News briefs: PCI cloud confusion clarified, Alcatel-Lucent CEO resigns

These briefs address new PCI guidelines for cloud providers, IBM's new servers for SMB private clouds, and the resignation of Alcatel-Lucent's CEO.

New guidelines clarify PCI cloud confusion for providers

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council released some advice for cloud providers to guide their handling of credit card data. The council, a global forum focused on standards for payment card security, recently published a new set of guidelines to summarize cloud providers' roles and responsibilities when processing and storing credit card data.

This new supplement to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (DSS) outlines key considerations for achieving PCI cloud compliance in various deployment models and layers of technology. Although the new guidelines don't define specific technical configurations, the appendices offer examples of ways to document the layers of the cloud environment and allocate security responsibilities between providers and clients.

CEO of struggling Alcatel-Lucent resigns

The chief executive of telecommunications equipment company Alcatel-Lucent, Ben Verwaayen, has stepped down, explaining in a statement he believed it was time for the company to seek fresh leadership, according to the New York Times.

Major fourth-quarter losses preceded the resignation of the Dutch businessman, who has led the France-based company since fall 2008. During that time, shares have shrunk by more than half and the company has not paid a dividend, despite Verwaayen's promises to restore the company's once-reliable profitability by 2012.

Alcatel-Lucent has yet to name a successor, whom investors hope will be a high-profile individual well versed in the international telecom industry. Industry analyst Tom Nolle questioned the feasibility of turning Alcatel-Lucent around, arguing that a shift toward success requires radical changes in the company's culture and how it articulates its position in the market. Most notably, Alcatel-Lucent hasn't pieced together a coherent story on how its metro network portfolio ties into its vision for initiatives like cloud and software-defined networking, Nolle wrote in his blog.

Parallels' SMB Cloud Insights Report highlights continued growth

Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) remain the fastest-growing segment of the cloud services market, according to the third annual SMB Cloud Insights report released by software vendor Parallels. Findings from Parallels' research indicate cloud-based storage and website building tools are key profit points for providers, given strong SMB interest in these areas.

Parallels predicts the global cloud market will continue its upward trend, increasing at a 28% compound annual growth rate through the next two years to reach $95 million. The forecasted growth rate for the SMB cloud market in the U.S. is 19%, driven primarily by a mounting interest in Software as a Service applications and bundled cloud services offered at discounted prices.

New servers part of IBM strategy to target SMBs

In a move to secure the business of SMBs, IBM has launched a series of low-cost servers to provide fresh options for data analytics and private cloud deployments.

As International Business Times reported, the servers run on the same Power 7+ processors as IBM's Watson supercomputer. Taking advantage of its microelectronics division, the world's largest in-house chip developer, IBM has priced the sophisticated technology at just under $6,000. Steve Sibley, IBM's director of Power Systems Offering Management, told PCWorld the servers will help businesses manage inventory, build catalogs, handle supply chains and deploy private clouds.

Businesses remain skeptical about public cloud

The buzz around cloud is still substantial, but it's largely centered on internal projects, according to a new study released by 451 Research. The research company surveyed 100 IT professionals from medium and large businesses, finding that 47% have internal clouds planned as either their number one or number two cloud project, with Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) coming in as the next biggest priorities, according to CMSWire. Many of the enterprises surveyed were skeptical about whether public clouds would mean savings for their business. More than one-third predicted up to 10% savings from internal cloud projects, largely as a result of increased automation. Though only around one quarter of the professionals surveyed indicated they currently used a cloud platform, 40% of respondents are planning deployment of a platform in the next 18 months. Among those businesses using public cloud IaaS, Amazon Web Services "remains the clear leader" with 19% of survey respondents currently using its services, followed by Verizon Terremark (8%) and Rackspace (5%), according to the study.

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