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60% of breached businesses raised product prices post-breach; vast majority of critical infrastructure lagging in zero trust adoption; $550,000 in extra costs for insufficiently staffed businesses

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) Security today released the annual Cost of a Data Breach Report,1 revealing costlier and higher-impact data breaches than ever before, with the global average cost of a data breach reaching an all-time high of $4.35 million for studied organizations. With breach costs increasing nearly 13% over the last two years of the report, the findings suggest these incidents may also be contributing to rising costs of goods and services. In fact, 60% of studied organizations raised their product or services prices due to the breach, when the cost of goods is already soaring worldwide amid inflation and supply chain issues.

The perpetuality of cyberattacks is also shedding light on the "haunting effect" data breaches are having on businesses, with the IBM report finding 83% of studied organizations have experienced more than one data breach in their lifetime. Another factor rising over time is the after-effects of breaches on these organizations, which linger long after they occur, as nearly 50% of breach costs are incurred more than a year after the breach.

The 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report is based on in-depth analysis of real-world data breaches experienced by 550 organizations globally between March 2021 and March 2022. The research, which was sponsored and analyzed by IBM Security, was conducted by the Ponemon Institute.

Some of the key findings in the 2022 IBM report include:

  • Critical Infrastructure Lags in Zero Trust - Almost 80% of critical infrastructure organizations studied don't adopt zero trust strategies, seeing average breach costs rise to $5.4 million - a $1.17 million increase compared to those that do. All while 28% of breaches amongst these organizations were ransomware or destructive attacks.
  • It Doesn't Pay to Pay - Ransomware victims in the study that opted to pay threat actors' ransom demands saw only $610,000 less in average breach costs compared to those that chose not to pay - not including the cost of the ransom. Factoring in the high cost of ransom payments, the financial toll may rise even higher, suggesting that simply paying the ransom may not be an effective strategy.
  • Security Immaturity in Clouds - Forty-three percent of studied organizations are in the early stages or have not started applying security practices across their cloud environments, observing over $660,000 on average in higher breach costs than studied organizations with mature security across their cloud environments.
  • Security AI and Automation Leads as Multi-Million Dollar Cost Saver- Participating organizations fully deploying security AI and automation incurred $3.05 million less on average in breach costs compared to studied organizations that have not deployed the technology - the biggest cost saver observed in the study.

"Businesses need to put their security defenses on the offense and beat attackers to the punch. It's time to stop the adversary from achieving their objectives and start to minimize the impact of attacks. The more businesses try to perfect their perimeter instead of investing in detection and response, the more breaches can fuel cost of living increases." said Charles Henderson, Global Head of IBM Security X-Force. "This report shows that the right strategies coupled with the right technologies can help make all the difference when businesses are attacked."

Over-trusting Critical Infrastructure Organizations
Concerns over critical infrastructure targeting appear to be increasing globally over the past year, with many governments' cybersecurity agencies urging vigilance against disruptive attacks. In fact, IBM's report reveals that ransomware and destructive attacks represented 28% of breaches amongst critical infrastructure organizations studied, highlighting how threat actors are seeking to fracture the global supply chains that rely on these organizations. This includes financial services, industrial, transportation and healthcare companies amongst others.

Despite the call for caution, and a year after the Biden Administration issued a cybersecurity executive order that centers around the importance of adopting a zero trust approach to strengthen the nation's cybersecurity, only 21% of critical infrastructure organizations studied adopt a zero trust security model, according to the report. Add to that, 17% of breaches at critical infrastructure organizations were caused due to a business partner being initially compromised, highlighting the security risks that over-trusting environments pose.

Businesses that Pay the Ransom Aren't Getting a "Bargain"
According to the 2022 IBM report, businesses that paid threat actors' ransom demands saw $610,000 less in average breach costs compared to those that chose not to pay - not including the ransom amount paid. However, when accounting for the average ransom payment, which according to Sophos reached $812,000 in 2021, businesses that opt to pay the ransom could net higher total costs - all while inadvertently funding future ransomware attacks with capital that could be allocated to remediation and recovery efforts and looking at potential federal offenses.

The persistence of ransomware, despite significant global efforts to impede it, is fueled by the industrialization of cybercrime. IBM Security X-Force discovered the duration of studied enterprise ransomware attacks shows a drop of 94% over the past three years - from over two months to just under four days. These exponentially shorter attack lifecycles can prompt higher impact attacks, as cybersecurity incident responders are left with very short windows of opportunity to detect and contain attacks. With "time to ransom" dropping to a matter of hours, it's essential that businesses prioritize rigorous testing of incident response (IR) playbooks ahead of time. But the report states that as many as 37% of organizations studied that have incident response plans don't test them regularly.

Hybrid Cloud Advantage
The report also showcased hybrid cloud environments as the most prevalent (45%) infrastructure amongst organizations studied. Averaging $3.8 million in breach costs, businesses that adopted a hybrid cloud model observed lower breach costs compared to businesses with a solely public or private cloud model, which experienced $5.02 million and $4.24 million on average respectively. In fact, hybrid cloud adopters studied were able to identify and contain data breaches 15 days faster on average than the global average of 277 days for participants.

The report highlights that 45% of studied breaches occurred in the cloud, emphasizing the importance of cloud security. However, a significant 43% of reporting organizations stated they are just in the early stages or have not started implementing security practices to protect their cloud environments, observing higher breach costs2. Businesses studied that did not implement security practices across their cloud environments required an average 108 more days to identify and contain a data breach than those consistently applying security practices across all their domains.

Additional findings in the 2022 IBM report include:

  • Phishing Becomes Costliest Breach Cause - While compromised credentials continued to reign as the most common cause of a breach (19%), phishing was the second (16%) and the costliest cause, leading to $4.91 million in average breach costs for responding organizations.
  • Healthcare Breach Costs Hit Double Digits for First Time Ever- For the 12th year in a row, healthcare participants saw the costliest breaches amongst industries with average breach costs in healthcare increasing by nearly $1 million to reach a record high of $10.1 million.
  • Insufficient Security Staffing - Sixty-two percent of studied organizations stated they are not sufficiently staffed to meet their security needs, averaging $550,000 more in breach costs than those that state they are sufficiently staffed.

Additional Sources

  • To download a copy of the 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report, please visit: https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach.
  • Read more about the report's top findings in this IBM Security Intelligence blog.
  • Sign up for the 2022 IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach webinar on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. EThere.
  • Connect with the IBM Security X-Force team for a personalized review of the findings: https://ibm.biz/book-a-consult.

About IBM Security
IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM Security X-Force research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world's broadest security research, development, and delivery organizations, monitors 150 billion+ security events per day in more than 130 countries, and has been granted more than 10,000 security patents worldwide. For more information, please check?www.ibm.com/security, follow?@IBMSecurity?on Twitter or visit the?IBM Security Intelligence?blog.

Press Contact:

IBM Security Communications
Georgia Prassinos
gprassinos@ibm.com

1Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, conducted by Ponemon Institute, sponsored, and analyzed by IBM
2 Average cost of $4.53M, compared to average cost $3.87 million at participating organizations with mature-stage cloud security practices

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Let’s be honest, shall we?

