Amy DeCarlo

Profile of Amy DeCarlo

Principal Analyst, Security and Data Center Services
Blog Posts: 105
Amy brings 17 years of IT industry experience to her position as Principal Analyst, Security and Data Center Services. Amy assesses the managed IT services sector, with an emphasis on security and data center solutions delivered through the cloud including on demand application, unified communications and collaboration, and managed storage offerings. Amy previously helped launch Current Analysis' public sector IT solutions coverage. She has written numerous analytical reports identifying competitive opportunities and threats to system integrators and vendors pursuing the U.S. government business to help clients increase their contract win rate. Prior to that, Amy covered vendor-driven professional services solutions. Amy has also served as a writer and editor at well-known industry publications including, InformationWeek, InternetWeek, and Data Communications, as well as a technology industry analyst covering network and applications management at Enterprise Management Associates. Amy also was the editor of CMP's InternetWeek site, as well as regular contributor to newsletters written for ShoreTel's IP telephony and McAfee's security customers.
Articles by Amy DeCarlo

Bringing A Business Sensibility To IT

It goes without saying that the entire reason a company invests in technology is to support its business goals. But too often there is a disconnect between corporate operations and the IT organization. This is unfortunate because it prevents businesses from getting the maximum value from their technology resources.

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Hiring Hackers: Would You Ever Trust Your Network Security To An Ex-Thief?

As the saying goes, if you can't beat them join them. But in the case of ex-hackers who abandon their criminal lives to pursue careers in corporate security, these security wizards often have already beaten the system and are now choosing to exploit it further by profiting from the expertise they gained at the expense of the organizations they once menaced.

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IT Security: An Overconfidence Problem?

Network security threats seem to be everywhere, but system administrators believe their companies aren't at greater risk than in the past. This potentially false sense of security was expressed by nearly 90 percent than 2,100 companies surveyed as part of InformationWeek 2006 Global Security Study. So where is the bravado coming from at a time when security researchers are warning us that risk has never been greater as c

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A Matter Of National Security

Coming off the terrible embarrassment of the theft of a Veterans Administration computer containing the personal information of more than 26 million veterans and their family members, the federal government desperately needs to prove it is capable of protecting data. The government is making some efforts to prove it is regaining control but these steps may not be enough.

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IM: A Poor Fit For The Enterprise?

In the get-it-done-yesterday world we live and work in, instant messaging may sound like the perfect enterprise communications tool. After all, speed rules these days. Yet in spite of an enterprise push by the biggest IM platform providers, a lot companies are resisting the urge to dive in head first into deploying instant messaging as a corporate application.

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Change Is The Hardest Thing

It is human nature to resist change, or at the very least be overwhelmed by it. Yet the phrase adapt or die has never been more relevant than it is to the IT organization where change is the one constant with new devices, systems, and applications constantly appearing in the enterprise either organically or by acquisition. Unfortunately, as many businesses have discovered over time, keeping up with infrastructure changes is an ongoing battle of which too many companies find they are on the losin

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Coming In Through The Backdoor

Something about the mere mention of a Trojan virus is chill inducing. Of course, the idea of malicious code surreptitiously stealing onto the network and wreaking havoc with precious data should cause alarm. And unfortunately it looks like rather than easing, the threat from Backdoor Trojans is actually becoming an increasingly virulent one in Windows environments.

