Hacktivists Have the Upper Hand in an Environment Where Most Attacks Go Unreported

A. DeCarlo

A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • Anonymous’ attack on UK government sites in protest of efforts to extradite WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange to Sweden mirror the continued trend of dogmatically driven cyber attacks.
  • Troubling statistics point to real reticence on the part of the attacked organizations to prosecute breaches, with DDoS vendor Arbor Networks publishing figures which reveal that just 26% of all distributed denial of service attacks are actually reported.

The summer of 2012 has been a season of ‘hacktivist’ discontent.  A spate of recent politically motivated cyber attacks against governments, including Mexico and the United Kingdom, underscore the fact that profit is no longer the primary driver for IT-related breaches.  A number of breach investigation reports from the last two years highlight the rising tide of hacktivist-sponsored attacks (see: ‘Hacktivism’ Changes the Threat Landscape, Again, February 10, 2012), a trend which clearly continues as hackers employ even more sophisticated application-layer tactics to attack the organizations they oppose on political, legal, or philosophical grounds. Read more of this post

UCaaS Can Be a Lifesaver in a Disaster

C. Whelan

C. Whelan

Summary Bullets:

  • Marketing for cloud-based communications solutions often emphasizes cost savings and features more than business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • Customers need to understand how carriers will ensure their services remain functional when a disaster strikes.

2012 is not even close to finished, but it has already been a tough year so far for the U.S. in terms of natural disasters.  Violent storms in the Eastern U.S. left thousands of people without power for weeks, even taking out 911 services in some locations.  Wildfires have raged in the West, and just in time for hurricane season, Isaac now threatens the Southern U.S.  These events highlight the need for businesses to have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place to ensure that in the event of a natural disaster, they can come back up to speed as quickly as possible. Read more of this post

Crossing the Cloud Chasm: Learning from the U.S. Public Sector Advance

A. DeCarlo

A. DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • The pressure is on organizations to leverage technology models like cloud services to improve efficiencies and cut costs, but many still struggle to produce workable on-demand computing strategies.
  • Enterprises can learn from early adopters including the U.S. public sector, which has instituted mandates to encourage cloud use that should provide valuable insights to both the private sector and cloud providers.

Cloud computing is coming of age at a time when economic uncertainty and competitive pressures of globalization force organizations to be more efficient and more flexible.  As much as an on-demand computing model appeals as a way to cut costs and increase organizational agility, making the transition to the cloud can be difficult and complicated for enterprises that have substantial infrastructure and legacy applications. Read more of this post

MDM Vendors Look to Mobile Apps/Security Management for Differentiation

K. Weldon

K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile application management (MAM) became the ‘new’ buzzword in enterprise mobility in 2011/2012 as enterprises and service providers shift their focus from mobile device management (now somewhat commoditized) to mobile app development, delivery, and security.  A large set of relatively small vendors (many of whose names start with ‘App’) is selling solutions for app development, app and content management, and app security.  However, the market is now split into ‘pure-play’ MAM vendors (with a number of sub-categories and niches) and MDM vendors that have been adding some of these capabilities to enrich their core offerings.
  • From the channel perspective, mobile operators and IT service providers have taken note of this trend and are trying to make sense of yet another set of potential partners.  Service providers can resell MAM solutions, but they could also potentially strike more meaningful relationships with MAM vendors as platform providers for managed mobility services.  Or, they can stay with their core MDM partners and hope they are up to the task of adding MAM functionality.

MAM vendors include companies that may provide platforms for mobile app development but also focus on app delivery, ongoing management, and security.  They often help customers set up role/policy-based enterprise app stores and many feature app-wrapping technology that secures each individual app rather than the device.  Examples include AppCentral, AppBlade, App47, Appcelerator, Apperian, and Partnerpedia.  Worklight (acquired by IBM in 2012) provides “open standards-based app development with tools and a console for easy deployment and maintenance of mobile apps, as well as enterprise integration to enable secure device/server connectivity and secure device storage.”  Mocana and Nukona (the latter acquired by Symantec in 2012) focus more on the security side, providing ‘app-wrapping’ technology and enabling data access/authentication, usage controls, and protection policies such as per app file encryption and copy-and-paste prevention. Read more of this post

Silver Peak Drives Home Coordination’s Benefits with Data Center Optimization

B. Washburn

B. Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Silver Peak optimizes loads between data centers by deploying WAN optimization software and VMware integration that reaches beyond vCenter.
  • This is not great news for WAN providers, as the data center innovation treats the WAN as a static commodity.

My last blog addressed the elements of building intelligent networks.  It bemoaned that the managed service elements that could go into end-to-end services visibility and control are a largely uncoordinated patchwork.  Well, it looks like WAN optimization vendor Silver Peak has been thinking along the same lines.  The vendor took a step forward by embedding its WAN optimization solutions inside VMware vCenter.  An IT manager that needs to connect workloads across data centers can access vCenter, select from the list of virtual machines and workloads, and click-to-activate/deactivate WAN optimization for selected applications.  VMware vCenter launches a Silver Peak tab that displays information about the application flows being optimized.  To make this technique work, the company can’t rely on placing hardware everywhere.  Instead, Silver Peak lets customers load its WAN optimization software to run on virtual machines residing at each end of their cloud applications.  Besides getting its application plugged into VMware vCenter, Silver Peak controls VMware’s switching between virtual machines in the cloud, to optimize the connection between Silver Peak’s WAN optimization instance and the targeted application to be accelerated.  Silver Peak is unlikely to remain a lone player for long for this type of solution. Read more of this post

2G Re-Farming: How Does this Affect the Growth of M2M?

