Incite 10/3/2012: Cash is King

Last Friday was the end of the third calendar quarter. For you math majors out there, that’s the 3-month period ending September 30. Inevitably I had meetings and calls canceled at the last minute to deal with “end of quarter” issues. This happens every quarter, so it wasn’t surprising. Just funny. Basically most companies report their revenues and earnings (even the private ones) based on an arbitrary reporting period, usually a calendar quarter. Companies provide significant incentives for sales reps to close deals by the end of each quarter. Buying hardware and software has become a game where purchasing managers sit on large purchase orders (POs) until the end of the quarter to see what extra discounts they can extract in exchange for processing the order on time. I guess other businesses are probably like that too, but I only have direct experience with hardware and software. Even small companies can enjoy the fun. We subscribed to a new SaaS service last week and the rep threw in an extra month on the deal if we signed by Sept 30th. So the last week of the quarter runs something like this: Sales reps pound the voice mails of their contacts to see if and when the PO will be issued. They do this because their sales managers pound their voice mails for status updates. Which happens because VPs of Sales pound the phones of sales managers. It’s a good thing phone service is basically free nowadays. A tweet from Chis Hoff reminded me of the end of Q craziness as he was sweating a really big order coming through. I’ve never had the pleasure (if you can call it that) of waiting for a 9 figure PO to arrive, though I have done my share of hunching over the fax machine thru the years. But the whole end of Q stuff is nonsense. Why are orders any less important if they come in on October 3? Of course they’re not. But tell that to a rep who got his walking papers because the deal didn’t hit by Sept 30th. That’s why I like cash. I can pay my mortgage with cash. We can buy cool Securosis bowling shirts and even upgrade to the iPhone 5, even if AT&T forced us to pay full price since we already upgraded to the 4S and weren’t going to wait until March to upgrade. Cash is king in my book. As the CFO, I don’t have to worry about accruals or any of that other accounting nonsense. It’s liberating. Do work. Bill clients. Get paid. Repeat. Obviously cash accounting doesn’t work for big companies or some smaller businesses. And that’s OK. It works for us. –Mike Photo credits: cash is king originally uploaded by fiveinchpixie Heavy Research We’re back at work on a variety of blog series, so here is a list of the research currently underway. Remember you can get our Heavy Feed via RSS, where you can get all our content in its unabridged glory. And you can get all our research papers too. Defending Against Denial of Service (DoS) Attacks The Attacks Introduction Securing Big Data Recommendations and Open Issues Operational Security Issues Architectural Issues Security Issues with Hadoop Incite 4 U Now this is some funny NMAP: Bloggers know the pain of fending off the Hakin9 folks’ endless attempts to get free contributions to their magazine. I just delete the requests and move on. But a bunch of pissed off (and very funny) security folks decided to write an NMAP article that, well, you have to read to believe. The title is: “Nmap: The Internet Considered Harmful – DARPA Inference Cheking Kludge Scanning.” [sic] Right, they refer to the remediations as DICKS throughout the article. Really. How funny is that? And they used some white paper generator, which spit out mostly nonsensical gibberish. Clearly no one actually read the article before it was published, which would be sad if it wasn’t so damn funny. Just another reminder that you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Fyodor provides additional context. – MR Hope is not a DDoS strategy: Looks like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have hit the big time. That happens when a series of attacks take down well-known financial institutions like Wells Fargo. Our timing is impeccable – we are currently writing a series on Defending Against DoS attacks (see the posts linked above). The NWW article says banks can only hope for the best. Uh, WTF? Hope for the best?!?!? Hope doesn’t keep your website up, folks. But these attacks represent brute force. There are many other tactics (including attacking web apps) that can be just as effective as knocking down your site, without melting your pipes. Mike Smith has it right when he says Information, not Hope is key to Surviving DDoS attacks. Mike’s post talks about how Akamai deals with these attacks (at a high level, anyway) for themselves and their customers. Like most security functions nowadays, there is enough data to analyze and draw conclusions. Find the patterns and design mitigations to address the attacks. Or hope for the best, and let me know how that works out for you. – MR Cloudicomplications: Those of you who follow me on Twitter may recall my epic struggles with OpenStack about a year and a half ago. We decided to use it for the private cloud lab in the CCSK training class, and I was stuck with the task of building a self-contained virtual lab that would be resilient to various networks and student systems, given the varied competence of instructors and students. OpenStack was hella-immature at the time and building the lab nearly ended me. Last week the latest version (Folsom) was released and it is supposedly much more mature, especially in networking, which was the part that really complicated the labs. But as Lydia Leong at Gartner reports, open isn’t really open when the project is run by competing vendors operating out

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