At enterprises today, cybersecurity teams are narrowly focused on addressing exploits. In addition to monitoring security alerts and incident data, security teams scan technology company news and software releases for information about new vulnerabilities that need to be patched. At the same time, they’re likely paying experts to monitor online criminal marketplaces to understand the latest threats that are being productized and weaponized. All of this data helps these experts quickly evolve their strategies and reduce their company’s attack surface.

This model, unfortunately, is broken. It’s more than likely that the adversary is already hiding within the network, and equally as likely that they got in with stolen, now compromised, credentials.

Digital transformation, hybrid work, third-party partnerships, and other factors have weakened security controls, created shadow IT and introduced other issues cybersecurity teams will be working on for years to come. As a result, these professionals are almost always working from a reactive position.

In addition, their assumption is that they can match pace with increasingly sophisticated, well-funded adversaries, such as nation states. Malicious insiders, hacktivists, and curious teenagers round out the mix, creating a confusing mix of attackers, motivations, strategies, and toolkits. As just one example, multiple people have been arrested for Lapsus$ hacks, including a teenager who has reportedly amassed a fortune of more than $14M in bitcoin from his attacks.

A new way of thinking about cybersecurity threats

So, if focusing on the exploit no longer works against cyber mayhem, what does? I propose that enterprises should take a different lens to Excellerate their cybersecurity posture moving forward.

  1. There are many ways to get user credentials: Nearly all of the hundreds of breach reports I’ve read have involved compromised credentials. More than 80% of hacking breaches are now enabled by brute force or the use of lost or stolen credentials, according to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Compromised credentials alone are involved in 61% of attacks, because it’s easier for bad actors to go in the front door than batter systems looking for vulnerabilities. And attackers know, compromised credentials work … every … single … time. I think there’s an argument to be made that compromised credentials are involved in nearly 100% of attacks, because even if credentials aren’t used to get in the front door, they’re used by attackers—the vast majority of the time—to move around and access targeted systems and data once they’re in.

There are so many ways to harvest these credentials. In addition to mining past data dumps, cyberattackers can phish employees, use social engineering to gain personal data for password attacks, automate credential stuffing, target devices with default passwords, scan cloud environments for exposed credentials and more. Organizations need to enable multi-factor authentication for passwords and enforce the concept of least-privilege granted and automate the enforcement of creating new passwords. Yet even this won’t be enough, as user profiles can be misconfigured, and determined insiders can maneuver around security policies and tools. As a result, cybersecurity teams must be able to identify when abnormal user behavior becomes risky, such as when administrator privileges are used to access new or existing systems in uncharacteristic ways.

  1. Cyberattackers are already inside enterprise networks. A study found that 93 percent of corporate networks can be penetrated. Unfortunately, it’s getting easier day by day, as would-be attackers can simply buy credentials and toolkits on the Dark Web to accelerate their speed to market. Their goal isn’t always a quick data dump on the criminal underground or a ransomware payout. Sometimes attackers want to see how far and how long they can move throughout networks without being detected. As they learn more about a company’s IT systems, policies and assets, they can dream up new motivations. These goals include financial payouts (64%), fun (17%), grudges (14%), espionage (9%), convenience (3%) and ideology (1%)—or a mix of multiple aims.
  2. Every breach is an insider threat. Cybersecurity leaders are always concerned about malicious insiders, disgruntled employees, or partners who use access privileges to exfiltrate data or cause other types of damage. Yet, the reality is more mundane. Although 94 percent of breaches involved insiders in 2021, they were more often than not due to error (84 percent), employees breaking security rules (74 percent), and phishing attacks (73 percent). As a result, cybersecurity teams must not only protect systems, applications, and data, but employees from being used as unknowing pawns in attacks.

That said, 66 percent of survey respondents said they had experienced a malicious leak in the last year. Insider data breaches are costly, typically take 85 days to detect and cost up to $15.4 million to remediate—up 34 percent from 2020. I predict that insider attacks will likely grow, as cybercriminals step up the pace of advertising to employees willing to hand over credentials and approve multi-factor authentication prompts or the installation of remote management software on their desktops. For example, one ad offered employees at companies such as Apple, AT&T, IBM, and others up to $20K a week to perform “insider jobs.”

  1. Cybercriminals are collaborating on attack strategies: Cyberattackers aren’t just using the Dark Web as a watering hole to boast about exploits or sell services, such as stolen credentials and data or malware kits. They also use online criminal marketplaces to establish their brand and recruit and vet members, then moving discussions to private, encrypted channels such as Telegram. As a result, it’s harder for enterprises to detect new attacks in the making. Companies should also collaborate. By sharing cyber intelligence through industry forums and other channels, companies can help each other and collectively evolve their response to address the latest attack strategies and tactics.
  2. Focusing solely on exploits provides limited gains. Cyberattackers know that there is a shelf life on vulnerabilities and new attack strategies. So, they’re leveraging shared information, reconnaissance and automation to move faster. Once companies catch up, these groups are on to the next exploit. That means that cybersecurity teams who focus on exploits alone have limited visibility into how threats are evolving. Focusing on attacker behaviors instead yields richer insights that teams can act on to stop and remediate breaches.

How to match tactics with cyberattackers

So, if cyber attackers are already inside networks, traditional security tools typically won’t detect them. Outsiders and insiders are using legitimate credentials and access privileges to explore networks and launch attacks. As a result, companies need to take a different approach.

They should use security platforms that use machine learning to establish a picture of normal activity for users and assets and automatically compare new activity against these thresholds and assign them risk scores. As more anomalous activities occur, that risk score increases. When these activities exceed preset levels, security analysts are then automatically engaged to investigate. Their work is streamlined with a machine-built timeline of a potential attacker’s complete journey, rather than a laundry list of alerts.

By using this approach, analysts no longer have to filter out noise, including false alerts or wait for alarms. Instead, they can focus on early warning signs, detecting and preventing breaches before they cause significant harm. Automation and behavioral analytics also Excellerate analysts’ focus and productivity at every step of the journey, from collecting and analyzing data, to triaging incidents, to speeding investigation and response.

#Digitaltransformation, #hybridwork and third-parties have weakened #security controls. It's now more likely than not that the adversary is already hiding within the network, and equally as likely they got in with compromised, credentials. #respectdataClick to Tweet

Take a new approach to reduce breach impact

It’s time to stop treating cyberattackers and threats as if they’re coming outside-in. The truth is that they’re already inside enterprise networks. Using the right tools can help cybersecurity teams drive faster to insight, focusing on the problems that truly matter and reducing their impact. That work will translate to higher customer trust, a better brand in the marketplace and fewer operational distractions, as well as the ability to avoid fines, lawsuits, and the destabilizing impacts of widespread breaches.

