Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Instant Messages. Where Did You Get Them?

On Christmas Day, most of us pick up the phone and give our friends and family a seasonal greeting call. But for people in remote locations, sending a festive message is not always an easy thing to do.


Twenty years ago, the only options were a crackly long distance call or a letter sent six weeks early.

Today, advances in technology mean that even if you are in the middle of the ocean, or half way up a glacier, there is always a way to send a message home.

So rather than making a good excuse as to why this year's Christmas card did not arrive on time, here are some of the technological solutions on offer:

E-MAIL

For many, this is the cheapest and easiest choice. Electronic mail covers the entire spectrum, from basic text message, through to sound and movie files.

As long as you have got an internet connection and a means of getting online, then an electronic season's greeting can be sent with just a few clicks of a button.

SMS / TEXT MESSAGE

Short Message Service's - or SMS's - are almost as versatile as e-mails, enabling users to send photos and short video clips, as well as traditional text messages.

The popularity of the service has skyrocketed in recent years. According to the Mobile Data Association, more than 1.4 billion texts were sent in the UK every week in 2008, which is more than the entire number of texts sent in 1999.

According to data from the Mobile Data Association, from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day last year, 6,466,506 video and picture messages were sent.

SMS is available anywhere there is a regular cellular network, although unlike e-mail, users have to pay for every message sent.

VoIP

Internet telephony aka VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol to give it its full name) is a way of transmitting voice communications over the web.

Although the first communication of someone's voice over the internet happened in the early 1970s, it wasn't until the late 1990s - when internet speeds rose from an average of 300 bits per second (bps) to 56 kilobits per second (kbps) - that it became a viable proposition.

Today, with a typical internet connection typically running at 3,000 kbps, you can now not only send speech over the net, you can send video too.

What's more, you can often use your VoIP package to dial into a public switched telephone network (PSTN), meaning you can make a call anywhere there is an internet connection, with only a minimal charge made by an Internet Telephony Service Provider.

However, unlike PSTN networks, quality can often be hit and miss and due to frequent distortion and delay, using VoIP to send a fax is very difficult.

IM

Instant Messaging is a way of sending text messages (and in some cases, images) in real time across the internet.

Chat - or IMing - allows users to have a conversation between two or more people, or to send pending messages to a user, who will then get the message when they log in. Think of it as hybrid of e-mail and SMS in real time.

BLOGS & SOCIAL NETWORKS

For some, constant or regular access to the internet is impossible. One solution is either writing a blog or sending a electronic greeting through a social network site, such as MySpace or Facebook.

It does mean you can send a global message to everyone you know, although they often lack that personal touch.

SATELLITE PHONE

Similar to a mobile phone, a satellite phone - or satphone - dials in using a satellite connection, rather than a conventional mobile network.

Modern handsets are similar in size to a regular mobile phone, although units installed in ships may have a directional dish that points at the closest satellite.

The only problem is that they need a clear line of sight to the satellite, so they perform poorly inside buildings.

B-GAN

In principle, this works in the same way as a satphone.

But rather than direct voice communication, it taps into the B-Gan (Broadband Global Area Network) at 492kbps.

It is also somewhat larger - about half the size of a conventional laptop. It work on land, sea, and air; BMI is currently trialling a system that would give air passengers with a Blackberry access to the internet.

E-BLUEY

This is a free service operated by the British Forces Post Office and allows servicemen and women to receive typed letters in the field that have been written and sent over the internet.

Once the e-mail has been received, it is printed and put into a self sealing envelope and then sent out to the troops, along with the traditional mail.

On average, 100,000 e-blueys are sent each month, although this figure increases during Christmas and when roulement occurs ie when combat units go on a tour of duty.

Families of servicemen can also embed an image into the message, turning it into the eponymous picture-bluey.

VHF / SSB / HAM RADIO

If an internet connection is impossible, there are no telephone lines, and a post box is just a distant dream, then some people hook themselves up with an amateur radio.

Although operators can communicate across the globe, the range of available frequencies is limited, with the bulk of the radio frequencies occupied by military or commercial use.

At its most basic level, amateur radio operators - hams - use Morse code to communicate.

However, some sets can be used to talk to communication satellites called OSCARs (Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio), as well as bouncing signals off the moon or meteor showers.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

How To Secure Corporate Communications.

E-mail, phones and instant messaging are just a few of the corporate communication tools business enterprise firms use every day. But these basic means of communication come with large security risks. We've put together a digest of our best expert advice to assist you protect your business from threats associated with these tools.

IM ban lifting at financial companies
Instant messaging software (IM) was once an unprotected application program that many financial services firms disabled. However, IM is maturing and there are realistic ways to secure the common, real-time communication. This advice explains.

Out-of-band authentication: Methods for preventing fraud
Out-of-band authentication can add another layer of data security as customers seek enhanced online banking security. There's also an added cost benefit. This tip delves into various methods and how they can benefit financial firms.

VoIP security considerations
VoIP isn't without it's security concerns. However, the cost savings and wide-spread usage make it hard to ignore. In this tip, expert Sandra Kay Miller delves into the areas of consideration financial organizations should take into account prior to integrating VoIP technology.

Email security and compliance best practices
Secure and compliant email systems are essential for financial services companies. In part one of this two part series, expert George Wrenn lays a number of best practices, including what should be in your policies, what your archiving considerations should be and more.

Email security and compliance best practices, part two
Secure and compliant email systems are essential for financial services companies. In part two of this two part series, George Wrenn lays more best practices on data leakage, data governance, disaster control, discovery support and more.

How to easily integrate managed email security services
Email security services are one of the easiest managed services to integrate into your architecture. Expert Mike Rothman explains how to seamlessly integrate MESS into your financial organization.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Instant messaging raised by 142% within 2007-2008 yrs.

Introduction

Instant messaging software and mobile voice services were made for consumers, yet they are increasingly being used in the enterprise. What options exist for enterprises to offer these services in a way that is secure and manageable? Mobile Instant Messaging (IM) provides the ability to engage in short, text-based, conversations between mobile users. There are three types of mobile instant messaging. The most popular is the Short Message Service (SMS) ¾ aka “text messaging”. Text messaging is a widely successful mobile operator service and message volume continues to grow at a rapid pace (see Figure, Source: Verisign).




The genius of text messaging is its simplicity. There is no file transfer, no chat history, and no enterprise features such as message logging. Unfortunately, employees that use text messaging for business communication circumvent the ability of IT staff to enforce enterprise mobile messaging policies.

Consumer IM services such as AIM, Google Talk, and Yahoo Messenger, are now available for mobile devices (e.g., AIM Mobile). Theses services are more sophisticated than text messaging because they provide capabilities such as file transfer, chat history, and voice/video communication. Consumer IM users typically communicate with other members of the same service. However, services such as Trillian can aggregate multiple consumer IM services together using a single client. As with text messaging, employees that use consumer IM services for business communication circumvent the efforts of IT staff to manage mobile messaging.



Enterprise IM systems such as BlackBerry Messenger, IBM SameTime, and Microsoft Office Communication Server (OCS), add enterprise network management and security features. For example, Research In Motion (RIM) encrypts messages and maintains an audit trail for offline message storage, retrieval, and analysis. Enterprise IM systems can launch voice and video chat sessions and are usually integrated within a broader unified communication product portfolio. Finally, some enterprise IM systems can federate with consumer IM services, enabling employees to communicate with consumer IM users. Table 1 summarizes several of the major differences between text, consumer, and enterprise IM solutions.

As more enterprises hire GEN-Y employees, they will increasingly need to deploy an enterprise IM system. GEN-Y employees rely upon text messaging rather than email as their primary method of communication. These employees will use whatever IM technology is available to them for business communication. If they choose to use a consumer IM service then IT staff will not have visibility into that communication exchange. Enterprises should deploy enterprise mobile IM systems now in order to provide an alternative to consumer IM and text messaging services.

Conclusion

IT staff must find a way to get ahead of the “mobile messaging curve” if they want to influence the use of this technology within the enterprise. They should deploy enterprise mobile IM systems as an alternative to consumer IM and text messaging services, otherwise employees will find a way to circumvent IT to get what they want.

By: Paul DeBeasi

Ericsson And Intel Presented Notebook Security Through Text Messaging

Ericsson and Intelare planning to apply text messaging to fling better security for notebooks that are lost or stolen. Ericsson now plans to incorporate Intel's new Anti-Theft PC Security technology into its mobile broadband modules. This will let a user or IT department to transmit an SMS text message to the laptop that will disable the PC and protect stored data. Lenovo and Phoenix Technologies are offering similar capabilities with Lenovo's ThinkPad notebooks.

