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Veeam Acquired by Insight Partners | Gestalt IT Rundown: January 15, 2020

Veeam will be acquired by Insight Partners for $5 billion, Packet gets bought by Equinix, billions of medical images found stored in unsecured servers, and IBM fights the patent trolls. Rich Stroffolino and Tom Hollingsworth are talking about these and more on the Gestalt IT Rundown, your source for the IT news of the week.

This week on the Rundown:

Billions of medical images stored unsecured online

Researchers at Greenbone Networks have reported recently that hundreds of hospitals, medical offices and imaging centers are running insecure storage systems, exposing 35 million patient exams with 1.19 billion scans, half of which belong to US citizens. Greenbone has been warning institutions of the leaks over the past year, but many have failed to take action. The problem is due to a combination of the DICOM file format which bundles medical images in a single file, which can be read by many freely available apps, and the PACS server used for sharing, which many offices connect directly to the internet with no password. Interestingly the researchers found that smaller organizations would quickly secure systems when alerted, but the 10 largerst organizations provided no response.

Veeam acquired

Big news from last week, Veeam will be acquired by the private equity firm Insight Partners for $5 billion. Veeam is the top data protection provider across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Insight Partners hopes that by changing it to a US-based company, it will help the company get better penetration in North America. I’ve seen some analysis that this won’t be a typical private equity squeeze job since Insight is also a VC fund.

Packet bought too

In other acquisition news, the bare metal cloud provider Packets was acquired by the hosting provider Equinix. Packet CEO Zachary Smith says post-acquisition Packet will have the same team, same platform, same vision. No word on the acquisition price, and Packet was most recently valued at $100 million. Packet has made a name for itself by offering much more bespoke cloud instance options, with CPU and GPU combinations not found on other clouds.

Apple gearing up for encryption case with DOJ

The FBI sent a letter to Apple, asking for help unlocking the two iPhones of a man believed to have killed three people at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The FBI has requested help from other agencies and countries as well. Apple said the FBI requested information last month and had given the agency all the data it had and will continue to offer help. Apple later denied a request from US Attorney General Bill Barr to unlock the two iPhones, saying: “We have always maintained there is no such thing as a backdoor just for the good guys… Backdoors can also be exploited by those who threaten our national security and the data security of our customers. … We feel strongly encryption is vital to protecting our country and our users’ data.” The NY Times reports that Apple is gearing up for a legal fight.

Google acquires AppSheet

Google announced it acquired AppSheet, a no-code development platform for workplace apps like CRM, field inspections or personalized reporting. Google plans to integrate this into Google Cloud and focus it on specific verticals like financial services, retail, and media. AppSheet will continue to support non-google 3rd party integrations and keep existing iOS and desktop apps.

IBM joins LOT Network

IBM announced its joining the LOT Network, a nonprofit that protects against patent trolls. The network has 600 members (including Red Hat), with over 2 million patent assets. Effectively if any assets from the group all into the hands of company that derives over half its revenue from patent litigation, LOT members automatically received a license to that patent. IBM is adding 80,000 patents to their war chest. The LOT Network estimates a signle piece of patent litigation costs a company an average of $3.3 million. IBM also recently joined Unified Patents and founded the Open Source Zone to shield startups from patent trolls.

Google phasing out user-agent strings in Chrome

Google announced it will phase out the use of user-agent strings in Chrome. These are small bits of text sent to websites that browser type, rendering engine, and operating system, and are often used to fingerprint users for ad tracking. Google plans to stop updating user-agent text for new browser versions, and by mid-2020 plans to send a generic text string that only distinguishes mobile and desktop browsers. UA will be replaced by Client Hints, which allows websites to request user information, and was developed as part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox. The idea is to allow advertisers enough information to categorize users into general groups without being able to individually identify them.

The Gestalt IT Rundown is a live weekly look at the IT news of the week. It broadcasts live on Facebook every Wednesday at 12:30pm ET. To watch along, “Like” our Facebook page. Be sure to subscribe to Gestalt IT on YouTube for even more weekly video content.

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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