26bd173Like most solutions in the security space, there is a clear trend towards increased consolidation. Not only are solutions becoming more sophisticated and can take on this consolidation with minimal negative influence on network performance, but organizations are demanding an easier way to protect themselves without requiring more full-time employees to deal with a bunch of standalones.

At Info-Tech Research Group we recently published a Vendor Landscape report on Endpoint Protection. A noticeable trend in the Endpoint Protection market is that some solutions haven’t quite made the push over the line to be truly comprehensive.

Either they’ve got features like port control, URL filtering/application control, and application whitelisting, or they’ve got the encryption-related features like file/folder encryption or removable media encryption. Few solutions playing in the same field have the full shebang.

One example of this split personality situation is Symantec. Two Symantec solutions are evaluated in this Vendor Landscape for the simple fact that its Endpoint Protection solution doesn’t have encryption, while its encryption solution doesn’t have the other aforementioned features. This trade-off, while it seems to make sense, can be frustrating for organizations who just want something centrally managed and full-featured.

The only solution in this space that has all advanced features is Trend Micro’s Smart Protection for Endpoint. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the solutions are lacking. Most of the solutions still play strongly in this market; examples being Arkoon or Lumension.

For a better of idea of what Endpoint Protection solutions include, advanced features-wise, for our Vendor Landscape, see the following:

  • File/folder encryption
  • Removable media encryption
  • Removable device content control
  • Port control
  • Patch management
  • Application whitelisting
  • URL filtering/Web control
  • Cloud deployment options

Click on this image to go to our Vendor Landscape: Endpoint Protection

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wpc1Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella provided his vision to thousands of corporate partners at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. The vision is compelling but the execution on the vision is largely still to come.

Wednesday’s WPC keynotes took a more technology-centric focus, and in contrast to Monday’s session, were not entirely about the cloud! Featured were:

  • Some improvements to the Windows Phone: shape-typing (aka 2 years later Google gesture typing), along with Cortana (aka 2 years late Siri, but admittedly, much better).
  • Desktop OS: multi-window tiled apps running side by side and even a tiled start menu…yes…they not only brought back the start menu for people who prefer the long way of starting apps, but are actually investing in it.
  • Some very interesting new features with Skype around instant voice translation which are not only technologically impressive, but truly game-changing for people all over the world.

But of course, all eyes were on the final speaker of the day’s session, CEO Satya Nadella, in his first big address to the world-wide partner network. Having not long ago completed his first 100 days, Nadella is still speaking from the visionary perspective, tying together the many threads of the other speakers, both today and in Monday’s keynote, in a holistic vision for the future of Microsoft.

At the heart of that vision is, of course, the cloud-first, mobile-first mantra, which pushes away from the traditional Windows OS-centric mentality that governed for so long. It is an interestingly quick shift away from even just a year ago when Steve Ballmer proclaimed the “Devices and Services” focus, but the release of the Surface 3 Pro, acquisition of Nokia, and even an announcement today that we could see a Toshiba 7 inch tablet as the first one in that class to run Windows indicate that devices aren’t out of the strategy, they’re just not the key focus.

In fact, Nadella’s vision for a productive, seamless, cross-device user experience relies on those devices (but doesn’t exclude the iPads and Android devices of the world). Using the cloud (ok, you knew it was going to come up today, even if it wasn’t the focus!) as a delivery mechanism for apps that span across all devices and environments Microsoft can be part of “human activity across all of their daily life, across all of their devices”.

All those big idea pieces like Big Data Analytics and Internet of Everything will continue to open up more ways to enable not just productivity, but innovation and social change. Based on the messaging in many of the interlude videos throughout the keynote, it is not a stretch to say that Microsoft even considers these advances as leading to the betterment of humanity in general, which is a noble vision to say the least.

But therein lies the rub—visions sound great because they can be forward looking, unbound by many technical limitations and complications that exist in markets that don’t fit the perfect Microsoft utopian model. Constant connectivity is a requirement for many of the benefits these technologies will provide, but that is still not a reality everywhere in the world. There is also no mention of how business and consumer customers will ultimately license and pay for these types of ubiquitous apps, as many of Microsoft’s licensing models still add both complication and cost to additional access, especially when it is a non-Windows device. But that’s the great thing about a vision—you don’t have to answer those questions…yet.

So overall, I give the vision Nadella presented (essentially the same as his internal email to all Microsoft partners last week), a “Sounds pretty cool”. I don’t necessarily believe that the extension from enterprise into personal will work out quite as intended (it sure didn’t for RIM/Blackberry…) but I would truly like to see the vision come to fruition on that enterprise level. If I can be productive on my work PC, Android phone on the train home, and iPad mini/Desktop PC when I’m at home, with a fluent, consistent, and intuitive UI, and at a cost that isn’t going to be prohibitive, I’m buying what Microsoft and Nadella are selling.

