Moving Beyond UC Features to Business Integration

C. Whelan

C. Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Although vendors are ramping up messaging around unified communications/collaboration, some enterprises are not seeing the business case that justifies the investment.
  • Business process enablement is a key area where enterprises can leverage vendor expertise to gain more from their UC investment.

In media articles and discussions with vendors, the message is clear that enterprise uptake of unified communications features is increasing; Web/desktop video conferencing, instant messaging, and unified messaging are leading features being considered to join voice services for initial deployment.  However, a recent survey sponsored by InformationWeek revealed that while most respondents were deploying or planned to deploy a UC solution within the next 24 months, 33% had no plans to deploy UC.  Of those not deploying UC, 32% indicated that they saw no definitive business value, with most of the remaining respondents simply putting UC at a lower priority behind other projects.  Despite being inundated with messages of increased employee productivity and efficiency and reduced operating expenses, some executives and IT managers may not see the business case to justify the investment and transition to a more cohesive collaboration environment.  Vendors have the pieces in place to support a more compelling business case, but could strengthen this case through some changes in messaging around UC benefits. Read more of this post

Please, Delete Me: The EU Addresses Our Personal Right to be Forgotten

B. Ostergaard

B. Ostergaard

Summary Bullets:
•    The upcoming EU Privacy Directive aims at a moving target
•    Reviewing internal data management policies may be one good outcome
We all know that the Internet can come back to haunt us with personal information that we wish had been deleted a long time ago – from youthful debauchery and outdated purchasing habits to run-ins with the law. We also know that many Web sites storing this information show little interest in complying with such deletion requests from individuals. Given its commercial value, we also see that companies with such information are very loath to make it easy for individuals to move such information about themselves to other platforms. A third issue that needs to be addressed is the wide range of different national privacy policies that makes life difficult for companies storing personal data across many countries. Any new legislation must strike a critical balance between an individual’s right to privacy and what’s feasible (i.e., what can companies ‘reasonably’ do, what can authorities monitor and enforce, and how is privacy actually perceived by specific user communities – especially in social networks where users want to follow each others’ private lives). The legislation is clearly addressing a moving target and will be criticized severely, no matter how it shapes up. But retaining legislation that everyone agrees is obsolete is clearly not an option – so whatever comes out in the end – it will require a rethink across the industry. Read more of this post

2011 Was a Great Year for MDM

A. Braunberg

A. Braunberg

Summary Bullets:

  • The MDM market is not just growing, it’s expanding
  • Leading vendors had a very good year in 2011

Before talking about market growth, I should make it clear that Current Analysis does not do market sizing. (We aren’t a quant house.) That being said, we look at market numbers just like anyone else, and sometimes with a bit of amusement. A serious difficulty in trying to size the MDM market is that it is a moving target. The question is not so much what is MDM today, but rather what will it be in two or three years? If you don’t scope the market correctly then sizing it is impossible. One of the quantitative analyst firms this summer upwardly revised their MDM forecasts for 2015 from $3.9 billion to $6.6 billion. That is a huge resizing, but it makes sense in light of the expanded scope of the MDM market that the firm now anticipates. Read more of this post

Sensible Network Resilience and Diversity without Breaking the Piggy Bank

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets
•    Resilience and diversity can become very expensive
•    Architecting a sensibly-priced diverse network is feasible with thought and shopping around
Nearly every single international service provider is involved in cable-build projects in one way or another. For example Verizon has been building an eight-way trans-Pacific mesh network, and expanded its terrestrial mesh into eastern Canada. FT-Orange is increasing capacity in Latin America tenfold, and is involved in new submarine projects such as I-ME-WE (Asia-Europe), EASSy (East Africa) and Lion (linking Madagascar to SAT3/WASC/SAFE). AT&T meanwhile has over 200 Ciena CoreDirectors for control plane–based restoration in its intelligent optical mesh global network. Looking eastwards, several Asian tigers such as NTT Com, China Telecom and China Unicom have all been busy adding extra capacity as well marketing new land-based (e.g., trans-Siberian, Mongolian and through Russia) systems to give more choice and diversity. China Telecom sells the aptly termed ‘Information Silk Route’ as a well chosen brand message for its trans-Siberian network. Read more of this post

Wanted: A Microsoft-Delivered Lync Appliance for SMBs

Brian Riggs

B. Riggs

Summary Bullets:

  • It is possible to deploy Microsoft Lync in a one- or two-server configuration for SMBs.
  • Microsoft is not yet delivering Lync solutions specific to SMBs, but it should be.