Intel and Ericsson are planning to use SMS text messages to provide an extra layer of security for laptops that have been lost or stolen.

On Dec. 11, Ericsson announced that it will integrate Intel's new Anti-Theft PC Protection technology into its mobile broadband modules. The modules offer built-in support for HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) in laptops.

Intel first began talking about its Anti-Theft PC Protection, which is built into the chip set, earlier in 2008. On Dec. 1, Lenovo announced that it would offer the Intel anti-theft technology with its ThinkPad T400 series notebooks. The Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection is offered through the chip maker's Centrino 2 mobile platform and its vPro chip bundle, which makes managing and securing a fleet of PCs easier.

Since more and more laptops are in use now, especially with business users traveling in and out of airports, hardware security has become a major concern. At the same time, a number of companies, including Dell, are looking to offer security features that protect the data as well as the hardware.

Now that the technology from Ericsson and Intel is integrated, a laptop's owner or an IT department can send an SMS (Short Message Service) text message to a notebook that has been reported stolen or missing. Once the text message is received through the mobile broadband module, it is transferred to the Intel Anti-Theft PC Protection technology, which can send a "poison pill" to disable the PC.

If the laptop is returned, the user or IT department could restart the laptop using a special password. The Intel anti-theft technology can also encrypt the laptop's hard disk drive.

The Intel technology will work if the laptop's operating system is disabled or if its power is shut off as long as the notebook is connected to an AC power outlet. If the laptop is using battery power, the PC has to be "awake" and connected to a LAN or WLAN to deliver the poison pill.

An IT department can also set security policies so that the Intel technology will kick in if the laptop detects repeated log-in failures or if the PC has been disconnected from the corporate network and central servers for a certain amount of time. Ericsson has also integrated the Intel anti-theft technology with GPS technology that can lead a user back to his or her laptop.

In November, Lenovo and Phoenix Technologies announced that a similar technology that uses SMS text messaging is being incorporated in the firmware of Lenovo's ThinkPads. The November announcement was separate from Lenovo's offer of support for Intel's Anti-Theft PC Protection technology.

Ericsson will begin offering mobile broadband modules that are interoperable with Intel's anti-theft technology in the second half of 2009.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Unified Communications (UC): Next Level

With our high-powered business environment and fluid commercial models, corporate communications is going increasingly concentrated on mobility. The associates and managers who are key to supporting customers, resolving production problems, and addressing other crucial business tasks can rarely be found at their desks. In spite of this, organizations are under pressing to better productiveness while remaining sensitive to customer demands. Those dual goals of responsiveness and productivity have given rise to demands for more functional and strong mobile communications.

Mobility is not a one size fits allendeavor. divergent users want assorted capabilities and will need different degrees of mobility. Any users roam only within the building or campus, while others might spend the majority of their time outside the office. That area roaming might extend across the city, the country, or around the globe. While initial mobile solutions focused solely on voice access, the development of unified communications has increased the pressure to extend those enhanced communications capabilities to mobile users as well.

In selecting a mobile solution today it is essential that organizations look for suppliers with the widest range of capabilities. That will allow enterprises to provide the feature set required by each user and to deliver those mobile capabilities in the most cost-effective fashion.

Business Goals for Mobile Unified Communications
The earliest enterprise mobility solutions looked solely at delivering voice calls to mobile users, and typically did so with non-integrated cellular services. That approach left each user with two numbers, their office number and their cellular number, making it difficult and inconvenient to reach them. Along with improving voice accessibility, email, text messaging, and applications access have now been added to that list of required mobile services. The biggest development in enterprise networks is presence-capable unified communications (UC) systems. These solutions will allow users to see their correspondents' availability status (in/out of office, on the phone, in a meeting, etc.) in real time and establish voice calls, send emails or text messages or launch multi-point conferences through a simple, intuitive user interface. Increasingly users are looking to have this same type of functional always-on communications extended to their mobile devices.

Before embarking on a mobile product selection, it's important to get a clear understanding of the potential implementations and the business goals the solution will support. High on that list of goals would be:

* Accessibility: A mobile UC capability can make all of the organization's key personnel available immediately via one number regardless of whether they are at their desks, down the hall, or on another continent.
* Productivity: The integrated UC dashboard allows mobile users to better manage their time, contacts, and communications. Further, all of their voice and email messages can be consolidated in a single mailbox from which they could reply by voice, text, email, or conference call.
* Presence: With presence, mobile users can determine in real time which resources are available for what types of communications, while allowing individual users the ability to manage and control their availability.
* Cost Savings: Research estimates that anywhere from 40% to 60% of cellular calls are placed while the user is within a company facility. Shifting those calls onto wireless LAN facilities can have a major impact on cellular costs.
* Security and Control: Correctly implemented, mobile UC also gives organizations the ability to control their communications access by ensuring that all incoming calls can be routed through a business number. Furthermore, it is critically important that these capabilities be extended to remote users without jeopardizing the security of sensitive corporate information.

Reviewing the Options
Mobile requirements vary with regard to range as well as functionality. Any mobile solution will involve some type of wireless network, and the two primary options are cellular and wireless LAN; as time goes on, other options such as WiMAX may be added to that list as well. Cellular service is available nationwide, and with the right service and equipment, worldwide. However, organizations are already seeing their cellular charges skyrocket, and cellular coverage may not be optimal in indoor environments. The other option is to route calls over a wireless LAN that entails no service charges. WLAN voice technology has now developed to the point where it can be as secure and reliable as wired telephone service.

The key to a successful mobile solution will be to understand the service and mobility requirements of the various user groups and determine how to provide those capabilities in the most functional and cost-effective fashion. As we analyze mobility requirements, we will typically find a range or user profiles with different mobility and application needs. IT support, production, facilities maintenance, and security personnel may be highly mobile, but only within the facility or campus. Providing voice, email, and applications access to those users represent an excellent potential for WLAN access. That option assumes the wireless LAN has the required capacity and can support the necessary security, quality of service, and battery conservation features.

There are also users such as field sales and service who will divide their time between their office, remote offices, and customer locations. Those employees must be continuously accessible for voice, email, and data access, so a dual mode Wi-Fi/cellular solution might be the perfect fit. Fully automated solutions can detect when users are available over a WLAN, and will automatically route inbound and outbound calls via that network, eliminating unnecessary cellular charges. State-of-the-art solutions can transparently handoff a connection from the WLAN to the cellular network when the user leaves the facility.

Users who spends a large portion of their time on the road or who work in facilities that do not have a voice-capable WLAN will likely have to depend primarily on cellular connectivity for their mobility. However, that cellular service can now be integrated with the wired telephone system. Using a feature called Simultaneous Ring, the user's cell phone number can be stored in the PBX along with their office phone. When a call is received, the PBX can ring the desk phone and the cell phone simultaneously, and the user can answer the call on either. Enhanced solutions can build on that capability by providing a software client that will allow mobile users to access to presence-based directory, visual voicemail (i.e., the ability to view voice message alerts on the mobile device's display), and access to PBX-type features such as hold, conference, and transfer. In some cases, these solutions can also reduce service costs as international cellular calls can be routed over wired network facilities.

Choosing a Partner
As organizations will need to support a variety of these configurations, the key to a successful mobile deployment will be to choose suppliers with the widest range of options. It is important to recognize that some suppliers will offer a range of mobility solutions, but on closer examine you find that they depend on a third-party technology partners and the level of integration varies from offering to offering. The ideal provider is one whose solutions have been developed with an eye toward a consistent look and feel regardless of whether the call is being carried over WLAN, cellular, or a combination of the two.

The ability to deliver the full range of integrated capabilities will become more and more important as presence, visual voicemail, and other productivity-enhancing UC capabilities are added to the mix. Business communication requirements are clearly shifting toward mobility, and enterprise buyers will need reliable partners to deliver the full complement of services to address the full range of business mobility requirements.

By: Wayne Seifried
Source: http://wireless.sys-con.com/node/774195

Monday, December 1, 2008

Marshal, Technologies Unite To Secure Internet-based Communications

In a new announcement, Web content security software system supplier Marshal and Web filtering technology 8e6 Technologies unchangeable an arrangement that will merge the two organizations to form Marshal8e6.

The unification will combine the technology assets of both companies and is aimed at addressing the security needs of all communication streams.said it plans to supply solutions and services intended to secure internal e-mail, Web sites, and instant messaging, among another things.

driving force behind our new is that the threat environment has evolved and is much smarter than it used to be: reputable websites now have malware buried deep inside; seemingly innocent emails direct users to corrupted content; and instant messages contain infected attachments. Our customers are demanding coordination of content policy and protection across all these major communications streams, and this combination addresses that need,said George Shih, CEO of 8e6 Technologies, in a prepared statement. Together we will have a broader product line, more advanced technologies and greater resources to deliver best-in-class solutions.