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Sign Of The Times

Admit it; today's 6-6-06 date got you thinking that it might not be a bad day to avoid black cats, sidewalk cracks, and ladders. If you aren't superstitious, talk of the opening of the remade horror film "The Omen" and media musings on whether the triple sixes will bring another bad day on Wall Street may make you a little more cautious than normal. And heck, a little extra caution can't be a bad thing at a time when we are so incredibly dependent on access to secure and reliable technology to

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Painful Privacy Lessons

Since the theft of a disk containing names, social security numbers, and birth dates for more than 26 million veterans from the home of a Veterans Affairs data analyst was made public last week, the outcry over the agency's failure to guard the privacy of what are effectively its most valued customers has continued non-stop. VA Inspector General George Opfer confessed at a Senate hearing last week that supervisors of the VA d

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Identity Crisis (Again)

Here we go again. Yesterday the Veterans Administration (VA) disclosed that vital identifying information for more than 26 million former military personnel and some of their spouses including social security numbers was stolen when a VA data analyst's laptop was taken from his suburban D.C. home during a burglary. VA officials say there is no evidence now that the thieves know what they have in their possession or that any

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More Tough Days For CA

In less than a week, Systems management vendor CA has lost not one but two of its C-level executives, leaving investors to speculate on what the coming financials will show and customers to wonder what impact, if any, this will have on them. The planned departures of CA's CTO Mark Barrenechea and its CFO Robert Davis come just weeks after Sanjay Kumar, the company's former CEO, pled guilty to charges related to an elaborate accounting scheme designed to artificially inflate the company's earnin

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The Criminal Element

In his keynote speech at Symantec's Vision conference in San Francisco earlier this week, Symantec CEO John Thompson said the security challenge businesses face today is that hackers are effectively professional criminals with the very focused goal of making a profit at the expense of the companies they are attacking. As such, these hackers bring sophisticated skill sets and often a wealth of experience that puts some businesses at a disadvantage and all companies on the defensive.

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Welcome To The Virtual World

Virtualization is unquestionably hot. With a host of vendors rolling out hardware and software solutions boasting a long list of benefits and lots of talk about optimizing IT resources what is not to like? Well, as tremendous as the technology can be, managing it requires some very special considerations.

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CA's Bad Week

In recent months, CA has made great efforts to put the company's very troubled past behind it and move forward with a new chief executive and a new vision. The company went so far as to abandon its old Computer Associates moniker in hopes, I am guessing, of also shedding its tarnished image with the name. CA's moves were welcomed by its customers, industry observers, and by partners - who often described having a strained relationship with the systems management software giant.

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Brand Identity

A few years ago, in another life, I was presenting some research related to brand identity and the delivery of IT services to a tech-savvy group in Paris. I asked the attendees what they thought of when they heard the IBM brand name. Though the attendees gave a number of answers, the common consensus was that IBM represented quality, stability, and market superiority. In essence, IBM was a company these consumers of IT solutions trusted. Well, judging from the results of the Post a Comment

Confidence Problems

To succeed for the long-term in any industry, a business has to earn its customers trust. Winning customer confidence is especially important in an industry like technology where any investment is essentially an invesment in the future. Companies buy hardware expecting to use it for years on end; sign long-term software licensing deals assured that the software maker will be around to support it; and look for technology suppliers who can deliver the services they need to run their businesses.

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More Madness In March

Say it one time out loud, and it still doesn't seem real. "George Mason is going to the final four." Say it a few times, and, it still sounds surreal but it is true. March madness continues with one of the more surprising NCAA Basketball Tournaments in memory. Naturally, the country is riveted, and, though I have no figures to back this up, I am guessing productivity is plummeting. Most companies were antipating some issues with workers spending too much work time viewing games over the We

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March Madness Takes Hold

The NCAA Basketball Tournament didn't disappoint this weekend, unless of course, you happen to be a North Carolina or Ohio State fan. But as we cruise into the second week of what is inarguably America's favorite March past time, I am wondering how businesses are managing through this productivity drain. And then, of course, there is this question of how businesses are dealing with the drain on bandwidth coming as employees sign up for free streaming Webcasts of the games from Post a Comment

Microsoft Plays Hardball With Vista Licensing

In an effort to build a more predictable revenue stream from its Software Assurance annuity program, Microsoft is only making the enterprise version of its upcoming Vista release available to those who sign on to that program or have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement in place. While Microsoft's reasons for playing hardball are certainly understandable, the maneuver feels harsh.

