Global cybersecurity spending to grow 7% to $86.4BN in 2017, says Gartner

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Analyst Gartner is projecting that worldwide spending on IT security products and services will grow seven per cent, year over year, to reach a total of $86.4 billion in 2017 — suggesting opportunities for security startups to tap into rising demand for specialist b2b services.

Within the infrastructure protection segment, the analyst is forecasting fast growth in the security testing market, though it notes this is coming from a small base.

Factors that Gartner points to as driving spending here include continued data breaches and growing demand for app security testing.

Another area it expects to contribute towards growth in the segment through 2021 is spending on emerging application security testing tools, particularly interactive application security testing.

The fastest growing segment will be security services, according to the analyst — especially IT outsourcing, consulting and implementation services.

By contrast it expects hardware support services to see growth slowing due to the adoption of technologies such as virtual appliances, public cloud and SaaS editions of security solutions — which it notes will reduce the need for attached hardware support overall.

Another factor it flags up as creating renewed interest in IT security spending — and data loss prevention buying decisions specifically — is the European Union’s incoming General Data Protection Regulation, which is due to come into force in May 2018.

The analyst reckons the incoming EU regulation will drive 65 per cent of data loss prevention buying decisions through 2018. And will also have a global effect as multinationals will also need to adhere to the new law.

“Rising awareness among CEOs and boards of directors about the business impact of security incidents and an evolving regulatory landscape have led to continued spending on security products and services,” said Sid Deshpande, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

Gartner also expects a big rise in the bundling of security services and broader IT outsourcing (ITO) projects with managed security service (MSS) contracts in the coming years — expecting this to rise from 20 per cent currently to 40 per cent by 2020.

It says this is being driven by large organizations wanting to manage “the complexity of designing, building and operating a mature security program in a short space of time”.

“As ITO providers and security consulting firms improve the maturity of the MSS they offer, customers will have a much broader range of bundling and service packaging options through which to consume MSS offerings. The large contract sizes associated with ITO and security outsourcing deals will drive significant growth for the MSS market through 2020,” it notes.

Despite some opportunities for new security-related technologies and services to cater to an expanding market, Gartner’s Deshpande argues organizations should be doubling down on “basic security and risk related hygiene elements” — citing the likes of threat centric vulnerability management; centralised log management; internal network segmentation; backups and system hardening as some of those key and core security elements which he says are now “more important than ever”.

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Apple said to be spending $1 billion on original content in 2018

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Apple’s ambitions around creating original content seem set to grow: The Wall Street Journal reports that it has a budget of around $1 billion to spend on creating its own programming next year. That’s a budget that begins to approach those of dedicated content creators like HBO, which spent just around twice that last year on its own shows.

Apple’s first forays into original content came this year, with shows including ‘Carpool Karaoke’ and ‘Planet of the Apps,’ which debuted on Apple Music. The WSJ report suggests Apple could add as many as 10 more TV shows to its offerings next year using the newly allocated budget. Apple’s SVP Eddy Cue, who oversees its streaming music and video content, reportedly has a goal of offering content on par with HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ on the company’s streaming offerings.

Spending the funds will be the task of Apple’s hires from Sony’s entertainment wing, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who took over leading programming duties earlier this month according to the WSJ’s sources. With dedicated staff and a broader slate of programming, it seems possible Apple could separate out its streaming video efforts from Apple Music, though the company might want to keep the two services linked to drive overall subscriptions.

$1 billion may seem like a lot, but rival streaming content producers spend a lot on creating their own programming. Amazon Prime Video spent that much early on in their plan to create their own shows in 2013, and reportedly plans to spend $4.5 billion in 2017. Netflix is set to spend $6 billion that year, too. Apple has no shortage of cash, of course, so it could easily ramp up spending if it sees success next year.

So far, its shows have received a very poor critical reception. Both ‘Planet of the Apps’ and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ were dragged in initial reviews. But that seems not to have deterred Apple. In fact, if this report is accurate, early stumbles may only have convinced the company that it needs to be less casual in its approach to original content in order to succeed.

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No cuts to Germany’s welfare despite defence spending hikes – Merkel

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(Reuters) – Germany’s planned defence spending hikes will not trigger welfare cuts, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, rebutting criticism from her Social Democrat (SPD) rivals that she was caving in to U.S. demands for a bigger military budget.

