Akamai Diversity

The Akamai Blog

Mentoring with Girls Who Code

This summer was an educational summer for me.  When I saw that Akamai was hosting a Girls Who Code session this summer, I couldn't have been more excited to contribute to the program.  
I volunteered as a mentor for the summer, but I would be mentoring in a way I never had before.  I've spent a summer teaching middle school students about Newtonian mechanics and how to program in C, but this was a new dimension of mentoring for me.  Instead of developing technical skill or intuition, I would be talking through the experience of a woman in tech.


Peak traffic from flash sales or new product launches can be problematic for many retailers during the holidays. With holiday season sales representing 25-35 percent of revenue for many retailers, getting your site prepared for peak can significantly affect your holiday revenue. A website's ability to deliver a great customer experience during peak can hinges on three key areas - infrastructure, application code and CDN configuration.

Though the holidays are still a few months away, now is the ideal time to run a peak threshold load test to determine how many users or how much traffic load you can have on your site before it becomes unresponsive. In a perfect world, everyone would have a staging environment that exactly mirrored their production environment to run this test on but that's not the case for many retailers. First things first for those running tests against your production environment -- make sure you coordinate with your IT teams, datacenter and CDN before and during testing to avoid any interruption to customer traffic. Without proper coordination, you could inadvertently cause a DDoS of your own website!

No Matter How Different the Underlying Business Issues, Many of the Challenges are "Identical". 
 
Here's an example of a typical networking conversation you'll encounter at Akamai Edge Healthcare Forum



 
Learn more about Edge and register here.


Ginny Carpenter is the manager of industry marketing for healthcare at Akamai.



Descriptive Statistics for #WebPerf


Stats.  How geeky.  And boring.  I hardly remember anything from basic elementary math, let alone anything to do with statistical analysis at a college / university level.  But it turns out that statistics can be incredibly useful in describing what's happening across a population, such as when you use Real User Monitoring (RUM) to get performance metrics (such as load times) across your user base.

Why is this important?  Glad you asked.  There is well-accepted evidence from some of the largest e-tailers including Amazon and Wal-Mart on the effect of conversions and sales revenues with a site's performance.  Most of this data centers around median scores (in other words, the "average" performance of a page), where an increase (or decrease) in a page's median load times correlate to measurable changes in conversion rates.  The reason why we use median instead of mean is because median is much more resistant to outliers that may markedly affect the "average" number, and hence distort what we perceive as the typical experience when visiting a page.

Akamai at Cloud Partners Conference

Scheduling note: I'll be moderating a keynote panel at the Cloud Partners Conference in Boston Wednesday, Sept. 16. The conference is Sept. 16-18 at the Hynes Convention Center.

Panel details:
  • Time: 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
  • Topic: Cloud Risk: Hype Vs. Reality
  • Description: We'll discuss security best practices in the cloud and hear what is and isn't working for different companies. The ultimate lesson: Cloud security is attainable.
  • Moderator: Bill Brenner, Senior Tech Writer, Akamai Security Intelligence Response Team (SIRT)
  • Panelists: Andy Daudelin, Vice President, Cloud and Cloud Networking, AT&T, Mike Davis, CTO, CounterTack and Bernie McGroder, Vice President, Sales Engineering, GTT Communications Inc.

I look forward to a great discussion!

Akamai Edge 2015 Cloud Security Track

Next month, I'll be at the Akamai Edge customer conference. It's a terrific opportunity to meet face-to-face with a lot of our customers and get their feedback on what's working for them and what we can improve upon. A robust Web Security track of talks is planned, and I'll be blogging about it. 

The security track will run each day of Edge. Here's a tentative look at some of the discussions we have planned.

"If you want to go somewhere, it's best to find someone who has already been there."
 
The ability to network with your peers in the healthcare industry is one of the #1 benefits of attending Akamai Edge Healthcare Forum.






 
Learn more about Edge and register here.


Ginny Carpenter is the manager of industry marketing for healthcare at Akamai.



Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program Wrap-Up

We recently said farewell to the twenty terrific young women of the Akamai Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program. They learned and grew so much over their seven weeks with us, and we will miss them!   

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At their graduation ceremony, Tom Leighton spoke about how much is possible if one is intelligent, curious, and hard working. I see that every day at Akamai, and I saw it in spades among the girls in our program. They approached each new opportunity with gusto, whether it was learning about the internet, algorithms for genome sequencing, data visualization, data structures, or personal robots. They were always curious and asked great questions. They brought the same energy to coding, and the Girls Who Code staff said they often had to pry the girls off of their computers at the end of the day to send them home. It was wonderful to witness their satisfaction in making things work - whether debugging the ball physics in their "Pong" game, or building a personal web site.

Teens Busted for Exploiting Lizard Squad Attack Tool

In January, we told you about Lizard Squad, an attack group that ruined Christmas for a lot of Sony Playstation and Xbox users by launching DDoSes against those gaming networks. The authorities have been chasing them down since then, and this month six teens were arrested for using Lizard Squad's signature Lizard Stresser DDoS attack tool.

Accuracy

There can sometimes be a fine line between suspicion and guilt. Determining malicious or "good" activity can be a challenging task in today's cyber world full of hidden and dark secrets. A system based on accuracy and thorough analysis of all evidence will lead to the true malicious actor.
Consider a popular way to illegally extract money from someone's bank account for example. The malicious actor has created a malicious link to exploit a vulnerability using a Cross Site Forgery Request (CSRF) on a vulnerable banking site. The malicious actor makes sure that the victim clicks on the malicious link while logged onto his online banking account with the vulnerability. He thinks he is transferring $2,000 to pay the rent but this malicious link changes the request to have $20,000 from his account transferred to an anonymous bitcoin account. The money is laundered away before it can be traced.