According to the announcement, Marshal8e6 will serve 20,000 customers in 96 countries. The new will employ more than 250 people and will keep offices in the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Taiwan.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Business Instant Messaging Threats.

Instant Messaging software (IM) as a business tool can be rather powerful, but any instrument can be abused, especially if unmanaged. The better way to manage any communication is to guarantee that communication is directed through a central point, like a gateway. Vendors have worked this and have built clients that are gateway aware and that function as both internal and external IM solutions.

Recently there have been more Instant Messaging vulnerabilities. Antivirus vendors are realising that worms, viruses and other malware can spread through IM and are building new defences that reduce the risk.

Links transferred by the use of IM are an additional risk, the use of application firewalls on the corporate LAN can reduce the risk, but a bigger problem is presented when users take their corporate machines offsite. On unprotected networks application layer firewalls are absent at the perimeter meaning that communication is less secure, for this reason the endpoint requires a host based firewall solution that has scanning capability.

In some organisations where the policy is not to allow Instant Messaging communications, some users have found a way around the firewall technical control by using HTTPS based websites. These websites effectively bypass the scanning and grant access to these users. The problem is that some of these websites capture the data and credentials for spying deliberately.

Because IM does not yet consider authentication mechanisms like two factor authentication, impersonation and unauthorised access is a strong possibility.

Some worms spread using links that are sent to your entire contact list like (W32.Aplore.A@mm), it then installs browser plug-in and then the fun begins. Certain worms patch files and when these systems files are executed. a unique trojanware is downloaded. Backdoors and encrypted tunnels to internet based servers are all common.

Some worms are so volatile and aggressive that in seven seconds Symantec reported that 500,000 machines were infected and Zombified.

Threats like in the middle, password theft, information disclosure, data leakage and many more similar threats are all possible and create a significant risk to any business and or individual.

Moka Allows Skype IM Users to Translate Text Messages from English to Spanish or Chinese.

Communicating Chinese, Spanish and English just got a full lot easier with the set up of a multilingual chat service for Skype, named Moka Chat. Moka, the primier supplier of mobile language translation and communication services, presented the issue of its language translation technology for Skype, which gives Skype users the ability to chat in English, Spanish or Chinese with other Skype users.

With over 2 billion people in the world identifying English, Chinese or Spanish as their first language, Moka is leading the way to provide mobile language translation and learning solutions in support of both the consumer and business markets for an increasingly borderless world. Having recently partnered with China Mobile to bring its mobile language translation service to the Chinese market, Moka is now expanding its reach across new markets and communication platforms with Moka Chat for Skype. Using Moka Chat, English-speaking Skype users can now easily send translated text messages to Chinese or Spanish Skype buddies, enhancing their Skype experience while at the same time improving their language skills. In addition, Moka Chat for Skype enables users to send translated SMS text messages using Skype’s built-in text messaging service.

Moka Chat for Skype is now available for free during the beta period and can be downloaded from http://www.moka.com. After downloading and installing the Moka Chat for Skype application and selecting a language pair, users can easily enable real-time language translation for any text messaging conversation with anyone on their Skype buddy list. Because it allows the user to see both the original and translated text every time a message is sent, Moka Chat is also a powerful language learning tool. Moka’s learning-while-chatting feature makes language learning fun and interactive for all Skype users.

“Skype is one of the most popular and effective services in the world today for global communications, and we are excited to be adding a high-value multilingual communication capability for Skype users. Moka Chat for Skype is the ideal translation solution for a community with such a vast multilingual user base”, said Diego Winegardner, President and Co-founder of Moka.

Pioneering Language Translation
Moka is a pioneer in the field of translation technology. With its proprietary artificial intelligence system, the company’s goal is to provide the most accurate mobile and online translation service in the world. Moka’s state of the art translation technology is perpetually learning, and the more Moka is used, the more accurate it becomes. As a result, Moka is perfectly suited for large multilingual communities such as Skype where the viral nature of its service can be leveraged to enhance the communication experience for everyone.
In addition to Moka Chat for Skype, Moka provides Moka Chat for SMS, Moka Translator for SMS and other language learning products. Information on all Moka products can be found at their web site at http://www.moka.com.

About Moka, LLC
Headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida and Beijing, China, Moka is a privately held company, which is removing language barriers by providing the most accurate and accessible real-time language translation service available in the world today. Moka has created a global translator, which allows users the ability to chat with friends, or business associates in different languages using text messaging on their cell phones (SMS) or Skype. Moka also enables language learning on the go with real-time contextual language study via a mobile phone or Skype. Moka’s advanced translation technology is able to adapt to text-messaging slang terms and local expressions in order to provide the most accurate machine translation possible. Moka’s products are currently available in three languages, English, Spanish and Chinese, focusing on the most widely spoken languages in the world today. Visit http://www.moka.com to find more information about Moka’s mobile and online language translation and language learning products.

Source: http://pr-canada.net/

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Skype Instant Messaging In Corporate Environment.

Skype Instant messenger has a great deal to offer business. As well as giving access to the largest Voice over IP community in the world, with a potential customer base of over 300 million Skype IM users, it also allows non-Skype users to contact your business and you to contact them, at low cost anywhere in the world.

This opens up a range of telephony applications.

You can use SkypeOut to connect to standard PSTN phones at low cost—meaning you can call non-Skype users cheaply. You can also lease a Skype Online number using Global Direct Inward Dial (DID) to set up local access numbers outside of your town, city or country for incoming calls from non-Skype users.

This allows your customers and business contacts to call you from anywhere in the world for no more than the cost of a local call—enabling your business to create a local market presence anywhere in the world.

Skype also facilitates instant messaging (IM), allowing users to communicate with each other.

Too good to be true?
All sounds great? It is—mostly. The problem with Skype is that its good points can sometimes also be its bad—making it a double-edged sword, especially for IT managers.

A prime example of this is the ability for employees to misuse Skype. Because Skype sits on staff's PCs, separated from the office phone system, there's no control over its usage meaning employees can spend all day chatting on IM without it being picked up by the IT department. Alternatively, if IM is not their thing, they could spend their day making endless un-monitored personal calls to family and friends.

Also Skype users can transfer files back and forth—securely encrypted via the IM client. And therein lies the problem. The closed encryption means the method of transfer is so secure that it bypasses any form of network security such as a firewall—outgoing and incoming—enabling sensitive, or confidential, content to be sent un-audited. Because this is done on the office desktop it can't be managed, so more often than not management don't even know it's happening.

This alone will probably send you running for the hills. But don't be discouraged, the good news is there is an easy, manageable way to put Skype's features at the disposal of all your employees and avoid the corporate pitfalls many encounter, ensuring the best of both worlds.

A solution for a win-win situation
The divide between Skype and the PBX has been bridged with VoSKY's new VIT1/E and VISIP-EX gateways that offer up to 30 outgoing Skype lines in a stackable, rack-mountable unit. These Exchange gateways fully integrate Skype with the company's phone system, tying the Skype Online number to the business to enable Skype DID.

The gateways can be installed in under half a day, with zero changes to existing PBX equipment, phones, or PCs, making it a cost-effective switch over. Staff training is negligible—instead of dialling 9 for an outside phone line, with the gateway, users simply dial ‘8' for Skype and then continue as normal.

The gateways simplify Skype configuration, management and support, putting Skype under the IT manager's full control. It allows staff to make and receive Skype calls on their regular office phones instead of having to use a PC and headset.

This eliminates the need to install Skype on each PC—meaning Skype usage can be monitored by the business in the same way as ordinary calls. Separating Skype from the corporate LAN also alleviates any possible security issues to the company network if Skype is affected by malware.

Furthermore as the gateways only enable Skype's voice capabilities the issue of employees misusing IM or transferring files is eliminated—making it much more secure for the business.

Improve online services
Another benefit of installing the gateway is it allows you to add a Skype-enabled Click-to-Call application to your business website. This feature allows your business to optimise its website for real-time communications with customers. It involves placing a "click here to call me" button or link on your web page, which when selected, sets up a phone call for the visitor with a customer service representative.

Mobile matters
The benefits of connecting over Skype can extend to mobile users too and deploying a fixed mobile convergence solution (FMC) via VoSKY can help curb the costs of your company mobile phone fleet.

With Skype installed on any smart mobile phone that can run the Skype mobile client, the user's call preferences can be set up centrally by the IT team via the gateway to give alternate routing to the mobile user's Skype account.

