Blog archive - January 2012
Use the blog to discuss and comment on the latest industry insights provided by our analyst experts.
by Jeanine Sterling 31 Jan 2012
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Hospitals continue to suffer major data breaches – earning negative headlines and possible costly fines. Their embrace of mobile healthcare (mHealth) solutions is only exacerbating the security risks. So why aren’t more healthcare providers – hospitals, physicians, EMT, etc. – instituting stringent security mechanisms? Especially on their much beloved, but easily misplaced, mobile devices? One answer seems to be a simple lack of awareness. Traditionally, an IT laggard, the healthcare industry is being driven by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) legislation to digitize its health records. Caregivers, in turn, recognize the many benefits of now being able to access these digital records on their mobile devices. Unfortunately, some parties did not seem to realize that new security measures had to be put in place before data could safely go mobile. Mobile devices can be lost, stolen, and hacked. The result? Vulnerable patient information, vulnerable caregiver information, vulnerable healthcare facility information. Another reason for the lack of serious mobile security implementations is the perceived cost. However, healthcare providers are realizing fast that stingy upfront budgeting can have costly negative repercussions. Healthcare providers can be fined up to $1.5 million and/or put in prison for up to five years if they do not comply with HIPAA standards for securing and protecting patient data. Under HITECH, they can also lose government funding and be publicly shamed on a list of security breach incidents maintained by the government. The losses, in terms of both money and professional reputation, can be devastating. Mobile technology is not going away. The increasing percentage of physicians using smartphones and tablets on the job is clear proof of that. And application developers continue to create fascinating apps that include drug and clinical references, ever more sophisticated diagnostic tools, and real-time patient record-keeping. The genie is out of the bottle. Now mobile devices – both those belonging to the facility and those that are owned by the individual users -- have to be secured. We had a briefing from the experts at Apriva (www.apriva.com) the other day who described their mobile device security suite – including a two-factor authentication smartcard reader plus software applications for secure email and VoIP calls via the mobile device. Apriva has secured classified government communications for years, and now sees the need for the same high level of security products in the healthcare sector. The solutions are out there ready to be deployed. Now it's time for healthcare providers to get smart on their security alternatives and loosen the purse strings.
by Vikrant Gandhi 30 Jan 2012
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NFC-based contactless mobile payments is clearly one of the most exciting opportunities in the global mobile financial services markets. NFC-based mobile payment services (such as Google Wallet) have already been introduced in the United States, with several other initiatives (such as Isis) expected to roll out in 2012 and 2013. The mobile phone may not yet completely replace the leather wallet – however, in a few years the phone will replace our cards, our keys, our driver’s licenses, and various other types of credentials. NFC need not be a “disruptive” model for the established financial ecosystem service providers. There are enough opportunities for different industry participants to extend their expertise into mobile to deliver NFC-based services. The roles of different types of industry participants for NFC payments are actually quite well defined. Telecommunication industry participants won’t become banks, and banks won’t be rolling out wireless networks to be able to deliver mobile payments. They will have to work with each other to deliver NFC and benefit from this exciting opportunity. In fact, NFC creates several opportunities for specialized solutions providers (such as a Trusted Service Manager, or TSM) to bring about this “dynamic collaboration” between different types of companies. This is actually a very simplistic representation of how NFC works –the key challenge in NFC is to satisfy the key expectations of all the stakeholders (banks, mobile operators, device OEMs, TSMs, chipset vendors, NFC middleware providers, and others) and ensure that each party achieves its business objectives – which could range from enhanced revenues to new customer acquisition. Following diagram depicts the value chain for NFC-based mobile payments. NFC 1.0 – Current Market Implementations Google Wallet and Isis represent two different approaches for how the secure element (SE) should be installed in the handset. However, there are striking similarities in how the wallet experience is delivered to the consumer. For example, in Google Wallet, you have a Google Wallet application that accesses the Citi MasterCard (or the Google Prepaid Card that can be funded by other cards) that has been uploaded in a digital form on the Sprint Nexus S 4G devices. A similar architecture will be available in Isis, where a wallet/container application will be able to access and manage the secure credentials – stored in the UICC or the SIM card in this case – that are delivered and managed by Gemalto. The key point here is regarding access to secure credentials stored within the SE – consumers currently can access their payment cards only from within the Google Wallet or the Isis Wallet application. Enterprises wanting to deliver NFC-based payment services have to work with Google for inclusion in the Google Wallet. This is probably true