Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Sony PlayStation Network Gets Hacked Again

It looks like the security breaches at Sony that allowed miscreants to get their grimy paws on more than 100 million user accounts may have been more than just bad luck. In testimony to Congress this week, Dr. Gene Spafford of Purdue University said Sony was well aware it was running outdated, unpatched versions of Apache Web server software without a firewall installed, and had actually been operating in this fashion for several months,

Sony didn't take part in the hearing, but according to The Consumerist the company says it has beefed up its monitoring, security and encryption software in the wake of the breach. That sounds like shutting the barn door after the horses have escaped, doesn't it?

Sony also blamed Anonymous for the breach, a claim the shadowy hacktivist group subsequently denied. In any event, it's going to take a long time for Sony to clean up this mess.

Password Security Vendor LastPass Hacked, Loses Customers' Passwords

Oh sweet irony: LastPass, a company that provides a secure, cloud-based password management service, this week forced users to change their passwords after witnessing a "network traffic anomaly" that may constitute a breach of customer data.

LastPass has yet to confirm an actual breach, and deserves credit for being proactive in informing customers, but come on, if the main focus of your company involves managing and securing peoples' passwords, this kind of thing just can't happen. Regardless of how this turns out, it's still a black eye for LastPass.

Blue Coat Cuts Earnings Outlook, Re-Orgs Management

Blue Coat Systems this week cut its Q4 earnings per share forecast from a non-GAAP 32 to 38 cents per share to between 30 and 31 cents per share. The company also cut its Q4 revenue forecast from between $121 million to $128 million to between $120.5 million to $121.5 million.

Even more ominous is that two top Blue Coat executives are leaving the company: Brian NeSmith, chief product officer and former CEO; and Dave de Simone, senior vice president of products and technology.

The revelation follows Blue Coat's disappointing Q3 earnings and appears to have really put a scare into investors. Blue Coat shares dove nearly 15 percent in the wake of the news.

SAP Says Amazon Cloud Outage Hurt The Cloud's Reputation

Amazon stepped up last week by apologizing for its EC2 outage and offering a 10-day service credit to affected customers, but SAP is apparently still stewing over the dark cloud the incident has cast over the cloud computing market.

This week, Sanjay Poonen, head of SAP's global solutions business, suggested that Amazon's cloud outage was a setback to SAP's own efforts to build customer confidence in the cloud.

’We’ll have to work harder to make people comfortable with where cloud computing is,’ Poonen said in an interview with Bloomberg.

VMware Cloud Foundry PaaS Hit With Outage

Just days after the Amazon outage, VMware's Cloud Foundry development platform was rocked by two separate blackouts. OK, Cloud Foundry is still in beta, but the incident probably kept cloud executives awake for several nights.

As VMware explained, one of its action items after the initial outage was to develop a playbook for early detection, prevention and restoration, to deal with any future instance in which its systems failed to handle loss of connectivity to storage. This was supposed to be a paper only exercise, but one of the VMware engineers touched the keyboard, setting off a second outage.

"This took out all load balancers, routers and firewalls; caused a partial outage of portions of our internal DNS infrastructure; and resulted in a complete external loss of connectivity to Cloud Foundry," said Dekel Tankel, a product manager for, said in a blog post.