The Skype call is placed to the mobile via mobile broadband—irrespective of where the user is—and this means the cost of the call is just a small part of the user's mobile data plan. This can mean huge savings compared with even the cheapest mobile monthly tariffs.

Reaping the benefits
The great benefit of Skype is that it is ubiquitous and available everywhere, enabling businesses to communicate with customers and partners for free—something other VoIP providers cannot offer. Together VoSKY and Skype enable the VoIP Intranet concept, which allows cost-effective collaboration with customers and partners.

Furthermore allowing enterprises to connect their worldwide locations via VoSKY and Skype, enables free inter-office communication. VoSKY will connect any type or brand of PBX, whether analogue, digital or SIP.

These Exchange gateways optimise Skype for business, giving your company the opportunity to enjoy the many advantages of Skype, whilst controlling and managing the pitfalls often encountered. As well as supervising employees' usage of Skype features such as IM, taking control of Skype helps ensure any sensitive business data is kept secure.

Experience has also shown that ongoing cost-savings from having Skype mean these gateways solutions pay for themselves in a matter of months, making this solution not only a must for the business savvy, but a must for the financially savvy too.

This could help your business not just survive, but thrive on Skype.

By: David Tang, Global VP, VoSKY Technologies

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Voice over Wireless LAN smartphones are presented by Motorola,

SAN FRANCISCO – Motorola Inc. launched the first phase of its end-to-end enterprise mobile computing product line, Total Enterprise Access Mobility (TEAM), at VoiceCon this week.

The initial product release, TEAM Voice over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN), introduces two new ruggedized, single-mode VoWLAN smartphones designated EWP 1000 and EWP 2000, with Windows Mobile 6.1. The form factor of the phones is similar to popular cellular smartphones, measuring about 4.7 inches by 2 inches.

"These are fully functional smartphones," said Imran Akbar, vice president and general manager of Converged Communications at Motorola. "We chose Windows Mobile because we really wanted to take Voice over Wireless LAN beyond just voice. So Windows Mobile gives you applications, it gives you application development and gives you things like mobile email, calendar and PIM."

The TEAM release also includes two back-end servers that allow the phones to work on any wireless LAN and three leading PBX vendors which Motorola has not yet announced. The Wireless Services Manager (WSM) server manages PBX interoperability, push-to-talk services, mobility, security and power management. The Network Services Management (NSM) server handles provisioning of the devices. The push-to-talk features of the phones can be integrated with standard handheld radios as well, allowing users to talk to workers equipped with legacy radio gear.

Jack Gold, principal of J. Gold Associates, said VoWLAN smartphones in a form factor similar to popular consumer smartphones are very uncommon. Many comparable VoWLAN devices are large, clumsy machines built for harsh, rugged environments like warehouses, factories and retail stores.

"That's one of the interesting parts of this," Gold said. "This could actually be a good thing for them, in the sense that it makes sense that it makes the device more attractive to people. It brings in another class of users. If you're a store manager, you're not going to want to walk around with a 12-pound brick, so this allows them to bridge the two worlds between really heavy-duty users who've got to have the brick and the user who wants a phone but would like to have these other capabilities as well.

Akbar said Motorola will be building out the TEAM brand with subsequent releases next year. The next release, due in early 2009, will be a TEAM Express, a downloadable client that will work on a select number of other Windows Mobile Motorola devices such as the MC70 and MC75 PDAs. Akbar said this client would eventually be able to work on a broader variety of devices.

Motorola is also working on introducing dual-mode devices and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) to TEAM within the next couple of years, Akbar said.

Gold said the TEAM solution has some potential, but he said making the technology proprietary to Motorola mobile devices at the outset limits its market.

"The issue right now for me is their technology seems to be very centered on their stuff, and I guess that's OK," Gold said. "What they're trying to do is work off their own installed base of devices and wireless LAN. But what they need to do is open up the technology so that it's more broadly applicable to folks that aren't Motorola shops."

Craig Mathias, principal of Farpoint Group, said TEAM will have a lot of appeal among Motorola's large installed base. "There are certainly applications where you want a handset that's just for voice, and there are plenty of those on the market," Mathias said. "But if you're looking for something that can do more than that, then you would look at a phone like this."

"It looks like a reasonable approach to addressing vertical markets," Mathias said. "And it might have appeal in horizontal markets as well. People who are upgrading office telephone systems and who are looking for something more mobility-centric will be interested in this. There are people, after all, who are never really at their desks, so buying them a phone that sits on the desk all day doesn't make sense."

By Shamus McGillicuddy, News Editor
SearchMobileComputing.com

USA Corporate Networks. Are They Secure Enough?

For some time now, cyberscum have been targeting individual users with malware designed to capture passwords, financial data and other personal information. While this certainly hurts if you're a victim, personal finances usually involve relatively small amounts.

Now, evildoers are going after much bigger fish. USA Today has a story on this trend, with an unnamed Houston company serving as the nightmare scenario in the lead:

An innocuous posting appeared on a Houston-based technology company's internal website on a recent Friday afternoon.

A couple of workers saw it, and obeyed instructions to click on a Web link. The posting seemed trustworthy. It was on an employees-only message board. And the link referenced news about a favorite company charity.

By clicking on the link, the workers infected their PCs with a virus that shut down the company's antivirus defenses, says Don Jackson, director of Threat Intelligence at Atlanta-based SecureWorks, who investigated the break-in. As a rule, tech security firms help clients under non-disclosure agreements.

The virus swiftly located -- and infected -- some 300 other workstation PCs, silently copying the contents of each computer's MyDocuments folder. It transmitted the data across the Internet to a gang of thieves operating out of Turkey.

"It was kind of like high-tech dumpster diving," Jackson says. "You get in, grab all the stuff you think might be important and sort through it later."

That Sept. 19 caper underscores an alarming shift in the teeming world of Internet crime. In the past year, cybercriminals have begun to infiltrate corporate tech systems as never before. Knowing that some governments and companies will pay handsomely for industrial secrets, data thieves are harvesting as much corporate data as they can, in anticipation of rising demand.

This should send chills down the spine of any corporate IT manager. All it took was one small hole that allowed the planting of the link in the company message board. It may have accessed by social engineering, in which an employee was tricked into giving up a password. Or, malware on an employee's workstation or even home computer may have yielded access. Or, an unpatched flaw in a company server may have let the bad guys in.

The story paints another interesting scenario:

Cybercriminals on the cutting edge are forging ahead. They're culling the ocean of stolen personal data for user names and passwords to access corporate systems. They've begun to target corporate employees who use free Web tools, such as instant messaging, Web-based e-mail and group chats on social-networking sites.

Often employees use such free tools to expand their business contacts and to back up clunky, company-supplied systems. But corporations have been slow to come to grips with security holes intrinsic to such free tools, or to restrict their use. "Corporations need to accept the fact that these tools are here to stay and secure them," says Jose Nazario, senior security researcher at Arbor Networks.

The most fertile turf: AOL, Yahoo and MSN instant messaging; YahooMail, HotMail and Gmail; and MySpace and FaceBook, the free tools that on any given day you'll find open on millions of workplace PCs. The most coveted loot: e-mail address books, instant-messaging buddy lists, PowerPoint slide presentations, engineering drawings, partnership agreements, price lists, bid proposals, supply contracts, executive e-mail exchanges and the like.

Employees often complain angrily when the Web-based tools they use at home are blocked at work. This story paints a compelling argument for doing so.

And remember last month's emergency patch from Microsoft? Here's why it was issued:

Last month, enterprising thieves discovered a big security hole in millions of work computers that forced Microsoft to issue a rare emergency patch.

The flaw, in Windows XP and Windows Server PCs, makes it possible to control any Internet-connected PC without having to trick the user into clicking on a tainted attachment or Web page. Criminals implanted a program in corporate PCs that automatically turned on every 10 minutes, says Sunbelt Software researcher Eric Sites.

The program copied and extracted all personal data stored by a PC's Web browser and registry, which gives the Web location of the machine, then turned off.

"This looks like something very customized, targeting very specific people," says Sites. "They could be after business intelligence or military secrets. These are not your average attackers."

Microsoft did not know about the flaw until reports of ongoing intrusions reached the software giant. Security experts say it will take months for the patch it issued to be installed pervasively in corporate settings. That's because large organizations test and install patches methodically, so as not to disrupt internal networks.

The bottom line is this: Just because you're on a corporate network doesn't mean your computing is safer than at home. In fact, just the opposite may be true, because the value of what's behind the enterprise firewall makes it a juicier target.

Do you think your employer does enough to keep your workplace computing environment safe?

Semi-related: Major Source of Internet Spam Yanked Offline Brian Krebs at the Washington Post investigates a West Coast Web-hosting company and discovers they serve out spam, scams and kiddie porn. According to an accompanying blog post, his reporting got them shut down.

