5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

The Week Ending March 16

Topping this week's roundup of companies that came to win is Microsoft for expanding its bug bounty initiatives and offering some big incentives to help prevent another Meltdown- or Spectre-type disaster.

Also making the list this week are solution provider Ensono for its planned $405 million acquisition of Wipro's data center services business, Apple for hiring an Oracle sales executive as part of a drive to grow its enterprise sales, Attivo Networks for hiring a former FireEye chief technology executive, and Intel for its plans to bring hardware-level protection against the Spectre and Meltdown exploits.

Not everyone in the IT industry was making smart moves this week, of course. For a rundown of companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions, check out this week's 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week roundup.

Microsoft Introduces New Big Bounties To Discover More Side Channel Vulnerabilities

Microprocessor flaws remain a concern for chipmakers and for the software developers whose products run on them, after dealing with the fallout from the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities earlier this year.

So Microsoft wins kudos this week for offering up some serious cash rewards to encourage intrepid bug hunters to help discover the next Meltdown- and Spectre-style vulnerabilities – or identify ways Microsoft's products might still be vulnerable to those chip security flaws.

Thursday Microsoft launched a bug bounty program to encourage research into this new class of threats. The program, effective until the end of this year, pays up to $250,000 to anyone discovering the next incarnation of Meltdown and Spectre.

Security flaw detectives can earn $200,000 for uncovering flaws in the Meltdown and Spectre patches Microsoft development for Windows and its Azure cloud platform. And $25,000 goes to anyone who finds ways to siphon data across "trusted boundaries" in Windows 10 or the Microsoft Edge browser by exploiting Spectre or Meltdown.

Ensono Plans To Acquire Wipro's Data Center Business, Aggressively Build Out Its Cloud Business

Solution provider Ensono struck a deal this week with India-based Wipro to acquire the IT services and consulting giant's data center business for $405 million.

The move will expand Ensono's data center footprint into new geographies, including India, and double the service provider's European business. It also will give Ensono the power to provide a broad range of cloud solutions to meet any customer's cloud computing needs, CEO Jeff VonDeylen told CRN.

Ensono, based in Downers Grove, Ill., already offers infrastructure management services including mainframe, private and public cloud services. While the acquisition of Wipro's data centers will expand Ensono's offerings across the board, it will especially boost the company's ambitious cloud services initiatives.

A pple Hires Oracle Channel Veteran To Help Drive Enterprise Sales Growth

Apple made a big move in the personnel department this week, hiring Robert Ochoa, formerly a senior director of Western region channel sales at Oracle, as part of a drive to grow its enterprise sales footprint, CRN reported this week.

Ochoa, who more than doubled the size of Oracle's channel business in the West, is taking a job overseeing Apple sales through several large national solution providers including Zones, PCM and Insight.

The savvy hire comes as Apple is building up its B2B channel sales team, including searching for a U.S. business channel development lead, among other global channel managers.

Attivo Networks Snags Ex-FireEye CTO To Accelerate Vertical Market Expansion

Staying on the topic of savvy hires, Attivo Networks scored this week when it named Tony Cole, previously global government CTO at security tech developer FireEye, as its own new CTO.

Attivo, a developer of deception-based cyber threat detection systems, looks to boost its presence in the government, financial services, and oil and gas vertical markets.

Attivo brought Cole on board to help the company differentiate its security platform from competitors in the market. His task will be similar to the job he performed at FireEye, where he oversaw strategy and played a role in shaping the company's product portfolio, and its sales and marketing strategies.

Intel: Hardware-Level Protection Against Spectre/Meltdown Coming In New Core, Xeon Processors

Intel wins applause this week for its plans to bring hardware-level protection against the Spectre and Meltdown exploits to new eighth-generation Core and Xeon processors coming out later this year.

Intel's Xeon Scalable processors (code-named Cascade Lake) and its eighth-generation Core Processors will ship with hardware-based protection in the second half of 2018, said CEO Brian Krzanich (pictured) in a blog post Wednesday. The company has also released microcode updates to address vulnerabilities for all Intel products released in the last five years, Krzanich said.

The move fulfills a pledge Krzanich made in January to release processors later this year aimed at eliminating the threat posed by the Spectre and Meltdown exploits. Wednesday's blog post provided new details of that plan.

And additional cheers for Intel, which at its Intel Partner Connect 2018 conference this week said it's going full throttle on developing solutions, a major shift from its product-centric strategy of the past. The new focus on solutions includes plans to dramatically scale up its "market-ready" Internet of Things solutions and the launch of a new set of data center offerings dubbed Intel Select Solutions.