Mon, 08 Aug 2022 23:00:00 -0500 Ralph Pisani en-US text/html https://www.cpomagazine.com/cyber-security/why-does-every-hack-involve-stolen-credentials-because-it-works-every-time/
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Telos Corporation (NASDAQ:TLS) Q2 2022 Earnings Conference Call August 9, 2022 8:30 AM ET

Company Participants

Christina Mouzavires - Investor Relations

John Wood - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Mark Bendza - Executive Vice President and CFO

Mark Griffin - Executive Vice President, Security Solutions

Conference Call Participants

Zach Cummins - B. Riley

Rudy Kessinger - D.A. Davidson

Alex Henderson - Needham & Company

Nehal Chokski - Northland Capital Markets

Brad Clark - BMO

Operator

Good day and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Telos Corporation Second Quarter 2022 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the speakers’ presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]

Please be advised, today’s conference is being recorded. I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Christina Mouzavires. Please go ahead.

Christina Mouzavires

Good morning. Thank you for joining us to discuss Telos Corporation’s second quarter 2022 financial results. With me today is John Wood, Chairman and CEO of Telos; and Mark Bendza, Executive Vice President and CFO of Telos.

Let me quickly review the format of today’s presentation. John will begin with brief remarks on our 2022 second quarter results and Telos’ strategic priority, and Mark will cover the financials and guidance for the third quarter and full year 2022. Then we will open the line for questions-and-answers where Mark Griffin, Executive Vice President of Security Solutions will also join us.

The earnings press release was issued earlier today and is posted on the Telos Investor Relations website where this call is being simultaneously webcast. Additionally, we have provided presentation slides on our Investor Relations website.

Before we begin, we want to emphasize that some of our statements on this call are forward-looking statements and are made under the safe harbor provisions of the federal securities laws. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties.

Actual results could materially differ for various reasons, including the factors described in today’s earnings press release and the comments made during this conference call and in our SEC filings. We do not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statements.

In addition, during today’s call we will discuss non-GAAP financial measures, which we believe are useful as supplemental and clarifying measures that help investors understand Telos’ financial performance.

These non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to and not as assessed to for or in isolation from GAAP results. You can find additional disclosures regarding these non-GAAP measures, including reconciliations with comparable GAAP results in our earnings press release and on the Investor Relations portion at our website. Please also note that financial comparisons are year-over-year unless otherwise specified.

The webcast replay of this call will be available for the next year on our company website under the Investor Relations page.

With that, I will turn the call over to John.

John Wood

Thank you, Christina, and good morning, everyone. Let’s begin today on slide three. I am pleased to report that Telos over delivered again on key financial metrics in the second quarter of 2022. Mark will discuss our financial performance later in this call, but at a high level, we delivered $55.8 million of revenue in the second quarter, above our guidance range of $50 million to $54 million, up 4% year-over-year and 11%, sequentially. Gross margin was 37.5%, above our guidance range of 33% to 35%. Finally, we delivered $4.5 million of adjusted EBITDA, above the high end of our guidance range of negative $2 million to positive $2 million and $0.04 of adjusted EPS.

Now, let’s turn to slide four to discuss our latest business highlights and updates. This quarter we announced a new strategic partnership with IBM. Telos is the launch partner for the new active governance service or AGS offering with IBM Security.

Telos and IBM are teaming to provide capabilities to address the significant challenges organizations are facing with cybersecurity and risk compliance. AGS is a unique and comprehensive offering, coupling the Xacta suite of tools with IBM’s services and security expertise to significantly Excellerate the efficiency of clients’ approach to cyber security risk management in today’s increasingly challenging cyber environment. Target customers include large enterprise organizations in global markets such as financial services, healthcare, telecommunications and energy.

We are very excited about this opportunity to partner with IBM, a leading global organization that brings recognized thought leadership and leading capability in the cybersecurity management space. This relationship also enables us to effectively broaden our reach in the global marketplace for sales of our Xacta suite of tools to drive future growth for Telos.

Beyond the IBM partnership, we have continued to maintain momentum in the current environment. Within the Security Solutions business, Telos received Xacta renewals with several key customers, including the Central Intelligence Agency, The U.S. Department of the Interior, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, our U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and The U.S. Department of Energy, as well as Salesforce.

The company was also awarded new contracts with a foreign government customer, The U.S. Army Space and Missile Command, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Palantir Technologies and OmniHealth.

We continue to focus on the government and commercial space, and in particular, prioritizing regulated industries. The company also received an important Ghost renewal with a classified customer to continue providing support. Additionally, we were awarded up to a 10-year contract to continue and expand our aviation security practice with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Our ONYX technology won first place in the Mobile Fingerprint Information Challenge posted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Finally, the Secure Networks business continued to add to its backlog with new wins, including a new contract to support The U.S. Air Force SIPRNet Enterprise Modernization.

Let me turn now to some comments on the industry landscape and a number of latest initiatives in Washington, D.C., that presents opportunities for Telos. There are indications that Congress plans to boost spending above the level called for by President Biden in his proposed FY 2023 budget.

The House and Senate versions of the Annual Defense Authorization Bill provides for increasing topline defense spending, respectively $37 billion to $45 billion above the level proposed by the President.

We still have to see how the appropriations process plays out this fall to know how much funding will actually be provided for our military customers, but signs are there that the FY 2023 defense budget will see a meaningful increase.

On the non-defense side, as with defense, we will have to wait for Congress to agree on appropriations legislation. But so far, the spending bills under consideration reflect a consensus that more funding is needed for cybersecurity throughout the various departments and agencies.

A great example of this is with CISA, The Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency. CISA works to detect and mitigate the effects of cyber attacks on federal, state and local governments, and the private sector, and then manage cyber risks to our critical infrastructure. We understand that recognizing the importance of this mission, the draft Senate Appropriations Bill for DHS seeks to provide CISA a 16% increase above last year’s funding.

Congress clearly recognizes that more resources are needed by federal departments and agencies to combat challenges they face in the cyberspace. A major factor in that thinking is the Ukraine situation, which has resulted in continued warnings of potential cyber attacks against U.S. interests, including against U.S. critical infrastructure.

So far, the United States has done an excellent job in preventing what had been expected to be widespread impacts from cyber attacks in retaliation for our support for Ukraine. The policy makers and companies like ours know that the public and private sectors can’t let up and they must continue to follow cybersecurity best practices, including deploying and updating effective cyber defenses.

I will now turn the call over to Mark who will discuss second quarter 2022 financial results and our guidance for the third quarter and full year 2022. Mark?

Mark Bendza

Thank you, John, and thank you everyone for joining us today. Let’s turn to slide five. As John mentioned, we delivered a strong second quarter, with results that exceeded our guidance on key financial metrics.

We reported revenue, gross margin and adjusted EBITDA above the high end of our guidance range. We also delivered $5.4 million of free cash flow, representing a nearly four-fold increase in free cash flow year-over-year.

Before I turn the year-over-year comparison, I just wanted to remind everyone again, as I did in our last earnings call, that we had a large delivery on a lower margin program in our Secure Networks business last year that’s pulled forward from the second quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2021 per the request of our customer.

The accelerated delivery caused with Secure Networks contribution to total revenue to shift from 60% in the first quarter of 2021 to 40% in the second quarter of 2021 and gross margin to shift from 25.9% in the first quarter of 2021 to 42% in the second quarter of 2021, thereby skewing some of the second quarter year-over-year comparisons this year.

