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Enterprise public and private cloud workloads rise

ICYMI: Enterprise cloud workloads grow, Check Point tracks ransomware as a service and Cisco continues to dominate in the routing and switching market.

Cloud adoption shows no sign of slowing, with a majority of enterprise workloads shifting to the cloud by 2018, according to a recently released study by 451 Research.

The firm, based in New York, said its Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Transformation survey found that public and private cloud workloads will grow by 45% in the next two years -- from 41% of all enterprise workloads to 60% in mid-2018. 451 Research polled more than 1,200 IT professionals worldwide for the cloud workloads study, which was conducted in May and June.

On-premises private cloud workloads and software as a service (SaaS) account for the largest portion of enterprise cloud deployments, each accounting for 14% of the market, 451 Research said.

In spite of what the company described as "hype," only 6% of cloud workloads were handled via infrastructure as a service (IaaS). However, IaaS is likely to grow to as much as 12% of the market in the next two years, the firm said.

Among survey respondents, cloud usage was strongest among web, media and application development groups, who are the likeliest candidates to adopt IaaS, 451 Research said.

At the same time, 451 Research said cloud-first strategies are gaining traction among enterprises, with 38% of respondents saying they consider the cloud as the primary medium through which to transmit data.

Enterprises are also moving more of their critical applications to the cloud, particularly data analytics and business apps. As a result, data workloads are expected to grow from 7% to 16%, while business applications are projected to soar from 4% to 9%.

"The predicted doubling of IaaS usage is the highest growth expectation for any type of cloud and points to significant revenue potential for vendors in this space," said Andrew Reichman, research director at 451, in a statement.

"Because cloud delivers increasing agility and flexibility to better fit ever-changing business needs, IaaS and SaaS allow organizations to focus their efforts on their business, rather than on maintaining costly and complex data centers and infrastructure. If used properly, it has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency and results of business technology usage," he added.

Cerber ransomware as a service emerges from the shadows

Check Point Software Technologies, working with researchers from IntSights Cyber Intelligence in Herzliya, Israel, said they've uncovered new details about Cerber, the industry's largest ransomware as a service infrastructure. The firms said Cerber -- which uses a network of recruits to infect computer networks with malware -- collected almost $200,000 in ransom fees in July alone, and will amass more than $2.3 million in ransom payments in 2016.

"[The] main trend here is the ransomware as a service," said Maya Horowitz, group manager of threat intelligence at Check Point, based in San Carlos, Calif. "Of course, it can be generalized into malware or threats as a service. The main thing to take from this is that nowadays, you don't have to be very technical in order to attack. You don't have to write your own ransomware or banking Trojan; you just have to buy them. All you need to do is be part of the dark web and get this malware, and that means more and more threat actors are able to engage in these attacks."

Cloud-first strategies are gaining traction among enterprises.

Check Point tracked 150,000 victims during July, tracing an intricate web of bitcoin accounts through which ransom payments were routed. More than 160 active campaigns were tracked during the month.

Cerber is believed to originate in Russia, based on analysis of its configuration file that revealed that the program does not infect computers in the former Soviet Union.

Cerber, and other ransomware, is less technologically complex than banking Trojans, and have largely supplanted these types of Trojans in recent months, Check Point said. Ransomware also has the benefit of immediate results, unlike banking Trojans, which necessitate a victim accessing his or her account before information can usually be extracted.

Ransomware overall has ballooned, with the FBI reporting that ransom payments in 2016 could eclipse $1 billion.

Cisco continues to roll in the routing and switching market

Cisco's market share of the $41 billion worldwide routing and switching market slipped 2% in the second quarter of 2016, but the company continues to dominate the industry, according to Synergy Research Group's switching and routing market leaders report.

Synergy, based in Reno, Nev., said Cisco had 53% of the market in the second quarter of 2016, down slightly from the 55% share the company garnered in 2015.

In the enterprise routing market, Cisco had a 68% market share; it captured 40% of the service provider market, Synergy said.

Trailing Cisco is Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Juniper Networks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Nokia, with each vendor notching between 5% and 9% market share in the quarter.

Synergy pegged Q2 switching and routing revenues at $10 billion, with Ethernet switching accounting for 60% of the market. North America was the biggest market -- with 40% of worldwide sales -- but the Asia-Pacific market was the fastest growing.

"The big picture is that total switching and router revenues are remaining relatively stable at some $10 billion per quarter, and Cisco continues to control well over half of the market," said Jeremy Duke, Synergy's founder, in a statement.

"Some view SDN [software-defined networking] and NFV [network functions virtualization] as existential threats to Cisco's core business, but there are few signs that this is impacting its competitive market position. It continues to feel the heat from strong growth of Arista and Huawei in enterprise switching, but, overall, its dominance is little diminished by the multiple challenges it is facing," he added. 

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