for other wallet initiatives currently planned as well. That is the way things have been designed for these services, and that is what we call NFC 1.0. So what is NFC “2.0”? In the current scheme of things, only the approved wallet application can access these credentials directly. There is no way (yet) to allow third-party applications to access these credentials from outside the designated wallet. This is fine, as long as we are only talking about made-for-purpose mobile wallets( or “containers”) whose only purpose is to manage access to a very few cards stored in a digital form on the mobile handset. However, limiting access to a user’s credentials to only one wallet application could become an issue with consumers in the long run. For example, imagine a consumer using a merchant provided application to check in-store offers by using the GPS capabilities of their NFC-enabled devices. The same consumer may then have to open up the separate wallet application to use his credit card (or the merchant-provided coupon) at the retail POS for checkout. Another scenario could be related to a transit application. Users may use a transit application to check train schedules, and have no means to use the digital ticket from within that application to access the train station (for example). The same user will have to use a different application (the wallet) for payments since that is the only approved application to access the secure credentials stored on the mobile phone. NFC 2.0 services will be designed around providing access to secure credentials to multiple approved applications on the mobile phone. I would not go as far as saying that these credentials can be used from within the mobile web experience (for example), however it is only a matter of time before the industry participants start exploring different possibilities to deliver a unique ‘mobile-enhanced’ commerce experience. This “cross-application data sharing” is going to be an important part in defining what NFC 2.0 services will look like in future. Roadmap and Path to NFC 2.0 Services To be fair, the current implementations also have a roadmap for allowing multiple parties have access to the handset SE to allow a wide range of mobile payments, security, and other types of NFC applications. There is a desire to be “open”. As Drew Sievers, CEO of mFoundry (a leading provider of mobile banking and payments solutions in the United States) recently commented - "The same way that nature abhors a vacuum, the SE will yearn to be open." That is quite a lot said in a very few words. However, this open architecture may not be that easy to implement – there are various legal, operational and even technical issues that come into play for storing and sharing of sensitive financial data on the mobile phones. Additionally, there is only so much storage space on the handset SE – the challenge will be to manage multiple organizations expectations regarding access to the handset SE. Entities that own and manage the SE will have to design a set of best practices to manage the limited handset SE space in a judicious manner – especially as consumers start expecting an increased number of cards (and other security credentials) to be stored on their devices. It might be worthwhile to consider the option of “dynamic” storage allocation as well, in which high security credentials (payment and identity) can be stored within the SE and low security credentials (like coupons and loyalty cards) can be stored in secure virtual memory( the “Cloud”) and called into the SE for emulation purposes. Providing access to on-device NFC resources to multiple applications in a secure manner; and, dynamic allocation of SE memory space are perhaps two very important trends that will emerge in future. Different types of organizations (such as banks, merchants, other service providers) want to provide commerce and security services to their internal and external customers on NFC phones. We already have branded cards in the physical commerce world – there is no reason for not emulating the same experience on the mobile phones. Think of all the applications that are built on top of the Apple iOS platform. Apple maintains end-to-end control over the type and quality of applications, yet, by providing access to various resources on Apple devices, Apple has successfully unleashed innovation in the mobile applications space. Consumers can now choose from hundreds of thousands of applications that are available in the app store and are the ultimate beneficiaries of this approach. The same “platform” approach is needed for NFC. Key building Blocks for NFC 2.0 Services So how can this multi-app management be provided in a secure manner? It is not only about providing access to the SE. There has to be a way for different organizations to upload (or provision) the handset SE as well, and then access their associated credentials on the mobile devices as and when needed. Apps should be able to access only their associated secure credentials and should have not have access to data not belonging to the app owners. In order to enable this, the software platform managing the SE has to be able to integrate with the existing TSMs that may be already used by the different organizations (for example, some banks may have their own internal issuance systems). Sequent Software is an example of a company that can provide the necessary middleware to enable multi-app management capabilities on the handset. In short, there are several financial and technical efficiencies that could be realized by a separation of the Credential Issuance and SE management roles – by focusing only on SE management, Sequent promises to help drive the industry toward realizing its vision of open NFC 2.0 services. -Special thanks to Phill Armstrong at Sequent Software for providing insights into the Sequent Software offerings for NFC.