So I will provide year-over-year comparisons for the second quarter as usual and also for the first half overall to normalize for the accelerated shipment from the second quarter to the first quarter of last year.

Okay, with that backdrop, I will go into details. For the second quarter, total sales were $55.8 million, up 11% sequentially and up 4% year-over-year. Performance about the high end of the guidance range of $50 million to $54 million was driven by favorable timing variances and pre-existing higher margin programs in Security Solutions and strong supply chain management in Secure Networks.

Security Solutions sales were $30.8 million, up 15% sequentially and down 4% year-over-year, due to lower revenues on a classified program and the completion of the U.S. Census program, partially offset by growth in other pre-existing programs.

Secure Network sales were $25 million, up 7% sequentially and up 17% year-over-year, due to continued strong supply chain management, higher revenues on major programs and favorable year-over-year comparison due to the previously mentioned large delivery that pulled forward from the second quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2021.

Turning to profitability and cash flow, second quarter gross margin was 37.5%, above our guidance range of 33% to 35%, primarily due to the margin outperformance in Security Solutions.

Gross margin contracted 449 basis points year-over-year and gross profit declined 7%. The gross margin contraction was driven by a less favorable sales mix between Security Solutions and Secure Networks compared to last year, as well as gross margin contraction within Secure Networks, both of which were the result of the previously mentioned early shipments in 2021.

Security Solutions revenues as a percentage of total company revenues declined from 60% in 2021 to 55% in 2022, as Secure Networks gross margin contracted nearly 700 basis points to 18%. Security Solution gross margins held constant at 53.3%.

Adjusted EBITDA declined by approximately $700,000 due to lower gross profit, partially offset by lower below the line expenses.

Free cash flow improved nearly four-fold to $5.4 million. The improvement in free cash flow continued the trends from the first quarter of more favorable working capital dynamics compared to last year and created an opportunity to begin returning capital to shareholders.

On May 24th, we announced that our Board of Directors authorized a share repurchase program for up to $50 million of the company’s stock. During the second quarter, we deployed $3 million to repurchase over 360,000 shares at a weighted average price of $8.33 and we have continued repurchasing stock daily during the third quarter. During the third quarter till last Friday, we deployed an additional $1.1 million to repurchase nearly 143,000 shares at a weighted average price of $7.86.

Now let’s recap on the first half overall to normalize for the accelerated shipments from the second quarter to the first quarter of 2021. First half revenues declined 3%. Secure Networks revenues declined 11%, as expected, due to the headwind associated with the ongoing wind down of two large programs in 2022. Security Solutions revenues grew 5%, primarily due to the ramp up of a confidential program.

First half gross margin expanded 374 basis points to 37.6% and gross profit increased 8%. The gross margin expansion was driven by a more favorable sales mix within Security Solutions and Secure Networks, as well as gross margin expansion within Security Solutions.

Security Solutions revenues as a percentage of total company revenues increased from 50% in 2021 to 54% in 2022 and Security Solutions, gross margin expanded 638 basis points to 54.5% due to the ramp of high margin progress. Secure Networks gross margin contracted 206 basis points to 17.2%.

Adjusted EBITDA declined $1.3 million due to higher SG&A, offsetting $2.8 million of higher gross profit.

Lastly, free cash flow was $10.3 million higher due to favorable working capital dynamics, driving significantly better cash flow from operations in the first and second quarters. Overall, our first half has performed ahead of forecast and guidance, primarily due to favorable timing differences -- variances between the second half and the first half in orders and deliveries on pre-existing programs and diligent supply chain management.

Now, let’s turn to slide six to discuss our outlook for the third quarter. For the third quarter, we forecast sales in a range of $58 million to $62 million, up 4% to 11% sequentially and down 10% to 15% year-over-year.

We forecast Security Solutions revenues to be down mid- to high-teens year-over-year, primarily due to the completion of the 2020 Census Program in 2021, lower orders expected on a single pre-existing program and lumpiness of perpetual licensing.

We continue to make good progress on the TSA PreCheck program, but revenues for this program in 3Q, if any, are expected to be de minimis. We expect Secure Networks revenues to be down mid-single digits to mid-teens year-over-year due to the ongoing wind down of two large programs coming to a successful completion.

We expect gross margins to be down approximately 350 basis points to 500 basis points year-over-year, primarily due to a slightly lower weighting of revenues to our high margin Security Solutions segment and revenue within both Security Solutions and Secure Networks mixing lower in the quarter.

Below the line expenses, excluding stock compensation expense, are expected to be approximately $1 million higher due to the ramp of R&D and G&A investments during 2021. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be $3.5 million to $5 million, representing a 6% to 8% mark.

Now, let’s turn to slide seven to discuss our updated outlook for 2022. For the full year, we have narrowed our revenue range from our prior guidance of$226 million to $257 million to our updated range of $226 million to $242 million. There is no change to the low end of the revenue.

Reduction at the high end of the range reflects lower assumption on TSA PreCheck revenues and new business in the second half, partially offset by higher revenues on pre-existing programs within Security Solutions.

We have lowered and widely narrowed our adjusted EBITDA range from our prior guidance of $21 million to $28 million to our updated range of $18 million to $24 million. The reduction at the high end of the range reflects our -- reflects lower gross profit associated with the corresponding revenue reduction, partially offset by lower than previously forecasted below the line expenses. The reduction at the low end of the range primarily reflects the impact of lower than previously forecasted gross margins on Secure Networks in the second half, including on new business.

Overall, we have performed ahead of forecast in the first half, our core business is performing well and we expect that to continue, pre-existing programs are performing well, sequential sales growth is expected to continue into the third and fourth quarters as originally planned, and we are taking a slightly more cautious approach to new business in the second half in part as a result of the more complex macro environment, which could create some headwinds for our new business growth initiatives in the short-term.

With that, I will pass it back to John who will wrap up on slide eight.

John Wood

Thanks, Mark. In summary, we delivered a solid second quarter during which we formed a new strategic partnership with IBM and outpaced guidance on our key financial metrics. We also delivered gross margin expansion and strong free cash flow in the first half of the year and have begun to return free cash flow to shareholders through share repurchases.

Our core business and pre-existing programs are performing well and we expect that to continue for the balance of the year. We are taking a slightly more cautious approach to new business in the second half of the year and are managing our forecasting expenses accordingly.

With that, we are happy to take questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of that Zach Cummins with D.A. Davidson, oh, I am sorry with B. Riley. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Zach Cummins

Yeah. Thanks. Good morning. Hi, John. Hi, Mark. Thanks for taking my questions. Mark, I -- my question is really geared towards the updated guidance for the year. I mean can you provide a little more granularity around the assumptions you are making for TSA PreCheck and maybe why you are taking a slightly more cautious approach to new business wins here in the second half of the year?

Mark Bendza

Yeah. Sure, Zach. Thanks for your question. So why don’t I dissect that a little bit for you? So, at the high end of the guidance range, we are taking sales down by $15 million, $11 million of the $15 million is PreCheck net revenue. So we previously assumed $12 million of net revenues for PreCheck at the high end of the guidance, now we are assuming $1 million.

