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November 2005

November 29, 2005
Necessity Is The Mother

If you've spent any length of time supporting users, you know that there is no end to the imaginative workarounds they can come up with when a system goes down and they have work that still needs to happen. Yes, necessity is the mother of invention, or some other kind of mother, but when it comes to e-mail workarounds, the inventiveness of users can cause problems.

And it's hard to quibble with their intent. Businesses can no longer build slack into their schedules as a just-in-case measure when making deals. Communications technology has made immediacy the norm, so when a critical conduit is temporarily unavailable, the show still must go on, no excuses.

In our most recent poll we asked you what your users resort to when their corporate e-mail is down. As we anticipated, a majority (51 percent) of you said they just go out on the Web and use their personal e-mail accounts. Not a pretty picture if you're monitoring e-mail for compliance and security purposes.

. . . Full Story: "Necessity Is The Mother"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

November 22, 2005
It's Just An Operating System

"The operating system doesn't matter." -- Research In Motion Co-CEO Jim Balsillie, keynoting the recent Harvard Cyberposium 11.

It's not the first time such a sentiment has been uttered by executives who find themselves competing against Microsoft. And many, many more of us wish it could be the case but Balsillie and the rest of us know that Microsoft continually makes the operating system matter.

At the core of his argument Balsillie is right. While Research In Motion is running into Microsoft everywhere it turns these days, and Windows Mobile 5.0 with Exchange Service Pack 2 offers the intriguing push e-mail capability, he downplayed Windows in his noting that "The operating system in the device is 200 kbytes in code. It's a bit element in the system. A task manager."

. . . Full Story: "It's Just An Operating System"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Comments

November 18, 2005
Two Decades Later, We Still Do Windows

It can't be possible. Has it really been 20 years since I took those 5.25-inch floppy disks and loaded a new operating system called Windows, of all things, on my PC/XT clone with the amber monitor, and remarked to myself, "Now What?"

The answer to that question was not immediately forthcoming. In fact, it took a few years to figure out why Windows would ever be important, and perhaps a decade before we all went, "A-ha." Windows in the mid-80s was essentially DOS with a graphical overlay. It came with a few utilities, a precurser to Word called Windows Write, and Windows Paint, which didn't work near as well as the Macintosh drawing and painting programs.

In those days, while DOS still ruled the business desktop and the Mac was this cool thing you could play games on and do "art stuff" with, Windows was just another PC operating system in search of applications. All the business applications ran on proprietary mainframes and minicomputers or one of the Unix derivatives. Businesses ran "personal productivity" applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and "personal" databases on DOS. That's what a PC was back then; a personal productivity tool.

. . . Full Story: "Two Decades Later, We Still Do Windows"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 05:07 PM | Permalink | Comments

November 16, 2005
Technology Can Help Distinguish Between Control And CONTROL

Controlling the use of the messaging infrastructure is a fight as old as business itself. The challenges today are more complex, to be sure, but essentially unchanged since the Romans, Egyptians, and Babylonians sent teams of runners covering more than 200 miles per day.

We want our communications to be secure, accurate, and limited to the mission(s) of the enterprise. In my own experience, that quest has led to some rather extreme and unsuccessful attempts at control.

I've worked for a company that installed pay phones on the premise and forbade the use of the company phone system for personal calls. Certain classes of employees could not even receive incoming calls. Receptionists took messages and calls could be returned during scheduled breaks from the pay phones.

. . . Full Story: "Technology Can Help Distinguish Between Control And CONTROL"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 04:15 PM | Permalink | Comments

November 14, 2005
A Phishing Top 10 List

In case you are among the lucky few who never get those annoying phishing e-mails—the ones that inform you that your account with an organization that you don't do business with is going to be suspended unless you respond and give them all your personal information— here's the top 10 phished organizations on the Internet, according to data collected by CipherTrust from thousands of customers using its IronMail gateway appliance.

Now these are all reputable organizations that would never make the requests for personal data contained in typical phishing queries, so even if you have conducted transactions with these companies, never respond to such online requests. In fact, companies with the best reputations make the best phishing fronts because unsuspecting customers are more likely to trust the brands represented in the fraudulent messages.