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AT&T: Deja Vu, All Over Again

To say that reports yesterday that AT&T is close to completing a deal to acquire BellSouth brought back memories of a not-so-long ago merger would be an understatement. In a surreal variation on Groundhog Day, the Sunday AT&T disclosure took me back to a day a little over a year ago when SBC declared its intent to snap up its former parent corporation AT&T. So a 12 month-span that also saw Verizon buy

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CA Takes An Indirect Route To Sales Success

Part of enterprise management vendor CA's revamped corporate strategy is to work more closely with channel partners to sell solutions and support customers. The company has never been known for having particularly warm relations with resellers but there have been recent indications of a thaw in that area. And now the real test begins with CA's announced plan to reduce the number of named accounts it handles directly, and rely

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Rightsizing IT Management

Small and medium businesses are no longer being left out in the cold my IT management vendors focused solely on the biggeste enterprises. IBM Tivoli is the latest vendor to get smart about delivering IT management solutions designed specifically to meet the cost and complexity requirements of small and medium sized businesses. With its Tivoli Express Portfolio, Big Blue is delivering a suite of products that provide levels

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Offshoring: Cheaper Doesn't Mean Better

Technology has done much to diminish the barriers geography imposes on business. Wireless is proving to be a productivity-boosting tool for workers in sales and other highly mobile areas. Mature, secure wide area networking technologies give companies a mechanism to improve the effectiveness of employees in branch offices by connecting them to the same corporate resources staff members have in headquarters. Both hardware and software also gives enterprises the means to improve their own cost

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Katrina's Communication Gaps

Much has been said already about the devastating impact the communications breakdown had on the Gulf Coast during and in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina. Finger pointing from local to federal to state officials and then back again dominated news coverage and, no doubt, frustrated area residents as it seemed like the powers that be were not making the effort to help the stricken. Of course, there were also substantial technical communications issues contributing to this, issues that are <

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Focus On Security

As the year's biggest security conference RSA , gets underway this week in San Jose, it seems like a good time to both project and reflect on the dynamics that are making enterprise security such a challenge for many organizations. The for-profit cyber crime trend is keeping system administrators hopping to keep up with the increasingly dangerous nature of things like spam and spyware which were once looked at

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No Place Like Home

Last week Sprint Nextel pulled back in-house some work it had previously outsourced to IBM. Sprint Nextel is certainly not the first company to revisit an outsourcing decision, nor is it the last. As of Monday morning, 56 percent of Systems Management Pipeline readers responding to a poll on outsourcing decisions said their companies had recen

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Don't Make Asset Management A Liability

Mergers and acquisitions can create a whole host of complications for IT, not the least of which is combining the physical assets of two formerly separate companies into a single enterprise. Any system administrator who has suffered through the pre- and post-acquisition period can tell stories of the migraine-making challenge of trying to get a complete picture of combined resources of the two merging businesses. Conceptually, asset management systems should ease this process but combining the

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Learning From The Best Of Business - And The Worst Of The Web

Seriously, is there really anything more irritating on the Web than those distracting graphical ads that rise over the Web page you are on, obscuring the text you are reading from view? Well, odd as it seems, the graphical overlay ads that drive most people crazy on the public Web turn out to be quite effective when incorporated into corporate Intranet sites, at least according Jakob Nielsen, principal of the Nielsen Norman Group. The N

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IT Gets Strategic

IT as a profit center? Well, maybe not today, but it does appear corporate execs want technology to play a greater strategic role in the business than in the past, at least judging from the results of a recent Gartner survey of 1,400 CIOs in which the respondents said they are increasingly being expected to do much more than help reduce corporate costs and guarantee information security. The Gartner found that business execs have

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Policy Issues

Last week's Systems Management Pipeline Poll asked if your organization has the security tools and policies in place to sufficiently protect your customer, employee, and other confidential enterprise data, and unfortunately, the answer was largely no. Given the number of high-profile incidents and the expectation that pending legislation will hold more busines

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Going On The Offensive

Information security tends to rely on defensive measures, for pretty obvious reasons. A virus outbreak occurs, a patch is released. However, as many organizations are discovering the best defense is really a good offense. Enterprises need to get proactive to defend themselves effectively against threats such as bots that take over systems without the user's permission.

