The Great Security Skills Shortage

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:              

  • IT security specialists need to expand their skills range, especially in technology areas that are seeing  the greatest amount of new investment
  • Employers looking for good candidates need to put resources into training and mentoring programs in order to cultivate the mix of skills they are seeking

Here’s an interesting conundrum:  There is an acute skills shortage in the IT security job market, but at the same time those with security skills are being turned away when they seek to advance through new job openings.  It appears to be a combination of factors that have created this scenario.  In a recent TechTarget article, George Hulme argues that there are unrealistic expectations on the part of those hiring.  Many organizations appear to be looking for candidates with multiple talents.  Not only do they want specialists, they want candidates to be specialists in multiple areas, and they want those candidates to have some leadership skills or business acumen. Read more of this post

Mobile Self-Help Applications Continue to Miss Customer Expectations

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Customers’ expectations for high-quality mobile self-help solutions are growing rapidly and now higher than ever, yet customers continue to be disappointed by the solutions that are ubiquitous today.
  • Brand assessments and Net Promoter Score (NPS) evaluations are closely linked to the customer’s perception of a company’s ability to meet customer service needs.  Successful mobile solutions will be a critical element of positive customer assessments in the future.

Just about a year ago, I wrote a blog entry about the growing need to connect mobile self-service and agent-assisted customer service into a continuous and seamless customer experience.  The basic message was that providers of customer service technologies need to better accommodate the growing number of customers using their mobile devices to access customer service on demand.  It was somewhat uplifting recently to see the findings of a market research study performed under the sponsorship of the VHT Corporation (formerly Virtual Hold) that quantified and corroborated many of the underlying drivers which motivated me to write the original piece. Read more of this post

Migrating to Cloud Services: A Wholesale Switchover or a Step-by-Step Approach?

Summary Bullets:

  • SOHO and SMB users have the opportunity to migrate to cloud services in a single move.
  • Joel Stradling

    Larger enterprises and MNCs tend to adopt more slowly, virtualizing one IT system at a time.

How to make the switch from owning premises-based infrastructure to having all IT hosted in a cloud environment is a tricky question for IT managers to consider.  There are so many ‘cloud’ flavours out there, such as public and private clouds, hybrid VPNs and hybrid cloud solutions.  Whether it happened by intent or by some coincidence, the multi-service converged access rollout by carriers investing in NGN has paved the way for smaller companies to place all of their ICT needs, should they so desire, into the cloud in one quick-fix move.  The capability of running voice, data and video over an Ethernet or IP interface at the customer premises has been around for a while, but telcos have realized that, once the multiservice access is in place, the customer can then be presented with a wide range of cloud add-ons, including all the ‘as-a-service’ possibilities: software, communications, storage, security, cloud computing and so on.  A SOHO or SME has fewer applications to run in most cases; thus, the market is seeing more prospects within this segment entirely embracing cloud services, and at reasonable price points, where infrastructure can be shared and non-critical traffic can run on the public Internet. Read more of this post

WebRTC: Near-term Battlefield, Long-term Impact on IT

Brian Riggs

Brian Riggs

Summary Bullets:                

  • WebRTC is a promising technology with an uncertain future, particularly in the enterprise
  • WebRTC could impact how corporate IT departments deploy comms software, but not for some time yet

WebRTC is a new technology that has the potential to impact how corporate IT departments purchase and deploy communications software. But sparring among industry heavyweights could deal WebRTC a knockout punch before it ever finds its way into the enterprise. Read more of this post

Look for Operators to Lead Cloud Ecosystems

Jerry Caron

Jerry Caron

Summary Bullets:

  • Network operators are trusted sources in the consumer world; can this translate into the business world?
  • There is an opportunity for operators to be leaders in the cloud services ecosystem given their technological position.

A recent, exhaustive, global study by Ericsson’s ConsumerLab research group indicates that – perhaps somewhat surprisingly – network operators are tops when it comes to trust.  The context is information privacy and data security, and the issue is what online companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and all the others should be allowed to do with the information shared by the consumer in their application environments. Read more of this post

Balancing the Need for Access and Security in the Age of IT Consumerization

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Amy Larsen DeCarlo

Summary Bullets:

  • Trends such as the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) movement put more IT power into the hands of end users.  However, making IT resources more accessible can significantly increase the risk of breaches.
  • Having a handle on data security in what today are extremely porous environments requires more than sophisticated technology; enterprises also need to have the right policies and practices in place to avoid the most prevalent cause of incidents: human error.

