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What Cisco should have done when the CCDE exam was canceled

An engineer criticizes how Cisco handled the abrupt cancellation of the CCDE exam; find out why WannaCry will continue to reap despair.

Cristian Sirbu, writing in Packet Pushers, authored a long post discussing the worldwide cancellation of the Cisco Certified Design Expert, or CCDE, exam originally scheduled for May 11.

The cancellation, Sirbu wrote, came May 3, only eight days before the test, leaving candidates in a lurch. What's more, Cisco's explanation as to why the CCDE exam was yanked didn't come until May 5, and it shed little light on why it took the step. In fact, all the vendor said is it couldn't provide any further details.

To Sirbu, that lapse in communication did little to calm candidates' confusion and anger about what happened to the CCDE exam, which was rescheduled for August. "This message should have been ready to send as soon as the cancellation trigger was pulled," he wrote. "And even if it had been sent then, it's a great piece of legally safe writing that does not reassure me, the test-taker -- the customer as Cisco rightly puts it -- of anything."

Yet, the bigger issue, he added, is what the cancellation might do to the reputation of the CCDE, which was first introduced in 2008. "At this point, the complete lack of open and transparent communication is not doing the CCDE any good whatsoever -- there is no clarity beyond the fact that Cisco went into damage control mode. Communication vacuums generate a range of incorrect assumptions, uncertainty, and spurious gossip, which only damage the trust of the outside world."

See what else Sirbu has to say about the CCDE exam and his recommendations for what Cisco should do the next time it's faced with a similar situation.

Looking into the causes of the WannaCry attack

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., looked into the causes and effects of the recent WannaCry ransomware attack. According to Oltsik, ransomware continues to be a growing industry, with the FBI estimating that the malware attacks netted more than $1 billion in 2016, doubling the amount victims paid just one year earlier. Oltsik compared WannaCry to worms, such as Code Red, Nimda and NSBlast -- attacks that infected a single person on a network and then spread to weak security systems on the same network.

The WannaCry attack was unusual in that it exploited zero-day vulnerabilities discovered by the U.S. National Security Agency -- a pattern that may continue in the future. The attack targeted healthcare organizations and groups that often operate many stand-alone PCs or fail to back up data, increasing the damage it was able to cause.

Oltsik said many in the IT community have expected an attack like this for some time, and PC users need to take proactive measures, researching cyberprotection, rather than relying on the IT community to solve the problem for them retrospectively. He added that healthcare organizations, in particular, should consider virtual desktops as a potential partial remedy to the risks posed by WannaCry and similar ransomware.

Explore more of Oltsik's thoughts on WannaCry.

OpenStack makes strides, but still faces obstacles

OpenStack is growing, but it's still too complex and suffers from insufficient support for containers. That's how Chris Drake, a principal analyst at GlobalData in Sterling, Va., described the state of the architecture after this year's OpenStack Summit in Boston.

Some 600 OpenStack deployments are now in operation, according to the summit, up a healthy 44% from 2016 totals. The vast majority consist of private cloud deployments, either off or on premises.

Yet, users and vendors say problems still exist. Among the most frustrating is OpenStack's release cycle, with some enterprises calling for new releases to be issued every two years, rather than every six months. Drake said OpenStack continues to be too difficult to deploy and would benefit by increased automation and standardization. "Going forward, calls for a clear and strong container support strategy from OpenStack are also likely to increase," he said.

Check out Drake's other thoughts about the OpenStack Summit.

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