Source: http://blogs.chron.com/techblog/

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Generation Of Low-Price Unified Communications

The new generation of UC is available as a software application that can be immediately deployed onto a standard server. The new generation of universal communication provides for ease of administration for IT, as well as for users. Administration of the UC solution can be performed by end-users with a minimum of training.

Alternative to hardware can eliminate the need for expensive networking upgrades. Organizations need inexpensive unified Relevant Products/Services communications Relevant Products/Services (UC) solutions that can integrate with their existing IT, telephony Relevant Products/Services and mobile Relevant Products/Services environments. Such tools are now beginning to appear, offering the ability to leverage the existing infrastructure, a minimal impact on available bandwidth and simple, straightforward policy-based administration. This new generation of UC solutions streamlines the task of providing on-demand access to people and information in order to encourage collaboration, accelerate the flow of information and deliver better and faster decision making at all levels of the organization.

The key problem is bloated offerings that require significant investments in hardware and software hinder UC adoption. Today's UC solutions offered by the major vendors can be complex and expensive, and lock an organization into specific infrastructures.

The key elements of a UC solution include:

* Presence. The cornerstone of any UC application, this provides real-time notification of users' current availability.

* Secure instant messaging (IM). Colleagues can enter into timely sessions to collaborate faster, but with the security Relevant Products/Services and privacy that are not offered by public IM services.

* Video. Desktop videoconferencing offers anytime, spontaneous convenience over traditional videoconference or telepresence approaches where employees have to book conference rooms in advance.

* Conferencing and collaboration. UC is about bringing together groups of people who can see and edit information together.

* Mobile integration. People want to collaborate anytime, anywhere. Teleworkers and business travelers can fully participate in UC sessions from laptops and mobile devices.

The new generation of UC is available as a software application that can be immediately deployed onto a standard server Relevant Products/Services within the corporate network and leverages existing videoconferencing and communications infrastructures. UC software can eliminate the need for expensive networking upgrades by utilizing IT-defined controls, user-specified adjustments and real-time adaptive bandwidth management to deliver a positive experience on the existing infrastructure.

IT defines the maximum operating parameters for all UC sessions to control the impact on bandwidth. Adaptive bandwidth management constantly monitors communications latency for each user, making adjustments as required to provide users the best possible experience with the highest possible performance. Users have the flexibility to make individual adjustments for voice, video and data according to the unique circumstances of the UC session.

The new generation of UC provides for ease of administration for IT, as well as for users. Administration of the UC solution can be performed by end-users with a minimum of training. Individuals initiating a UC session can easily reach out to participants using preexisting Active Directory or LDAP groups or personal address books.

UC can help organizations provide faster and more flexible access to people and information, while offering the potential to reduce business travel expenses. The new generation of UC has the potential to deliver on the potential espoused by the big players by supporting existing equipment, providing high performance with the current infrastructure and eliminating administrative complexities.

by Bob Johnson
Source: http://www.newsfactor.com/news/

First business instant messaging client for iPhone from ProcessOne.

Instant messaging solutions provider (ProcessOne) with over 35 million registered users in the world, today presented the launch of OneTeam, which is claimed to be the first business-class IM client for the Apple iPhone. Built on ProcessOne's renowned open-source IM platform, it provides business users with secure and flexible access to IM services.

OneTeam can be downloaded from the Apple App Store on iTunes, giving users access to mobile IM on the iPhone and iPod Touch devices. OneTeam enables users to reuse their existing IM accounts through server side gateways, meaning they can get in contact with existing contacts on AIM/MobileMe, ICQ, MSN/Windows, Yahoo! and GoogleTalk.

OneTeam is said to be ideally suited for business users as it can be used in a corporate environment with a businesses' own XMPP server. For the IT department this means they can much more effectively manage IM, ensuring security and compliance, while at the same time giving users the flexibility of using the public IM accounts they are familiar with.

"The iPhone is fast emerging as the device of choice for many business users, many of whom will require instant messaging capability," said Mickaël Rémond, CEO of ProcessOne. "Our OneTeam client allows businesses to have the best of both worlds when it comes to IM by allowing users to continue to use public IM clients, but also providing the capability for them to be brought under the control of the IT department so they can be managed and maintained effectively."

OneTeam enables users to communicate using the software on their iPhone when connected to WiFi, 3G and Edge networks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Client-server Internet/LAN communication system CommFort 4.10

CommFort is a multi-functional client-server Internet/LAN communication software combining an advanced text chat, voice chat and file/folder exchange system.
It is adored for its thought-through text chat, which besides the common "smilies" offers convenient image pasting to dialogs. The low-latency voice chat gives the feeling of talking to a person standing next to you rather than sitting a globe away. And sending a file or an entire folder is just a matter of a mouse click; the automatic block size adjustment allows reaching the highest speeds possible when exchanging files over networks with 32 kbps through 1 Gbps of bandwidth. The program takes care of incomplete file downloads, automatically picking up broken file transfers and resuming them when the network is available. With the new version of the software, peers can chat and exchange files even if a party is behind a NAT service. The latest edition features improved user authentication and flexible administration functionality. Users can now be configured individually. Clients can now manage users from their client windows to as far as hiding selected users' IP addresses, managing channels and restrictions. Windows users with restricted permissions can also enjoy the program's functionality in full. Chatters without the client application can connect to the chat using terminal clients. Corporate users can have the program log all communication on the server side. The very look of the program is completely new. It's completely skin-based, and the improved skin format allows putting any appearance on main windows of the application. CommFort utilizes improved network/CPU load balancing algorithms and thus can handle thousands of simultaneous users and chat sessions while keeping server and network load low.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

E-mail VS Instant Messaging. How Much People Use Them?

We have just published the results of a survey that we funded internally to find out how people use e-mail and instant messaging. The survey was conducted with 340 individuals in mid-October. Here's a summary of what we found:

* Users in smaller organizations (up to 1,000 employees) spend a median of 33% of their workday doing something in their e-mail client, including checking or sending e-mail, arranging their schedule, managing tasks, etc. Users in larger organizations spend a median of 40% of their day doing work in e-mail. This means that in a 40-hour workweek, users spend between 2 hours / 38 minutes and 3 hours / 12 minutes doing work in e-mail.

* Instant messaging, on the other hand, is used far less than e-mail – for 2% of the average e-mail user’s day in smaller organizations, and 3% for those in larger organizations.

* E-mail is a very important repository of business information. In smaller organizations, 44% of the information that individuals need to do their job is accessible or in their e-mail client; for users in larger organizations, the figure is 48%.

* Just how desirable is video in the context of conveying information? It depends on the content. For example, we asked about the preference for viewing an online video or reading text to convey a short news story while at work: the preference for text ranged from 72% to 75% vs. only 16% to 22% for video (7% to 9% were not sure or had no preference). However, for a 30-minute training session, the preference for viewing a video ranged from 56% to 73%, with 21% to 28% preferring a text-based format for conveying this information.

Source: Unified Communications Alert By Michael Osterman, Network World, 10/30/2008

Instant messaging communication solution for corporate network.

Increasing number of businesses presented online reflects significance and importance of online interaction between its participants. Fully understanding this necessity Flashcoms releases Corporate LAN Chat to be a communication part of a corporate structure.

Corporate LAN Chat is a text/video/audio communication solution to deploy at corporate networks. It combines all the advantages of flash architecture to provide secure approach in on-site or internal network communication. Regardless of network setup Corporate Chat easily fits into any segment of a system to provide the most effective way in communication.

Cutting-edge functionality coupled with clear-cut design, free interface branding which enables displaying your company credentials instead of developer's ones and advanced management options benefit businesses with all-sufficient solution. Impressive features such as built-in whiteboard serves a multi-functional purpose from presentation to online consulting, IM (ICQ, MSN) support allows accessing traditional IMs with no additional software installation, firewall compatibility and seamless integration into existing database accommodate requirements and structure of any corporate network.

Try demo at http://www.flashcoms.com/products/community_chat/demo/
Learn more http://www.flashcoms.com/products/community_chat/overview/

About FlashComs
FlashComs was founded in 2003 to make use of the latest web technologies and to apply them in the sphere of internet communications. From the very beginning our primary target was to provide web sites and web based communities with modern web applications that would make Internet communication easy and enjoyable. Our company's policy is flexibility and constant advancement. We are always open for new functionality requests, application customization and new skin design.
http://www.flashcoms.com/

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Motorola offers safe wireless LAN for enterprises.

Motorola, with the close of its acquisition of AirDefense at the end of last month, is wasting no time integrating AirDefense’s wireless security technology into its wireless LAN access points.