Access is everything in IT today, with organizations placing a premium on the ability to tap into enterprise resources from virtually any location and a multitude of different device types.  This extensible approach to enterprise IT is meant to support more productive and agile operating models.  However, for all the potential value technologies such as mobility can bring to an organization, there is also risk associated with allowing end users and their often unmanaged devices rights to direct entry to critical resources. Read more of this post

Microsoft Jumps on the Development Fasttrack with SharePoint, but Risks Leaving Some Users Behind

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • The future of software development lies in the cloud, where rapid release cycles and easy upgrades are possible.
  • The present reality for many premises-centric customers, however, is much slower and more painful.

Prior to last week’s Microsoft SharePoint conference in Las Vegas, I was of the mind that faster was always better. Not just for cars and planes, but software development in particular. I felt that lengthy software development cycles were getting in the way of innovation. The prototypical 18 month product update schedule for on-premises, perpetually licensed software, where bug fixes take precident over the introduction of new features, seemed extremely antiquated when compared to current cloud-based development models capable of rushing new features to market every 90 days or less. Read more of this post

Mainstream Enterprises Still Struggling to Catch Up with the MDM/MAM Hype Cycle

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

• Despite hype to the contrary, mobile device management and mobile application management is not mainstream

• Innovative vendors are out in front solving problems that most enterprises haven’t begun to even think about

The juxtaposition of this week’s strategic partnership announcement between Boxtone and Good Technology against our mid-October report on enterprise BYOD progress in 2012 serves as a great example of how big the disconnect is between the hype of MDM/MAM and reality of mainstream enterprise adoption of policies governing the use of employee-owned devices at work. The Boxtone/Good agreement calls for the integration of Good’s mobile application and data security functionality found in its Good Dynamics and Good for Enterprise products with BoxTone’s mobile device, analytics, and service management functions. The analytics piece, due in 2013, is especially intriguing. Planned instrumentation will allow enterprise IT to determine the frequency of use for mobile enterprise applications, monitor application performance and utilization, and monitor user behavior to learn whether enterprise mobile applications require end user training or ease of use enhancements. Such analytics will allow enterprises to get more bang for the development buck and insure desired productivity gains are achieved. Read more of this post

Dead or Alive? Copper Loops Merit Major New Platform Upgrade Investments

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Counter to those who declare copper networks obsolete, platforms taking advantage of existing copper plant are drawing healthy new investment.
  • Both incumbents and competitive carriers are deploying platforms that wring faster speeds out of existing copper plant.

The telecom industry hasn’t talked up copper networking for years: Twisted-pair wire just doesn’t have the allure of fiber or wireless. But even with projects such as Verizon FiOS having run for many years, removing all copper from access networks has proved too expensive and difficult to be a feasible goal. Fiber steadily finds its way into access networks, but carriers – both incumbents and their facilities-based competitors – are also continuing to stretch existing copper plant in new ways. Just since the beginning of November, there has been a flurry of new industry activity: Read more of this post

Unified Communications Is More a Way of Working Than a Technology

Gary Barton

Gary Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • SMEs should talk to providers about the benefits of UC solutions and demand that providers present solutions with broader efficiency rather than a specific vendor or technology.
  • SMEs should consider UC as a way of improving both internal working practices (e.g., hot-desking) and customer service (e.g., contact centres).

Demand for unified communications (UC) solutions seems to be growing, but remains far from achieving critical mass.  SMEs often ask why a business should pay for features such as IM or shared workspace when services such as Skype and Dropbox provide some of that functionality for free.  An obvious answer to this is security and reliability; a business-quality solution should provide a much more stable service than free applications.  However, it is not an unfair question for SMEs to ask.  Paying for a suite of UC services is likely a waste of money if working practices are not changed to best utilise those services.  So, SMEs should be wary of UC underachieving unless providers show how it can help increase customers’ efficiency. Read more of this post