Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Domino, GroupWise, ibm, Notes, novell, tesla
That’s a valid question. Because there are so few Teslas on the road, mechanics are not easy to find – it’s far easier to find a mechanic for a Chevy or Ford, for example. Teslas are sold by a company that may or may not be financially viable in five years – Chevrolet and Ford are much more likely to be in business at the end of 2018. Your decision to buy a Tesla will not be corroborated by a large number of like-minded owners – there are only a few thousand on the road today, whereas there are millions of Chevys and Fords. Tesla has a limited product line of only one model in three different configurations – Chevrolet and Ford offer a wide range of vehicles, running the gamut from small economy cars to muscle cars to large commercial trucks.
So why would anyone ever buy a Tesla? There are several reasons: they’re much less expensive to operate than many comparable gasoline-powered cars. Performance is phenomenal (0-60 in 4.2 seconds for the P85 configuration). They need very little maintenance. And they include features that Chevrolet and Ford don’t offer, such as an 11×17-inch flat panel display that runs HTML5 and offers a complete Web browsing experience, and the ability to seat five adults and two kids comfortably in a mid-sized sedan.
So why would anyone migrate to or stick with an email platform like GroupWise or Notes/Domino? GroupWise and Notes/Domino admins are not nearly as easy to find as Exchange admins. Arguably, Novell is less financially viable than Microsoft. There are many times more users of Exchange than GroupWise and at least 50% more Exchange users than Notes/Domino users. Novell offers a much more limited product line than Microsoft, whose offerings include on-premises and cloud-based email, desktop productivity applications and even a phenomenal gaming system. IBM has a broad and impressive product line in the messaging and collaboration space, but has nowhere near Microsoft’s share of the desktop productivity application market, for example.
So why stick with GroupWise or Notes/Domino? Our research shows that GroupWise is much less expensive to operate than on-premises Exchange and somewhat less expensive than Office 365. It has very low downtime and one admin can manage 15,000 or more users. And it has a very nice feature set that includes some things that Outlook and Exchange don’t. IBM is the clear leader in social technologies and offers impressive integration of email with social in a way that Microsoft does not. And, IBM offers an excellent cloud-based set of email, social and real-time communications tools that are arguably better than Office 365 (if not marketed as well).
This piece was not requested by Novell or IBM, nor is it a criticism against anyone that has decided that they need to leave behind their legacy communications platform and migrate to Exchange or Office 365 – both are solid offerings.
But, if you’re a senior, non-IT manager who thinks that Exchange and Microsoft must be your future messaging platform, this is a call to ask why you think that: Will your company achieve lower downtime, lower TCO or require fewer IT staff to manage the new system? Will your users realize better performance? Will your users be more productive? Will you gain a competitive advantage if you migrate? Is Microsoft’s roadmap really that much better than Novell’s or IBM’s?
Moreover, do you realize that Outlook is not really an email system? That’s not meant to be a slight, but some non-technical decision makers want to migrate their companies to “Outlook”, not realizing that Exchange is the actual email platform behind it.
Migrate away from GroupWise or Notes/Domino or some other platform if you’re compelled to do so. But you should have good reasons for the decision.
Filed under: Uncategorized
The nation of Iceland has about the same population as St. Louis, Missouri, but has recently become the object of international attention in the wake of revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been conducting a massive data gathering operation, and because of the nation’s economic near-meltdown in 2008-2009. Because the Icelandic government and culture place a high value on privacy rights, and because the country has very stable electric power generation and excellent international telecommunication links, some are looking to Iceland for relocation of their data centers, or at least the use of encrypted email or cloud solutions that are developed or hosted in Iceland. Here are some companies worth learning about:
Unseen.is is a now-Icelandic firm that offers encrypted email and Skype-like services, although their services are still in beta. The company was founded in the United States in 2012, but moved to Iceland after the Edward Snowden leak of NSA information that revealed the extent of the agency’s information gathering. The company completed the move of its servers and the entire company to Iceland in October and is currently operating out of Advania’s Thor Data Center. The company chose Iceland because of the nation’s rigorous privacy laws and its somewhat central location between the United States and Europe. Unseen.is offers a free version of its email (25Mb of storage) and audio/video call services using 4096-bit encryption. A paid version, offering 2Gb of email storage, enhanced audio/video and other services is available for $49 per user per year.