K. Weldon

K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T’s announcement that it will gradually (market by market) shut down its 2G network to reutilize spectrum resources for higher bandwidth technologies and applications (and that this re-farming will be complete by 2017) spurred controversy last week. Competitors implied that many M2M customers would be stranded and would either have to change providers or pay more to AT&T for 3G or even 4G connections.
  • AT&T notes that only 12% of all post-paid connections over its network are 2G today . While the make-up of these connections or how many of them are for M2M deployments are unknown, the general estimate in the market has been that at least 80% of worldwide M2M connections are on 2G networks and that this is still sufficient for the kinds of low bandwidth, infrequent data usage scenarios that still dominate the market.

Competitive operators have been the most vocal about AT&T’s plan. Those operators that do not plan to shut off 2G (or haven’t officially announced such plans) include Sprint and T-Mobile (along with the latter’s MVNO partner, RACO Wireless) , although T-Mobile is actually re-farming about 75% of its 2G spectrum but keeping about 5 MHz available for M2M and other 2G customers. Verizon has not announced any specific plans and is looking to other sources of new spectrum (such as its deal with several cable companies) to fuel its continued LTE build-out and ensure high-capacity and good performance on the new network. So Sprint and RACO appear to be excited about AT&T’s plan, because they intend to lure those 2G M2M customers who really have no need for an upgrade. Read more of this post

UCaaS for SMEs: Best Practice Examples, But Alternatives Should Be Considered

G. Barton

G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Major competitors should be able to offer unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS)
  • Providers should work with customers/channels to create longer-term contracts that provide revenue stability with keener pricing as a reward for commitment

UCaaS is a much-hyped proposition/delivery model at the moment. The term is usually used to group together hosted IP voice alongside features such as instant messaging, audio/Web/video conferencing, email, fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) services such as single number dialling and collaboration services such as shared applications. The focus on a pay-per-use delivery model is understandable. UC remains a challenging sell, with northern European users in particular remaining sceptical. UC does not always deliver cost savings so much as gains in productivity, which can be hard to prove as return on investment. Thus a ‘no upfront invest, no fixed term’ message is very attractive and has encouraged many users, particularly SMEs, to take the plunge.   Read more of this post

Vendors Target Programs at Powerful Developer Brain Trust

C. Dunlap

C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Application platform vendors need to target developers with messaging and programs.
  • SAP is aiming for a broader developer audience via its new MADP partner program.

Middleware vendors realize that enterprise developers are at the center of a company’s decision making process in today’s innovation-centric organizations; therefore, they are tailoring messaging directly to the source.  Developers are driving more of the architectural and business-oriented decisions in the enterprise.  They’re not just a sweatshop pumping out code, but a vibrant brain trust capable of some serious innovation and thought leadership. Read more of this post

100G and 400G Long Haul Optical Connections Get Closer to the Enterprise

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Verizon, Interoute, euNetworks, Colt, TSIC, and others, are examples of service providers that have lit fibre assets with 100 Gbps bandwidth and Ethernet at the core transport layer
  • Video, mobility, cloud-based computing and storage, and rapidly growing SaaS take-up are pushing the need for high-capacity service
  • There is an on-going performance versus cost challenge for buyers of high-speed service to consider

The desire for faster Internet does not have a ceiling, because it is linked to human impatience, which is limitless. From the perspective of business applications, bandwidth growth is driven by cloud storage, SaaS, enterprise mobility, high-powered cloud computing, and business video. To date, 100 Gbps Ethernet, optical transport, and DWDM wavelength announcements have largely been coming from the equipment manufacturer’s camp; but this is changing as more and more service providers start to expound upon the virtues of recently launched long haul 100G circuits as well as early readiness for 400G service.

We reco Read more of this post

Harnessing Big Data in the Contact Center: A Slow but Worthwhile Struggle

K. Landoline

K. Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Contact centers have been dealing with the ‘big data’ issue for years as they strive to develop the elusive 360-degree view of the customer across an assortment of structured and unstructured data collected from billions of customer interactions each year.
  • Despite a long history of dealing with big data, there has been little progress in utilizing the information to optimize operations in most contact centers, and thanks to a lack of centralized management capabilities, data silos continue to be a major hindrance to the development of the ‘intelligent enterprise.’

Managers dealing with contact centers on a daily basis are perplexed with the industry’s sudden fixation with big data since they have been obsessed with the issue for more than thirty years in their voice call centers.  Now, the shift to the multichannel contact center, through which recorded phone calls, e-mails, faxes, Web chats, social media, and survey feedback data flow, makes the challenge even more complex and unwieldy.  How to deal with the volume, velocity, and variety of data moving through the multichannel contact center today and use the information to improve enterprise operations is a discussion worth having if we ever hope to reach the dream of the much-discussed ‘intelligent enterprise.’ Read more of this post