WannaCrypt Ransomware Malware Announcement from CenturyLink Cloud

May 25, 2017
By Christine Sala

On May 12, 2017, Microsoft issued a statement confirming a number of their customers had been affected by the malicious WannaCrypt ransomware malware. CenturyLink has taken steps to ensure our Cloud environment has the latest patches and is monitoring for any additional related vulnerabilities.

If you believe your organization is impacted we recommend all CenturyLink Cloud customers take the below steps to further secure your environment:

  • Install Microsoft Security Update MS17-010 to address the vulnerabilities by correcting how SMBv1 handles specially crafted requests. Details here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx
  • Confirm that anti-malware is deployed and updated and work with your provider to confirm you are protected.
  • Ensure the following IP ports (TCP 139, TCP 445, UDP 137 and UDP 138) are blocked at the firewall unless essential to your operations.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please contact [email protected]

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    Vormetric Live Data Transformation – Boldly Going Where No Encryption Has Gone Before

    May 11, 2017
    By Eric Wolff

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    Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem to share how their technology on the CenturyLink Marketplace provides customers with low-friction solutions to solve complex business challenges. This editions guest author from the Cloud Marketplace Provider Program is Eric Wolff, Senior Product Marketing Manager, at Thales e-Security. Thales e-Security acquired our long-term partner Vormetric earlier this year.

    Downtime – nobody likes it. Unplanned downtime is almost always expensive. A 2015 report from IDC even revealed that for the Fortune 1000, the average total cost of unplanned application downtime is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion per year.

    Planned downtime is also a pain. Before I was in the security business, I marketed network solutions that were “bumps on the wire” which required planned downtime for deployment. There were ways to minimize or even reduce the downtime, but they were complicated.

    These same downtime obstacles present themselves with encryption. There's a great return on investment (ROI) – you can sleep better knowing that data thieves get nothing they can use (and how happy you’re making the compliance team). But, for enterprise-class encryption, there’s almost always a planned downtime period while tens of thousands of files or...

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    Leveling Up Your Digital Transformation with CenturyLink & Dynatrace

    April 25, 2017
    By Nathan A. Treska

    Periodically, we turn over control of the CenturyLink Cloud blog to members of our certified technology Ecosystem. This editions guest author is Nathan A. Treska, Director Global Strategic Alliances, at Dynatrace.

    Building Strategic Alliances

    2017 marks the 9th year of partnership between CenturyLink and Dynatrace. It’s been an amazing journey together, but what’s next you may ask? Good question… both companies continue to evolve and innovate, because if we don’t, customers and the competitive landscape will evolve around us before we know it! The mission of our alliance is to help our customer’s applications perform to their maximum business objective, via the execution venue that fits each customers respective business demands. Ensuring application performance for new initiatives is one of the most critical steps for any digital transformation.

    As the complexity of applications and platforms continues to grow and cloud adoption continues to expand, IT teams are rethinking how they monitor and manage their distributed, web scale applications and dynamic infrastructures. Application performance drives customer experiences, employee productivity and revenue – making a comprehensive application monitoring and management strategy increasingly critical for every organization.

    Digital transformations accomplish the most dramatic change in status for businesses. With digital technology driving the business, you can move faster, serve...

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    Top 3 Ways to Update Your IT Infrastructure in 90 Days

    March 20, 2017
    By Daniel Morton

    Reading Time: about 5 minutes

    The cloud should create choices, not limit them. The business needs of your company should not be restricted by the feature sets offered through one competitor versus another. We live in an on-demand, location-diverse, fully-connected world. All digital initiatives require a platform which can adapt and respond to varying business demands.

    CenturyLink brings a true hybrid computing model to our customers, built on years of experience operating datacenters, applications, and networks. One key enabler of these benefits is the CenturyLink® Enterprise Cloud Platform, which has helped our IT services evolve into an anytime, anywhere set of offerings. Our focus on automating the “Hybrid IT Stack” - managed workloads, datacenter infrastructure, and network connectivity – enables our customers to focus on total solutions that add transformative benefits over time.

