What’s up with... BT, Mischa Dohler & Ericsson, cloud security

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Nov 1, 2021

  • BT’s getting lean as it builds its defences
  • Mischa Dohler swaps King’s for the Valley (and Ericsson)
  • Cloud security report from Thales is stupefying

Further hatch-battening at BT, some 6G California dreamin’ for Mr Dohler, and some eyebrow-raising cloud security stats from Thales kick off this week’s news roundups. 

BT’s stock gained 4.4% to hit 145 pence on the London Stock Exchange as it confirmed media reports that it had achieved a milestone savings goal well ahead of schedule. “Further to weekend press speculation, BT confirms that it has delivered on its £1bn of gross annualised cost savings 18 months ahead of the March 2023 target,” the operator noted in a stock exchange note. The media report in question came from The Telegraph, which reported that BT was not only ahead of schedule on its cost-cutting plans but is also preparing even deeper cuts that would result in thousands of job losses. BT is desperate to be seen as an effective, efficient and shareholder-friendly operation in order to boost its share price – even with the slight lift today, BT’s stock is well below the 188 pence price it attracted when French billionaire Patrick Drahi's Altice snapped up a 12.1% stake in the UK operator in June. BT and financial analysts are preparing for Drahi to make a takeover bid for the British telco, with the operator having already hired advisory firm Robey Warshaw to help it ward off any unwelcome advances.

After eight years at King’s College London, where he was Professor in Wireless Communications, Mischa Dohler has moved to Silicon Valley and joined Ericsson as Chief Architect in the vendor’s Advanced Technology Group, where he will be “working on 6G systems and next generation applications.” Announcing the move on LinkedIn, Dohler noted that he has been “working with Ericsson for years,” most notably on 5G use case tests and trials at the 5G Research and Innovation Laboratory hosted by King’s and maintained by Ericsson. He was a guest speaker during the recent TelecomTV 6G Summit, participating in the Channeling and supporting 6G research into commercial projectsdiscussion, and participating in the entertaining live Q&A session that was also part of the Summit. We wish him well in his new role!

Thales, the Paris, France-headquartered global technology business, operating across aerospace, defence, digital security, transport and space, has published a report revealing that 40 per cent of organisations globally have suffered a cloud-based data breach in the past 12 months. Thales commissioned the study from 451 Research which, in a secondary, but really quite shocking finding, discovered that despite the massive increase in cloud-based cyberattacks, 83 per cent of organisations still don’t encrypt 50 per cent of the data they store in the cloud. There can be no excuse for such laxity, it’s just plain stupid. Equally foolish is the fact that 34 per cent of organisations leave the control of keys to service providers rather than retaining control themselves! Also astonishing, considering the febrile times we live in, 48 per cent say that they do not have zero-trust strategy and, incredibly, 25 per cent admit they are not considering implementing one! With the popularity and easy availability of cloud and software-as-a -service (SaaS) platforms, many companies no longer access data solely through their corporate networks but do so through third-party apps, IoT devices in the domestic environment and via portals created for external users including customers, partners, contractors, and managed service providers, thus bypassing the corporate network and its specific security features altogether. Matters have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic as organisations of every stripe and type rushed to transition to the cloud as a means to ensure business continuity and survival. The report concludes that organisations relying on the cloud should use and constantly monitor automated tools to ensure that security remains intact and that security settings do not suffer “configuration drift” but always accurately reflect the purpose of the organisation itself.

The news comes as the European Union announced new cyber security rules that device-makers will have to follow. The new directive, part of the EU’s Cyber Resilience Act, “lays down new legal requirements for cybersecurity safeguards, which manufacturers will have to take into account in the design and production of the concerned products. It will also protect citizens' privacy and personal data, prevent the risks of monetary fraud as well as ensure better resilience of our communication networks.” The rules cover “wireless devices such as mobile phones, tablets and other products capable of communicating over the internet; toys and childcare equipment such as baby monitors; as well as a range of wearable equipment such as smart watches or fitness trackers.” Read more.

Just in time for the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, which began in Glasgow, Scotland today, a new study commissioned by Ericsson suggests the accelerated roll-out of 5G across Europe will be instrumental to meeting national and decarbonisation goals that have been set for 2030. Ericsson’s thesis is that the application of 5G across four “high-emitting” sectors (power, transport, manufacturing and buildings) could result in preventing annual carbon emissions to the equivalent of taking one-in-seven cars off Europe’s roads - i.e. 35 million of them. However, that rosy scenario is tempered with warning that 5G deployment in Europe is behind both North America and parts of Asia. Ericsson’s analysis is based on some sections of McKinsey’s Net Zero Europe that was published this time last year. Ericsson’s authors stress that a minimum of 40 per cent of the EU’s carbon reduction schemes running to 2030 are predicated on fixed-line and mobile comms connectivity. At the start of 2021, 5G, or some approximation to it, was theoretically available to about 15 per cent of the global population. In just nine years’ time, when emissions will need to be halved from present levels if there is to be any realistic prospect of limiting global warming to 1.6C (a goal that now seems all but impossible to achieve, despite all the blethering of virtue-signalling politicians), 5G penetration globally is optimistically predicted to be about 75 per cent. However, it is forecast that, as early 2027, in North America and much of developed and developing Asia 5G coverage will have hit 95 per cent, leaving Europe languishing well behind the leaders. The report says, “The EU and UK have set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions that will require transformational shifts across society. This new analysis demonstrates that connectivity, and specifically 5G, is vital to achieving these decarbonisation targets. It is difficult to see how these targets will be met unless the roll-out of digital infrastructure across Europe accelerates to match that of other leading countries and regions in the developed world.” Börje Ekholm, Ericsson's President and CEO, added “At present, with 5G roll-out, Europe is strolling towards a more digital, low-carbon future, while other regions are sprinting in the same direction.” Read more.

Orange has been cementing its position as a power-broker in Africa in recent days. First, it announced an agreement with Oracle under which the two companies will “assess plans to build Oracle Cloud regions using Orange’s infrastructure in Senegal and Ivory Coast.” The two companies also unveiled “plans to jointly offer cloud services for enterprises and public sector organizations in the West Africa, starting with offerings in Senegal and Ivory Coast. For this initiative, Orange plans to use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) to complement its portfolio of enterprise-grade managed cloud services.” Then it struck a partmership with Liquid Intelligent Technologies “to leverage each other's existing networks in Africa, allowing them even greater access and opportunity to build their businesses throughout the continent. Under the agreement, Liquid will gain access to Orange’s extensive network in West Africa, including the new Djoliba network, while Orange will gain “access to Liquid’s pan-African network. As a result, the two organizations will offer end-to-end high-speed connectivity and services across their networks, allowing existing and new customers in over 20 African countries greater access and opportunity to build their businesses,” noted Orange in this press release

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