Degrees of Separation Between Carrier and Enterprise Data Centers Are Few

M. Spanbauer

M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:         

  • Carrier and enterprise data centers share many common elements.
  • The messaging will be different and tailored to each segment; however, the core technology remains the same.

As I was preparing for an upcoming event in London (Layer123’s Cloud-Net Summit, March 12-14) and working on characterizing the data center profiles that carriers are considering, it struck me that carrier and enterprise data centers are discussed and defined in completely separate ways.  However, as one evaluates the technology within, there are fewer differences than similarities.  Both enterprise and carrier data centers consider low-latency mechanics and optimizing point-to-point communications; provide secure domains that enable customers access to their resources; and rely on highly resilient, scalable architectures that allow for both growth and ironclad operational uptime.  The list does not stop there. Read more of this post

Doctors Find Clarity in the Cloud, but IT Isn’t Convinced

A. DeCarlo

A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:         

  • Acceptance of the cloud in the medical field is on the rise: recent Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) research finds that 91% of physicians think cloud-based image sharing is beneficial to patients.
  • Providers of all stripes are lining up with on-demand offers targeted toward healthcare organizations, but it is still too early to forecast whether healthcare IT departments will get on board with the cloud.

For an industry as skilled at integrating technological innovations into daily practices as healthcare, it is surprising how mightily the sector has struggled with adapting information technology to improve operating efficiencies.  From doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals to the insurance companies that support them, the healthcare industry has toiled for decades to incorporate IT into its practices, to improve operational efficiencies and take out costs.  Unfortunately, years-long efforts around activities such as electronic healthcare record (EHR) initiatives have often yielded more frustration than real industry-wide process improvements.  Read more of this post

Enterprise DLP Strategy – Breaking Trust is a Dangerous Option

B. Ostergaard

B. Ostergaard

Summary Bullets:

  • Misusing certificates for data leakage prevention (DLP) purposes is not a good idea
  • Deploying big data analytics to weed out deviant data and traffic behavior is much less intrusive

I have been talking to several MSSPs in connection with their rollouts of DLP services. A pressing issue for them is to explain to customers how effective their DLP services actually are. Two weeks ago Trustwave, an SSL certificate authority, confessed to selling a subordinate root certificate that allowed a customer to monitor employees’ Web communications – even if the staffers relied on HTTPS. Trustwave explains that the man-in-the-middle gear was designed as tamper-proof and limited to its unnamed client’s compound. I would suspect that other certificate authorities have issued similar certificates to enterprise customers for DLP purposes. Despite these precautions, Trustwave revoked the offending certificate admitting that the whole approach was ill conceived. Read more of this post

Hello Microsoft Office for iPad, Bye Bye Desktop?

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Corporate e-mail, calendaring, social media and Web-based solutions, all work on mobile devices just as they do on the desktop. But mobile document editing is just beginning to show its true value on the road.
  • Regardless of how vendors like Microsoft decide to mobilize corporate documents, all enterprise IT managers will need to realign current mobile device management efforts with an emphasis on document access control, offline availability, synchronization and version control.

For quite a while now, documents have been the single biggest bugaboo in my quest to use my Apple iPad as a desktop replacement while on the road. Corporate e-mail, calendaring, social media, and any Web-based solution such as Salesforce.com, all work the way they do on the desktop. Actually, in many ways, they’re better – where usability and simplicity are concerned, the iPad simply offers a user experience that is far superior to the desktop. Sadly, however, when it comes to writing and editing, especially jointly editing corporate documents, those merits just don’t apply. The best word to describe it in the overall experience is unusable. There are workarounds and third-party editing and synchronization solutions available to ease the pain, but even those fail to offer anything approaching the same level of functionality available with full-fledged desktop productivity suites like Microsoft Office. Read more of this post

BYO Devices and the Bottomless, Bandwidth-Slurping Pit That Is Social Media

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Fifty to one hundred applications is the norm, rather than the five to ten apps of yesteryear.
  • Devices are also changing, with laptops now accompanied by smartphones and tablets.

On a recent business trip to Paris, guests of the hotel had to pay upwards of EUR 12 to access the in-room Internet service.  However, WiFi was free in the hotel lobby, and as a result, a dozen Web users were in the lobby at any one time half accessing this ‘free’ Internet experience via a whole variety of handhelds.  Surely, this puts unsurpassed demand on the WLAN link in the lobby and results in lower revenues for the hotel from in-room access.  It can be argued that today’s work places face similar network and IT challenges, with workers entering the work space with all kinds of handhelds for conducting business and accessing the Internet and applications from any location.  Some companies ban certain social media Web sites, whilst others allow and encourage these, understanding that the new generation of Twitters, Facebooks, Salesforce.coms, etc., are entering the business realm as professional tools and for collaboration.  IT managers could throw bandwidth at the issue, but the result may well be simply an improved viewing experience on YouTube, rather than the desired effect of having certain business applications perform better. Read more of this post

Customer Surveys: Balancing Information Needs with Customer Survey Fatigue

K. Landoline

K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:         

  • Collecting customer opinions regarding your company’s service is crucial to monitoring company performance and improving levels of customer satisfaction and longevity.
  • The excessive use of surveys today is breeding customer fatigue and scorn for the companies that impose them on their customers at a rapidly increasing rate.