The PreCheck process is progressing well. Obviously, we don’t have the ATO yet and so we felt it appropriate to take that guide down, but certainly, wanted to leave revenue in there as a recognition that we still expect the ATO this year.

The balance of the $4 million, the other $4 million, is really net reductions across the rest of the portfolio, primarily driven by lower assumptions on new business in the second half. The thought there is, even though we are not seeing impact from the more complicated macro environment right now in our core business, our core business is performing very well, it’s not being impacted by the macro environment and you are seeing that in the second quarter results.

But we wanted to acknowledge at least as we scrub the forecast for PreCheck, we wanted to take a broader look at some of the higher risk items in the forecast. For example, anywhere where we are selling new solutions for pre-existing solution to new customers in new end markets, we wanted to take a slightly more cautious approach there.

So that’s the $4 million of additional net reduction. To put that in perspective, at the midpoint of the range that would represent about 80 basis points of year-over-year growth, so a very modest reduction as a nod, in part to the macro environment, but very modest nonetheless.

On adjusted EBITDA at the high end of the guidance, we are taking by $4 million. That is the reduction in the gross profit corresponding to the revenue reduction, partially offset by reduction in below the line expense.

And then at the low end, no change to sales, but what you are seeing in the $3 million of lower adjusted EBITDA is lower gross margin on Secure Networks, primarily in new business in the second half.

Zach Cummins

Understood. That’s helpful. Much appreciated and best of luck in the coming quarter.

John Wood

Thanks a lot.

Mark Bendza

Thanks, Zach.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Rudy Kessinger with D.A. Davidson. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Rudy Kessinger

Hey, guys. So just following up on that question there, I guess, the $4 million reduction at the top end, I am just more conservative ex-TSA and the rest of the portfolio. I guess, I would just ask, the channel and the direct sales reps, are they meeting your expectations from, say, the start this year on pipeline build in sales production as we get into the second half year? And then, secondly, on IBM, do you have anything incremental baked into the guide this year for IBM? And I guess just bigger picture, how big of a driver or growth -- how much can IBM be, say, in maybe 2023?

John Wood

Hey, Rudy. This is John. I will take first -- I will take the second question and I will ask Mark Griffin to answer the first one. As it relates to IBM, we have a couple of hundred thousand dollars in our model for purposes of this year.

As it relates to the -- how big it can be, we think it could be quite sizable and that’s not a good number -- that’s not me able to provide you -- I am not able to provide you a modeling perspective as yet. What I can say however is that the their pipeline is filling up quite rapidly with what I would consider to be Tier 1 names, large car manufacturers, large banks, large pharmaceutical companies, countries, et cetera, places that I think would be very difficult for us to get into on our own and really what’s happened is that they have embedded Xacta as their launch partner in their advanced -- its governance solutions. So I think it’s got a lot of potential in front of us.

As we put out our guide for 2023, I am sure we will provide you much greater detail. But I am quite happy with how the -- how that relationship is really coming out in a fully blossoming way, much like I had hoped it was going to be with the cloud service providers, but they have been quite, as you are well aware slower. So here IBM is completely embraced it. They are also looking at using it internally. So I think there is a great opportunity for us with IBM in over the next five years to 10 years. And Mark, if you have a mic, can you answer the first question on the sales force?

Mark Griffin

Sure. Hello, Rudy. Mark Griffin. Commercial adoption is happening, but obviously, we took a more cautious and slower approach than initially planned. We are ongoing and continuing to fine-tune the staff, not only in the sales area, but also increase the capture and business development areas to achieve operational efficiencies and maximize our potential.

So, yes, we are seeing progress. The pipeline is increasing. We are seeing some opportunities that will close in late Q3 and in Q4. But we continue to fine-tune that staff and look for additional opportunities and growth from additional -- look across operations in the sales and Capture BD areas.

John Wood

Go ahead.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Alex Henderson with Needham & Company. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Alex Henderson

Thanks. I am going to break little bit, just ask two questions, one just why you think there’s any improvement in TSA. The primary question is on the Xacta. It’s very difficult looking at the numbers to cut through the noise and understand exactly what’s going on with the product. Can you provide us some sense of what the growth rate, based on your current guidance for Xacta on a full year basis? Is it actually producing double-digit growth, is it flat, is it up 20%? What -- can you just provide us some parameters around what the true underlying growth rate is, because it’s kind of lost in the numbers?

Mark Bendza

Yeah. Hey, Alex. It’s Mark. So on our Information Assurance business for 2022, I mean, as you know, we don’t guide at that level. But I would say, we are probably going to end somewhere in the -- we are probably going to be somewhere in the, call it, low-to-mid single digits on the year, say, mid single-digit on year, higher at the high end of the range but, call it, midpoint -- kind of mid-single digits.

Alex Henderson

And the reason for the TSA optimism that it actually was going to close, I mean, you thought it was going to close in September, then you thought it was going to close at the end of the year, now we are still thinking it’s somehow going to close and that it’s improved. What makes you think that?

Mark Griffin

Sure, Alex. This is Mark Griffin. So ultimately we follow TSA guidelines and schedule for launch. We are engaged with them extensively on a daily basis going through their launch plan and their security approvals.

We are getting to the end of that schedule and we are in this process now deploying to our enrollment sites and gearing up training and operational enrollment capabilities for those site. So every indication is we are following TSA schedule. They are positive on our results at this point and we fully expect to launch this year.

Alex Henderson

So just so I understand, when you say gearing up training, they have been instructed you to train your employees and they are -- they understand that that’s an expense you are carrying and therefore they wouldn’t stretch that…

Mark Griffin

Look…

Alex Henderson

…ask you do that it would if it wasn’t imminent. Is that the right way we should be studying that?

John Wood

Yeah. Would you explain a little more about...

Mark Griffin

Sure.

John Wood

…if you could.

Mark Griffin

Alex, yeah, the entire program is under guidance and policy and procedures from TSA. So every aspect of the program is reviewed and approved by TSA. And so everything we do from approval of sites, to training of personnel, to our soft launch, to our security process and procedures are all controlled by TSA.

So, yes, TSA reviews every document. There are contractual delivery -- deliverables that we have to adhere to on every aspect of this launch. So, yes, TSA is the ultimate approval of when we launch, but we are meeting their schedules and we are doing everything that they are asking in the time frame they are asking for a launch this year.

Alex Henderson

Great. Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Nehal Chokski with Northland Capital Markets. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Nehal Chokski

Yeah. Thank you and congrats on the solid results and commend you, Mark, on especially a clear guidance deck. Thank you very much for that. Where are you guys in terms of percent of software billing sold on a term basis versus perpetual basis now and relative to the one, two and four quarters ago?

John Wood

That’s a good question. I would say, the majority of what we are selling now, Nehal, is subscription or term versus perpetual and that’s true in our pipeline as well that the vast majority of our pipeline are subscription oriented.

There are a couple of exceptions. There are a couple of government examples that are exceptions, but the vast majority of the remaining pipeline, whether you are talking about ACA or Ghost or you are talking about Xacta, there are going to be subscription based or term based licenses versus perpetual.

Nehal Chokski

Okay. Great. And how much of an impact does that transition have on the projection of low-to-mid single-digit growth for Xacta?

