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From our blog

No More Heroes Creator Suda51 Has Talked With Marvel About Working On A Game

It’s no surprise when a video game developer says they want to make a Marvel game. Marvel is chock full of exciting super villains and heroes to explore in video games, and the different abilities and powers of each make for some exciting gameplay. One only needs to look at titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man to see that. However, No More Heroes creator Suda51 recently told Japanese publication Automaton that he’s met with Marvel to talk about working on a game, as reported by Video Games Chronicle. Of course, this doesn’t mean Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture, which NetEase recently acquired, are working on a Marvel game, so don’t get too excited just yet. 

When asked about Grasshopper Manufacture’s plans to release three original IP games over the next ten years, Suda51 reiterated this desire but also mentioned the idea of maybe making a Marvel game. 

“The first thing we’re going to do is create original IP,” Suda51 told Automaton, as translated by VGC. “Until now, we’ve worked with publishers who have their own IPs, and we’ve been given the budget to make them on commission. For independent studios, this is often the case. From now on, we’d like to create three new IPs and launch them one by one. However, we have also said that we would like to make IPs that are based on attractive original works, if there are any. I think that will depend on discussions we have with Marvel Studios. If Marvel Studios comes up with something good, we’ll think about it.” 

“I’m sorry, I was saying that from the top down, I’m just kidding,” he continued. “But we’ve had a few meetings with Marvel, and we’ve talked about the possibility of working together on something. We hope that the power of video games will help boost these opportunities.” 

So there you have it – Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture have met with Marvel. Here’s hoping those discussions went well because we’d love to see what a Marvel game developed by the developer of No More Heroes 3 would look and play like. 

For more, check out our thoughts on Grasshopper Manufacture’s latest in Game Informer’s No More Heroes 3 review and then read about how NetEase acquired Grasshopper Manufacture. Check out Game Informer’s breakdown of Grasshopper Manufacture’s history after that. 

[Source: Automaton via Video Games Chronicle]

What superhero or supervillain would you like to see in a Marvel game developed by Grasshopper Manufacture? Let us know in the comments below!