by Rob Arnold 27 Jan 2012
Avaya announced this week the global availability of Flare Communicator for iPad. The solution makes the Avaya Flare software experience (Avaya Aura UC&C applications) available from iPad. In addition to the Avaya Desktop Video Device (ADVD), iPad is now the second endpoint with such capabilities in Avaya’s lineup. Avaya Flare Communicator is available via download from the Apple Apps Store and can be connected to Avaya Aura infrastructure (on Release 6 and higher) via a $100 client access license. Although Avaya reports fine traction for ADVD sales (specific shipment numbers are under non-disclosure) the new development is a natural progression for the company as it embraces the “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon that is taking the enterprise communications market by storm. On the same day this week Apple reported its Q4 2011 results, which delivered its highest ever quarterly revenue and earnings. With respect to iPad, the company beat most industry expectations by selling 15.4 million of the devices in the quarter, more than double the number sold in Q4 2010 and 39% more than Q3 2011. While competitors are making some gains, no one single device maker can hold a candle to iPad’s market share dominance in the burgeoning tablet sector. As a result, enterprise software developers are making their efforts to support the market leading iPad a top objective. By focusing first on iPad, Avaya appropriately prioritized its support for Flare Communicator on third-party devices. The development gives Avaya a strong dual-pronged approach to accommodate the majority of users who want to utilize tablets as their business communications endpoint. With Flare Communicator for iPad, Avaya appeals to the masses of users wanting the flexibility of utilizing the $500 Apple tablet for both business and personal reasons along with access to native iOS features and the Apple Apps Store. For its part, ADVD is designed from the ground up specifically for tight integration and support for the full range of Avaya’s real-time voice, video and data communications apps (in fact a greater range than yet supported on iPad, such as videoconferencing). Available at a street price of around $2,000, ADVD users can access Android Marketplace apps for download (at the enterprise administrators discretion), and it is also lock-down device with enterprise-grade security, QoS, management, warranty and service support. Avaya plans to support Windows and Mac next as it works to make the Flare Experience available this year to an even greater range of users and use cases. It is, however, somewhat ironic that no time table is set for Avaya to release Flare Communicator for Android since ADVD is based on Android version 2.2, Froyo. Avaya spokespersons state that the company will wait for Android fragmentation issues to settle out some more in the market, and will likely support third-party Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, devices once that version of the OS has matures, is more widely adopted, and as device front runners become more apparent. A plethora of UC&C vendors have flocked to deliver support for their enterprise apps on iPad, particularly since iPad 2 was released last year. Among others, examples include: Cisco’s recent WebEx support; videoconferencing clients from Polycom and RADVISION; IBM’s Sametime client. We expect the announcements from UC&C vendors to keep flowing – a fact that will probably take some of the shine and excitement away from Avaya’s accomplishments. Nonetheless, all of this is undoubtedly nothing but good news for Apple, which intends to introduce iPad 3 in several months. Frost & Sullivan research estimates that tablets sold primarily for use in business context will reach nearly 17 million devices this year, with that number expected to more than triple by 2015 at over 51 million devices. The BYOD phenomenon is real and shows no signs of slowing down.
by Francisco Rizzo 26 Jan 2012
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Within the ICT team at Frost & Sullivan we often like to debate issues that pertain to the different markets we cover. It’s always good to get someone else’s perspective – especially if that person covers a market that has some relation to your field of expertise. This week the topic was fixed-to-mobile convergence (FMC), more specifically next-generation FMC solutions. What began as a discussion on next-generation features and capabilities, quickly turned into a reflection on the importance of single-number reach – today and in a hypothetical mobile-only world. It started with a roadmap, and then a question: what do you think? The first stage belongs to the basic PBX to mobile extensions, which still are the most popular types of FMC/Mobile UC clients utilized today. The second stage are what we call Advanced FMC clients, and the emergence of middle wares that allows for additional FMC/Mobile UC functionality, including presence, IM, audio conferencing, unified messaging, and dual-mode voice call handoff. Today, however, we are starting to witness a third wave of next-generation FMC/Mobile UC clients, which include video capabilities and social and collaborative tools. Basically, while advanced FMC solutions mostly involved "data-centric" types of communications, next-generation FMC client will be more video-centric. These next-generation mobile UC clients could also have additional characteristics such as optimization for tablets, richer thin or Web-based user interfaces, and integration with cloud-based environments, among others. Alaa Saayed, Senior Industry Analyst and ICT Team Leader, Frost & Sullivan ------------------------------------------------------ I agree with the progression of FMC shown in the chart. It would be interesting to get a timeline of Next-gen FMC that includes advanced mobile video capabilities. Current mobile extensions (both for video and web collaboration) offer limited capabilities and several of them are not truly optimized for mobile devices. Roopam Jain,Industry Director – Conferencing and Collaboration, Frost & Sullivan ------------------------------------------------------ In your various stages you start with "Single Number Reach" across the board. I believe "Single Number Reach" refers to the following scenario: I have one phone number and when someone calls it my office desk phone, my mobile phone, my laptop softphone, and my home office phone all ring simultaneously. This is an important feature today. I would argue that going forward, executives in particular, and many professionals will only have a mobile phone and they will no longer have a desktop phone and/or a traditional landline at their home office. I would follow that argument, that if you only have a mobile phone, you don't need single number reach because you only really have one device anyway. I guess that executives will likely still have a mobile phone, and a tablet. They will also have a laptop, but I'm not sure that they will run a softphone on it. What's the point if your mobile device can make calls over the same WiFi network as the laptop and the tablet has a big enough screen for video con? So long story short. Does "Single Number Reach" still have a place in your third or potentially 4th evolution? Rufus Connell, Vice President, Frost & Sullivan ------------------------------------------------------ I think of single-number reach as being important even in the world of mobile only, because any given user would still have two numbers (at least in theory): a cell number, given to him by the cellular provider, and an "office number," which is just a PBX extension (i.e. it might not ever ring to an actual phone). So it would seem important going forward. Also, single-number reach does not have to mean simultaneous ring; it can mean "ring on the device I am using," which means that people can leverage it to take business calls on their home