Mailpile is a Reykjavik-based company that is developing an ad-free, highly secure, open source email client. The company is focusing heavily on the use of OpenPGP signatures and easy-to-use encryption to ensure a highly secure experience for its users. The company is also focusing on the self-hosting aspect of Mailpile, although it can also be hosted on traditional cloud or on-premises servers. The developers are seeking $100,000 in crowdfunding through Indiegogo and hope to deliver Mailpile in January 2014.
In 2010, Opera Software migrated much of its Opera Mini traffic to the same data center used by Unseen.is. Opera Mini depends on backend servers for data processing, and so the company was looking for an inexpensive way to expand its data center capacity and chose the Thor Data Center because of its use of electricity generated by geothermal sources, and because the data center will eventually be able to manage up to 78 petabytes of data.
Startup GreenQloud offers a variety of cloud-based services. Their StorageQloud offering is priced identically to Amazon S3 storage at low volumes, although the latter offers lower pricing for higher data volumes.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: breach, card, credit, data, notification
I have two Visa cards, one for personal use and one for my business, both of which are issued by Bank of America. My personal card has been compromised at least five times and my business card at least twice. On one occasion, my Visa number was imprinted onto a physical card and a criminal attempted to purchase a $1,500 laptop at a Best Buy store about 15 miles from my home. I have never had a computer or mobile device stolen, and so am assuming that the breaches have occurred from my online activity, although it could also be from physical use of the card. I have attempted to find the sources of the data breaches among service providers, but have so far not been able to find the source of the problem(s). I maintain robust anti-virus defenses on my local systems.
Bank of America has been very good about informing me of the problem each time, issuing new cards in a timely manner, and never charging me for fraudulent activity. However, they have never been able to tell me who compromised my account.
My home state, Washington, has a data breach notification requirement (codified in RCW 19.255.010) that requires entities whose customer data was breached to notify the violated customers in a timely manner. This law reads, in part:
“Any person or business that conducts business in this state and that owns or licenses computerized data that includes personal information shall disclose any breach of the security of the system following discovery or notification of the breach in the security of the data to any resident of this state whose unencrypted personal information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by an unauthorized person. The disclosure shall be made in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay, consistent with the legitimate needs of law enforcement…”
However, not once for the 7+ breaches of my credit card accounts has anyone ever informed me according to this requirement.
My question is a simple one: do data breach notification laws do any good at all? High profile cases tend to get reported in the press, rendering state laws useless since the breach gets reported anyway. For smaller breaches that are under the press’ radar, merchants and providers seem to be able to ignore them with impunity.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Domino, Exchange, formverse, Notes, workflow
Despite what you might hear about younger workers abandoning email in favor of text messaging and social media and so changing the corporate communications landscape as they enter the workforce, email continues to dominate communications for most information workers. For example, our most recent user survey found that information workers spend an average of 153 minutes per day doing something in email. For mobile workers, email is the most often used application on smartphones.
That said, email is not an efficient method for managing business processes. When users send or receive contracts, purchase orders, expense reports, supply requisitions and other types of documents via email they typically have to use another application to work with this content. Notes/Domino provides workflow capabilities that allow management of these workflows within the confines of the email infrastructure, but Exchange – the dominant email system in the workplace – does not.
To address these issues in Exchange, FormVerse has developed a solution that provides much of the functionality of business process automation systems, but at a much lower price point. In short, FormVerse allows individual Outlook users to build various process forms and templates within Outlook. These are then used for various business processes like those described above so that data can be captured in a structured way, something that FormVerse calls Active Structured Email. Data from these forms is then integrated into existing CRM systems, backend databases and the like. The fundamental benefit is that users can manage various workflows completely within the context of Outlook without having to switch applications to manage various business processes.
FormVerse is priced very reasonably and, interestingly, not on a per-user basis – pricing is based on the number of processes, not users. FormVerse supports Exchange 2007 and 2010 and requires Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003+ to create XML-based forms, although the system supports importing from created in other applications.
In short, FormVerse Exchange provides Notes/Domino-like capabilities for workflow management in Exchange environments by empowering end users to create workflow – just like users have been able to do for many years in Notes/Domino. In fact, FormVerse advertises that it “provides the missing workflow capability to Outlook making it much easier to recreate those Lotus Notes workflow applications in Outlook.”