Today, as part of the company’s announcement of a hardware-based wireless intrusion prevention system built into its wireless access points, Motorola noted that it’s not only eliminating the clutter of unnecessary wires but also the need for an added layer of hardware that was once needed to secure the LAN.

It marks a turning point for enterprise customers who are looking at wireless networking solutions as a way of not only identifying potential cost savings but also delivering throughput that exceeds traditional ethernet. With the arrival of 802.11n technology, networks can now wirelessly move data at the rate of 300 megabits per second, compared to the 100 megabits per second in Ethernet and 54 megabits per second of previous “a” and “g” versions of 802.11.

It’s also worth noting that Motorola’s security features not only protect the network from intrusions but also allow administrators to monitor where potential compromises exist. If a foreign wireless access point were connected to the network and enabled unsecured access to the network, administrators would be able to quickly identify and remove it.

When I met with Motorola, I asked how they planned to talk to potential customers about making an investment while so many companies are being asked to make cutbacks. The short answer was that enterprise customers are more often asking about wireless LANs as a way of reducing costs of installing hard-wired networks while increasing data throughput speeds. At the enterprise level, the common theme is trying to do more with less.

Separately, research firm IDC said this week that the worldwide wireless LAN semiconductor market is expected to pass the $4 billion mark by 2012 with a compound annual growth rate of 22.8%. Personal computers remain the largest application segment for WLAN semiconductors, with 802.11n technology serving as the next growth driver, there’s opportunity for new applications and usage models.

Source:http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=10511
Author: Sam Diaz

Monday, October 20, 2008

How To Make Email Messaging Secure?

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The confidentiality issue is not a big issue any more. We offer you the same free service trials and product test features too. The corporate email hosting could be made more secure and this way, you can increase the trust in your business too. We offer customer made free trials too. You can always reach us via our website and other toll free contact number too. You can also login to our website and get a permanent registry too. The small business email would be much easier now too. We have made your business and corporate messaging much secure than before. The emails can be handled without any information leaking problems. The hipaa email security provides you the best of home and office security solutions. These can be handled now without any confidentiality problems.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Corporate Network Management For Enterprises.

Enterprise networks are far more complex than ever before — often an amalgam of LANs, MANs and WANs — so the term “enterprise network management” has also expanded in scope. It’s really a combination of various sub-disciplines, such as configuration management, fault management (i.e., “troubleshooting”), telecom expense management, performance management and security management. Enterprise network management sits just below “systems management,” which handles higher-level issues of applications and middleware management. Fortunately, there are a huge number of products out there to help you visualize and ultimately understand your network, not to mention troubleshoot it.


For many years, enterprises relied on mainstay management packages that have stood the test of time — in particular, IBM’s Tivoli and HP OpenView, a Hewlett Packard product family of network and systems management products, with optional add-ons from both HP and third parties. (Following HP’s acquisition of Mercury Interactive in July of 2006, HP OpenView was rebranded under the name, HP Software.) As for IBM’s Tivoli, it’s still going strong, with an enormous, dizzying array of management capabilities.

Nortel’s appropriately named Enterprise Network Management System (ENMS) enables network administrators to identify and resolve problems and performance bottlenecks before they affect such network services as multicast video and IP telephony.Nortel ( News - Alert) says that, whereas multiple competing systems are necessary to manage a network, Nortel’s single system can handle both wired and wireless, voice and data converged networks.

Nortel’s ENMS can provide a traditional “data-centric view” of a network, a global view of both the network and status of devices on the network. The data-centric view is normally the first point of contact where issues are identified, and acts as a launch point for more detailed views. The data centric view supports all Nortel’s products (domain management) and can be used without the VoIP and converged views for customers who do not have a converged network. This data centric view provides common launch points for other Nortel applications to integrate with ENMS.

The administrator can then move on to a “VoIP view,” which provides a view of the network from a VoIP system perspective. The status of network devices, as well as the VoIP system components and IP Phones, is maintained and carried through to the VoIP view, providing a quick way of identifying device issues. Using the VoIP view, you can see the VoIP system components (call servers, signaling servers, gateways) and the system-associated IP Phones. This view does not include the data infrastructure, so it allows the network operator to quickly distinguish between a VoIP system issue and/or a device or data infrastructure issue — the VoIP view provides a Logical View of the VoIP network or the Service View.

The ENMS “Converged view” mode provides an end-to-end view of the converged network. This view — also called the physical view — includes the VoIP system components, IP Phones, the data infrastructure (switches, routers, subnets), as well as the physical connectivity between the devices. As with the VoIP view, the status monitoring of devices continues to the converged view of the network.

Thus, you now have a complete view of the converged network and the interconnectivity associated with the devices. For example, status alarm devices in error can be quickly identified and the error’s impact determined, such as a router’s failure and how this would affect the VoIP calls within a given subnet.

The ENMS Campus Edition supports up to 500 managed IP interfaces, the Enterprise Edition supports up to 5,000 managed IP interfaces, and the Enterprise Upgrade — Enterprise Upgrade: Enterprise Edition upgrade to support up to 10,000 managed IP interfaces

I Can See It Now
The “visualization” of a network has become increasingly important in all of these products. One tool, IPsonar, by Lumeta, is favored by U.S. federal government agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. intelligence agencies, and the Department of Energy, as well as 15 of the 25 largest banks, five of the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies, and three of the largest energy companies in the world.

IPsonar is a network assurance solution that scans the network to collect all data related to network topology, address space, leaks, and device fingerprints. IPsonar maps every asset on a network (including assets not currently under management) visualizes the connectivity between assets and networks to uncover risk patterns and policy weaknesses, and enables network and security teams to bring unknown assets under management while deploying security technology more effectively to mitigate risk. Network and security managers and executives can accurately visualize what’s on the network, drilling down to analyze potential areas of risk and identify appropriate corrective actions.

Of course, some giant global enterprises may take on some of the characteristics of a service provider, particularly if they find themselves having to distribute something like high-definition video on a large scale to employees, partners, or customers. In such cases, they might want to look at a more service provider-type of bandwidth management technology, such as Sycamore Networks’ SILVX network management and SN 9000 Intelligent Multiservice Switch.

In most cases, larger enterprises will be more concerned with managing thousands of IP phones and IP PBXs. Nectar Services Corp., an IP communications and management services provider and wholly owned subsidiary of Juma Technology, recently debuted its Enterprise Session Management platform (ESM), which can take hundreds or even thousands of disparate hybrid and IP PBXs found in large multi-location enterprises (based on SIP or H.323), and bring them together into a unified enterprise telephony platform having intelligent call routing, advanced business continuity features, and considerable carrier-service cost reductions, thanks to “On-Net” calling over the corporate WAN. Its carrier-class routing and session management functionality is controlled via a simple, intuitive Web-based application, which yields global visibility and management of all voice traffic from the Nectar web portal.

Nectar has also unveiled the Nectar Converged Management Platform (Nectar/CMP), which provides a unified view of the systems that support business applications and processes and unifies separate management disciplines spanning voice, data, security, and applications. The Nextar/CMP is tailored and maintained for each client to provide visibility of overall system health, accelerate fault isolation and lower Mean-Time-To-Repair (MTTR). The platform has a dashboard interface and a business process correlation system, 24/7 remote monitoring and alarming, release upgrades, patch management, application topology, event integration, fault isolation analysis services, and help desk support.

Finding Fault
Aside from getting a visual conception of a network and its components, most administrators are looking for help in troubleshooting things that go wrong on their ever-growing, nearly bewilderingly complex networks, especially where their voice and/or video packet traffic must make a detour through the outside world.

Many enterprises are implementing proactive network support strategies. According to recent survey by the Service and Support Professionals Association (SSPA), the largest and most influential association for technology services and support professionals, 42 percent of respondents say their biggest push in 2008 will be proactive support, followed by online communities with 25 percent, knowledgebase and multi-channel service with 17 percent each.

NextNine’s Virtual Support Engineer was recently honored as a Spring 2008 “Recognized Innovator” finalist by the SSPA. NextNine’s product enables services organizations to more quickly identify the true failing component at the heart of one or a series of support incidents so a fix or workaround can be crafted. NextNine Service Automation software, thanks to its proactive, preventive abilities, enables organizations to improve the level of support they provide. The Virtual Support Engineer, a key component of the NextNine Service Automation platform, continuously monitors systems, and proactively detects problem symptoms before they cause service disruptions or downtime, thus allowing support engineers to virtually “be there” 24x7.