phones, whether those are landlines or personal cells. Melanie Turek, VP Research Enterprise, Communications & Collaboration ------------------------------------------------------ Re: single number reach, "world" is the key word. Business users on international travel may find it much more cost effective to route calls to whatever location they are working from. Least cost routing is a key component of single number reach. Since no one wants to carry two phones, there's also the concept of identities. That means having a business persona and a personal persona from a single device. The device knows which identity to convey to far end-parties (i.e. which number is displayed to your spouse or customers when dialing them) and intelligently routes inbound calls per the current identity as well. Also, IMO dual mode is/was best suited to gain traction in consumer space first. People are ditching their land lines at home and everyone is getting smart phones. This is a good example of vendor driven tech that should have progressed naturally via consumerization of IT. Robert Arnold, Senior Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan ------------------------------------------------------ Hey Rob, Just an interesting aside. I was in India recently for 2 weeks. I was able to live my business life via my smartphone only on WiFi. There were definitely a couple of occasions where I wished I had data access when I couldn't get a WiFi connection, but I certainly wasn't handicapped. Rufus Connell, Vice President, Frost & Sullivan ------------------------------------------------------- Some quick comments on each one of your comments: Roopam – Video capabilities on mobile phones is an interesting topic – some consider it useless while others think it’s going to be a huge leap forward in collaboration. No matter what side of the line you stand, the reality is that every vendor is going to offer it on the grounds that “if I don’t my competitor will”. Rufus – I agree with the idea that everyone will eventually just have one device that serves as their mobile/work/home phone. It’s hard to say when (fixed-phone vendors are going to put up a fight), but stats seem to point out that we are moving in that direction. In a report presented to the FCC by the Technology Advisory Council (TAC), they pointed out - citing a study done by the National Center for Health Statistics - that as of May 2010, 23% of respondents in a study lived in a mobile-only household Melanie/Rob – I agree with your explanation on why single-number reach is still valid. I personally wouldn’t want my home number to be the same as my work number. Keeping in line with what Rufus said about having only one device, you could argue “if you have one device then why does it matter if your home and work number are the same – the end result is the same”. I disagree. I think it’s important to set boundaries, and this is why FMC solutions are so important. With today’s solutions you can set restrictions with regards to who can call you based on your location and time of day. So if I get home from the office I can program my cellphone to not receive business calls after 6pm. Cool feature. Francisco Rizzo, Research Analyst, Frost & Sullivan --------------------------------------------------------- At Frost & Sullivan we regard mobility to be the most significant communications trend today in both the enterprise and consumer space. Whether you agree or not with the vision of a mobile-only world where fixed phones no longer exists, what’s undeniable is that the lines between professional and personal life are being blurred. FMC solutions are a huge leap forward in terms of optimizing communications and collaboration, and they are also necessary – through single-number reach features - in helping set boundaries between work and what happens after “9 to 5”. What do you think?
by Ben Ramirez 25 Jan 2012
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Recently, an online retail store called Zappos experienced an enormous cyber attack on January 16, 2012. A data breach occurred resulting in loss (or compromise) of twenty-four million customer names, e-mails, physical addresses, phone numbers and the last four digits of credit card numbers. Although the incident only caused minimum monetary damage to the company in terms of intellectual property and private data, customer reputation and confidence towards the company’s e-commerce system is now lower than ever before. Investigators are still trying to piece together who is responsible for the attack, but this brings us to an important topic on the recent cyber attacks conducted by Anonymous, involving such major sites like the U.S. Department of Justice and Universal Music Group, the largest music record label in the United States. What does this mean in terms of security posture and infrastructure assurance for these hacked companies? Was complacency to blame for a faulty security system because executives felt there was no need for a security deployment? Did they feel that their sites had negligible information that did not justify a solid security deployment? Apparently, these organizations believed so and as a result, a swift cyber attack overwhelmed their sites and caused denial-of-service and data loss. The attack was called Operation Megaupload, created by the notorious hacker group Anonymous, a collective group of hackers held responsible for recent attacks on Amazon, Paypal, major credit card companies and even major government sites such as the FBI. The attack was considered retaliation in response to the U.S. government’s recent crackdown on Magaupload.com, a site which the federal government executed a huge piracy indictment towards the popular file hosting site. The FBI, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) were all targeted attacks by Anonymous. This is a major wakeup call for these organizations. Certainly, if confidential or private data is not truly an important reason to implement security controls, then public confidence and reputation should be a high priority to do so. It is understandable that capital budgets seems to be the main factor in executive decisions in not deploying a strategic security plan, but they must consider the monetary damage such as lawsuits, overwhelming customer calls (over 1 million calls were made in just one hour after the security incident was declared, causing significant costs in terms of productivity), and the difficulty of rebuilding customer trust. Anonymous doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon and others like them are inevitably following their footsteps. As a counter to these types of attacks, executives can purchase DDoS security products from various vendors. Arbor Networks has a long standing tradition in the anti-DDoS space, with a variety of products that can monitor and protect networks from DDoS attacks using real-time analysis in order to detect and mitigate these types of threats. Also, Prolexic is another, newer vendor that mitigates DDoS attacks by redirecting to a Prolexic filter or cleaner device, thereby allowing business continuity. Perhaps vulnerability assessments were not properly carried out. Maybe risk management underestimated the probability of occurring threats within their IT systems. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: Security assurance, awareness and preparation are extremely lacking in today’s IT infrastructure. Hackers are viewed to be one step ahead in comparison to existing security defenses, but if we’ve learned one thing from Anonymous and other hackers it is that we need to be just as competent, persistent and tenacious to keep abreast of the current threats in our chaotic cyber environment. We must recognize that security should not be taken lightly. It should be a top priority for every organization, especially those handling sensitive data. We must admit to the fact that we are not safe from anyone, anytime.
