Data Quality A Thankless Task — Until A Crisis Arises

By Rob Karel.

Quality data in the enterprise is like breathable air — you don't truly appreciate it until it's gone. Many companies don't even bother to ask whether the customer, product, asset, or any other data it captures is actually complete, valid, and useful. Other companies leave the responsibility of standardizing, cleansing, and aggregating data from source systems to their IT developers, perhaps leveraging transformation capabilities within extract, transform, and load (ETL) tools to automate this hygiene process.

Then there are those companies that have felt enough data quality-induced pain such as wasted marketing costs or low call center productivity, and have invested in data quality software that allows for the advanced definition and maintenance of rules to standardize, cleanse, enrich, match, and merge. Once an investment in data quality software is made, companies hopefully have invested also in staffing at least a handful of data quality stewards or business analysts. These data quality professionals (DQPs) can translate requirements and perspectives of quality from the business stakeholders to technical requirements that can be implemented within the DQ software.

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Citigroup leaks customer data through P2P file sharing

Dow Jones Newswire reported on Friday, September 21st, that "The names, Social Security numbers and mortgage information of thousands of people have been leaked by an employee of Citigroup Inc.'s (C) ABN Amro Mortgage Group unit onto a popular peer-to-peer file-sharing network. The leak made the information available to millions of casual music-sharers, as well as would-be identity thieves." The said P2P network is Lime Wire software, which permits sharing of music, movies, and other files over its networks.

The data in question apparently leaked through the home computer of a Citi employee (one news story says it is a "former employee" ).  This again highlights the challenges that organizations face in trying to exert content control when their systems and networks are increasingly decentralized and de-perimeterized.

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Infrastructure Vendors Need To Get A Mooooove-On

Silva

UK-based infrastructure vendor Moovera Networks recently announced the availability of its Moovbox F Series Fixed Broadband Gateway device. What's the what on this seemingly commodity Wi-Fi mesh device? It's able to make use of carrier networks for backhaul, taking advantage of 3G UMTS/HSPA, TD-CDMA, HC-SDMA and WiMAX 802.16e technologies to pass off data from local 802.11 clients.

Currently marketed as "[i]deal for municipal Wi-Fi hotzones, temporary hotspots, and public saftey [sic] applications" I see no reason why businesses with a large number of remote offices, disparate locations or a need for temporary network access (BC/DR anyone?) could not find a use for this.

This is a product that exemplifies the multi-network future and illustrates how lines will blur between "internal" and "public" networks. Are you listening Cisco, Motorola and Nortel?

Play fair... or they'll come after your secrets

I’m not usually one for ‘this-could-happen-to-you’ stories, but I’m still having trouble getting over last month’s story about grocery giant Tesco having to turn over 11 million emails to the UK’s Competition Commission for their investigation into possible anti-competitive practices against its suppliers.

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Enable Ubiquitous Mobility, Save The Planet?

Silva

I've recently been talking a lot about ubiquitous mobility, that future-state when folks in an organization are all wireless, all the time. We're not there yet, but I regularly urge enterprise IT managers to think about this future state and consider how soon they want to reach it when making strategic investment decisions.

It turns out there is some public data to point to a more ecological push for enabling mobility in the enterprise. The Texas Transportation Institute recently released a study examining the benefits of mobile employees over those that commute to an office. At peak congestion times, workers traveling to an office expend "an extra 38 hours of travel time and consume an additional 26 gallons of fuel, amounting to a cost of $710 per traveler." Numbers to put the cost of investing in a WLAN refresh, even one based on 802.11n, in clearer focus. 

SAP's New SMB Licensing Model Is Not Right For Enterprises

by Duncan Jones

I was at SAP’s launch event for its new product for the SMB market, now called Business ByDesign™ (BBD), and was particularly interested in its licensing model and price point. BBD may be a good solution for an enterprise's smaller business units, but vendor managers should be wary of its SaaS model. The price of $149 per user per month works out as $5,364 for the minimum three year commitment, which is no cheaper than a perpetual license for a rival product with annual maintenance. Worse, the renter is still committed to paying $1800 pa (double or triple what maintenance would cost) as long as it uses the software, even assuming SAP hasn't increased the price by then.

Businesses can't switch complete application suites as easily as they can a niche product such as CRM, so BBD customers won't benefit from the flexibility that is usually a valuable feature of SaaS. Companies considering BBD must look at the TCO over six to 10 years, not merely the first three. The hosted delivery model is certainly beneficial to smaller business units that don't want to employ IT operations staff, but enterprises could get hosting services without agreeing to an open-ended term license.

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Role Management and eSSO vendors - a call for action

Part of a successful Identity Management (IdM) project is a successful role discovery and mapping phase. Many organizations -- after having mapped and optimized their business processes -- turn to role design and management solutions (VAUU RBACx, BHOLD, Oracle's BridgeStream, and others). While these solutions give a great initial insight into the existing role structure, they are not the only source of role interrelationship information. Role design can build

on

many other sources: demographics mined from helpdesk tickets from users requesting access, job descriptions, quality management systems (it certain cases this is wishful thinking...), and increasingly from Enterprise or Desktop eSSO solutions (PassLogix, ActivIdentity, CA). eSSO solutions store multiple login credentials for users to multiple applications. As such, extracting account linkage, mapping and correlating user IDs between user repositories based

on

access information built by end-users is much more reliable than any artificial role mining logic, usually based

on

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Intel Pushes Performance, Mobility, And Green IT At IDF

Ben Last week, Forrester attended the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco. Intel did its best to cover a lot of content (some new, some not so much) over the three-day event and there’s no way I’ll be able to cover it all in just one blog post. But to summarize, Intel pushed:

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Cisco Buys Cognio, Focuses On Applications

Silva

Cisco's acquisition of spectrum analysis vendor Cognio this week signifies the vendor's move beyond infrastructure provision in the WLAN space and  shows Cisco taking an interest in improving the performance of dense wireless environments. 

This move is likely to support its increased focus on wireless applications over wireless hardware as evidenced by its location-based-services pitches earlier this year. Also interesting in the fact that the Cognio solution will likely let Cisco take on a management role of more types of wireless technology, perhaps a harbinger of more wireless offerings outside of the 802.11 space in the near future?

Promote A Greener Way To Combat Identity Theft

Allow me to put on my "Good Housekeeping" trite advice hat for a second...

As the leaves turn an autumnal hue, many of our end users' thoughts will turn towards preparing their yard for the winter. Why not turn this into an opportunity for both environmental responsibility and security awareness by promoting composting?

Discarded credit card offers, bank statements, mixed with old leaves, kitchen waste and yard clippings will quickly become unreadable without them ever having to be left in the trash on the curbside. And come next year will they'll be a useful fertilizer for the lawn or beds.

Perhaps adding a horticultural element to a security awareness program will reach some people we've not managed to reach before. A good guide to composting can be found here. Just a thought, eh?