5 Companies That Had A Rough Week

The Week Ending Dec. 16

Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Yahoo, which reported this week that a 2013 cyberattack compromised 1 billion user accounts.

Also making the list this week were Cisco Systems, which officially threw in the towel on its Intercloud public cloud service; flash storage pioneer Violin Memory, which filed for bankruptcy; RSA, which is losing its respected president to a security startup; and Zscaler, which was on the receiving end of a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Symantec this week.

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 5 Companies That Came To Win roundup.

Yahoo Discloses Second Data Breach That Affected 1 Billion User Accounts

Already reeling from its admission that some 500 million user accounts were compromised in a late 2014 attack, Yahoo said this week that a second, larger security breach in August 2013 affected 1 billion accounts.

That would be the biggest known data breach at any company in history.

Yahoo said an unauthorized third party stole data from 1 billion users including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates and hashed passwords. In some cases encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers were also stolen.

Yahoo is in the process of being acquired by Verizon for $4.83 billion. But that deal was already called into question after news of the first security breach was disclosed. This week's admission could put the acquisition even more in doubt.

Cisco Officially Throws In The Towel On Intercloud

Cisco, which once had ambitions to compete with Amazon Web Services in the competitive public cloud arena, confirmed to CRN this week that it will discontinue its Cisco Intercloud Services (CIS) public cloud operation in March 2017.

Cisco launched Intercloud in March 2014, aiming to become a public cloud service leader and provide a high-value route for partners into the cloud market. But AWS and Microsoft Azure have come to dominate the public cloud space and have driven prices so low that even a giant company like Cisco finds it almost impossible to profitably compete there.

In October Cisco said it was discontinuing sales of its Intercloud Fabric for Business and Intercloud Fabric for Providers software.

The company will now focus its efforts on helping customers build and manage hybrid IT environments.

Flash Storage Pioneer Violin Memory Files For Bankruptcy

Violin Memory, a pioneer in the flash storage industry and once a very hot company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week and announced plans to hold an auction for its assets.

The bankruptcy filing marks a sad end for a onetime technology leader that was founded in 2005 and by 2011 had introduced all-flash storage systems. But Violin Memory was never able to capitalize on its early market lead and one year ago the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said it was exploring strategic alternatives.

The company's assets include 58 U.S. patents, 64 foreign patents and multiple pending patents. The company also has a recurring revenue business of about $20 million per year.

RSA President Splits To Take CEO Post At Security Startup

RSA president and security industry luminary Amit Yoran has left the company to become chairman and CEO of up-and-coming security startup Tenable Network Security.

Yoran's departure is a loss for RSA, which became part of Dell earlier this year with Dell's acquisition of EMC, which owned RSA. Dell is integrating RSA deeper into its product portfolio and channel partners said they were not surprised by Yoran's departure.

Tenable announced Yoran's appointment this week and he's expected to officially start in the new job Jan. 3. Tenable is a rising star in the IT security arena, developing technology for security vulnerability assessment, analytics and management.

Cloud Security Vendor Zscaler Sued By Symantec For Patent Infringement

Being on the receiving end of a lawsuit is never fun. This week cloud security vendor Zscaler found itself in that position when security giant Symantec filed suit charging that Zscaler is in violation of seven Symantec patents.

Zscaler offers a security platform that uses a cloud-based firewall proxy architecture to deliver a full portfolio of Software-as-a-Service web and network security systems. The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Delaware, claims that Zscaler violated Symantec's patents around web security, data loss prevention, threat prevention, access control and antivirus.

Zscaler issued a statement saying it is assessing the lawsuit's claims, but vowed to "defend ourselves vigorously against lawsuits of this nature."