by Jake Wengroff 20 Jan 2012
This blogpost first appeared on Social Media Today. ============================ Lotusphere, the large business conference produced by IBM, kicked off in Orlando, Florida this week. The term and evangelism behind ‘social business’ was everywhere – and palpable. According to keynote speaker Alistair Rennie, General Manager of IBM’s Collaboration Solutions, social business is the application of social networking tools to culture and outcomes. ‘Social business is a competitive differentiator,’ he explained to the audience of 5,000. ‘It is not just deployment of new tools – it is a complete reinvention of the systems of the core in which businesses operate.’ One hour into the conference – following a speech by surprise guest Michael J. Fox – a demo of the re-designed IBM Connections productivity suite was delivered. More than a makeover of its Lotus Notes product, the experience offers completely integrated email, calendar, document management, and social updates delivered via an Activity Stream interface that integrates the basic set of productivity functions. Finally, I thought: A technology company with the resources to invest in social media gets it. Social Business, or Social Media? But IBM Connections looks a lot like Facebook or Google+, and no discussion of consumer social networks and how they might add value to the social enterprise was presented. While external applications such as a Twitter feed can be brought in to IBM Connections, the conference hardly touched upon the use cases of social media for marketing, communications, branding, or increasingly, for sales and customer service. As LinkedIn is considered the largest social network for business and professional use, with over 135 million users worldwide, it would have been valuable to hear from LinkedIn on how corporations can make themselves more social, ultimately driving overall value. Perhaps I was a bit different than the other analysts in attendance at Lotusphere: it was my first time at the event, and I do not cover the traditional unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) space. I cover social media primarily as it relates to marketing, measurement, and monitoring brand, and also am a social media practitioner: I manage Frost & Sullivan’s social media identities and train teams on effective use of social networking for our various business units. However, while UC&C has been around for quite some time – again, not my specialty – it is a rather interesting dynamic to see that industry and its set of tools adopting widespread social media elements into its platforms. I guess we can all thank Facebook for ‘consumerizing’ – and presenting in a novel, exciting, and compelling way – essentially what has been inside corporations for years. Huge Opportunity Yet the absence of consumer-facing social media and networks at Lotusphere should be viewed less of an indictment on IBM Software and other collaboration providers and more on the consumer social networks’ refusal to develop products and services that improve collaboration and productivity in the workplace. With social networks, including almighty Twitter, struggling to develop viable business models, why haven’t they considered building enterprise applications? I recall that LinkedIn once had an enterprise product, LinkedIn for Business, as recently as 2009, but information and banner ads for the product disappeared from the network close to 4 years ago. Twitter could also easily develop an enterprise product, in which a company can buy a version that presents all the tweets sent by employees and partners, that would include robust analytics – but it hasn’t, instead relying on Promoted Accounts, Tweets, and Trends, to make money. (Look for research from my group at Frost & Sullivan on social media business models later on this year.) As such, IBM might emerge the leader in the social media game. Tinkering Around IBM Connections was actually borne out of IBM’s own internal research labs, which intrigued me. I was fortunate enough to meet the IBM Connections Senior Product Manager Suzanne Livingston, who started out as a researcher of social technologies for enterprise business purposes nine years ago, and was part of the team that brought this product to light. This impressed me: from the lab to the client. Also, I had a chance to have a walk-through of a makeshift version of IBM Research’s Center for Social Business. While I’m not at liberty to divulge the names of the products they are developing (Irene Greif, the Center Director, informed the press and analysts that no photography or recording was allowed at any time inside the room), I fully expect that at least half will make their way to users’ desktops and mobile devices within the next two years. For innovation in social, I’m watching IBM, and so should you.
