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News briefs: Dropbox for Teams gets revamp, IBM's Watson fights cancer

In this week's news briefs, the Watson supercomputer takes on cancer, an update adds security tools to Dropbox for Teams and Rackspace stock plunges.

Watson supercomputer joins the fight against cancer

Two years ago, IBM's supercomputer Watson defeated the best Jeopardy champions to win first prize on the trivia game show. Today, Watson is battling cancer -- offering doctors new ways to keep up with constantly expanding medical information through a cost-effective cloud-based service. The supercomputer is armed with knowledge from more than 600,000 pieces of medical advice, two million pages from medical journals and physician notes from 1,500 cases of lung cancer, and has the potential to stay up-to-date on medical literature that would take the average person 160 hours per week to read. GigaOM reports that IBM has partnered with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to use Watson as a tool for medical diagnosis, in addition to offering a Watson system with insurance provider Wellpoint to speed the approval process for treatments.

Dropbox for Teams offers security enhancements

Responding to enterprise concerns about the security of its offerings, cloud storage provider Dropbox has updated its business-focused file-sharing service, Dropbox for Teams, with a host of interface adjustments. Administrators get more control over network activity with the new enhancements, gaining tools to monitor and control data usage, devices, applications and sharing. Dropbox's head of engineering Thomas Carriero told that the redesign is a response to the evolving challenges IT management faces, and "is the biggest thing we have launched to restrict sharing." The overhaul may be a big step for Dropbox in terms of developing an enterprise customer base, as the provider expands its initial consumer-oriented focus.

Businesses refocus cloud concerns on cost, implementation

Enterprises are getting over their concerns about the security of their applications in the cloud, but the process and pricing of implementing cloud applications still cause challenges for a sizeable minority. About one-third of the businesses polled in a recent survey by KPMG and Forbes Insight said cloud costs ran higher than expected, and another 31% reported having difficulties integrating their existing architecture with cloud services. Comparing this past year's results to the findings in 2011, implementation issues replaced security concerns as the top challenges facing executives.

Cloud contracts clash with EU financial legislation

Enterprises have bemoaned the rigid terms in cloud computing contracts before. Now banks in the European Union are running up against the difficulty of reconciling inflexible cloud contracts with rules stipulated in Europe's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). As reports, the directive requires that financial institutions establish certain agreements when entering an outsourcing relationship -- conditions that often aren't included in a vendor's fixed contract. Particularly for banks accustomed to negotiating contracts related to their technology, squaring the interests of providers and the constraints of the legislation complicates cloud adoption. But banks aren't turning away from the cloud just yet. Guidelines published by the UK's Financial Service Authority, or FSA, have aimed to help institutions comply with MiFID requirements, while some providers are loosening their terms for the higher-stake deals.

Rackspace stock takes a hit as sales disappoint

Rackspace took a tumble last week, plunging 20% after reporting earnings that trailed analyst estimates. Diving to $60.30 per share, the lowest since the day after Rackspace's initial public offering in 2008, shares have remained bearish as analysts predict slackened revenue growth. The hosting giant's fourth-quarter sales rose 25%, the slowest rate in two years, and revenue missed the average analyst estimate of $355.4 million by $2.5 million. Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier told Bloomberg the company is investing in long-term gains and currently "going through a transition with respect to growth."

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