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Protecting Your Most Important Asset

Customer data is the most prized asset of business. Unfortunately, too many enterprises have not gone far enough when it comes to ensuring the protection of that information. Most companies are generally conscientious about data systems security but too many are guilty of not looking at the big picture and evaluating their full risk profile. That includes looking at physical security, and how data is handled by third-party partners including couriers. After all, a number of Post a Comment

High Hopes - And Lots Of Action - In 2006

With the year still young, Systems Management Pipeline readers seem to be pretty optimistic about what is coming in 2006. Thirty-seven percent of readers say better integrated management suites will be the most significant trend impacting on systems management this year. In recent conversations with IT professionals, I've have been hearing some good things about both the level of integration and the functionality

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For CA, Only Time Will Tell

Just a little more than a year after John Swainson took the helm of scandal-laden CA, the president has already made his mark on the company - and is beginning to leave his imprint on the enterprise management market as a whole. After years of struggling to evolve from a mainframe software vendor to become a powerhouse in the distributed enterprise management market, under Swainson's leadership

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Priorities Out Of Order

The beginning of a new year is a perfect time for businesses to assess their objectives and define which projects should take precedence in the coming 12 months. Unfortunately, all too often, IT professionals complain that corporate technology priorities are out of order. In the Systems Management Pipeline poll conducted over several weeks in December, only 18 percent of the respondents said their companies ha

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A Return To Confidence

We are at the point we reach every December where everyone who isn't already too busy compiling New Year's resolutions they will never keep is trying to make sense of the year that is rapidly coming to an end. And what a year 2005 turned out to be - complex, challenging, and at times frustrating but also always interesting. Some would call it the year of the merger and acquisition -- though every year might qualify as that -- with Oracle and SAP leading the spending sprees. Just last week S

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Data Danger

Once again, a large enterprise has had to fess up to its customers that it has lost a backup tape containing their private information. Even in a year where some of the largest- and ostentiably best run - companies reported similar mishaps, the latest incident involving Marriott's timesharing division 'misplacing' customer data is still surprising, if not exactly shocking. After the negative attention f

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Fixing A Fatal Flaw

In recent months, antivirus vendors have come under increasing fire for vulnerabilities in the very products that are supposed to protect against malicious software. Critics are questioning the reactive install-and-update model anti-virus vendors use currently. So naturally, there is considerable speculation that what is needed Post a Comment

More Holiday Madness

So the stockings are hung by fire with care in hopes that St. Nicholas will soon be there, but most New Yorkers are probably wishing most for one thing - the end of the transit strike. As for many of 350,000 customers, they are probably longing to erase the six hours of lost access to their Salesforce apps just as they are wrapping up their year-end numbers. A database cluster error led was the un

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Bah Humbug

So how is it, that with all the truly amazing technology we have today that puts the world literally at our fingertips, this time of year is still full of hassles and irritations for so many? And no, I am not referring to the annoying relatives, the stress of decking the halls only to have someone else's two year-old come and knock the tree over, or even the commercialization of a sacred time of year (though I hear you on those pains, believe me I do), but to the fact that with all even in the

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Coming Into Compliance...Slowly

The other day, I was chatting with a networking vendor who spends a significant percentage of his time with financial services clients. The topic of compliance came up, and because his company makes equipment that connects data centers and storage systems, he had a lot to say on the topic. One thing that surprised me was his opinion that, for most of his clients, compliance was yesterday's news. That has not been my experience in the conversations I have had with as I IT professionals in recent

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Seriously Unfunny Internet Hoax Mystery Solved

What started as a joke on a colleague has ended without any laughter --some serious questions being raised about the future of Internet posting regulations. John Seigenthaler Sr., one of the founders of USA Today and a former assistant attorney general, reportedly received a handwritten apology from the man who anonymously posted a false biography of him on the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia that said Seigenthaler wa

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So Just How Well Does Cybercrime Pay?

