Identity Proofing Is Key to Mobile IT and More, but Cost Matters Too

Sandra O'Boyle
Sandra O’Boyle

Summary Bullets:

  • Identity management solutions are traditionally associated with hardware tokens and passwords, and while these continue to be used and enhanced, they do not work for everyone (e.g., hardware tokens offer better assurance but can be expensive, and it can take time to ship a new token if someone loses one).  Passwords will continue to be widely used, but remembering multiple passwords, for both personal and business use, requires keeping them simple or using the same ones over and over – which in itself defeats the whole purpose of security.
  • Some enterprises are starting to move towards soft token multi-tenanted solutions that require multiple-factor authentication, yet are globally available in nature, flexible (with no limit on devices and options) and include authentication apps for smartphones and iPads.  Service providers such as Verizon are offering identity management services based on a multi-tenanted authentication platform that is hosted and managed by the service provider in its data center; this helps to keep costs down.  This approach is being positioned by service providers as ‘identity-as-a-service’ where companies pay a per-user fee.  In the future, Google and others will also be experimenting with biometrics and facial recognition as part of identity proofing and securing access to devices, but these are still some way off from enterprise reality.
  • The use of a multi-tenanted authentication server provides an easy-to-use management and reporting interface and a flexible price model, compared to the majority of two-factor authentication providers which offer a traditional on-premises solution without multi-tenancy.  These solutions can certainly be used in a cloud context, but they will be required to run either on the customer site, resulting in cost and complexity for the cloud service provider, or in the service provider’s data center, which can also result in cost issues because the solution will not be multi-tenanted. Continue reading “Identity Proofing Is Key to Mobile IT and More, but Cost Matters Too”

UCaaS Sales Grow as Enterprises Embrace Communications in the Cloud

Sandra O'Boyle
Sandra O’Boyle

Summary Bullets:

  • According to our recent analysis of global IP telephony and unified communications service providers, UCaaS is a key component of their cloud investment and rollout plans.  This is typically based on the Cisco HCS platform and/or Microsoft Lync and sold on a per-seat basis with a choice of feature packages.
  • All major carriers are investing in UCaaS, as the cloud and network are important for providing end-to-end service and SLAs.  According to our research, IT service providers and system integrators are slower off the mark with UCaaS platforms such as HCS and tend to focus on private cloud solutions.

Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provides customers with instant messaging, presence, audio, video and Web conferencing, and enterprise voice on a monthly ‘pay-per-user’ basis.  Typically, customers have a choice of feature packages that can be tailored to different users.  Continue reading “UCaaS Sales Grow as Enterprises Embrace Communications in the Cloud”

UEFA Euro 2012: Key ICT Partners Stay Close to the Pitch

S. O'Boyle
S. O’Boyle

Summary Bullets:       

  • Being local and having staff available to UEFA at its key sites is as critical to the organization as the ability to be a good partner that can support its ICT system.  What’s often overlooked as we get caught up in technology is that the human touch and ability to anticipate and solve problems quickly counts for a lot with customers when it comes to contract renewal time.
  • With full ownership and control of its network, Interoute offers customers high-performance services, fast provisioning times and competitive pricing.  Interoute has significant network assets spanning 100 European cities and featuring 21 MANs across Europe, as well as PoPs in Eastern Europe, which is a key requirement for UEFA.  Ownership of eight data centres and strength in hosting services has evolved into an expanded cloud services portfolio.

It’s showtime for UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), as Euro 2012 is now underway in Poland and Ukraine.  The two Eastern European countries will play host to 16 teams and an expected 1.4 million football fans over the course of the competition which happens just once every four years.  The total predicted global TV audience for Euro 2012 (including qualifiers) is 4.3 billion, and it’s not just football on the pitch, as so much work goes on behind the scenes at the big stadiums, including security, emergency services, catering to journalists and broadcasting networks and the supporting technology and communications. The International Broadcasting Center (IBC) in Warsaw is the temporary home to all the key broadcasting and press outlets covering the event as well as UEFA’s ICT team.  This is a live event where no downtime can be tolerated.  UEFA does not take chances, even with the power grid, relying on diesel generators instead to power its ICT during the event. Continue reading “UEFA Euro 2012: Key ICT Partners Stay Close to the Pitch”

Breathing Life Back into FMC

S. O'Boyle
S. O'Boyle

Summary Bullets:         

  • Companies are segmenting their highly mobile users and looking at FMC solutions that can re-direct their calls over a VoIP network to reduce mobile costs, including not only roaming costs in the case of frequent travellers, but also in cases of ‘mobile-only’ offices.
  • Service providers that are offering FMC solutions to enterprises include Verizon (Global FMC), BT (Onevoice Anywhere), and Orange (Mobile Access).

The good things about FMC solutions are they can work to reduce mobile costs, leverage companies’ existing infrastructure (e.g., VoIP VPN), offer one number and identity, and work on any mobile carrier networks.  In terms of the sales process, price points are reasonable at EUR 4 to EUR 7 per user, per month, and trials are easy enough to get off the ground; it can take less than two weeks for an administrator to set this up via an online portal.  Customers may cancel during the first three months with no early termination charge. Continue reading “Breathing Life Back into FMC”

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. Continue reading “Tough Economic Times Give Google a Shot at Communications”

Communicate Using Solutions, Not Products

S. O'Boyle
S. O'Boyle

Summary Bullets:

  • Look at how service providers support communication solutions, not just the vendors and products, ask for customer support center locations and processes, the professional services staff numbers by geography, number of people with certifications, and SIP trunking availability for starters.
  • Consider and compare carriers and IT service providers, depending on your needs and you could be surprised that carriers are looking more like ‘integrators’ these days.

Service providers have been facing tough times with voice and data revenues falling year over year, and new ‘advanced services’ slow to make up the shortfall, combined with the desire (and often necessity) from enterprises to get more for less. The need to transform is ongoing though the focus on technology and new ‘products’ can distract service providers. While innovation and technology is important, pretty soon every service provider ends up selling a similar IP PBX or Microsoft or Cisco UC service, and differentiation in the competitive landscape disappears. Enterprises will end up choosing the service providers who can deliver outstanding customer service and support together with a ‘cost-effective solution’, designed for their business needs, and that can be adapted for future needs by skilled integration and professional services staff. Continue reading “Communicate Using Solutions, Not Products”