John Wood

It has a -- it definitely has an impact. I don’t know the number off the top my head. But in the past, when we would do, say, we did $6.5 million in revenue. That was all perpetual. My guess right now is we are at about 60% or 50% perpetual currently and I think going forward it’s going to be -- the vast majority is going to be term or subscription.

Nehal Chokski

And then to be clear, what is -- for every dollar of perpetual that’s capitalized into term, what the...

John Wood

Basically -- what that basically means is, if I am delivering on a $6 million number for the year and it’s all term, I have got to deliver $12 million of orders by no later than June 30th.

Nehal Chokski

Got it. Great. Thank you. And then my last question is that, Mark you alluded to in terms of a more cautious outlook on the macro being part out for the $15 million take down on the high end of the guidance, but that you are not seeing any impact yet. Why do you think you are not seeing any impact yet?

Mark Bendza

Correct. So what I am distinguishing between there is our core business. Our core business has been very strong through the first half of the year and including in the second quarter as the macro became choppier. So we are not seeing any impact there. I think it’s really just the nature of our portfolio and the customers and markets that we serve.

And then, for the second half, again, slightly outside of our core business where we are selling either new solutions or pre-existing to new end markets and customers, we just wanted to take a finer point on that forecast. And again, the net effect is only 80 basis points of year-over-year growth.

Nehal Chokski

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from the line of Brad Clark with BMO. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Brad Clark

Hi. Thanks for taking my question. I want to ask a question about the sort of new business slowdown and how it’s in the guide and so much more of a clarification. And what I am trying to understand is, the deals out there that are sort of being pushed back either by the customers or from Telos’ perspective given the sort of proposed margin profile and it’s more not so good business at this or is it, yeah, it basically trying to understand between those two, more from the customer side or from Telos’ side to sort of push back and delay the new business? That’s it from me. Thank you.

John Wood

So, it depends on the customer’s side, Brad. The government’s side is always -- it takes longer than people think and that we have mainly built into our guide. On the commercial side, I think, we are actually having success. But what’s happening is they are starting small and building out over time.

So we landed another commercial customer in this quarter. It started out being a six-digit, if you will starting place for it, but we expect it to be more like a seven-digit plus opportunity for us per year as they rollout Xacta throughout their offerings.

So I would say that on the commercial side, there is more of a try it and buy it, they are going to buy it small and then build out over time whereas in the markets that were more well known as in the Federal Government, there is some level of doing a pilot, but it’s a much more controlled pilot and it typically has a very, very specific beginning, middle and an end. And there the customers will go to an enterprise-wide license more quickly just based on the reputation that we have.

Operator

Thank you. And we do have a follow-up question from the line of Alex Henderson with Needham & Company. Your line is open. Please go ahead.

Alex Henderson

Great. Thank you very much. So I was hoping you could talk a little bit about what’s going on with the voice-over-AWS and is your big chunk of the story when you guys came out was that those guys were going to be reselling it starting kind of in the beginning of this year and that they thought it was a big driver of acceleration of the -- their services business, yet that doesn’t seem to be materializing. Can you talk about what the environment is there and why it’s taking so long or not metastasizing?

John Wood

Metastasizing. That’s a good word. Thank you, Alex. I think it is taking longer. It is frustrating. They continue to use it internally. There are pockets of the organization that still want to build their own capabilities and it is moving but slowly, whereas on the other hand IBM made that -- made the decision not to build, but buy using Xacta as a -- as their launch partner.

And so, there we have a situation that a service provider is using us in the way that I was hoping the cloud providers are going to use us. It doesn’t mean the cloud providers aren’t going to get there. It’s just that they have not got there yet. They do continue to use us. They continue to use us more and more.

On the latest -- one of the latest awards we had that we haven’t announced the name on, it started out in the intelligence community. They see the value of the intelligence community. Now they are bringing us into their Department of Defense side of the business. And then, ultimately, we want to be in a commercial world. So each of the cloud providers has looked at it and gone about it in a little bit of a different way.

In the case of Azure, there has been quite a bit of turnover on the security and compliance side of their house. So we have had to sort of start-over in the case of Azure. And so, each cloud provider has a little bit of a story associated with it, but it is frustrating.

Alex Henderson

Similarly, can you talk a bit about the Ghost product and the progress or what’s going on there in terms of commercializing it into a product that’s used outside of the government security infrastructure play?

John Wood

Sure. And actually you made a comment that I’d like to extend a little bit. One of the things that we have learned about our Xacta is that, it’s in the language of the government. And one of the things that we have to do is we have had to really change verbiage, how we describe things that we do inside of Xacta and I will provide you an example.

There is something called a poem in the government world. Poem doesn’t mean anything to the commercial guys. Remediation is the commercial equivalent of a poem. So we had to make changes in the product itself that more reflected what it is that the commercial world want it, which was also something that we had to build in.

As it relates to the -- as it relates to Ghost, we have continued to -- we have got continued progress with JCI offering Ghost as an embedded option with their cameras. Those cameras will -- if you will be hidden on the internet and their security product sales continue to be a very healthy growing business.

We expect a small level of sales out of that to happen late this year with this offering. And again, you have had some -- not turnover but promotions over there. So getting it off the ground has just taken longer than we would have liked.

Having said that, there are other organizations that are looking to do very similar things with JCI and we are in the midst of negotiating those -- with those other players and our hope is that we will be able to roll out some other announcements about how we are building that capability inside of these other players.

Now just to remind you, what we do with advanced cyber analytics is, all of that activity is hidden behind Ghost as well. So there is a -- there are opportunities for us with Ghost, both within our existing customer set, as well as selling through other players.

Alex Henderson

Since we are going around into the second round of questions, I am going to ask one more, if it’s okay. If not then just let me know. But I was hoping you could talk a little bit about the security networking business. It sounds like some projects were pulled forward in that business into the first half and just the favorable timing comment. Does that mean that you are expecting little less in the back half of the year from Security Networks?

Mark Griffin

So not in Secure Networks, the dynamic within Secure Networks, the team there is doing a really terrific job of managing their supply chain risk. And so when we set guidance we account for their supply chain risk in guidance and they have been outperforming that risk. So the program management teams there are doing a terrific job and outperforming guidance.

The pull-forward I think that you are referencing is more or less Security Solutions side. We did have some higher margin order on one program in particular within that business that came into the second quarter that we were otherwise expecting to more so come in the second half. So that’s the favorable…

Alex Henderson

Mark, but….

Mark Griffin

…there.

Alex Henderson

But if you pulled forward the availability of supply then you deployed products sooner than expected. Doesn’t that come out of your pipeline?

Mark Griffin

I am not sure I understand the question.

Alex Henderson

You have got an order from a government agency to deploy a, I don’t know, choose a location…

Mark Griffin

Oh! I think that lapped….

Alex Henderson

… and you told you can’t deploy because you don’t have the product…

Mark Griffin

Alex I think you are ….

Alex Henderson

[Inaudible]

Mark Griffin

…referring to last year. You are talking about the pull-forward last year in 2021, the pull-forward on the Secure...