by Rob Arnold 20 Jan 2012
The answer is… not exactly. IBM has announced no plans to discontinue any of its current UC products or to end any of its partnerships with other UC providers. That said, the company is now devoting greater emphasis and resources toward other opportunities in the enterprise communications market. Since the early days of UC in the mid-2000’s IBM has presented Lotus Sametime as its flagship UC offering. The platform natively supports rich presence and instant messaging functions, tight integration with Lotus Notes, as well as web conferencing capabilities. In addition, through its partner ecosystem, IBM provides integrations with many other apps in the UC stack, namely telephony, audio conferencing, video conferencing, mobility applications, etc., and hardware endpoints in Sametime-based UC environments. Whether IBM’s lack of its own end-to-end portfolio of UC apps has hampered its competitiveness in the enterprise communications market is arguable. However, it is clear that the company has been overshadowed by Cisco and Microsoft in the UC space, in terms of mind share. Meanwhile newer and potentially very lucrative opportunities are emerging in the enterprise communications market. Driven by shifting business requirements, new technology and the consumerization of IT, the concept of the social enterprise has taken the enterprise communications industry by storm. IBM is well positioned to adjust its stance to be a strong competitor for this opportunity. Leveraging a greater breadth and depth of its strengths, IBM is now placing the bulk of its emphasis on social business. For IBM, UC has become a component or a subset of capabilities within social business environments. Sametime’s IM and presence applications are powering rich communications, mobile and real-time capabilities within IBM’s flagship next-gen collaboration platform, Connections. From Connections features/apps such as user profiles, contacts, communities, activity streams, directories, documents, micro-blogs and more, users can consume and publish presence/availability information, launch voice and video calls as well as multi-party, multi-media conferences driven by Sametime (as well as third-party UC platforms). The company intends to continue to enhance social business by embedding UC into advanced collaboration platforms, to improve communications through improved context, and to make rich communications available to users whenever and however required. Examples of potential future capabilities may include allowing Communities to own meeting rooms (whereas individuals typically do so now), and to make Sametime’s persistent and group chat features available within Connections. The intent is to create an environment where users spend their day, and improve their productivity and efficiency through the ability to quickly and intuitively access a range of business and IT tools, and rich communications and collaboration applications. And IBM plans to utilize analytics to raise awareness of and to prove out the benefits of social business solutions which are often difficult to qualify using traditional ROI measurements. IBM is effectively bringing to bear its content management, analytics, collaboration, SOA and other assets, along with its strong services capabilities and partner ecosystem to create social business solutions that empower change management and transform business processes. This is approach is creating clear differentiation for IBM—more than was possible in a purely UC-centric approach. And with the burgeoning social business opportunity, IBM is leveraging capabilities that provide it with clear advantages over others that are vying for a claim of the emerging space, including Cisco, Google, Jive, Microsoft, and others. IBM is not abandoning UC—the company is leveraging UC to enable social communications.
by Richard Martinez, Jr. 19 Jan 2012
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I recently received an update from LogRhythm. LogRhythm released its 6.0 version a couple of months ago and now was a good time to get an update on the progress of that deployment. Version 6.0 was an important update for LogRhythm as it added the following features: Accelerated Detection of Threats and Breaches Automated Intelligent Response Expanded Embedded Expertise Accelerated Performance and Extended Support for Big Data Overall, we like the direction LogRhythm is taking with their product and feel like it’s a good fit for the current SIEM environment. The company’s record YoY growth in Q4 2011 alone, 75%, truly represents the company’s aggressive efforts in channel expansion and overall development of their SIEM. The company also has recently joined Sourcefire Technology Partner Program, giving customers expanded coverage with Sourcefire’s Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and LogRhythm’s latest SIEM features. LogRhythm recognizes the constant pressure organizations face warding off persistent threats and other cyber attacks. This latest move not only builds upon their product but also further validates the power behind their technology. Given the many SIEM acquisitions that occurred just in 2011, I feel like SIEM-as-a-managed-service is the most viable product direction for SIEM vendors. Look again at last year’s acquiring companies – Solar Winds, IBM, and McAfee – and two things immediately become clear. First, the stand alone SIEM field has become very narrow and second, most of the vendors that were acquired appear to be getting the integration treatment. While this is fine for enterprises building a holistic solution with a single, there’s still going to be many organizations that have existing pieces in place and would prefer to just buy the SIEM from a separate provider. Martha Vazquez just published her annual North America MSSP research and for the second year in a row, managed SIEM was the fastest growing service in the market. I believe this really speaks to the love/hate relationship that most organizations have with SIEM. They want the detail, the alerts, the data. The problem is that they want someone else to find that needle in the haystack, to tune the data, to create the reports, to send the alerts. The reporting and the effectiveness of a managed/SaaS SIEM is what will differentiate vendors like LogRhythm from the other many large SIEM players. There’s always going to be a play for an ArcSight, but increasingly I just don’t believe companies want to deal with the beast that is SIEM. You can email Research Analyst Richard Martinez here.