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    Here is how David Shacochis, VP of Product Management for Hybrid IT Services describes our Hybrid IT delivery platform: Our focus is on helping customers transform their IT operations through a cohesive set of services that span cloud, network, and management. We’ve seen how this can overcome obstacles to digital transformation that the pure-play platforms cannot erase on their own. Click here for the full article. As a single-source...

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    Preventing Customer-Impacting Incidents Using the Power of Data

    February 13, 2017
    By Ryan Kirk, PhD., Principal Data Scientist, CenturyLink Cloud

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    A previous post discussed our approach to real-time anomaly detection. Recalling that for every unique stream of data, we predicted what the actual value should be. Then, if an actual value was different than our expectations, we flagged it as anomalous. Combining this anomaly detection approach with our real-time, faceted dashboard allows analysts to easily pinpoint areas of the cloud infrastructure that behave peculiarly.

    This article expands on anomaly detection and dives into further detail on how to use data to detect and prevent customer-impacting events from taking place. Additionally, we’ll discuss how we further automate the analysts’ search process, determine the presence of customer impact, and integrate our predictions within the rest of the business to facilitate resolution. This post will cover:

    • The similarities and differences in the lifecycle of data science and that of system architects
    • How we detect the presence of unknown events
    • How to determine whether an event is potentially impacting
    • How to integrate this information into business’ operations

    The Lifecycle of Data Science

    There are at least as many definitions of data science as there are data scientists. At its core, data science requires both data and science. This means that these professionals are intimately familiar with extracting, cleaning, processing, and analyzing data....

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    Skynet - Urgent Incident Automation

    January 24, 2017
    By Jessica Weber & Chris Welkenstein

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    Reading Time: About 6 minutes

    Our Customer Care team at CenturyLink Cloud® is unconventional in many ways; one way is their use of internally-built automation that make their tasks simpler and more productive. They've got a whole list of scripts, tools, apps, and bots that they have developed to aid in their efficiency. The team has created these tools so that they can spend more time helping customers instead of performing repetitious tasks; their continuous improvement process helps them increase their pace and decrease their customer's time to resolution. One of these many tools is Skynet, a Slack bot and tool developed to orchestrate and handle the urgent incident requests received by the team.

    Incident Identification

    So, what classifies as an urgent incident? The accepted definition at CenturyLink Cloud is any incident that affects two or more customers or an entire product or service. These incidents are considered urgent because they have the capacity to affect a large amount of functionality for customers. The incidents take top priority with the Customer Care team responding throughout the incident to keep customers informed of the working status in a timely manner.

    The Skynet bot was designed to officially announce and prepare these incidents by automating all...

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    Mastering the Digital Customer Experience at Dynatrace Perform 2017!

    January 17, 2017
    By Bob Stolzberg

    digital customer

    Dynatrace, a CenturyLink channel alliance partner, is hosting the largest peer-to-peer digital performance management event in the world, Perform 2017! Taking place February 6th–9th in Las Vegas, the event provides organizations a platform to explore how to transform their businesses and an opportunity to learn from top leaders in the digital performance and customer experience arena. The event includes 75 speakers, 60+ hands-on training sessions, and in-depth education and certification opportunities. Perform’s jam-packed thought leadership agenda includes industry-leading speakers who will share their expertise and provide how-to ways to help you shift your business to the cloud, master digital complexity, create waves within your industry, and, most importantly, delight your users and customers!

    Attendees at Perform 2017 will learn:

    • Performance and architecture validation with continuous integration

    • Gaining business intelligence via PureLytics and big data

    • Advanced eCommerce monitoring – Performance and business metrics

    • Super charge your public cloud performance management

    • Uncover your path to digital performance excellence – Six steps to success

    And more!

    Master Your Cloud Application Universe with Dynatrace and CenturyLink

    CenturyLink is a proud diamond sponsor of Perform 2017. Our subject matter experts will be on-site covering...

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    Using Cloud Storage in Your Data Protection Strategy

    January 3, 2017
    By Jessica Weber

    Data Protection Puzzle

    Reading Time: about 7 minutes

    Many businesses opt to use Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), particularly for cloud storage, backup, and disaster recovery, to improve upon their existing storage options while controlling costs. The scalability and flexibility of the cloud has a lot to do with these cost-saving measures; many companies pay very little upfront to access a wide variety of storage options, and scale those options up or down as their demand shifts.