Alex Henderson

No. I am not. Mark, I am talking about the current environment. You used that as an example because they could not know specifically which projects we are involved. But you have a pipeline of business that you need to deploy gear for in order to get the revenue. If you get the parts sooner than expected…

Mark Griffin

Yeah.

Alex Henderson

… then that do reduces your pipeline into the forward period, correct?

John Wood

That assumes that the pipeline is static, Alex. So the pipeline is not static.

Alex Henderson

Okay. So there’s no erosion in the outlook for the back half of the year within that because of the pull-forward of parts?

John Wood

Not the revenue line.

Mark Griffin

Correct.

Alex Henderson

Thank you. That’s what I was looking for.

Mark Griffin

Yeah. Thanks, Alex.

Operator

Thank you. And I am showing no further questions and I would like to turn the conference back over to John Wood for any further remarks.

John Wood

Oh! Thank you very much, Operator. Well, first, I really well thank our shareholders for your ongoing support. And despite the current environment, I am pleased with our latest performance. And well, our year-to-date has progressed as we have expected. We are taking a balanced approach to the second half and we remain very focused on delivering for our customers and our shareholders. And again, I just want to say thank you to all of you for listening and to the analysts for asking questions and covering our stock. Thanks a lot everybody.

Operator

This concludes today’s conference call. Thank you for participating -- this concludes today’s conference call. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect. Everyone, have a great day.

Tue, 09 Aug 2022 06:45:00 -0500 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4532115-telos-corporations-tls-ceo-john-wood-on-q2-2022-results-earnings-call-transcript
Killexams : Smart Metering Solution Market 2022 Global Outlook And Future Scope Analysis By-STMicroelectronics, Honeywell, IBM, ABB, SMS plc, Kamstrup

The MarketWatch News Department was not involved in the creation of this content.

Aug 02, 2022 (Market Insight Reports) -- The Smart Metering Solution Market report 2022 is a collection of helpful information, quantitative and qualitative estimation by industry experts, and the contribution of industry connoisseurs and industry accomplices across the value chain. Furthermore, the report also provides the qualitative results of diverse market factors in its geographies and segments. This report on the Smart Metering Solution market gives historical, current, and future market sizes (US$ MN) of product types, applications, routes of administration, distribution channels, and geographic regions.

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COMTEX_411402822/2599/2022-08-02T06:14:33

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Mon, 01 Aug 2022 22:14:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/smart-metering-solution-market-2022-global-outlook-and-future-scope-analysis-by-stmicroelectronics-honeywell-ibm-abb-sms-plc-kamstrup-2022-08-02
Killexams : Digital-Led and Innovation-Driven

Digital Finance Forum of Global Digital Economy Conference 2022 Kicked off

BEIJING, Aug. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- With the development of information technology, the world has entered the era of digital economy. The modern financial industry is one of the industries with the highest degree of digitization and the closest ties to the digital economy as well as an important driver of growth for the high-quality development of the digital economy.

The Digital Finance Forum of the Global Digital Economy Conference (hereinafter referred to as GDEC) 2022 kicked off in the Beijing Banking & Insurance Business Park in Shijingshan District on July 30. As an important part of the thematic forums of this GDEC, the Digital Finance Forum is organized by the Shijingshan District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and Asia Digital Group. The forum, as a platform for in-depth exchange, centered on building a bridge for financial industries, driving financial innovation and digital strategic upgrade under the new dual-cycle pattern and helping the development of digital finance in China’s capital.

Wang Wei, First Class Inspector of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology, Zhao Weijiu, Member of Standing Committee of CPC of Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration, Deputy Director of Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration, Li Xin, Deputy Secretary of CPC Beijing Shijingshan District, Mayor of Shijingshan District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, Zhu Dongfang, President of Asia Digital Group and other guests were present on site. Over 20 important guests in the financial sector from 10+ countries were invited to attend the forum offline or online to discuss the transformation of the digital financial industry with focus on the trend of digital finance. More than 100 visitors from financial institutions and enterprises joined the on-site events, supplemented with online links involving 1.2 million people.

Adopting the Market-Oriented Operation Led by Government

Nowadays, the digital economy with the deep integration of information technology and the real economy has become a global trend, and the corresponding financial digital transformation has also become the main task of financial industry transformation when the government-led and market-oriented operation plays an irreplaceable role.

According to the speech delivered by Wang Wei, First Class Inspector of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology, Beijing, centering on the construction of the national financial management center, will further promote the innovative practice of digital finance, in cooperation with the Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration to build a modern digital financial system in China’s capital, Excellerate the level of digital finance supporting the development of the real economy, and help the construction of Beijing into a global model city of digital economy. It is necessary to take such measures as supporting the implementation of key digital financial institutions and major projects, improving the digitalization of financial infrastructure, increasing the openness of public data and social data, accelerating the implementation of the Beijing Digital Economy Promotion Regulations, deepening the construction of the Beijing International Data Exchange and the Zone for Financial Data and providing data of higher quality as a key factor of production.

Zhao Weiju, Member of Standing Committee of CPC of Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration, Deputy Director of Beijing Local Financial Supervision and Administration, pointed out in his speech that Beijing’s fintech will take the deepening of digital industrialization and financial digitization as the main task, with focus on both the supply side and the demand side, provide full play to the synergistic effect of financial reform and financial opening and take stronger steps to enhance the innovation of a modern digital financial system that fits the positioning of the capital so as to build a strong and solid network for building Beijing into a benchmark city for the global digital economy. Great efforts will be made to foster the main body of the digital financial industry, strengthen the R&D and innovation of digital financial technology, expand the experience of the digital financial application scenarios, construct and Excellerate the supervision system of digital finance, and optimize the industrial layout of digital finance.

Li Xin, Deputy Secretary of CPC Beijing Shijingshan District, Mayor of Shijingshan District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, noted in his speech that Shijingshan District has seized development opportunities and issued the Five-Year Plan for Digital Economy, in alignment with the development orientation of the Beijing Banking & Insurance Business Park given by the State Council to build a National Financial Industry Demonstration Zone. In this way, the financial digital transformation is regarded as the support of strategic importance for the development of regional digital economy. In order to further promote the development of digital finance, Li Xin proposed four guarantees, that is, building a consensus on cooperation to promote the development of digital finance, creating an ecological environment conducive to the its development, fostering new drivers of growth for digital finance and constructing the “circle of friends” of digital finance.

Jointly Exploring the Path to Future via Exchange of Ideas

Lenny Zhao, Vice President and Head of Visa Consulting and Analytics (VCA), Visa Greater China, delivered a speech themed as “Responsible Innovation Fostering the Sustainable Development of Digital Payment”, reflecting the thinking and commitment of the world’s leading digital technology companies to digital payment security to advance the sustainable development of the digital economy.