Five risks of moving your database to the cloud

Provided byEDBMoving to the cloud is all the rage. According to an IDC Survey Spotlight, Experience in Migrating Databases to the Cloud, 63% of enterprises are actively migrating their databases to the cloud, and another 29% are considering doing so within the next three years. This article discusses some of the risks customers may unwittingly encounter when moving their database to a database as a service (DBaaS) in the cloud, especially when the DBaaS leverages open source database software such as Apache Cassandra, MariaDB, MySQL, Postgres, or Redis. At EDB, we classify these risks into five categories: support, service, technology stagnation, cost, and lock-in. Moving to the cloud without sufficient diligence and risk mitigation can lead to significant cost overruns and project delays, and more importantly, may mean that enterprises do not get the expected business benefits from cloud migration. Because EDB focuses on the Postgres database, I will draw the specifics from our experiences with Postgres services, but the conclusions are equally valid for other open source database services. Support risk. Customers running software for production applications need support, whether they run in the cloud or on premises. Support for enterprise-level software must cover two aspects: expert advice on how to use the product correctly, especially in challenging circumstances, and quickly addressing bugs and defects that impact production or the move to production. For commercial software, a minimal level of support is bundled with the license. Open source databases don’t come with a license. This opens the door for a cloud database provider to create and operate a database service without investing sufficiently in the open source community to address bugs and provide support.
Customers can evaluate a cloud database provider’s ability to support their cloud migration by checking the open source software release notes and identifying team members who actively participate in the project. For example, for Postgres, the release notes are freely available, and they name every individual who has contributed new features or bug fixes. Other open source communities follow similar practices. Open source cloud database providers that are not actively involved in the development and bug fixing process cannot provide both aspects of support—advice and rapid response to problems—which presents a significant risk to cloud migration.
Service Risk. Databases are complex software products. Many users need expert advice and hands-on assistance to configure databases correctly to achieve optimal performance and high availability, especially when moving from familiar on-premises deployments to the cloud. Cloud database providers that do not offer consultative and expert professional services to facilitate this move introduce risk into the process. Such providers ask the customer to assume the responsibilities of a general contractor and to coordinate between the DBaaS provider and potential professional services providers. Instead of a single entity they can consult to help them achieve a seamless deployment with the required performance and availability levels, they get caught in the middle, having to coordinate and mitigate issues between vendors. Customers can reduce this risk by making sure they clearly understand who is responsible for the overall success of their deployment, and that this entity is indeed in a position to execute the entire project successfully. Technology stagnation risk. The shared responsibility model is a key component of a DBaaS. While the user handles schema definition and query tuning, the cloud database provider applies minor version updates and major version upgrades. Not all providers are committed to upgrading in a timely manner—and some can lag significantly. At the time of this writing, one of the major Postgres DBaaS providers lags the open source community by almost three years in their deployment of Postgres versions. While DBaaS providers can selectively backport security fixes, a delayed application of new releases can put customers in a situation where they miss out on new database capabilities, sometimes for years. Customers need to inspect a provider’s historical track record of applying upgrades to assess this exposure. A similar risk is introduced when a proprietary cloud database provider tries to create their own fork or version of well-known open source software. Sometimes this is done to optimize the software for the cloud environment or address license restrictions. Forked versions can deviate significantly from the better-known parent or fall behind the open source version. Well-known examples of such forks or proprietary versions are Aurora Postgres (a Postgres derivative), Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility), and Amazon OpenSearch Service (originally derived from Elasticsearch). Users need to be careful when adopting cloud-specific versions or forks of open source software. Capabilities can deviate over time, and the cloud database provider may or may not adopt the new capabilities of the open source version. Cost risk. Leading cloud database services have not experienced meaningful direct price increases. However, there is a growing understanding that the nature of cloud services can drive significant cost risk, especially in the case of self-service and rapid elasticity combined with an intransparent cost model. In on-premises environments, database administrators (DBAs) and developers must optimize code to achieve performance with the available hardware. In the cloud, it can be much more expedient to ask the cloud provider to increase provisioned input/output operations per second (IOPS), compute, or memory to optimize performance. As each increase instance drives up cost, such a short-term fix is likely to have long-lasting negative cost impacts.  Users mitigate the cost risk in two ways: (1) close supervision of the increases of IOPS, CPU, and memory to make sure they are balanced against the cost of application optimization; (2) scrutiny of the cost models of DBaaS providers to identify and avoid vendors with complex and unpredictable cost models. Lock-in risk. Cloud database services can create a “Hotel California” effect, where data cannot easily leave the cloud again, in several ways. While data egress cost is often mentioned, general data gravity and the integration with other cloud-specific tools for data management and analysis are more impactful. Data gravity is a complex concept that, at a high level, purports that once a business data set is available on a cloud platform, more applications likely will be deployed using the data on that platform, which in turn makes it less likely that the data can be moved elsewhere without significant business impact. Cloud-specific tools are also a meaningful driver for lock-in. All cloud platforms provide convenient and proprietary data management and analysis tools. While they help derive business value quickly, they also create lock-in. Users can mitigate the cloud lock-in effect by carefully avoiding the use of proprietary cloud tools and by making sure they only use DBaaS solutions that support efficient data replication to other clouds. Planning for risk. Moving databases to the cloud is undoubtedly a target for many organizations, but doing so is not risk-free. Businesses need to fully investigate and understand potential weaknesses of cloud database providers in the areas of support, services, technology stagnation, cost, and lock-in. While these risks are not a reason to shy away from the cloud, it’s important to address them up front, and to understand and mitigate them as part of a carefully considered cloud migration strategy. This content was produced by EDB. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.

How CISOs are preparing to tackle 2022

Looking back over the last year, the security landscape has continued to experience significant change and escalation. Every day, we see the toll this is taking on organizations of all sizes as they navigate the enduring challenges of the pandemic, the expansion of the digital estate, and the evolution of threats. As defenders ourselves, we understand the relentless commitment required to safeguard people and organizations in this environment. It is our mission to ensure security leaders have the tools and resources they need to succeed in this important work. To continually understand the priorities and concerns of our community, we run research with security leaders every six months. I wanted to share some of those insights with you, as you may find the information valuable in your work.

To begin, the top five challenges shown below, as reported by survey takers, are very consistent with what I’m hearing in my regular interactions with customers and partners. 

Addressing ransomware is number one, followed closely by cloud security

The security leaders we talk to are feeling the pressure—managing the risk of ransomware and cyber extortion was reported as their number one challenge this past year. According to the 2021 Ransomware Survey Report, ransomware grew by 1,070 percent between July 2020 and June 2021.1 Data from Microsoft’s Detection and Response Team (DART) in the latest Microsoft Digital Defense Report shows that cybercrime supply chains are consolidating and maturing.2 No longer do individual cybercriminals have to develop their own tools. Today, they can simply buy proven cybercrime kits and services to incorporate into their campaigns. This gives the average cybercriminal access to better tools and automation to enable scale and drive down costs. As a result, attacks of all types are on the rise, with the economics behind successful ransomware attacks fueling a rapid trajectory.

Cloud security has also been pushed into the forefront as security leaders adapt to the realities of the pandemic and the shift to hybrid work.3 The cloud represents significant opportunities for scale and agility. At the same time, cloud security technologies are evolving, and customers are looking for ways to simplify security across their entire portfolio.