That question is apparently, and very unsurprisingly, up for debate. At a banking and security conference in Saudi Arabia in late November, U.S. Treasury Advisor Valerie McNevin claimed that cybercriminals made more than $105 billion from their exploits but there are plenty of experts who think that number is over the top.

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Profiting From Cybercrime

Since I am already on a bad news roll, I might as well continue with the latest word on this banner year for security threats. 2005 has proven to be a very productive year for cybercriminals, as the number of threats went through the roof. According to the U.K. security company Sophos, just under 16,000 new worms, viruses, and Trojan horses were discovered between January and November.

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A Tangled Web

Sticks and stones may break bones, but I beg to differ with the rest of that saying. Words can hurt and they do every day. Look at examples of involving the spread of false, and often outrageous, information that has caused irreparable harm to reputations and worse. Without even going into the most horrific examples, just consider the issues raised by the posting of cruel, and untrue, biographical information about John Sei

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ITIL Reality

Vendors have spent a lot of time -- and marketing dollars - promoting the benefits of ITIL this year. And they certainly aren't alone as analysts and the press offer up examples of how this best practices approach to IT service management can pay off for the enterprise. We have certainly spent enough time here talking the ITIL talk in recent months.

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Open Source's Confidence Problem

At least on paper, open source technology offers enterprises a sort of promised land, an escape hatch from the world of expensive and disappointing proprietary commercial apps into one that features a technically-superior - and less costly - alternative. Simply put, on most days, what system administrator wouldn't like to give big bad Microsoft the slip. But though many organizations are beginning to use open source software, there is Post a Comment

Out Of Alignment?

Getting IT and business managers on the same page is a frequent topic of conversation these days. Most IT managers I speak to bring up that desire to work closely with their business counterparts, unprompted. But efforts to achieve that alignment don't always result in the business benefits both executives and IT professionals seek to achieve. Optimize magazine's most recent survey of CIOs of Fortune 3000 companies found

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Too Much Time

Cell service has improved enough that enterprises are now comfortable relying on the technology to conduct business. But improved service quality has not come with corresponding advances in the cost-effectiveness of contracts. Consider your own personal cell phone contract: Are you satisfied with it or are you paying for minutes you will never use? If you have too much of a good thing, then you aren't alone.

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Waiting For Proof

CA is making a big play to revamp its image -- and rescue its future -- with a new name, 26 new products, a new strategy but the jury is still out on what the vendor's prospects are. In last week's Systems Management Pipeline poll, most of the respondents say they are still at least somewhat skeptical about CA's software and the company's future. Seventy-two percent said that CA's past mistakes are causing them t

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Outsourcing: IT Threat Or Opportunity?

Just in time for the holidays come dire predictions likely to send a chill through the hearts of most U.S. IT professionals. An upcoming Congressional report is forecasting difficult times ahead for domestic IT workers, thanks in large part to the way that technology itself has helped erase geographic boundaries and make it possible for less expensive offshore workers to compete and win jobs from U.S. employees.

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Windows Forever

Chicago, Cairo, Vista -- all names of Windows works in progress and all part of the amazing software spin strategy that Microsoft pioneered with so much success. By revealing tantilizing details of coming Windows versions, the software giant has kept corporate IT departments focused on Windows and hopeful about the the future even as system administrators and their end users often grumbled over their current operating system. So, now after Post a Comment

By The Book

There may be plenty of grumbling around water coolers about recent changes in the government regulatory environments but, like it or not, those compliance dictates are here to stay. Last week's poll shows that regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and FISMA have affected the majority of companies. Seventy-seven percent of the survey respondents have made an investment, whether it is personnel resources o