For organizations that have Exchange and want to enjoy many of the benefits of Notes/Domino’s workflow capabilities, FormVerse is definitely worth a look.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I had the pleasure of attending my sixth Trend Micro Insight analyst summit week before last in Boston. As always, a useful and worthwhile event – very informative and in a great venue!
Discussed at length during the event was the fundamental underpinning of Trend’s security model, its Smart Protection Network. This is essentially a sensor-fed source of Big Data that the company continually updates and uses to identify threats and remediate them. This source of content has grown from the one terabyte of data analyzed on a typical day during 2008 to six terabytes in 2012. Similarly, reputation queries have grown to 16 billion per day last year from five billion in 2008. Threats blocked have increased four-fold during this period.
One of the primary goals of the Smart Protection Network – as it is for most security companies’ threat databases – is the blocking of threats as far back in the network as possible. The approach is a simple one: the closer to the source a threat is blocked, the less bandwidth and fewer CPU cycles that are necessary to block the threat by the customer. Trend’s approach appears to be working fairly well: Veszprog found that Trend is blocking 63% of malware at the URL compared to an average of 27% across the other security solutions that were tested.
Another factor that enables Trend to offer quite robust threat protection is its monitoring of threats across 80 different protocols, as well as a custom sandbox that allows customers to create watchlists around sensitive data and credentials. Trend also allows customers to readily access the Smart Protection Network via a “Threat Button” to determine if new-to-the-customer threats have been detected previously, all with the goal of creating custom signatures to defeat them.
The Big Data approach to security is clearly where real-time and near real-time threat protection is headed. While Trend is not alone in using a Big Data approach to identifying and thwarting new threats, its approach seems to be working quite well. For example, one of its customers is an enterprise with four full-time security staff. Their switch to Trend and the Smart Protection Network enabled the company to reduce IT time spent on malware- and threat-related activities by 30-40 hours per week, essentially eliminating roughly one FTE from its security staff.
While Trend’s security focus does not cover every ingress point for bad stuff, such as the wide range of social media systems in use in the enterprise, the company’s Smart Protection Network clearly gives it a leg up against many of its competitors.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Recently, Robert X. Cringely speculated that Apple’s decision to build the iPhone 5S with a 64-bit processor is part of the company’s strategy to gain significant market share in the desktop market. His speculation – and I think he’s right – is that Apple’s desktop strategy is to offer dumb workstations, as well as a dumb version of the MacBook Air, that provide display, keyboard and mouse/trackpad, but that will rely on the mobile phone to provide the CPU. The usage scenario is a simple one: simply walk up to this desktop setup or open your dumbed-down MacBook Air that recognizes the iPhone in your pocket and begin using either as though it was a conventional computer. Here’s why I think the strategy makes sense:
- It will dramatically reduce the cost of computing in the enterprise. By allowing the typical user to employ a $600 iPhone for all of their computing needs, a company can eliminate the purchase of a desktop computer and/or a laptop, replacing both with much less expensive dumb versions that provide the same experience. Given that Microsoft will probably offer a version of Office for the iPhone (they already offer Office Mobile for iPhone for Office 365 customers – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/office-mobile-for-office-365/id541164041?mt=8), typical users would have the ability to do all of their word processing, spreadsheets and presentations via their phone, desktop or laptop for the price of just an iPhone and Office.
- It gives IT yet another reason to embrace/acquiesce to/tolerate BYOD. If users can employ their own smartphones to do corporate computing – which a large share of them are already doing anyway – IT’s costs go even lower.
- It will increase security. Instead of securing a desktop, laptop and mobile phone and the corporate data stored on them (most of which will be in the cloud anyway), organizations will need to secure only the phone. Lose a dumb laptop or have a desktop setup stolen? The replacement cost will be dramatically lower than if conventional computing platforms are lost or stolen. And the data lost along with them? There isn’t much or any to lose.
- Kiosk computing can be completely redefined, allowing non-traditional users a desktop computing experience at much lower cost than is possible today.
- Apple can garner a much larger share of the desktop and laptop market not by selling more iMacs or MacBooks, but simply by making Windows significantly less relevant for most users. Google could respond to this – and they will by offering their own version of this capability – but Microsoft can’t because of its low single-digit share of the mobile phone market.
Clearly, must of this is just speculation at this point, but I believe Mr. Cringely is right.