Investment priorities for 2022

Aligned to the top cybersecurity challenges, cloud security lands as the top area of security investment over the next 12 months. For most security leaders, this means prioritizing investments that help them close gaps, protect workloads, and secure access to cloud resources. Security leaders tell us this is an area in which they’re looking for solutions that can help them tackle these challenges comprehensively—with so many organizations having a multi-cloud environment, the integration will be key. Microsoft is committed to delivering end-to-end cloud security that works across all clouds.

Protecting data is fundamental to positive business outcomes, so it’s not a surprise that data security continues to rank high on the list of priorities among respondents. Hybrid work and the acceleration of digital transformation are massively expanding the amount of data that needs to be protected, amplifying the need for comprehensive data security. We predict that organizations of all sizes will need to continue to evolve their data security strategy to keep up with changes in the digital environment.  

Following cloud and data security, we’re also hearing that decision-makers have increased interest in investing in vulnerability management and vulnerability assessment as they prioritize prevention initiatives. We are also seeing growing interest in emerging technologies like extended detection and response (XDR), IoT and operational technology (OT) security, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions. With XDR, organizations can better detect and respond to threats across their complex ecosystems. Many organizations also use IoT and OT technologies and are looking for ways to close gaps in protection and address potential vulnerabilities. A SASE solution can help with providing secure access to resources at the edge, enabling more flexibility, visibility, and control.

Reading list for 2022

As security leaders look to mitigate threats now and in the near future, we’re seeing an increased focus on improving the prevention capabilities of the highest growth threat vectors, such as cloud security, access management, cloud workloads, hybrid work, and ransomware. An overarching component of that transformation includes increased attention on implementing Zero Trust—currently the top reported topic of interest from our research. Because Zero Trust architecture is essentially designed to prevent an attacker’s ability to move laterally, a Zero Trust strategy is extremely helpful in prioritizing and addressing prevention-focused investments. These include things like shutting down legacy authentication methods, providing secure access to resources using multifactor authentication (MFA), implementing risk-based access controls, and utilizing posture management tools to identify and remediate risks in cloud resources. By implementing a Zero Trust strategy, organizations can more safely embrace a hybrid workplace, and protect people, devices, apps, and data wherever they are located.

Read our Evolving Zero Trust whitepaper to learn how real-world deployments and attacks are shaping the future of Zero Trust strategies.

As part of the shift to the cloud, security leaders tell us they are also interested in learning more about how posture management, access management, and workload protection tools fit into their cloud security strategy. And given the concerns around the rise of ransomware and securing remote or hybrid work, it’s not surprising to see them as a priority topic of interest.

Check out our ransomware blog posts to keep up to date on the latest ransomware insights from Microsoft Security researchers and product updates.

Read our recommendations on securing a new world of hybrid work.

Perception of Microsoft

Serving our customers is our primary job and so it’s probably not surprising that we measure the perception of security leadership for various vendors, including ourselves, in a blind survey. We asked security decision-makers which companies they saw as leading the way in the security industry. Despite so many established vendors, we were honored that Microsoft was ranked in the top three by survey takers with a substantial increase in overall perception in the last year, following several years of steady growth. We hear from customers that our end-to-end solution with broad multi-cloud and multi-platform coverage and deep, industry-recognized protection has been an approach that resonates. We always have more work to do, and I’m sharing this because we want you to know that the success and protection of our customers is at the heart of everything we do. It drives our priorities and is fundamental to our mission. We’re thrilled to know we’re on the right track and we don’t take your trust or your partnership for granted.

Learn more

As the last couple of years have shown us, cybersecurity is a mission of great importance. It not only underpins the business resilience that enables your organization to thrive in times of uncertainty, but it’s also critical to the fight for digital safety for all. This isn’t something we can do alone. We must work together as a community, sharing insights and supporting each other, to defend against not only today’s attacks, but also be prepared for the threats of tomorrow. As part of our commitment to sharing insights and fostering cooperation among defenders, my colleague Rob Lefferts will be releasing a new quarterly report next month called CISO Insider, where we invite Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) from around the globe to share their best practices and expertise.

For more information that can help you navigate the current challenges in the security landscape, check out the following resources:

To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions, visit our website. Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us at @MSFTSecurity for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.

1Fortinet Ransomware Survey Shows Many Organizations Unprepared, Fortinet. 29 September 2021.

2How cyberattacks are changing according to new Microsoft Digital Defense Report, Amy Hogan-Burney, Microsoft. 11 October 2021.

3New data from Microsoft shows how the pandemic is accelerating the digital transformation of cyber-security, Andrew Conway, Microsoft. 19 August 2020.

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