Fan Bin, VP & Senior Partner, IBM Consulting Greater China Group, General Manager, IBM Consulting China Financial Service Sector, delivered a speech on the theme of “Let’s Create a Digital Finance New Era”, and Jin Songhua, CFO of Microsoft Greater China talked about “AI Empowers Innovation for Sustainable Growth”, both expounding their ideas for the future of new digital finance, and sharing their experience in the development of digital finance in related industries. Fiona Ma, Treasurer of California, USA, Tom Simpson, Managing Director, China Operations & China Chief Representative China-Britain Business Council, Arno Oudijn, Financial Counsellor at the Netherlands Embassy and Kasia Greco, Vice President, Vienna Chamber of Commerce & Industry delivered speeches on syllabus such as “UK-China Digital Finance Overview and Outlook” and “Fintech Developments, an Outsiders’ Perspective”. They have explored new trends and hot issues in the development of digital finance from a broader perspective beyond the industry to seek for opportunities to deepen cooperation and development with digital finance in China.

The roundtable discussion around “Critical Thinking with Digital Intelligence to Reconstruct Financial” was moderated by Zhang Li, executive vice president of Asia Digital Group. A lively discussion on digital intelligence, the core of the transformation of the digital financial format was presented among guests including Li Xianxia, Member of Standing Committee of CPC Beijing Shijingshan District, Deputy Mayor of Shijingshan District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, Li Wenhua, Deputy Mayor of Shijingshan District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality, Zhang Ning, Director of the Central University of Finance and Economics, Liu Dongmin, Director of the Division of International Finance, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Li Junping, Vice President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, Michael Jing, Senior Vice President of BOE, Du Xiaozheng, GM of Business Analysis Division at GienTech, Chairman of Data Development Committee at GienTech, Bu Renhai, Data Solutions Expert of China Information.

Promoting Steady Progress in Digital Financial Innovation Guided by Think Tank

In order to further enhance and promote the development of digital finance in Shijingshan District, this Digital Finance Forum witnessed the signing of the strategic cooperation framework agreement between the Shijingshan District People’s Government and Asia Digital Group, represented by Li Xianxia, Member of Standing Committee of CPC Beijing Shijingshan District, Deputy Mayor of Shijingshan District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and Zhang Li, Executive Vice President of Asia Digital Group respectively.

Meanwhile, in order to strengthen the Shijingshan District Digital Finance Consultant Team, Li Xin, Deputy Secretary of CPC Beijing Shijingshan District, Mayor of Shijingshan District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality presented letters of appointment for senior consultants of digital finance of Shijingshan District to over guests from academia and business in digital finance, including Fan Bin, VP & Senior Partner, IBM Consulting Greater China Group, General Manager, IBM Consulting China Financial Service Sector, Jin Songhua, CFO of Microsoft Greater China, Zhang Li, Executive Vice President of Asia Digital Group, Huang Hongying, Vice President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, Li Junping, Vice President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, Michael Jing, Senior Vice President of BOE, Liu Dongmin, Director of the Division of International Finance, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Zhang Ning, Director of the Central University of Finance and Economics, Du Xiaozheng, GM of Business Analysis Division at GienTech, Chairman of Data Development Committee at GienTech, Huang Wanzhong, Chief Data Expert of China Information, Vice Chairman of DAMA China, International Data Management Association, Wu Lianfeng, Vice President & Chief Research Analyst IDC China, Doris Liu, Head of Inward Investment China (Hong Kong), Scottish Development International, Qu Shaoguang, Vice General Manager of China Financial Computerization Group, Zhang Shaofeng, Founder, Chairman, CEO of Bairong Inc., Li Fan, Secretary of the Party Committee, General Manager of the Tech Innovation Department of China Everbright Group, Han Bo, Board Director, President of Longyingzhida (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd., etc. The consultants and leaders of Shijingshan District conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions at the subsequent meeting on the development of modern financial industry in Shijingshan District, and offered suggestions for promoting steady and solid progress in the innovation of digital finance in this area.

In addition, this forum utilized AI, VR, AR and other digital technologies to build a cloud platform that breaks the boundaries of time and space through cloud conferences, livestreaming videos, cloud exhibitions and cloud docking, together with offline conferences. The cloud platform can enable the global audience to experience as if they were here, with latest projects and research results presented in a detailed and multi-dimensional manner from such enterprises as China CITIC Bank, Bank of Beijing Shijingshan Sub-branch, China Banking and Insurance Information Technology Management Co., Ltd., CRCC Cyber Information Technology Co., Ltd., China Banking and Insurance Information Technology Management (Beijing) Co., Ltd., Beijing Iron Ore Trading Center Corporation, Beijing Shangrong Factoring, BOB-Cardif Life Insurance Co., Ltd. Beijing Branch, Guobao Life Insurance Co., Ltd. Beijing Branch and Bairong Inc.

The Digital Finance Forum of this GDEC is committed to building a diversified digital finance platform based on the present and facing the future through the release of academic achievements, the collision of cutting-edge ideas, the face-to-face communication between government and market and the technological display of digital financial projects.

View original content: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/digital-led-and-innovation-driven-301597069.html

SOURCE Asia Digital Group

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Killexams : Blockchain can change healthcare for the better. Here's how

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Killexams : IBM-owned SXiQ delivers migration for Bega Cheese following acquisition of rival dairy giant Lion Dairy and Drinks

IBM-owned, Melbourne-based cloud integrator SXiQ has completed migration services for Bega Cheese as part of its $560 million acquisition of rival dairy giant Lion Dairy & Drinks.

Bega bought Lion Dairy & Drinks in late 2020, which owns brands, such as Dairy Farmers, Yoplait, Big M, Dare, Masters, Juice Brothers, Daily Juice,  and Farmers Union iced coffee.

Bega Cheese chief information officer Zack Chisholm said in a statement that the Vegemite owner required Lion Dairy & Drinks’ applications, data and processes to be transitioned into its existing and expanded infrastructure.

Chisholm said that infrastructure migration and transition of 31 physical sites performing production, distribution and administration duties, had to be completed within a 12-month window with minimal disruption to the operations of both businesses. 

Bega Cheese’s IT team partnered with SXiQ on end-state design, migration planning and execution for several parts of the project - such as migration of applications, databases and associated backups, implementation of prod and non-prod AWS accounts and a landing zone to house all LD&D workloads. The work also included implementation of a continuous integration and continuous deployment toolset and workflow built on CloudFormation, Ansible, Jenkins and GitLab.

SXiQ said it also assisted Bega Cheese’s IT team with cloud cost optimisation strategies for efficient consumption of cloud resources to support the newly acquired business, and uplifting the cloud ops team to ensure Bega Cheese IT incorporated true DevSecOps into its core capability to support the new platform.

SXiQ chief executive officer John Hanna said, “our experts executed deep analysis, strategic thinking, and detailed planning to ensure the successful migration of Lion to Bega Cheese’s existing infrastructure.”

“By uplifting infrastructure, cloud management tooling and practices, SXiQ has enhanced management of Bega Cheese’s cloud assets, improving consistency, security and reducing time to deploy cloud infrastructure in the future.” 

Global tech giant IBM acquired SXiQ late last year for an undisclosed sum to bolster its Consulting’s Hybrid Cloud Services business’ Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure consulting capabilities.

Tue, 02 Aug 2022 13:04:00 -0500 text/html https://www.crn.com.au/news/ibm-owned-sxiq-delivers-migration-for-bega-cheese-following-acquisition-of-rival-dairy-giant-lion-dairy-and-drinks-583545
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