Clever: Power-over-Ethernet
Everything from phones to security cameras, tilt and zoom (PTZ) CCTV cameras, RFID and access control systems, WiFi Access Points (APs),WiMAX ( News - Alert) access equipment, thin clients, and even door lock controllers are increasingly becoming IP-based. To accommodate these devices, your LAN may expand into hard-to-wire areas where electrical power is not readily available, or the number of devices may simply increase to the point where there are an insufficient electrical outlets.

Fortunately an increasing number of IP devices can support Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) or “Active Ethernet,” wherein DC power is sent along with LAN signals over certain types of Ethernet cabling. This is a particularly attractive solution for Historic buildings and structures sealed because of asbestos.

In 2006, semiconductor maker Microsemi Corporation acquired PoE equipment vendor PowerDsine, which patented PoE and helped draft the 803.2af standard for the technology. Its new 7000 series of HiPoE Midspan switches delivers up to 30 watts of power, double what previous 802.3af-based systems were capable of. PowerDsine has released four models of its new midspan switches — one-, four-, 16- and 24-port versions.Microsemi ( News - Alert) Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation, a provider of advanced IC solutions for carrier and enterprise Ethernet networks, also recently announced its first joint reference design for power Gigabit Ethernet switches compatible with the new higher-power IEEE802.3at-draft3.0 Power-over-Ethernet standard.

The reference design, based on Microsemi’s PD69012 chipset and Vitesse’s VSC74xx family of Gigabit Ethernet switches, allows Ethernet OEM/ODM equipment suppliers to use the same printed circuit board to provide both 24-port PoE (Power over Ethernet) and non-PoE versions of a Gigabit Ethernet switch platform. The joint reference design supports, 30 watts per port, per IEEE802.3at-draft3.0, and is capable of driving up to 36W per port. Furthermore, Microsemi’s Dynamic Power Management technology allows customers to use small power supplies for switches that must power both high power and low power devices, a typical situation in enterprise applications involving both VoIP phones and 802.11n WLAN access points.

Microsemi’s Yuval Barnea, vice president of Systems Business, says, “Our design is a cost-effective way to upgrade a network to support Power-over-Ethernet. We can handle from one to 48 ports and up to a Gigabit per second in bandwidth. We were the first to announce pre-802.3at equipment. IT directors want to treat our devices like any other device on the network. PowerDsine came to us with their PowerView Pro, the latest generation of a secure, Web-based SNMPv3-based management application, that supports efficient monitoring and control of network devices. PowerView Pro can do remote power-off/power-on, unit scheduling, UPS power monitoring and Web-based monitoring. You can use it at home, in the office, at a remote location, or wherever you like. Of course, it’s the real-time reporting of system status and alerts to the IT manager that is particularly attractive, which is done by SNMP traps that can trigger SMS or even emails to the manager. It also enables him to enable, configure and monitor a series of our Midspans in real time using a graphical interface. It can activate or deactivate Midspan ports on a daily or weekly schedule for security purposes. It can even recycle power to remote faulty devices, such as an AP in an airport or a wide campus installation. This saves both time and costs.”

So, ironically, with all the talk about grandiose high-level enterprise management systems, ingenious low-level “nitty-gritty” items on the network such as PoE are often just as useful, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

For example, SEH Technology, the printing and network computing specialist, recently introduced its PS06 Ethernet network interface card to its print server portfolio for HP output devices with EIO ports. This new PS06 Ethernet print server supports printing via either IPv4 or IPv6 in Ethernet networks (including socket, LPR, and IPP printing) and includes high level security features, such as several IEEE 802.1x standard authentication methods and print data encryption during transmission. Compared to its predecessor, SEH’s IC106-FAST (News - Alert)-HP-TX interface card, the PS06 considerably speeds up printing via HTTPs encryption. The multiprotocol print server works with all common operating systems, including Windows, Linux, UNIX,Apple ( News - Alert), and Novell. The latest ThinPrint print client provides for bandwidth-optimized network printing and ThinPrint SSL decoding. All for a mere US$209.99.

To sum up, you now view your network pretty from any perspective you desire. Indeed, there are whole families of enterprise network management products out there that can help you securely view, troubleshoot and otherwise manage the “sandbox” where your business-critical applications and data play.

Source: (This article originally appeared in the July 2008 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.)
By: By Richard Grigonis
Executive Editor, IP Communications Group

How To Create Instant Messaging Environment with Openfire Server?

Openfire Administration is a new book from Packt that details how to use Openfire to develop a secure instant messaging network. This book teaches users to install an efficient IM environment, and connect and integrate VoIP with users over external IM networks.

Openfire, is a free, open-source and full featured Jabber-based Instant Messaging server written in Java. This book teaches users to install and run Openfire, and configure different IM clients over Windows and Linux to allow only secured connections. Users will learn the advantages of IM over other communication modes as well as Openfire's features.

Through this book, system administrators will learn to connect with users over external IM networks, add users via a Directory Server like OpenLDAP and Active Directory, and import or export users and groups from other networks. They will also be shown how to add users from a remote network, transfer files across servers, and set up a server-to-server communication and an Openfire cluster with connection managers.

System Administrators experienced in managing servers on any operating system will find this book useful. The book is out now and is available from Packt. For more information, please visit: http://www.packtpub.com/step-by-step-guide-to-openfire-administration/book

Instant Messengers = Instant Threats?

Many vendors offering Instant Messaging (IM) services have added new features such as voice messaging and file sharing. Among other AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo offer these IM services.

Clients of Instant Messaging services are also easy prey for the community of hackers. Using a simple follow-up program, plain text of Instant Messaging can be easily captured and creates vulnerability to electronic eavesdropping. .

In one version of AOL Instant Messenger, aka AIM, a user was found to be the target of an attack by hackers. The villainous hacker had developed a URL that, when clicked by the user with AIM on their desktop, allowed the attacker to run a virus to the victim system. What is particularly alarming is that AIM does not need to be conducted this type of the virus being deployed.

Another possibility of an attack when the victim are simply sent an HTML e-mail with a link click, enter one or all of the following components: an increase of attack, a denial of service attacks, or install a backdoor for later use, to name a few.

Using a computer phone service that works on secure lines with high-end encryption codec on its own patented technology that features IM capability will optimally protect you against these vicious hacker attacks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Instant Messaging Security. Is It Possible?

About 200 million people will use instant-messaging (IM) services this year, according to IDC, and next year over half of them will be business users. Many of them, in turn, will be in financial services, the business sector that has taken to IM more than any other.

It has enjoyed such a meteoric rise in financial services because the convenience and productivity it puts into users' hands, at very little cost, particularly appeals to bankers, traders, and insurers.

"Instant messaging is becoming a more mainstream business tool," says Andrew Brown, CTO of Global Infrastructure Services for Merrill Lynch. "IMlogic gives us enhanced capabilities regarding access control, reporting and management."

However, as corporate adoption of IM peaks this year, many commentators are becoming concerned about the need to secure the informal networks upon which IM depends, both to protect against hackers and to meet regulatory requirements.

The Big Bang in IM security threats
The warning signs are there to be read. For example, in February, Microsoft cut access to its MSN Messenger IM service to halt the exploitation of a security flaw: a vulnerability, which allowed malign attackers to take control of affected systems in all but the latest versions of the messenger clients, was posted on the Internet.

In addition, IMlogic has reported that the incidence of IM security threats increased by 50 percent in the first three months of this year; that more than one hundred of the most common IM viruses had grown by 30 percent in the same period; and that IM spam now accounts for up to seven percent of all traffic. In other words, IM malware has undergone a "big bang".

Financial sector authorities have already responded to the threat. As far back as December 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission fined five large Wall Street firms $8.25m for failing to archive and supervise their electronic communications.

The industry itself has taken note too. The Financial Services Instant Messaging Association (FIMA) — whose members include Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Prudential, and UBS Warburg — exists to pressure vendors into standardising IM platforms in order to promote compatibility and security. Furthermore, the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) recently told its 5,300 brokerage firm members to retain IM records for at least three years as proof against future disputes.

Handling IM security in financial organisations
On the other hand, taking responsibility for IM is not always as easy as might be thought. For example, if a firm decides simply to ban IM — in a similar manner to which some banks tried to ban email — then determined employees will readily find ways around bars on the network. Moreover, programming corporate IT systems to scramble any instant messages that are sent is tricky and time consuming, since most IM platforms are proprietary and change fast.

A ban may also not prove effective because IM penetrates the organisation under the radar: it is routinely embedded in office software, for example.

Arguably the more sensible route to take, not least because it has become part and parcel of modern business communications, is to control the use of instant messaging. IMlogic's approach is typical: its product, called IM Manager, archives every IM conversation across a network. IM Manager can track messages, reconstruct exchanges, and monitor for attacks.