by Chris Rodriguez 17 Jan 2012
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In recent years, the fiercely competitive UTM market has focused on increasing its penetration in the enterprise market. However, UTM has traditionally been considered a small business play due to limited performance and integration but compelling price points. After years of improvements and innovations, UTM vendors now offer enterprise-grade products that compete with leading point products. While the focus on the high-end market is a respectable strategy, it is not unique. So when a UTM company announces a different strategy, it warrants further discussion. Cyberoam NetGenie Cyberoam, an India-based UTM vendor recently announced its NetGenie HOME UTM product. This device provides home router capabilities such as wireless b/g/n, 4 switch ports, and 3G support. NetGenie also includes essential UTM capabilities such as 20 Mbps of firewall throughput, anti-virus (AV), anti-spyware, intrusion prevention (IPS), and web filtering. More importantly, much thought has gone into the user interface to ensure that non-techie customers can deploy this in their homes. NetGenie accomplishes this through a Web page-style management interface with intuitive visual controls and reports. Web content is predefined and categorized based on age group and content to enable different access policies based on the user and time. Thus, parents can ensure that their children do not play games all day and are not exposed to inappropriate material. The $180 price tag may seem steep for a home product but it does include 3 years of AV, IPS, and content filtering updates. Challenges However, Cyberoam faces a number of challenges. First, how do they increase customer awareness about a product like this? The average end-user will be unaware of the value of IPS or gateway AV. Most consumers are already well invested in endpoint security software and are not aware of the importance of layered defense. NetGenie’s gateway AV and Web filtering can greatly complement these investments and provide defense-in-depth for laptops and desktop computers that already have security software installed. The bigger selling point will be its ability to address tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles. These devices are increasingly capable and are rarely protected by endpoint software. I firmly believe that these devices will be increasingly targeted by hackers over the coming years. Furthermore, resellers don’t typically sell to consumers. The best channel for this product would be retailers, which is a rare channel for enterprise security vendors to interface with, including Cyberoam. Until this product gains momentum, NetGenie’s success hinges on Cyberoam’s ability to gain traction with service providers. Service providers seek to offer value-adding services to their customers and should consider the value of offering “Safe and Secure Internet Access” to their customer base. NetGenie could easily be bundled as a value-adding service or offered as an optional upgrade. Conclusion Now, Cyberoam is not the first UTM vendor to offer a small home router/firewall product. However, few products at this price/performance point have shown evidence of careful consideration to consumer-specific needs. Despite the user-friendly interface, it will take some time to increase customer awareness of the product’s value and importance. Additionally, the majority of consumers will fear the requirement for replacing existing routers, as well as the configuration process. Thus, it seems that the primary market for this will be limited to the more tech-savvy consumers for now. **** Industry Analyst Chris Rodriguez can be found knee deep in spreadsheets or e-mailed here. For additional analysis of this market, check out Frost & Sullivan’s annual global market study entitled Analysis of the Unified Threat Management (UTM) Market and the Impact of Convergence or learn more about Network Security.
by Renato Pasquini 17 Jan 2012
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The nearing maturity of mobile voice services in most Latin American countries and the reduction on mobile termination rates set by regulators are leading to three main trends in the region: the launch of unlimited plans; the search for new revenue streams; and the commercial launch of multiple-play offerings. Competition is likely to increase in all markets, not only due to the coverage overlap of large regional telecom groups with multiple-play offerings, but also due to the launch of new entrants and mobile virtual network operators, which are attracted with the favorable macroeconomic outlook in Latin America, and due to the influence of regulatory watchdogs, especially in Colombia, Mexico and Peru, which are the most concentrated markets. Some examples of regulatory remedies expected to be implemented include mobile number portability in Argentina and Chile during 2012, gradual MTR cuts and regulatory asymmetries in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and other countries. The launch of unlimited plans Even with some growth potential ahead in the majority of Latin American countries, the traditional voice market is likely to be threatened over the next years. This includes push-to-talk over cellular networks, as well as VoIP applications with connectivity provided by data plans. These new solutions, which work over 3G and 4G networks, have a higher quality of service than previous solutions and are likely to become a substitute in a larger scale for mobile telephony. Instant messaging, social networks and e-mail incorporated into mobile devices are also a threat to text messaging, as they are an alternative for high prices charged. Considering these factors, unlimited voice and SMS plans, which are already offered by most mobile operators (either through on-net plans or PTT), are likely to be intensify in 2012. The increasing competition is also an important driver, as there are new entrants expected for 2012 as Nextel in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico; VTR in Chile; UNE in Colombia; and Alestra in Mexico. Although there are currently only a few MVNOs in commercial operations, and most of them are owned by fixed operators, it is expected that new MVNO launches happen in Latin America due to a favorable scenario for mobile services and interest of different companies in this business. However, challenges related to the current market stage, high tax burden and interconnection rates and negotiation with mobile network operators need to be overcome by MVNO candidates. The search for new revenue streams The search for new revenue streams is an effort of operators to increase the total market with new service offerings (Internet access, machine-to-machine, mobile