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Style Conscious

This is the age of analyzing everything ad nauseum so why should examining management styles be any different. Consider yourself -- or own boss--what is your manager's administrative philosphy? Is your boss a micromanager who needs to weigh in on every decision or a laid back manager who may be a little too distant when you need a backup? Or does your boss employ a crisis management style where it is all about command and

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Alert To Trouble

There is always room for improvement in IT. Event notification is no exception. Yes, event management applications can send alerts to IT using a variety of mechanisms including via pagers. However, complaints about just how real-time these alerts are are common as the technology behind the event notification is often antiquated.

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The Future Starts Now

Remember when 1999 sounded like the distant future? Now it is more like the distant past. In the last decade alone, we've witnessed stunning technological advances that are changing the world as the Internet makes distance disappear and wireless gives us the flexibility we need now in this always-connected age.

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Prove Your Worth

Sure, companies depend on their infrastructures to run their businesses but that doesn't mean IT gets a blank check. In fact, it is just the opposite as IT organizations are under constant pressure to demonstrate their value to the corporation. And in this age of "do more for less," you know the powers that be will have no problem making cuts if you can't prove your worth. The constant demand for IT to quantify its value to the company has made Post a Comment

A Brand New Day For CA

Computer Associates is no more. The vendor is shedding its name in favor of its acronym and with that change, the often-beleagured company is hoping to leave its image as a frequent subject of scandal in the past. CA's name change, announced at the company's CA World user and partner conference this week, is the least significant aspect of the company's efforts to Post a Comment

Watch Out Redmond

You can believe the open source hype, at least if you look at the results of this week's poll on implementing alternatives to Microsoft Office. Fifty-seven percent of the Pipeline readers who responded have either already deployed an alternative to Microsoft Office or are trialing one now. Another five percent are considering other options to Microsoft Office.

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Beware of Mobile Mail

Given the bad security wrap email comes with in the wired world, it seems only natural that it might cause similar, or even worse, issues when transmitted to and from a mobile device. In a recent survey of 600 IT professionals, 79 percent put mobile email at the top of their list of security risks. That makes mobile email, far and away, the biggest perceived threat to mobile devices and the enterprise ne

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Compliance Headaches

Sarbanes-Oxley has been around for long enough to be a known nuisance. That doesn't make it much easier for companies to comply. And according to a recent Accenture study, the available software tools that are supposedly designed to help them meet SOX requirements leave a lot to be desired.

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Living Up To The Hype

Convergence is one technology that is living up to the hype. According to an In-Stat report released this week, the firm estimates that four million IP broadband IP lines will be in use by the end of this year. Even for a technology that is known to be powering forward at a rapid rate, this is a pretty remarkable number given that at the end of last year In-Stat put that number at 1.3 million. So what is driving IP telepho

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Watching The Web

Putting a corporate Internet use policy in place may sound basic, but many organizations don't bother with even a minimal attempt to regulate their employees Web activities. Given the current spyware/adware/phishing/pharming environment, that is a pretty big oversight. In a recent SonicWall survey of 2700 managers, more than 60 percent said there companies don't have rules about Web surf

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Confidence Issue

Even as the good earnings news for IT professionals keeps rolling in, there is some evidence of a disproportionate lack of job confidence among technology workers. A recent survey conducted by professional staffing firm Hudson showed system administrators and other high-tech workers lagged behind healthcare and other professions in terms of job confidence. And this job depression happened as overall job confidence rose in Octo

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Open To Change?

A monopoly is never a good thing so it is always great news when someone launches a legitimate challenge to Microsoft. In this case, I am talking about some renewed rebellion in Office apps arena.

