RSA 2013: The Age Of Security Commercialism

 

Contributing analysts to this blog: Stephanie Balaouras, Ed Ferrara, Rick Holland, Eve Maler, Chris McClean, Heidi Shey, Chenxi Wang. Photo credit: SC magazine. 

Walking on the RSA 2013 show floor, it was a chaotic, noisy, and energetic place, pulsing with excitement. The industry has reasons to celebrate; the security space is white hot, with more VC money pouring into the space than ever before; Obama’s recent executive order placed cybersecurity front and center. RSA this year was bigger, louder, and more bullish than ever, with more than 360 vendors exhibiting, 24,000 attendees, and 394 talk sessions.  

The week heading to the conference was interesting to say the least; with Java 0-days wreaking havoc on the Internet and the Mandiant report taking every major newspaper headline, RSA could not have had a better set-up.  

After the dust (and the smoke) settled, we, the Forrester security team, came away with these impressions and takeaways:

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Is Your Security Program Ready To Support Disruptive Business Trends?

 

The evolution of business practices is proving as big of an issue for Security and Risk professionals as the changing threat landscape. Sure, attackers exposed hundreds of millions of personal records and government information in security breaches last year, and there are examples all the time of new, sophisticated attack methods… however Security and Risk pros should also be on the lookout for technology trends that may prove just as difficult to address: Digital disruption creating shockingly more competitive marketplaces, perpetual connectivity intensifying IT user expectations, and the data economy creating incredible new possibilities to leverage the power of existing information. Of course with big business opportunities come big business risks.

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Disaggregating “SMAC” is the First Step In Sourcing Digital Business Outcomes

Much has been made over the past few years about the “new” digital technology imperatives – social, mobile, analytics and cloud (collectively referred to as “SMAC”). Though the IT industry is flush with reports about SMAC, lumping these technology capabilities together is both helpful -- because they do represent a collective “what’s hot” in IT -- and misleading, because each technology has a different level of maturity, complexity, and business impact.

I often say that that sourcing professionals are “where the rubber hits the road” with new technologies.  That is, the technology industry can hype a new technology all it wants. But until someone makes a strategic sourcing decision -- one that carefully examines costs, risks, and benefits of these offerings for enterprises, it’s mostly just hype.

And when you peel back the layers of the SMAC acronym, what you see are four unique solutions, each with different levels of complexity which are highlighted in the sourcing process:

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Microsoft’s European Fine Comes In An Era Of Browser Diversity

Today the European Commission fined Microsoft €561 million ($732 million) for failing to live up to a previous legal agreement. As the New York Times reported it, “the penalty Wednesday stemmed from an antitrust settlement in 2009 that called on Microsoft to give Windows users in Europe a choice of Web browsers, instead of pushing them to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.” The original agreement stipulated that Microsoft would provide PC users a Browser Choice Screen (BCS) that would easily allow them to choose from a multitude of browsers.

Without commenting on the legalities involved (I’m not a lawyer), I think there are at least two interesting dimensions to this case. First, the transgression itself could have been avoided. Microsoft admitted this itself in a statement issued on July 17, 2012: “Due to a technical error, we missed delivering the BCS software to PCs that came with the service pack 1 update to Windows 7.” The company’s statement went on to say that “while we believed when we filed our most recent compliance report in December 2011 that we were distributing the BCS software to all relevant PCs as required, we learned recently that we’ve missed serving the BCS software to the roughly 28 million PCs running Windows 7 SP1.” Subsequently, today Microsoft took responsibility for the error. Clearly some execution issues around SP1 created a needless violation.

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Cisco Services Leverages Software Assets To Transform Its Services Value Proposition

As you’re all well aware by now, a perfect storm of technology innovations — including cloud, analytics, mobile, and social­ ­— is fundamentally disrupting the way your company engages with its customers (as well as employees and partners). For service providers in particular, the main challenge is understanding how to best leverage these technology innovations to remain relevant and ultimately generate more business value. So it’s exciting to see a service provider like Cisco Services come up with new offerings that respond to this challenge in innovative ways.

I met with Cisco Services Asia Pacific Japan and China (APJC) executives last week in Seoul to discuss their strategy in Asia. I wanted to highlight a few takeaways that I believe will be important for sourcing professionals in Asia and beyond:

  • Cisco Services is a key enabler of Cisco’s overall transformation. Cisco Services used to be a captive consulting organization providing support and technology services for a product company. In a recent analyst call, John Chambers identified Cisco Services as one of the main levers that will help Cisco transition from a transaction-oriented to an annuity-based business model and help the company become the largest IT company globally. The company’s aim is for Cisco Services to represent 24-26% of total revenues in the next 3-5 years. These goals are extremely audacious; achieving them will require huge efforts from Cisco, including some targeted acquisitions in the services space.
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Building or enhancing a VMO that will change your company

The VMO is becoming more and more important for companies. As such, the demand to create a structure is prominent. To avoid pitfalls and get a jump-start on this, we at Forrester designed a workshop to help customers build a new or enhance an existing organization that deals with all issues of the sourcing life-cycle. Discussing the pressing need of a VMO due to market trends, establishing tools and techniques to master operational as well as strategic issues and turning this into value for the business are just a few topics that will be addressed during this workshop. Designed for practitioners, the workshop will allow participants to learn from best practices, get an inside view on Forrester's latest research and connect with peers facing the same challenges. The next workshop is planned for April 24 at Forrester's facilities in New York, NY. Details can be found here.