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wpc1It’s Microsoft World Partner Conference 2014 – or should I say, Microsoft Cloud World Cloud Conference 2014…Cloud. The theme at this year’s Microsoft WPC event in Washington D.C. is clear—the cloud is the future of IT as we know it, and Microsoft will not be left behind.  If anything, they’ll be out ahead, way ahead, so far ahead that they just might lose you along the way.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the vision Microsoft is putting out there.  They paid the price for their inability to react to the tablet threat on the Windows OS dominance in the desktop and laptop market, and are not about to let that happen again.  What remains to be seen, though, is will partners, and customers for that matter, be able to absorb such sweeping change?

One of the most interesting revelations the cloud push has enabled is the extension of not just partner opportunities, but truly collaborative relationships with vendors you’d sooner consider competitors of Microsoft.  Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce (announced last month) were all prominently featured as part of the integrated cloud eco-system built upon Azure that extends functionality beyond just Microsoft’s stack, and into the realm of competitive/complimentary solutions.

The cloud push extends beyond just the Azure offering (which according to Microsoft now has at least some footprint in 57% of the Fortune 500 and boasts more regional data center clusters than either AWS or Google with 17) and right into the core of the partner network.  Microsoft today announced numerous changes to Cloud competencies including waiving first year fees for Silver partners, adding more Azure and Office365 competencies, and making a commitment to provide significant support to their Cloud Solution Providers.

End-user customers are also going to feel the effects of the cloud wave.  COO Kevin Turner made it clear: Microsoft understands the productive consumer of technology is not hooked to one device in one place, and must be enabled to work wherever, however, and on whatever device they choose.  The Office 365 approach follows that user-centric model, but still no mention of how companies who have elected to take a perpetual license approach can benefit in the same way without exponential licensing costs.  The answer is probably the same as the answer to the people who are running Windows Server 2003 when it reaches end of life—just move it to the cloud already!

The highlight of the morning for me, though, was Turner’s big reveal of the 5th pillar to add to the big 4: Mobility, Social, Big Data, and of course, the Cloud.  In grandiose fashion, security was unveiled as the fifth piece of the puzzle…Now where have I seen that before? (you can tell it was 2012 because we were only talking about 10G Ethernet!)

microsoft2014
Microsoft 2014
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Info-Tech Research Group 2012

Until tomorrow…

 

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Mike Battista
Mike Battista
Senior Consulting Analyst
Info-Tech Research Group

Successfully implement VDI, and migrate some or all of your workforce to remote access desktops, allowing productivity anytime, anywhere.

Please join me and a panel of subject matter experts on Thursday July 10, 2014 at 4 p.m. EDT for a Webinar on “Implement Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Do you know how to successfully roll out a VDI solution?”

Register Here for “Implement Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Do you know how to successfully roll out a VDI solution?”
(Video replay will be available at this link following the Webinar)

During this webinar we will discuss:

  • VDI is a key step in the larger move toward post-PC end-user computing, by enabling desktop access from any device.
  • VDI requires a large investment in company resources and it must be done right the first time if that investment is to pay off.
  • Focus on people, process, and technology best practices that avoid major pitfalls when implementing VDI.

Info-Tech Research Group webinars occur during the early weeks of our research projects. Attendees will weigh-in on several key polls and will be able to pose questions to the group. We want to work closely with our members and potential members as we build out our research to ensure we are thoroughly meeting your needs.

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Stewart Bond
Stewart Bond
Senior Consulting Analyst
Info-Tech Research Group

Data is one of the organization’s largest assets. In order for organizations to utilize their data effectively, and benefit from it, performing regular data audits is essential.

Please join me and subject matter expert panelists on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm EDT for a Webinar on, “Improve your Data Audit and Data Integration Practices: Use the findings of your data audit to improve your data integration initiatives.”

Register Here For This Webinar
(Video of this webinar will be available at this link after the event)

Joining me for this webinar will be Julie Hunt, Principal of Julie Hunt Consulting. We will discuss how:

  • A data audit profiles organizational data located in various data repositories and assesses the level of data quality and integrity.
  • Data audits highlight data flaws and get to the root cause of the issue.
  • Data audits uncover gaps in the areas of security and regulatory compliance, assist in identifying rogue data and phantom data sources, and promote a tighter data lifecycle, which creates higher levels of data trust.

Info-Tech Research Group webinars occur during the early weeks of our research projects. Attendees will weigh-in on several key polls and will be able to pose questions to the group. We want to work closely with our members and potential members as we build out our research to ensure we are thoroughly meeting your needs.

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