5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending May 13

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Salesforce, for a widespread service outage that caused ongoing problems for an undisclosed number of customers.

Also making the list were Apple, for its falling stock price; Symantec, whose workers face layoffs; hamburger chain Wendy's, for a security breach of its point-of-sale system; and SAP, because some of its customers who neglected to patch a security vulnerability six years ago are now paying the price.

Not everyone in the IT industry was having a rough go of it this week. For a rundown of companies that made smart decisions, executed savvy strategic moves -- or just had good luck -- check out this week's Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Salesforce.com Outage Hits North America

It was a bad week for Salesforce.com and some of its customers in North America after the cloud vendor's CRM service was down for much of Tuesday and some customers' data was lost. While Salesforce.com's status page said the problems were resolved by 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, there were reports of continued "degraded" service as late as Thursday.

The outage is believed to have hit one of 45 cloud instances of the CRM service in North America, NA14, which quickly became an Internet meme under the #NA14 hashtag. The database error compromised the integrity of some customer files, requiring restoration of NA14 from backup files, but data written to NA14 during a five-hour period Tuesday was lost.

Salesforce was staying mum on just how widespread the outage was or exactly what regions or services were disrupted. But customer comments on social media hinted that thousands of customers might have been affected.

Apple's Stock Hits Two-Year Low

Apple found itself under pressure this week when its stock price hit $90 -- the lowest since June 2014, when shares were selling as low as $90.28 shortly after a 7-for-1 stock split. The stock price tumble pushed Apple's market capitalization to below that of Google parent Alphabet.

Apple's share prices fell after its component suppliers, including Foxconn, Largan Precision, Nidec, Sharp and Sony, reported weak earnings -- news the market took to mean that lower demand for Apple iPhones is reducing orders for those manufacturers' components.

This week's Apple stock sell-off is the latest round of hand-wringing over Apple's overall direction, slowing sales of flagship iPhone and iPad devices, and the lack of innovative products coming out of the giant company.

Symantec Plans 10 Percent Cut In Employee Roster

It wasn't a great week to be an employee at Symantec. While the security software company had previously said it planned to cut costs by $400 million by the end of fiscal 2018, the news this week that the company will cut 1,200 jobs, or 10 percent of its workforce, this year was still a shock.

During a fourth-quarter earnings call this week, Symantec executives said the company is in the process of shifting its business to a subscription model and away from traditional licenses. That, in part, is leading to the planned head count reduction.

Wendy's Discloses Scope Of Data Breach

Hamburger restaurant chain Wendy's is dealing with the fallout from a security breach that compromised credit card data on point-of-sale systems at several hundred Wendy's franchised restaurants.

Wendy's said this week that an investigation uncovered malicious software on point-of-sale systems on fewer than 300 of the company's 5,500 franchised restaurants in North America, or about 5 percent of the total.

Wendy's said the malware, affecting one particular type of POS system, was apparently installed using a compromised third-party vendor's credentials beginning in the fall of 2015. Wendy's management said the malware has been removed and the company continues to work with its investigator, banks and credit unions that issued affected payment cards, and federal law enforcement agencies.

U.S. Issues Security Warning About SAP Software

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) issued a warning this week that a vulnerability in SAP software could give outside attackers remote control over SAP systems, according to a Reuters story.

Turns out, the problem is 6 years old. SAP issued a patch for the vulnerability in 2010 and fixed the flaw in future software releases. But many companies have continued to run the older software and apparently never applied the fix.

And so the threat to older SAP systems remains very real. Boston-based Onapsis issued a report this week saying 36 enterprises were found to have signs of unauthorized access, the Reuters story said. It's a bad week for companies that haven't made the fix. And bad news for SAP for still having to talk about a problem it thought was fixed long ago.