    In fact, there are many reasons that IaaS offerings have broad appeal – businesses see the value in low capital investments, paying as they go, anywhere access, and tight security. Unlike many in-house options, using cloud services means that the burden of IT development and upkeep is on the cloud provider, not the primary business. The IT staff at the cloud company take care of the routine and maintenance tasks associated with storage and backup. This allows organizations to focus on other areas within their business services, while still having a reliable way to safeguard their information.

    Data Protection Defined

    Developing a data protection strategy for your organization primarily means thinking about how your critical data would survive a complete failure of some kind. One of the most important decisions your business can...

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    6 Reasons to Use Bare Metal in the Cloud for Gaming

    December 19, 2016
    By Daniel Morton

    Bare Metal Logo

    Reading Time: about 4 minutes

    Power Up for Game On! Today's gamer has come to expect fast development turn-around for high definition, no-latency, multi-player games with the speed that is available globally. In short, they want a seamless, dynamic gaming experience. To deliver on these expectations, many game developers and publishers look for hosted infrastructure that is high-powered and built on speed, performance, scalability, and high availability to provide games to their customers. Anything less than that is insufficient. A platform that is sluggish or delivers interrupted performance means "game over". And that impacts the game publisher's bottom line. CenturyLink addresses that challenge.

    You can build a scalable server architecture for your gaming engine that leverages all the advantages available to you on the CenturyLink Cloud® platform while voiding the capital expenses associated with managing an in-house data center. Our high-performing CenturyLink Cloud infrastructure allows you to focus on the things you do best — creating unbelievable games and bringing them to market. Bare Metal servers on our platform give you the ability to deliver an awesome gaming experience seamlessly, with more computing power available to you than you usually find in a virtualized environment.

    Advantages of Gaming on Bare Metal

    The CenturyLink...

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    Transform Your IT via the CenturyLink Cloud Platform

    December 16, 2016
    By David Shacochis

    Helping our customers transform IT through a cohesive set of services that span workloads, infrastructure, and network is our core focus at CenturyLink. Many service providers in the market are focused exclusively on innovating within the cloud services layer, and then partnering for service management and network connectivity. CenturyLink’s strategy is more workload-oriented: We focus on integrating solutions that span the layers of the Hybrid IT stack because we feel it unlocks more value for our customers over time.

    Customers have different needs, and many are gravitating toward strategic partners like CenturyLink to support a range of workload scenarios. Businesses can unleash the power of the CenturyLink platform, to create a recipe of products and services that not only meet their individual business needs, but also offload onerous tactical items where IT departments often can't afford to invest scarce resources.

    The CenturyLink Cloud platform is one of the core pieces of this strategy. We've architected our platform to be an easy way for enterprise technology efforts to get started quickly, with access to the right networks. We expose this platform publicly, so that our customers and partners can co-innovate with us.

    We have created a quick "Platform Overview" video highlighting the...

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    Detecting and acting upon anomalous events in an IoT network

    December 7, 2016
    By Ryan Kirk, PhD., Principal Data Scientist, CenturyLink Cloud

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    CenturyLink Cloud facilitates real-time, data-driven, situational analysis through real-time anomaly detection at a global scale.

    Many practitioners and researchers are familiar with cloud computing. However, a seldom-discussed aspect of this industry is the way that we use data to operate business. From operations to marketing, our decision-makers rely on timely, accurate data about our ecosystem that they can use to make both short- and long-term decisions.

    This blog discusses the analytical side of cloud computing. It covers the global landscape of thousands of interconnected devices. Additionally, it discusses how we at CenturyLink use data from these to help inform how we manage a healthy cloud ecosystem. Finally, it describes one of the analytical techniques that CenturyLink Cloud uses to achieve real-time, situational awareness about the health of every device. In particular, we will cover the following topics:

    • What data do we collect?
    • How do we make use of this data?
    • How do we create smart alerts?
    • How does all of this drive value and impact our business?

    Dragnet the Infrastructure, not the Consumer

    Collecting signals from every smart device results in a data lake that contains many types of signals. This digital data exhaust represents the only tangible artifacts we have to describe the interactions of customers...

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