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IBM tries to make big data visualization easy

ICYMI: IBM says its Watson Analytics software makes visualizing big data easier; Orange Business Services announces a new VPN product and Aerohive's next-gen Wi-Fi gets picked up by a Big 6 accounting firm.

International Business Machines Corp. launched Watson Analytics, cloud-based big data visualization software that enables businesses to analyze big data without the need for data scientists or statisticians, reports The New York Times. The software provides visualizations of data similar to products from companies like Tableau, Qlik and SAS Institute, but Watson offers something a little extra.

With natural-language processing and machine learning, Watson Analytics can respond to questions such as "What high-value customers am I most likely to close sales with in the next 30 days?" Answers might come in the form of text suggestions, probabilities or recommendations.

Alistair Rennie, general manager of business analytics for IBM, told Reuters, "When people have individual problems, they can get answers without having to call a data scientist or call IT, without having to become a data scientist themselves."

The software will be available for all IBM business customers in November.

Orange Business Services announces Business VPN Internet

Orange Business Services (OBS) announced Business VPN Internet, an approach to networking that the ISP contends improves worldwide availability and security for online applications. The new VPN service is engineered to monitor, manage and prioritize traffic based on important, location, device and user, according to OBS. It comes as part of OBS' hybrid network strategy, which combines traditional IP VPN with Internet-only transmission. OBS said the new service offers enterprises worldwide access, a global security policy and application prioritization.

OBS is using 15 different gateways on five continents to anchor the new service. The design physically brings the user closer to the destination website, which helps reduce latency. OBS mapped Business VPN as an extension to its existing VPN foundation, allowing customers to rely on a single provider for both services.

Sean Elwick, head of IS at global engineering firm Aurecon, said in a statement that the new service "helped improve our application performance worldwide for enhanced end-user experience and increased network visibility."

Riverbed introduces firewall for physical and virtual data centers

Riverbed Technology introduced a new Amazon Machine Image to its application delivery controller (ADC) portfolio to provide application security in a data center, private or public cloud. According to Riverbed, the firewall, the SteelApp Web App, uses a comprehensive set of baseline signatures and identification tools to detect and block exploratory requests. The firewall protects both permanent applications as well as cloud bursting application projects.

According to Riverbed, the new firewall addresses the challenges of architectural complexity, management and security in a hybrid enterprise environment.

"Traditional security architectures have not evolved to meet today's complex IT environments, like a hybrid cloud environment," said Jeff Pancottine, senior vice president and general manager of Riverbed SteelApp, in a statement. "With the new AMI for SteelApp Web App Firewall announced today, Riverbed makes it easy for customers to enhance the security of Web applications deployed in the AWS cloud, without changing the underlying application delivery architecture."

This application is available now and comes as part of Riverbed's ADC as a service strategy.

Riverbed previously made the firewall available only as a module to its SteelApp Traffic Manager software.

Aerohive's next-generation Wi-Fi gets picked up by Big 6 accountant

Aerohive Networks said Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP, the nation's sixth-largest public accounting firm, deployed its next-generation controller-less Wi-Fi across its U.S. offices.

The firm installed more than 500 Aerohive AP121, AP330, AP340 and AP350 access points (APs) across three separate networks to accommodate laptops, mobile devices, appliances and touch panels used in Grant Thornton's media centers, Aerohive said.

Additionally, the firm rolled out Aerohive's quality of service features to optimize high-priority traffic, such as video and voice communications. Grant Thornton is overseeing the wireless network from two data centers via Aerohive's HiveManager Network Management System.

"We wholeheartedly recommend Aerohive both for the value of the solution as well as the ease of overall management," said Jim Arner, Grant Thornton's senior network engineer, in a statement. "From a technical standpoint, our wireless environment is very stable now, we enjoy much faster access and network speeds with better coverage and reliability, allowing Grant Thornton to be more efficient, more mobile and ultimately provide superior service to our clients."

Grant Thornton's previous Wi-Fi network relied on a limited number of APs from another vendor that were installed in only a handful of its offices, Aerohive said.

Grant Thornton has revenue in excess of $1.3 billion and operates 57 offices across the United States, with more than 500 partners and 6,000 employees.

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