5 Tech Observations: 11 February 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news insights, perspectives, views, chatter and gossip to start your day for Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

Actually, today's update includes 12 beefy items that are safe for vegan consumption, too.

12. Media Hacks Targeting You?: Newsweek's Twitter feed was hacked this week, and Forbes' website was hacked in late November 2014. The Forbes breach was particularly concerning. Hackers reprogrammed a widget on the site to send malicious code to readers' computers. The alleged target: Forbes readers who work in the U.S. defense and financial services industries, according to The Washington Post. 

11.  That Hurt: A list of the biggest hacks and data breaches from 2014 shows a few key trends. First, hackers are obsessed with getting user data. Second, three key vertical markets (retail, financial services, healthcare) seem to be the prime targets. And third, if you think your company is immune you could wind up on the 2015 list of biggest hacks and data breaches...

10. Careful of Those Claims: Roughly 70 percent of enterprises are adopting Docker containers, according to a StackEngine survey. Of course, the survey could have been a bit jaded since StackEngine is closely associated with the Docker movement. It's sort of like polling iPhone users to see if they plan to use Apple's App store... Even so, I don't question Docker's overall momentum.

9. Behind SAP's Cloud Push: CEO Bill McDermott shares his vision and SAP cloud milestones in this interview. In the long run, he claims, "you make a lot more money in the cloud." Not so fast, Mr. McDermott. Long-run success requires years and years of successful execution. And even then, can cloud margins ever match on-premises IT software margins -- which milked maintenance fees? Don't get me wrong: SAP, Oracle and many other established software giants are successfully transitioning to cloud models. But I don't necessarily believe the profit upside is somehow much larger in the cloud.

8. When to Turn Down VC & Angel Money: Serial Entrepreneur Jay Samit accurately points out "there is no such thing as money for nothing and exits aren't free." In a blog, Samit says there are four reasons to turn down funding. First, if you're building a minimally viable product (MVP), which allows your team to really focus rather than overbuilding and over thinking a solution. Second, don't raise the money if you only plan to hire aging bands for a big media event. Third, the more money and investors you have, the less control you have over the company's direction. And finally, if you raise too much capital it actually limits your exit options, he asserts.

7. Big IBM Debate: After Nines Inc. stirred quite the debate about IBM Corp.'s business over on SeekingAlpha. Has the IT giant bottomed out -- thanks to growing cloud, mobile and big data assets? Or are CEO Ginni Rometty's leadership moves too little, too late for IBM? I've shared my opinions. Now, feel free to share yours.

6. Cisco Earnings: The networking giant will announce 2Q 2015 results today (Feb. 11) after Wall Street's closing bell. Here are the four Cisco factors I'll be tracking during the earnings call.

5. Money Matters: Quixey, the app search engine, apparently is getting ready to raise $60 million. Also, AppDirect has raised $50 million in Series D funding -- bringing total capital raised to $110 million. AppDirect's platform allows customers to find, buy and use software. Translation: The company is a modern-day software distributor.

4. More Encryption: Yes, HP just acquired an encryption company. Now, Box is taking steps to let storage customers control encryption for security. On the one hand, that sounds like a great step. On the other hand: Customers can barely manage their own passwords. Now you're letting them manage encryption?

3. Congrats: M&A veteran Tim Brewer has co-launched Go Capital Australia -- which provides strategic consulting, corporate advisory and private equity services. The startup focuses on the technology and financial services markets. Brewer is on the IT speaking circuit worldwide, and frequently surfaces at SMB-related IT conferences in the U.S. If you have a chance, be sure to catch one of his talks.

2. They're Hiring: StoneHill Technical Solutions CIO Brendan Cosgrove says his Southern California IT firm is in hiring mode -- with a mid-level systems admin post being a key priority. We're happy to spread the word.

1. Listen Up: Several leading CEOs and CMOs have confirmed slots on our weekly podcast, Good Evening, I.T. Entrepreneurs. Check out the lineup and archived conversations here. The podcasts are designed for I.T. entrepreneurs seeking business, financial and tech guidance.

Bonus: Two items just came in.

  • One involves a cloud backup and business continuity company raising Series [Undisclosed] funding. You likely know the name but I doubt you know the details. We'll share them soon.
  • Second, more details about Gerald Blackie's next company -- Pilixo -- are expected in the next few weeks.

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