, the report said.

Chinese hackers steal 4.5 million personal identities from healthcare provider

Chinese hackers have stolen names, Social Security numbers, birthdays and other personal information from 4.5 million patients of Community Health Services, the Franklin, Tenn., operator of 206 hospitals in 29 states. According to Politico, phone numbers and addresses were also taken.

This was the largest cyberattack ever on a healthcare company in the U.S. Personal information can be lucrative on the black market and medical records can sell for $316 per record, the news source noted. So far, however, it does not appear that any medical records or credit card numbers were taken.

Brandon Belvins, a news writer at TechTarget's SearchSecurity, explains that Community Health's 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that attackers were able to bypass the company's security measures to exfiltrate HIPAA-protected patient data from the last five years.

Belvins wrote that since the breach, which took place earlier this year, the company has been working with FireEye unit Mandiant to ensure that similar incidents won't occur again.

According to Reuters, the attackers come from a group known as "APT 18" and may have links to the Chinese government.

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How likely are we to see similar security breaches via the healthcare system?