Live from IAPP Privacy Academy 2007

This week I am attending the IAPP privacy academy in San Francisco. This morning, the big event kicked off with a big tent event of keynotes followed by individual breakout sessions. Some of the highlights:

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IAPP Privacy Academy 2007

I am excited to be attending the IAPP Privacy Academy next week in San Francisco. If you'll be there and want to meet up, drop me a line at jmulligan at forrester dot com. It's a chance for privacy professionals to come together and discuss the issues they are facing with peers, and to learn from the individual working groups. Looking ahead to the themes and discussions offered, I am not surprised by many of the current hot topics:

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EMC Buys MozyPro As It Enters The Market For Online Infrastructure Services

Backup is a struggle for both enterprises and small and medium businesses. It’s a complex ecosystem of backup software, networks, servers, disk arrays, and tape systems. Most companies report they are having difficulty completing backups in the time available and when backups fail or complete with errors, it’s often very difficult to discover the root cause. Couple those troubles with the fact that the amount of data that you need backed up is growing conservatively at 30% to 50% per year. Aside from these challenges, most companies are also interested in keeping backups longer for version history and companies are interested in the ability to perform much faster restores if they could.

Given the headaches associated with backup, many small and medium business and even some enterprises are choosing to outsource their backups all together to a service provider. There are already numerous players in the marketplace from Evault (which is resold by a number of different service providers) to Iron Mountain, to your telecommunication provider, and to emerging entrants such as Berkeley Data Systems and its Mozy service offering. This opportunity is so huge that even Symantec (which acquired Veritas) launched a beta of its own online backup service called the Symantec Protection Network. EMC’s acquisition of Berkeley Data Systems is just further proof that the online backup market is a huge opportunity.

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Unisys and DHS: Set up to fail?

Let's go back to 2001 and do a little math:

Huge IT contract + Politicians + Lobbyists + Soft IT market + Legions of government contractors + Newly created government agency + More politicians + Career civil servants

What does that make? A hugely expensive, difficult, political and organizational undertaking, and plenty of scope for fingerpointing -- and that's what we've got.

Full disclosure here: I was working for Unisys for the first three years of this contract, and only a non-US passport kept me from working on this engagement (and believe me I thanked my lucky stars every morning when I woke up that I wasn't).

I'm not a huge Unisys defender in general -- I saw plenty of gaffes from the sidelines, and like any large systems integrator Unisys has its fair share of inefficiencies and dead wood -- but Unisys is being accused of everything under the sun, from covering up the problems, to kicking puppies and being mean to its gradmother. I'm just not convinced anyone else would've done much better -- and has anyone noticed the alarming regularity with which government agencies blame their contractors compared to their commercial counterparts?

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