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Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

It isn't just goblins and trick-or-treaters you need to be afraid of this Halloween. Network and server intrustions are continuing at a too-high rate. A recent VanDyke Software survey found that 25 percent of the respondents had been hit with an intrusion within the last two years. Yet in spite of the high incidence of intrusions, only slightly more than half of the system administrators polled said they had eliminated inse

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Shades Of Grey

Thanks in large part to the Internet, enterprise threats are constant and they are everywhere-- viruses, Worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, phishing attacks, and on and on and on. And throw in the growing ubiquity of so-called greynet apps that end users can install without the help -- or approval -- of IT, and the threat worsens. So what is an under-resource

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The Future Is (Starting) Now

If the writing wasn't on the wall before it, it certainly is now. IDC numbers published Thursday show that sales of wireless devices without voice communications capabilities slid for the seventh quarter in a row. Given that much of corporate mobile use rose up almost organically, with individuals increasingly using their personal wireless devices for work-related communications, this trend toward consolidation almost certain

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In The Money

In the last few days, economic news for IT has been pretty much all good - more funding, more jobs, and now, higher salaries on the horizon. A report issued this week by Robert Half Technology predicts that, on average, next year IT salaries will rise 3 percent versus the .5 average they saw this year. The report goes on to forecast that the most sought after will include lead applications developers, network security admin

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The Return Of The Boom Years?

Remember the heady days of the Internet boom and endless technological possibilities? VC funding was plentiful, creativity was soaring, and yes, in the age of the overvalued acquisitions practicality was pretty scarce. But who hasn't missed those times just as little bit as we struggled through uncertain days and leaner years. Well, there certainly aren't any guarantees but it does look like things may be

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Educating The Masses

Enterprise management software vendors still have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to educating the market on Business Service Management. Last week's Systems Management Pipeline poll shows that while nearly half of the respondants think BSM sounds terrific in theory, they believe the products associated with it are either too expensive or too complex for them to implement. Forty-one percent of the respondents

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Accelerating Skills Development

The trade-off for a business hiring a new, enthusiastic, and relatively cheap college grad is that recruit's lack of practical working experience. In a nutshell, new hires don't have an extensive background in field to draw from for problem solving that can be so crucial. Companies are still willing to give newcomers a chance but businesses are looking for ways to bring their new hires up to speed as rapidly as possible. Businesses looking to accelerate their new hires' skills acquisition wo

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Virtually Ubiquitous

A new Forrester Research study shows that the Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are literally almost everywhere. With the overwhelming majority of companies either implementing new and upgrading existing VPNs this year, VPNs are at the top of the project list for most IT managers. One of the biggest benefits VPNs promise is added flexibility so it is no surprise that demand for browser-based SSL VPNs that have the potential to

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HP: Back To Basics?

At Gartner's ITXpo conference, HP CEO Mark Hurd promised the company will "double down" on the company's core hardware, software, and service areas. If I interpret Hurd's comments correctly, "doubling down" means not only will HP not sell off its printer, PC, or any of its other mainstay businesses as has been rumored for months but the company will actually invest more attention and resources in those areas. Howeve

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Great In Theory

Business Service Management (BSM) makes a lot of sense on paper. After all, what is not to like about the concept that ties technology to the business processes IT supports in an effort to ensure the business runs smoothly and efficiently? Nothing, in theory, but putting BSM into practice is a daunting challenge, to say the least. At the most basic technical level, think of all the resource mapping involved and you get the picture.

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Tangled In A Safety Net

A recent survey of 1,200 end users by security vendor Trend Micro shows a bad news/even worse news scenario. The slightly less bad news, if you can call it that, is that the overwhelming majority of end users are aware of spyware. The worse news is that much of this awareness comes from direct experience with the malacious code, with approxmiately 40% of the

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Room For Improvement

Early results from this week's poll that, in spite of some vendor progress in creating applications and services that take a more predictive approach to management, IT managers still say the available tools have them working mostly in a reactive mode. A scant 29 percent of the respondents said that management applications and services have made real strides in recent years to becoming more proactive while 57 percent

