Making the Case for the Security Budget Requires Creativity and Clear Communication

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • When making the case for the security budget, it is critical to find metrics that succinctly describe the value of information security and do so in business terms.
  • One of the most common methods is benchmarking against peers, although obtaining such information is not easy.

The perennial problem of how to obtain the funding necessary to keep critical enterprise assets secure is a frequent subject whenever IT security executives get together. Judging by a few surveys conducted over the last year, it appears for the most part that security budgets are increasing. A PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Information Security Survey published late in 2013 found a 51% increase in the size of security budgets over the previous year among the 9,600 executives it surveyed. The average budget was $4.3 million – almost double the average reported in the same survey for 2010. Read more of this post

Web Client Accelerators Evolve into Cloud Applications Acceleration

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • The underlying caching and content acceleration concepts developed by turbo-charged dialup Internet services have found new life, addressing unpredictable wireless connectivity.
  • These tools had a low profile among enterprises until Sprint Cloud Optimizer, which improves the Microsoft Office 365 experience for roaming workers.

Anyone who has been following Internet trends in the past decade will likely remember web accelerators, which stretched the shelf life of dialup and low-speed broadband Internet access. These services were installed on desktop computers and used a combination of tricks – such as prefetching and caching content, compressing images and data, and optimizing TCP – to achieve a perceived fivefold or greater performance throughput. A similar grouping of caching and acceleration technologies launched the WAN optimization business, using dedicated devices at the customer premises. Read more of this post

U.S. Mobile Operators Fall into Two Camps, Relating to Target Segment

  • Kathryn Weldon

    Kathryn Weldon

    After completing our bi-annual set of enterprise mobility briefings from the four major U.S. mobile operators, it is clear to Current Analysis that they are separating into two “camps”

  • AT&T and Verizon (while also having SMB and mid-market product strategies) have their eyes primarily focused on the enterprise, and increasingly, the MNC; Sprint and T-Mobile may dabble a bit in all segments, but now state overtly that their sweet spot is the SMB and mid-market customer

All four major U.S. mobile operators can theoretically attract business customers of all sizes and verticals, including MNCs with U.S. operations. While perhaps it has been obvious all along, however, Sprint and T-Mobile are now very clearly stating that they are really targeting the SMB and mid-market customer. They may attract an enterprise here and there but these deals are more opportunistic. Making this clearer is actually helpful – it is not fair to judge Sprint and T-Mobile against AT&T and Verizon for successfully drawing a large enterprise or MNC customer base. Sprint and T-Mobile lack not only the fixed line infrastructure (although Sprint still has a global MPLS network and offers U.S. wireline services such as Ethernet and IP VPNs) but they lack the resources relating to large managed and professional services groups, significant hosting infrastructure, global sales personnel, giant global data centers, managed security services, deep vertical expertise, consulting etc.). In fact Sprint and T-Mobile are proud of this positioning. T-Mobile’s disruptive ‘Un-carrier’ strategy centers around the shaking up of the industry with programs that include the removal of annual contracts, the end of global roaming charges, free tablet data, paid-off ETFs from other carriers, and a growing set of innovative price plans and services. Both Sprint and T-Mobile still offer unlimited data plans and Sprint is building out not only 4G LTE, but its own superfast version that leverages its three spectrum bands. Read more of this post

M2M Alliances Look to the East

Kathryn Weldon

Kathryn Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Vodafone announced this week that it was partnering with NTT DOCOMO for M2M opportunities. The Japanese operator is also part of the M2M World Alliance made up of many operators that use the Jasper Wireless service delivery platform.
  •  According to the GSMA, while North American and European together generate 46% of connections, the Asia-Pacific region was responsible for 42% of global M2M connections in 2013 (with China alone generating 27% of global traffic).

A lot of M2M alliance activity centers around Asia-Pacific these days, with NTT DOCOMO, SingTel and Telstra part of the M2M World Alliance and SoftBank the newest member of the Global M2M Alliance founded by Deutsche Telekom, Orange and TeliaSonera. The Bridge Alliance, made up of Asia-Pac mobile operators offering multi-country mobility services, also recently disclosed it was expanding into M2M. Telefonica and China Unicom have been going to market together for M2M since 2011. In addition, Telenor and KDDI announced an M2M partnership last week. Interestingly, some of the largest operators such as Vodafone and AT&T had not formally disclosed M2M partnerships that provide expanded footprint for M2M MNC deals (as well as joint certification and formal escalation processes). However, this week, Vodafone formally expanded its M2M initiatives in Asia-Pac with a deal with NTT DOCOMO. Read more of this post

How the Democratization of Data Should Actually Work

Brad Shimmin

Brad Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Thanks in part to the cloud and pervasive mobility, vendors are looking to democratize data, putting advanced business intelligence tools into as many hands as possible.
  •  Placing advanced analytics tools into the hands of the average business not only highlights the importance of data expertise, but may also drive interest in what was a narrow field of endeavor.