. . . Full Story: "A Phishing Top 10 List"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 08:28 PM | Permalink | Comments

November 10, 2005
Is E-mail Old School. . .

. . . or are IM users still in school? AOL today released the results of its annual Instant Messaging Trends Survey which reported a significant spike in IM usage over last year.

At first blush AOL's survey, conducted by independent researcher Opinion Research Corp. and based on responses from more than 4,000 Internet users in the 20 largest U.S. markets, would seem to fly in the face of comments I made in an earlier blog entry about my fear that IM usage would fall off among the teenage population unless steps were taken to quickly eliminate the spim, phishing and other malware attacks that are now plaguing IM networks.

I based that on my own anecdotal evidence of watching how the teens in my life had cut back on e-mail in favor of IM and were now enthralled with SMS messaging on their cell phones. Well, the AOL survey seems to back up the first part of that observation, noting that 66 percent of teens and young adults (ages 13-21) now send more IMs than e-mails, up from 49 percent last year.

. . . Full Story: "Is E-mail Old School. . ."

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 08:08 PM | Permalink | Comments

November 07, 2005
You Know It's Getting Bad When . . .

Message technology vendors and service providers: New capabilities and features integrations in the messaging space are fine and dandy but given their druthers, users would opt for just getting rid of the plague of spam/spim and other malware. Even the Holy Grail of the "universal inbox" takes a deep back seat to once-and-for-all locking out all the junk that continuously floods our message servers.

In our most recent reader poll, 85 percent of the readers said they would take a final heave-ho to spam and spim over a unified messaging environment. Now, does that mean that the remaining 15 percent who went for the ideal feature set have found a secret solution to the junk message problem? Please share. But for now, we all know what the real messaging technology Holy Grail is.

. . . Full Story: "You Know It's Getting Bad When . . ."

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 08:00 PM | Permalink | Comments

November 03, 2005
Mobilization By The Dashboard Light

I was chatting today with Paul Fulton, CEO of Orative, a maker of enterprise mobile telephony software, and he said something that got me thinking once again about this whole notion of presence and the intersection of enterprise applications and mobile voice and messaging technology. Fulton mentioned the old separation-of-church-and-state that has kept mobile devices from truly integrating with enterprise communications and data systems: Consumers own the devices; carriers own the networks; and enterprises own the data.

Now Orative and a handful of other vendors are starting to nibble away at that barrier without treading too heavily on the carriers' toes, and one suspects that the heavy shoes have yet to fall. Once they do, we'll notice a suspicious amount of Northwest soil stuck to the bottoms of those stompers, but that's another topic.

What players like have hit on is that employees are just consumers that go to work in the morning, and those cool little consumer handsets have the potential to deliver much more value if you could bolt their mobile capabilities to the enterprise voice and data applications that are housed behind the firewalls. They're right, and some of the presence capabilities they are already providing are delivering dividends in applications like field sales, investment banking and other professional services where immediate decisions are critical.

. . . Full Story: "Mobilization By The Dashboard Light"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 08:56 PM | Permalink | Comments

November 01, 2005
Truth Is Stranger Than (Science) Fiction

FaceTime Communications says it has some good news for you. The company feels so confident about some new patent pending technology that it is offering a "worm-free guarantee" to users of its IMAuditor 6.5. FaceTime's confidence stems from new discovery techniques that utilize behavioral attributes such as message frequency, content matching and URL identification, in addition to traditional threat signatures. The thought being that once the threat signatures become available, it's often too late and you're in extermination mode rather than protection mode.

Gee, I hope it works. It's an interesting idea, to look at all the attributes that make up a threat profile in addition to the actual code. But I wonder how long it will be before the schmucks out there learn to develop patternless worms. Oh that's right, for the most part they already have. That's the Catch-22 of this fight against malware—there is never any pattern and there is always a pattern, once one is discovered, that is.

. . . Full Story: "Truth Is Stranger Than (Science) Fiction"

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 05:38 PM | Permalink | Comments


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