For those not able to attend this workshop, please let me know if you are interested in a similar workshop in a different location, especially for those located in Europe.

Looking forward to receiving your feedback.

Mobile BI And Cloud BI Evaluation Criteria

Mobile BI and cloud BI are among the top trends that we track in the industry. Our upcoming Enterprise BI Platforms Wave™ will dedicate a significant portion of vendor evaluation on these two capabilities. These capabilities are far from yes/no checkmarks. Just asking vague questions like “Can you deliver your BI functionality on mobile devices?” and “Is your BI platform available in the cloud as software-as-a-service?” will lead to incomplete vendor answers, which in turn may lead you to make the wrong vendor selections. Instead, we plan to evaluate these two critical BI platform capabilities along the following parameters:

Mobile BI

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Better, Faster, Cheaper - Storage needs to be all three

For the vast majority of Forrester customers who I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Henry Baltazar and I'm the new analyst covering Storage for the I&O team. I've covered the Storage industry for over 15 years and spent the first 9 years of my career as a Technical Analyst at eWEEK/PCWeek Labs, where I was responsible for benchmarking storage systems, servers and Network Operating Systems.  

During my lab days, I tested hundreds of different products and was fortunate to witness the development and maturation of a number of key innovations such as data deduplication, WAN optimization and scale-out storage.  In the technology space "Better, Faster, Cheaper - Pick Two" used to be the design goal for many innovators, and I've seen many technologies struggle to attain two, let alone three of these goals, especially in the first few product iterations.  For example, while iSCSI was able to challenge Fibre Channel on the basis of being cheaper - despite being around for over a decade many storage professionals are still not convinced that iSCSI is faster or better.

Looking at storage technologies today, relative to processors and networking, storage has not held up its end of the bargain.  Storage needs to improve in all three vectors to either push innovation forward, or avoid being viewed as a bottleneck in the infrastructure.  At Forrester I will be looking at a number of areas of innovation which should drive enterprise storage capabilities to new heights including:

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Don't Establish Data Management Standards

A recent survey of Enterprise Architects showed a lack of standards for data management.* Best practices has always been about the creation of standards for IT, which would lead us to think that lack of standards for data management is a gap.

Not so fast.

Standards can help control cost. Standards can help reduce complexity. But, in an age when a data management architecture needs to flex and meet the business need for agility, standards are a barrier. The emphasis on standards is what keeps IT in a mode of constant foundation building, playing the role of deli counter, and focused on cost management.

In contrast, when companies throw off the straight jacket of data management standards the are no longer challenged by the foundation. These organizations are challenged by ceilings. Top performing organizations, those that have had annual growth above 15%, are working to keep the dam open and letting more data in and managing more variety. They are pushing the envelope on the technology that is available.

Think about this. Overall, organizations have made similar data management technology purchases. What has separated top performers from the rest of organizations is by not being constrained. Top performers maximize and master the technology they invest in. They are now better positioned to do more, expand their architecture, and ultimately grow data value. For big data, they have or are getting ready to step out of the sandbox. Other organizations have not seen enough value to invest more. They are in the sand trap.

Standards can help structure decisions and strategy, but they should never be barriers to innovation.

 

*203 Enterprise Architecture Professionals, State of Enterprise Architecture Global Survey Month,2012

**Top performer organization analysis based on data from Forrsights Strategy Spotlight BI And Big Data, Q4 2012

Don't Establish Data Management Standards

A recent survey of Enterprise Architects showed a lack of standards for data management.* Best practices has always been about the creation of standards for IT, which would lead us to think that lack of standards for data management is a gap.

Not so fast.

Standards can help control cost. Standards can help reduce complexity. But, in an age when a data management architecture needs to flex and meet the business need for agility, standards are a barrier. The emphasis on standards is what keeps IT in a mode of constant foundation building, playing the role of deli counter, and focused on cost management.

In contrast, when companies throw off the straight jacket of data management standards the are no longer challenged by the foundation. These organizations are challenged by ceilings. Top performing organizations, those that have had annual growth above 15%, are working to keep the dam open and letting more data in and managing more variety. They are pushing the envelope on the technology that is available.

Think about this. Overall, organizations have made similar data management technology purchases. What has separated top performers from the rest of organizations is by not being constrained. Top performers maximize and master the technology they invest in. They are now better positioned to do more, expand their architecture, and ultimately grow data value. For big data, they have or are getting ready to step out of the sandbox. Other organizations have not seen enough value to invest more. They are in the sand trap.

Standards can help structure decisions and strategy, but they should never be barriers to innovation.

 

*203 Enterprise Architecture Professionals, State of Enterprise Architecture Global Survey Month,2012

**Top performer organization analysis based on data from Forrsights Strategy Spotlight BI And Big Data, Q4 2012