We all know that communicating with our customers is a critical part of good customer service.  In my last blog, I discussed the importance of social media for capturing customers’ perceptions.  Today, I will discuss proactive customer surveys as a means of measuring customer satisfaction.  The use of post-interaction surveys has grown dramatically over the past few years.  Surveys have become so important that two large contact center optimization software companies, NICE Systems and Verint Systems, have made acquisitions in the past year (Fizzback and Vovici, respectively) to boost their customer survey offering capabilities. Read more of this post

Cloud Bullies Targeting IT

J. Caron

J. Caron

Summary Bullets:                

  • The cloud services industry is beginning to blame IT for slower-than-desired enterprise adoption
  • SPs and suppliers should focus on winning over IT managers, not alienating them

Service providers selling, technology suppliers building and financial folks investing are all beginning to play the blame game when it comes to the migration of cloud services into enterprise environments. It’s been my position, along with many others in the industry, that wide scale, truly flexible, multi-supplier Whatever-as-a-Service (WaaS) is a very long-term proposition for mid- to large-sized enterprises. The list of reasons why is lengthy, with questions about security and compliance the most oft-cited, along with significant issues around legacy apps migration. Certainly usage of certain types of cloud services—particularly software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings for functions such as HR administration and sales force automation—are selling briskly in all sorts of businesses, but especially at the lower end of the scale. And our own survey of 1,000 large enterprises shows that a very high percentage of IT shops are dabbling with cloud services to at least some degree. But dabbling it is—less than 5% of IT needs, in most cases—rather than investing heavily. Read more of this post

SIEM Market Consolidation: Recommendations on How to Adjust to a Changing Market

P. Musich

P. Musich

Summary Bullets:         

  • Security information and event management (SIEM) market consolidation/evolution poses a different set of challenges and opportunities to enterprise security operations.
  • It is important to adjust expectations and buying strategies in light of the consolidation.

The SIEM market, although mature, is evolving at a more rapid rate than it has for some time.  Large IT vendors including HP and IBM are now throwing their weight around in the market, as is McAfee in the security market.  This is putting greater pressure on other vendors that have sat on the sidelines to make a move.  SIEM players are working to streamline deployments while at the same time scaling their ability to gather and correlate an exponentially larger data set.  Furthermore, a new crop of startups have a clean slate to address the complexity issues of traditional SIEM products by enabling true cloud-based SIEM services that can reduce the heavy maintenance and operational costs of first-generation, premises-based SIEM architecture.  Given such changes, here are a few practical recommendations for any current or prospective SIEM customer. Read more of this post

Q&A from MDM/BYOD Webinar Provides New Insights

K. Weldon

K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Operators are concerned with getting their word out more effectively to enterprise buyers.
  • Technology providers are looking for validation on BYOD trends, segmentation strategies, and future platform requirements.

Current Analysis held a webinar on February 1st and 2nd focused on global trends in enterprise mobility, providing insights derived from a survey we conducted among 600 businesses last fall.  Attendees included a large and diverse number of technology providers, including operators, networking equipment vendors, security vendors, consultants, and application developers.  The questions posed to us during the Q&A session revealed some of the underlying concerns of these vendors as they seek to develop solutions for their business customers.  Most of these vendors are helping businesses deal with the huge surge in mobile usage among their employees (as well as their partners and customers), which increasingly includes at least some personal mobile devices used to conduct business. Read more of this post

Incremental WLAN Investments May Pay Significant Dividends

M. Spanbauer

M. Spanbauer

Summary Bullets:                  

  • Even minor incremental upgrades may pay significant dividends
  • IT departments should consider additional WLAN surveys post-deployment due to the increase in radio noise and potential coverage issues that result

In the last six months several vendors have announced products that incrementally improve the 802.11n solution either through clever antenna designs, intelligent noise suppression or improved throughput performance (radio or otherwise).  The key element is that most of these require additional investment in WLAN hardware or software.  To some this may seem odd as in the past, unless a new technology or significant advantage was to be obtained, the effort to procure any budget would not be worth the hassle of the RFP and budgeting process.  However, we contend that with the demands placed on the WLAN network today, even minor incremental investment in the network could pay handsome dividends, with returns in months.  The number of tablets, smartphones and other wireless dependent devices being brought into the enterprise and consuming WLAN cycles continues to increase at an incredible pace.  This in turn increases the access to and therefore the usage of enterprise applications which are easily accessible via these mobile devices, the most notable being email.  As more advanced applications become more widely available and these users further increase their productivity, the correlation between WLAN performance and user productivity grows clearer.  Therefore, the improved WLAN coverage and performance may directly translate into increased user productivity and ultimately into increased revenue productivity (or at least user efficiency). Read more of this post