payment, IT services, etc.). Considering these growth opportunities, revenues are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 7.4% from 2010 to 2016, to reach $106.56 billion in 2016, according to the Frost & Sullivan study “Latin America Mobile Services Markets Outlook II, 2010.” Among the most promising mobile services in the future, Internet access has a prominent position. Smart devices and data cards proliferation, along with affordable data plans for prepaid and postpaid users (sometimes induced by government policies, such as national broadband plans) and a wider coverage of HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE networks, are likely to drive the growth of Internet access in 2012, serving sometimes as a substitute for fixed broadband. M2M services also expect to grow significantly in 2012, with opportunities in different verticals such as healthcare, electricity distribution, banking and vehicle tracking. This last vertical represent an outstanding opportunity in Brazil, considering that it was determined that car manufacturers must implement anti-theft localization module equipment in every new car produced. Mobile payment is another focus of mobile operators in the region. Examples are the partnership of Telefónica S.A. and MasterCard in 12 Latin American countries and TNL PSC S.A. (Oi), Banco do Brasil and Cielo in Brazil. Other implementations expect to happen during 2012, using several solutions, such as SMS-based transactional payments, direct billing for postpaid users, online payments and near field communication. For the enterprise segment, IT services are also a trend, especially cloud computing, enterprise mobility solutions and mobile device management, which are likely to be adopted by corporations and small and medium enterprises. Commercial launch of multiple-play offerings Quadruple play is likely to appear in the Latin American countries, when fixed and mobile operators integrate their commercial offerings. An example of quadruple play is from Movistar in Venezuela, which offers fixed and mobile telephony, mobile broadband, and pay TV using direct-to-home technology. Another example of a multiple-play package is with América Móvil in Brazil called “Combo Multi.” Several multiple-play offerings expect to occur during 2012, in some cases including Internet access through Wi-Fi hotspots. The deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots denotes a concern of mobile operators to offload data traffic from 3G networks. In Brazil, this strategy is being implemented by TIM, Oi and América Móvil, while Telefónica is currently focused on expanding its 3G network coverage. In addition to having a role as the data traffic offload, Wi-Fi hotspots may help mobile operators deal with over-the-top content, and also enter this market by providing multiplatform offerings of pay TV services and video on demand. By Renato Pasquini, article published in RCR Wireless News on January 16, 2012 (http://www.rcrwireless.com/article/20120116/opinion/2012-predictions-latin-america-set-for-shakeup-in-plans-revenue-streams-and-bundled-offers/)
by Robert Ayoub 12 Jan 2012
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Recently I had a discussion with a cool vendor out of Pittsburgh, PA named Wombat Security Technologies. Wombat Security Technologies provides cyber security training, end-user assessment, and filtering solutions for clients. Their goal is to assist organizations in combating the very serious cyber security attacks that have gained notoriety in the last few years by providing employees with consistent and relevant training around targeted attacks. The current modules focus on helping users to identify and avoid phishing attacks. Wombat’s training methods are primarily focused on providing simulated cyber attacks on users and following that with interactive training. In the current modules, cyber attacks consist of phishing emails that are intended to deceive users into erroneously disclosing sensitive information using masqueraded websites, online payment processes or other means of phishing techniques. Once the simulated phishing attack phase is completed, the company uses assessment tools and targeted training programs to evaluate and provide prevention tutorials to specific users or groups that need this training. Administrative graphical tools offer a holistic view for managers as to the business’ readiness and posture in the prevention of phishing attacks. Wombat’s Interactive Training Software consists of seven different types of training modules which provide education on: email security, password management, smartphones, phishing and social engineering, social networking, URL Training, and Mobility and Travel. The training module consists of 10 minute interactive ‘teachable moments’ which are highly engaging and visually illustrative to the users being educated. This approach, according to Wombat, fosters increased motivation and higher retention of training information. Although their training tools provide the right direction in the prevention of these types of attacks, I believe that some organizations may be hesitant to deploy the Wombat solution in its current form for a couple of reasons. The current product was developed in an educational environment and still maintains some aspects that are cartoonish and look like a video game. Some organizations are likely to interpret this as “childish” or “non-professional” and may feel that a more serious tone should be deployed across all training sessions. Wombat indicated that a more “professional” option for the training modules is coming. I can also see end users thinking that the tool could be used to track them and their susceptibility to clicking on bad links as part of disciplinary action. A variety of security technologies tend to illicit this response from users initially, and management should clearly indicate how the data will be used. I would also like to see Wombat include additional training geared specifically to management on ensuring that their IT staff implements the technical controls such as antivirus programs and browser anti-phishing controls in case a phishing attack does succeed. I feel this kind of training would help bridge the gap between management and IT and give an additional source of support for the IT department. I think Wombat’s business model around email phishing prevention has a good future ahead of them. Content filtering tools are getting better, but so are the criminals and Frost & Sullivan research consistently indicates that the end user will always be the weakest link in a corporate security strategy. I look forward to an expanded selection of training modules in the future on a wide variety of topics and will be following Wombat more closely moving forward.