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To The Rescue

This has been a hurricane season we won't soon forget. More than a month after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast, bringing down much of the communications infrastructure which linked homes and businesses to the world, we are still learning the stories of those who helped faciliate communications that are particularly vital during a time of crisis. It is during times like these when

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Help Wanted

Down-on-its luck FEMA is under fire yet again, this time for its technology limitations. Fingers are now being pointed at the beleagured Federal Emergency Management Agency's overtaxed computer system, which is being blamed in part for the department's less-than-stellar response to Hurricane Katrina and the hurricanes that slammed into Florida last year. So a job posting for an information technology specialist may not soun

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Money Matters

Recently, I was talking to a network manager who had survived a terrible VoIP implementation, if just barely. The deployed system failed to scale, and as a result, the mortgage company he worked for suffered through numerous outages, poor voice quality, and a lack of functionality on even the best day. The implementation was such a disaster, the network manager abandoned the incumbent VoIP solution and installed another, far more scalable and proven IP telephony system which had been his initi

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Mobilizing Business - And IT

Right before our very eyes, the world is changing, and the way we do business is evolving right along with it. As we individuals, we are cutting our ties to conventional wired networks, and increasingly relying on their wireless counterparts. And business is following suit, with the adoption of more

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Breathing Easier

Rita largely spared Houston and many of the more populated areas of the Gulf Coast region, though try telling someone in the smaller communities in Southwestern Lousiana how lucky they are. Still, a number of Houston customers were still without power this morning. BellSouth says that more than one half of million are without landline service Sunday. Cell service was also hindered in much of southeastern L

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Ready For Rita?

Here we go again. Less than a month after the Gulf Coast was slammed by Hurricane Katrina, her nasty cousin Rita is approaching Texas and Louisiana with similar fury. If there is any good news in this, early indications are that Texas at least, save for the Houston evacuation plan, is better prepared with businesses and hospitals executing Post a Comment

Servicing The Business

Service level management is a decades-old concept but it has only been in recent years that IT organizations have been formalizing the process as a way to improve performance and maintain control over all of the underpinning technologies and services which facilitate network operations. But one of the challenges of that is managing all of the components associated with service delivery, and documenting those.

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Consolidated Change

After so many years and so many vendor promises of centralized, multi-vendor network management, IT managers are still too often jumping back and forth between multiple console systems or, worse, handling many functions by hand that should be automated. Asset and storage management are two areas in which many applications still aren't fully integrated with management console software. However, there was some promise of progress this week on both those fronts. HP Post a Comment

Taking Stock

School is back in session. The football season is officially under way. The hazy, lazy last days of summer are slipping into fall as the world gets back to business. For many organizations, this is really the beginning of their planning year, and a time to reassess IT priorities and consider new technology initiatives with the potential to further business objectives.

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Tempting Fate

While the political blame game over pre- and post-Katrina emergency planning and execution continues at full force in Washington, businesses everywhere are taking time to consider where they stand with their own contingency plans. After all, it doesn't take a Category 4 hurricane to disrupt business continuity; every day issues from viruses to utility power failures can knock a company infrastructure offline. Unfortunately, results so far from this week's Post a Comment

Aiding The Recovery

Among the many painful lessons we are learning in the wake of Katrina, is something we already knew. We are utterly dependent upon our communications systems to connect us to each other. Those systems really define us. And of course, communications are the foundation of our business operations.

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Communications Breakdown

The coverage of a post-Katrina New Orleans is like watching a train wreck that won't stop -- horrifying, heartbreaking, and impossible to turn away from, even if you can't stand to see another sad image. But yesterday I found myself getting increasingly frustrated and angry by the obvious lack of contingency planning and the poor execution on the part of the government, mostly state and local but also federal.

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Contingency For Catastrophe

Even days after Katrina blew through the Gulf Coast states, it is still hard to comprehend the immense devastation she caused. There really aren't words to describe the wrenching horror she left in her wake. So much beauty, inside of New Orleans and beyond, has been torn to shreds by wind and water.

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