This week, Microsoft announced plans for eventually rolling out an advanced analytics service called Azure Machine Learning. The aim of this service is to make predictive analytics accessible to a broad range of companies, not merely those equipped with an army of data scientists and a commensurately large software budget to match. That’s a pretty tall order and at first blush maybe not even be a good idea. Read more of this post

Dynamic WAN Bandwidth Provisioning Powered by Pacnet’s SDN Impresses

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Summary Bullets:

  • Interest in SDN is growing in the APAC market, but its impact is first being felt among the carrier community.
  • SDN offers the internal efficiency needed for APAC carriers to provide more dynamic and flexible network options to their customers, but it is their data center customers which get the benefits.

I just returned from a long trip to Hong Kong and Singapore, where I chaired some sessions of the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Asia-Pacific Congress and had the opportunity to speak at the ONF Workshop that ran the day before the Congress. Aside from the truly remarkable hospitality I enjoyed in both cities, the thing I found most interesting was the preponderance of carrier companies in attendance at these events. This makes a ton of sense, considering the somewhat different nature of the APAC market and how the network infrastructure is changing for them. Read more of this post

Notes from the Front Line: CISOs Share their Problems and Prescriptions

Paula Musich

Paula Musich

Summary Bullets:

  • The NSA leaks have created new opportunities for non U.S.-based cloud providers.
  • Developing people and political skills among IT security pros is equally as important as developing technical skills, but it is often overlooked.

I had the good fortune to attend the CISO Forum in London this week and as usual it offered a lively discussion of critical security concerns faced by enterprises, governments and non-profits. Topics covered long running themes such as how to define, measure and manage risk; how to communicate the value of and need for information security to the C-Suite and board; how getting the basics right is difficult for most organizations; the security skills shortage; the need to provide agile security and more. Read more of this post

Enterprises Will Embrace MEAPs that Leverage Open-Source, Standards-based Technologies

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • As part of the MEAP evolution, traditional middleware vendors differentiate via new frameworks
  • Gateway servers and API services are key to backend integration strategies

2014 is the year mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAP) and mobile cloud services have finally appeared on the enterprise radar. In the past 12 months, MEAPs have evolved from mostly proprietary solutions to ones which leverage open source and standards-based mobile technologies, solutions that decouple front end and back-end platforms to cater to mobile developers’ framework familiarity, and cloud-based integration services to ease backend integration requirements. As a result, enterprises have gone from primarily outsourcing mobile app development or relying on homegrown solutions, to looking to traditional middleware providers to fulfill technology needs. Read more of this post

Distributors Take Their Logistics and Delivery Model to the Cloud

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Large distributors may seem disadvantaged when markets go to cloud; they have benefits of customer relationships and clout.
  • WAN providers’ cloud services are uncommon in distributors’ portfolios: may want to consider whether this is a conscious decision.

The distinctions between technology vendors and service providers used to be more clear-cut – until they weren’t any longer. We’ve all seen the impact of some leading technology companies in cloud, for example Microsoft selling Azure and Office 365 services on one hand, and the Azure-derived Cloud OS platform for service providers on the other. We’ve also witnessed how IBM and HP have reorganized their business around the cloud opportunity, aligning cloud-related software, hardware and services so they don’t cause friction with each other. VMware with its vCloud Hybrid Service is yet another example. Read more of this post

A Phone Call with an Agent Remains the Customer’s Channel of Preference – True or False?

Ken Landoline

Ken Landoline

Summary Bullets:

  • Primary research on customer service is plentiful as companies compete to better understand customer likes and dislikes in order to implement the latest technology designed to raise customer satisfaction and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Recent contact center surveys implemented by two vendors report conflicting information about the top-ranking communication channel of choice by the consumer. However, a closer look reveals that the truth is in the timing.

In order to keep up on overall customer care industry issues and contact center technology trends, I read all the related primary research survey information I can get my hands on. Although much of this information I gather is repetitive in nature (e.g., everyone thinks service should be better, people dislike interacting with an IVR, and mobility and the cloud are rapidly changing the customer care industry), every once in a while, some conflicting information arises that necessitates a closer look. Recently, I reviewed two new survey reports. One came from Dimension Data (entitled “2013/2014 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report”) and the other from Interactive Intelligence (named “2014 Global Customer Service Survey”). Read more of this post