The SPD is campaigning on a platform of social justice and has rejected demands from U.S. President Donald Trump that Germany meet NATO’s spending target of 2 percent of national output on defence.

Merkel said that while it was necessary to increase defence spending, “that will not lead to any social expenditure being cut … It won’t come at the cost of anything we pay for today.”

She was contradicting her party ally Jens Spahn, a state secretary in the finance ministry, who previously said slower increases in social spending could help finance the expanded military outlays her party advocates.

The SPD, trailing Merkel’s conservatives by some 15 percentage points in polls ahead of elections next month, says Germany would have to nearly double current defence spending from 37 billion euros (33.63 billion pounds) to meet the NATO target.

Merkel has repeatedly said that perceived U.S. isolationism uner Trump and the threat posed by a resurgent Russia and by instability in Africa and the Middle East mean Germany and Europe must play a more active role in regional security.

Defence spending has risen under her coalition, in which the SPD is junior partner, but still falls short of the NATO target.

“Germany cannot submit to Mr. Trump’s crazy demand to double our defence budget,” said Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, an SPD member. “It surprises me that on defence spending we name very concrete figures but not on education for example.”

Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Reuters TV; writing by Joseph Nasr; editing by Mark Heinrich

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Iran lawmakers vote to boost spending on missile program

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By a huge majority, members of Iran’s parliament voted Sunday to increase spending on the nation’s ballistic missile program and finance its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

Members of Parliament chanted “Death to America” during the session, the Associated Press reported.

The vote was viewed as a response to recently announced U.S. sanctions against the Muslim country.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that 247 lawmakers attended the vote session, with 240 approving the spending plan and one lawmaker abstaining.

No specifics were available about how the new funds would be used.

The bill now heads to an oversight committee called the Guardian Council, which is expected to approve it. 

Abbas Araghchi, a deputy foreign minister and senior nuclear negotiator on hand for the vote, said moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s government would support the bill.

“The bill has very wisely tried not to violate the (nuclear deal) and also gives no chance to the other party to manipulate it,” he said in comments reported by IRNA.

Under terms of the bill, some $800 million will be put toward several projects, including the Defense Ministry and its intelligence agencies. Among the agencies receiving money would be the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force, an expeditionary force run by Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who has been in Syria and Iraq.

The Guard, separate from Iran’s conventional military forces, answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The bill also imposes a visa and travel ban on U.S. military and security organizations and their commanders who have provided financial, intelligence, military, logistic and training support to terrorists in the region, naming the Islamic State group and the Syrian branch of al Qaeda.

Iranian officials often accuse the U.S. of being involved with both groups. The U.S. is actively involved in a massive military campaign against the Islamic State group and has struck the al-Qaida affiliate as well.

Perhaps more relevantly, the bill also includes banning visas for American officials involved with the Iranian exile group called the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq. Prominent U.S. lawmakers and politicians have met with the group and spoken at its rallies. The MEK has paid one of Trump’s Cabinet members and at least one adviser in the past for giving such speeches.

IRNA also referred to the money also being used to develop nuclear propellers. In December, Rouhani ordered officials to draw up plans on building nuclear-powered ships, something that appears to be allowed under the nuclear deal, over an earlier dispute on U.S. sanctions under the Obama administration.

Trump signed a sanctions bill earlier this month that included new measures imposed on Iran. That sparked new outrage in Iran, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accusing Trump of trying to “kill” the nuclear deal.

Earlier this month, Iran reiterated a previous assertion that new U.S. sanctions against it would constitute a “breach” of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and a group of Western powers.

Araghchi said the country had prepared a list of 16 measures to take against the U.S. in response to the sanctions, but would not elaborate.

The U.S. sanctions impose penalties on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program, enforce an arms embargo and apply terrorism sanctions to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard.

In remarks aimed at Trump earlier this month, Rouhani issued a warning for anyone looking to discard the 2015 deal.

Those who intend to tear down the deal should know that they are tearing down their political life,” Rouhani said during a swearing-in ceremony to launch his second term.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the 2015 negotiated by the Obama administration, calling it “bad” and vowing to come up with a better plan for discouraging Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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