Microsoft marketed Office Communications Server 2007 to large-sized enterprises with thousands of users.  This focus on the enterprise remained unchanged when the company released Lync, Microsoft’s latest and greatest unified communications software.  The software is in fact highly scalable, capable of delivering instant messaging, Web conferencing, and telephony services to businesses with thousands of end users.  However, such a large deployment can require a considerable number of servers to run the various software components – at least enough to put Lync out of the price range of SMBs that might consider it as an alternative to traditional PBX systems.  Read more of this post

The Long, Drawn-Out End of E-Mail as We Know It

J. Caron

J. Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • E-mail has never been popular in business environments, so reports of its death are celebrated
  • If e-mail is going to die, however, it will be long and slow, with new approaches requiring e-mail integration at the very least

Not long after e-mail went mainstream in late 1980s people started to complain about it. In fact, it was nearly instantaneous. At first there was a hint of pride embedded in complaints about the number of e-mails received – the eye-rolling moan about the “hundreds of e-mails each day” that really served to illustrate the complaining party’s indispensable magnificence.

Read more of this post

Next-Generation Firewalls Poised to Eclipse Intrusion Prevention Systems

P. Musich

P. Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • Readers who are considering adding new IPSs to their network should ask what their suppliers’ plans are for next-generation firewall (NGFW) features and how far along they are in delivering those.
  • Additional features that come with a NGFW make it a more complex security tool to manage, and enterprises should be prepared to invest in training should they plan to add NGFWs to their arsenal.

Are standalone IPSs becoming the next stateful packet inspection firewall (i.e., an old perimeter security technology that is required but no longer sufficient for protecting enterprise networks)?  Sophisticated and well-financed malware writers consistently find new ways of getting around existing and well-understood security controls such as the firewall and IPS, even as those suppliers race to keep up with the constantly changing threat landscape.  The result has been a constant stream of breach headlines (too many being rather spectacular) that all point to the rise of the so-called ’advanced persistent threat’ (APT).  Enterprises looking to address such threats are coming to embrace the NGFW and the greater application and user context it brings to the fight against more sophisticated cyber attacks.  The NGFW integrates the functions of a stateful firewall and IPS with the ability to identify applications and application-level attacks and apply granular policies to applications usage.  One forecast puts the IPS market at $2 billion by 2014, while the NGFW market is projected to reach $4 billion by 2014. Read more of this post

Public WiFi Is Cool Again; What Can It Bring to the Enterprise?

K. Weldon

K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Use of WiFi is on the rise among both operators facing congested networks and enterprises looking for cost-savings, especially for international roaming.
  • Budding efforts are on the way to streamline the user experience; allow seamless, secure roaming; and make WiFi usage less of a hassle for travelers.

Nearly all new smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and laptops have WiFi built-in, and for many of these devices, WiFi is the only network option.  However, the use of public hotspots has suffered from spotty coverage, inconsistent performance, security concerns, and a painful sign-up experience.  There are too many providers for any frequent traveler to track.  However, since carriers stopped offering unlimited 3G plans, and with the cost of international roaming still a big concern, businesses now need WiFi more than ever.  Wireless operators are joining the bandwagon, as high data and video usage on their networks causes congestion problems which are only going to get worse.  A number of different service providers and vendors are addressing how they can improve the WiFi experience and make it a viable complement to 3G/4G cellular. Read more of this post

One Gigabit WLAN Speeds Coming Sooner Than You Think; Is Your IT Shop Ready?

M. Spanbauer

M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:         

  • The combination of the “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomena and higher-speed WLAN access will further exacerbate IT challenges.
  • Processing power on the next generation of tablets and phones will change the paradigm for how enterprise users interact with their applications.

If you have not yet heard, the IEEE’s 802.11ac wireless LAN standard is imminent, and while the standard still may not be ratified for up to a year, this will not stop product developers from taking advantage of early release chips in the hyper-competitive consumer space.  However, this also matters to the enterprise IT department, as some of these devices are incredibly powerful, such as the ASUS Transformer Prime, the first quad-core tablet (though it does not have an .11ac radio).  There is also speculation that the iPad 3 will possess a comparably powerful chip.  This processing power opens up new potential opportunities for malicious damage to be done via rogue security software (or ‘rogueware’).  Still, with the advent of this much faster WLAN specification (speeds up to 1.3 Gbps will be possible), we may also see radical changes to the ways in which users access applications and interact with these resources.  Consider that these new tablets, phones, etc. will have processing power surpassing the desktops of just a couple years ago, as well as a mobile 1G throughput capacity.  This throughput and CPU performance should smash any limitations from a performance perspective for VDI and alter the ways in which we interact with critical applications. Read more of this post

Tough Economic Times Give Google a Shot at Communications

S. O'Boyle

S. O'Boyle

Summary Bullets:         

  • Communications and collaboration-as-a-service strategies should include the option of Google as well as Microsoft and Cisco.  Many service providers support Microsoft Lync and increasing numbers support Office 365, but few in Europe offer Google Apps. 
  • For service providers, the need to add value on top of application providers (Google, Microsoft, whoever) is critical.  This could mean SIP trunking, QoS on video, application performance SLAs, and even training and support; for those integrators with the IT skills customization, it could also mean workspace management and application business process integration.

Consider the inroads Microsoft has made into the communications and collaboration market in just a few years, starting from a position of strength in e-mail.  Google is not there yet, but it is gaining ground, as shown by its recent large enterprise win in Spain. Read more of this post