Default MFA is coming soon to Snowflake

Today: an interview with Snowflake CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy, the U.K. signals that Microsoft could be force to make some pricing changes, and the latest enterprise moves.

Default MFA is coming soon to Snowflake

Welcome to Runtime! Today: an interview with Snowflake CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy, the U.K. signals that Microsoft could be force to make some pricing changes, and the latest enterprise moves.

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All the factors

After a week during which growing numbers of Snowflake customers reported data breaches after failing to use multifactor authentication to secure their accounts, CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy said Thursday that the company plans to require customers to use the additional protection in the near future.

"It's clear that we have to do something about this," Ramaswamy said in an interview with Runtime on Thursday, the last day of the Snowflake Data Cloud Summit. Snowflake has been urging customers all week to turn on MFA security features for their accounts, "but I think making this programmatic is the next logical step we do need to take," he said.

  • Several high-profile Snowflake customers — including Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation and Santander, one of the largest banks in the world — have recently reported data breaches that security experts have linked to Snowflake accounts that lacked multifactor authentication.
  • Techcrunch reported Wednesday that "hundreds" of login credentials stolen from Snowflake customers are available for sale in hacking forums, suggesting that this issue could become much more widespread in coming days.
  • Given that a lot of Snowflake customers use automated service accounts to run tasks, the problem is more complex than simply throwing a switch to require MFA in order to access data in Snowflake, Ramaswamy said.
  • However, the company will outline a plan to address those accounts "in the coming days," he said.

Ramaswamy also confirmed that Snowflake had looked at Tabular, which Databricks announced it had acquired right as he took the stage on Tuesday, but "we decided to build the functionality in the company that was bought," he said, which resulted in the Polaris Catalog.

  • Tabular was founded by the people behind Iceberg, the open table format that has become an enormous part of Snowflake's product strategy this year, and Databricks plans to combine those efforts with its work on the rival Delta Lake format to "lead the way with data compatibility," it said Tuesday.
  • But Ramaswamy believes that Polaris will allow Snowflake to work toward the same goal.
  • "It's really this combination of support for the open format and support for an open catalog that we think is a big step forward for just the whole industry in terms of data interoperability," he said.

In his speech on Monday, Ramaswamy acknowledged that "the bar for AI in the enterprise is much higher" compared to consumer-facing AI products, although those aren't exactly wowing anybody either. So why is he (and nearly every executive in enterprise tech, to be fair) urging customers to quickly adopt the technology?

  • "I think it reflects the fact that pretty much every senior executive, every CEO, every board, and most of all, everybody, understands that there's something cool about it," he said.
  • But there's something deeper this time around, especially among those who remember what happened to companies that slow-played the shift to mobile and cloud computing.
  • "I think companies are also a lot more wary of not getting disrupted by AI," he said, even if they aren't quite sure how it will work for their organization.
  • As a result, it's a good old-fashioned Silicon Valley stampede, or as he put it, "I see this as the collective intelligence of people understanding that these things can drive potentially tectonic changes."

We'll publish the full interview with Ramaswamy next week on Runtime.

Keep it fair

After it began looking into Microsoft's software licensing practices last year as part of a broader inquiry into cloud competition, the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority said Thursday that it is considering putting an end to the discounts customers get for running Microsoft software on Microsoft's cloud. It might also force Microsoft to ensure that its software will provide the same functionality regardless of whether it runs on Azure or another cloud.

The proposed remedies  — which are far from becoming actual regulations — involved several different areas of cloud competition, such as egress fees, but Microsoft was singled out for its licensing practices. The CMA might force Microsoft to allow "customers to freely transfer previously purchased Microsoft software products to the cloud infrastructure of their choice without incurring additional costs," and require "parity of Microsoft software products and product functionality for use on Azure and third party cloud infrastructure," it said in an update to its ongoing investigation.

Microsoft has been on defense over its licensing practices over the past year, unbundling Teams from Office to satisfy European regulators and making other changes. And it might face new scrutiny at home, after The New York Times reported Wednesday that the FTC is getting ready to take a close look at its deal with OpenAI.

Enterprise moves

Myke Lyons is the new CISO at Cribl, after serving in the same role at Snyk for almost a year.

Geoff Blaine is the new chief marketing officer at Jitterbit, taking on the new role at the integration company after four months as vice president of corporate marketing and communications.

The Runtime roundup

SAP shelled out $1.5 billion for WalkMe, which helps companies get employees up and running on new applications.

A San Francisco jury acquitted former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch of charges that he cooked the books during the run-up to HP's 2011 acquisition of his company.

CoreScientific turned down CoreWeave's $1 billion offer for the bitcoin mining company, but sounded like it might be interested if the number went up.

One of the key players behind Thursday's stunning U.S. upset of Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup was Saurabh Netravalkar, who works for Oracle as a principal member of its technical staff.

Thanks for reading — see you Saturday!

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