In short, like email, IM has become part of the communications landscape. Financial organisations must embrace and secure it, not fear and try to dodge it.

Source: Mark Vernon, Tech Republic, Published: 12 Apr 2005

Beta Business Instant Messaging : Secure And Encrypted

Communicate more efficiently using real-time secure Business Messenger. Unlike public chat services, Business Messenger communication can be restricted to the people in your organization keeping your organization secure and private. And, all communications are SSL encrypted giving you security comparable to online banking.

Whether you are at the office or on the go, there are a variety of ways to stay connected with Business Messenger. Access Business Messenger securely from any web browser or download and install the easy-to-use Business Messenger chat client on your desktop. Need even more flexibility? Business Messenger is based on the open standard XMPP for compatibility with a wide variety of chat clients.

Features Include:

* Business class, real-time messaging
* Ability to restrict chat access to account users only for privacy and security
* SSL encrypted chat
* Customizable presence indicator
* Multi-person chat
* Secure chat rooms
* Persistent chat rooms
* Contact groups
* Contact profiles
* Web-based chat client
* Desktop chat client
* Support for XMPP compliant chat clients

Business Messenger is free during Beta. After Beta, it will be included at no additional charge for Hosted Microsoft® Exchange or Groupware Collaborative users. For all other users, it’s just $1 per month per user.

IM Service from NSIT. Chat Instantly with cIM!

NSIT offers a secure instant messaging system called cIM? All you need is a current CNetID and password. We recommend using a client called Spark, which you can download from the Connectivity Software site (http://nsit.uchicago.edu/services/connectivity/).

Like other IM clients, cIM is great for informal chatting, but it has additional benefits that also make it great for inter-departmental messaging. cIM is different from commercial instant messaging services in the following ways:

* All messages remain on campus servers so long as both parties are at the University, making your messages more secure.
* Messages sent between im.uchicago.edu users are not subject to the data mining often practiced by providers of commerical IM clients (e.g., Yahoo, Google, AIM).
* It's easy to locate someone on cIM by using their CNetID, instead of having to search for user-created screen names.

For help and information on setting up and using cIM, visit the Instant Messaging Documentation site.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Instant Messaging Threats. How To Defend Your PC?

The instant messaging world continues to evolve at an incredibly alarming rate. IM communications most changed more than in the past 10 years with the evolution of e-mail and instant messaging (IM). Once limited to desktops, instant messaging is now available via handheld devices and cell phones, allowing users to chat from virtually anywhere, even becoming a staple mode of communication in business environments.

However, its own share of security risks accompanies IM. Because IM is generally unprotected and unmonitored, it is vulnerable to attacks, and can easily expose all users in an IM contact list to the same attacks via IM sent from that machine, creating the potential for rapid proliferation. In such a scenario, it is likely that any malicious code that propagates through one of the protocols will also propagate through the other.

The most prevalent threats to IM include:

* Worms and Trojan horses

Similar to threats sent by e-mail, worms and Trojan horses via IM can compromise the integrity of IT systems. Too many IT departments focus solely on e-mail threats because they are not aware of the number of people using IM in their businesses. This is because individual users can load IM programs directly onto local computers, and IM traffic is often undetectable at the network level. According to the IMlogic Threat Center, “90% of IM-related security attacks included worm propagation; nine percent delivered viruses; one percent exploited known client vulnerabilities or exploits.” Via an IM program, it is possible for a Trojan horse to configure the client to give access to all files on a computer via peer-to-peer file sharing. Ultimately, this opens up the entire computer system to attackers.

* Password stealing and impersonation

Hackers can use Trojan horses to gain access to an IM password if it is stored on the computer. Using this method, hackers can have access to the user’s screen name and the user’s entire list of IM contacts. Impersonation is not only harmful to the victim whose password has been stolen, but to anyone who interacts with the hacker and divulges personal information or executes any files sent by the hacker under the guise of the user.

* Privacy intrusion

Outside parties can capture information to use in malicious ways, and employees may not be aware of the ramifications of their IM conversations. Businesses could be legally or financially at risk if employees send confidential information that is subsequently gathered by outside parties. Many IM programs do not offer encryption, making it easy for a third party to eavesdrop on IM conversations using different types of programs such as packet sniffers. Businesses can deal with these risks by enforcing an IM policy that restricts the type of information that can be exchanged via IM and setting up a system to encrypt IM conversations.

* SPIM

Similar to spam, spim is unsolicited messages sent via IM. Spim can be used to lure unsuspecting users to websites designed to collect private information. Web bots deployed by advertisers and spammers often collect screen names from public directories where individuals can list their IM screen names.

While many of these threats have the potential to wreak havoc on any business, there are a few steps businesses can take to mitigate IM threats:

* Install IM security tools

IM security tools span a variety of functions from capturing data sent over IM, to monitoring and tracking unusual IM behavior, which may indicate misuse or virus-related security breaches. By installing IM security tools, businesses will have a more comprehensive, centralized solution to help manage IM usage within the company.

* Educate employees and create corporate policies

Employee education on any exchange service is paramount in securing the IT infrastructure, especially on IM usage, because of the potential for rapid proliferation throughout the network. Businesses should make it a priority to learn about the best safety and security practices and incorporate them into company policies. To protect businesses and employees, businesses should define appropriate uses of IM in the workplace and encourage precautionary measures such as not storing IM passwords on the computer.

* Secure IM logs

Because IM programs automatically create and store logs of all conversations on a user’s computer, hackers can obtain valuable information on a business, including specific statements made during a conversation as well as business secrets discussed via IM. One way to secure IM logs is to store them behind a corporate firewall or even delete the logs. These options are available in the preferences section of the program.

* Use vulnerability management tools for compliance

Businesses can install and use vulnerability management tools to gain an overview of IM software installed on employee machines. Using these tools, they can monitor whether employees have made any changes to their IM programs that violate business policies, and make sure that desktop firewall and antivirus programs are being used properly.

* Install desktop antivirus and firewall programs

Since spam sent over IM typically requires users to download and open an attachment. Security at the desktop and firewall level can guard against threats by blocking an attachment or cleaning an infected file. Installing desktop firewalls help protect individual machines from attacks from within an organization or through a LAN. Desktop firewalls are also good for those in a remote office or who handle sensitive data. Businesses should also install desktop antivirus programs to provide a final line of defense against viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.

* Install and update IM patches

The major public IM networks frequently deploy IM patches in response to newly discovered vulnerabilities in their programs. Businesses can reduce the risk of attacks to their computers via IM by installing and updating IM patches regularly.

There are many advantages to using IM in a business setting. If businesses choose to use this communication tool, they need to understand the IM security threats and how to protect their business against them. By educating employees, enforcing policies, installing protective technologies, and, where possible, encrypting IM conversations, organizations can continue to enjoy the benefits of using IM as a business tool while also managing its risks.

Source: Director Channel and Alliances, Symantec India, Ajay Verma

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gmail And Google Talk Users Got Web Conferencing And Free Screen Sharing

Millions of Gmail and Google Talk users now have access to one click online collaboration.

8 October 2008, Future of Web Apps, London: Yuuguu today announced the seamless integration of the Google Talk Instant Messaging (IM) network into its real-time collaboration and web conferencing service. Yuuguu users can now share screens, hold web conferences and work collaboratively with anyone on the Google Talk IM network all via the Yuuguu application.

The Google Talk IM network is accessible via the downloadable Google Talk client, and the purely browser based GMail, iGoogle and Google Apps services. The move will dramatically increase Yuuguu’s reach, with Gmail alone having over 92 million users*.

Yuuguu, uniquely for a web conferencing and screen sharing service, has an integrated buddy list and chat system. Yuuguu users can now simply link to their existing Google account and any contacts they have on the Google Talk IM network will automatically appear in their Yuuguu buddy list.

With one click Yuuguu users can chat, share their screen and collaborate in real time with any friends or colleagues on the Google Talk IM network without those people needing any downloads or plug-ins. In addition Yuuguu supports group sessions of Google Talk IM contacts, so several participants can easily join the secure conference or screen share.

Yuuguu does not require participants to download software. Only the host downloads Yuuguu for free onto a PC, Mac or Linux computer. Yuuguu also includes high quality, low cost landline based voice conferencing services for one-to-many voice calls.

The new feature also supports users who access the Google Talk IM network through Google Apps, providing simple and integrated access to free web conferencing for business users.

In addition, Yuuguu has announced that it is now out of beta. The company has over 100,000 users worldwide who have been instrumental in providing feedback on the service to improve user experience and help provide a strong launchpad for its Pro and Enterprise versions in early 2009.

Users can download Yuuguu free of charge at www.yuuguu.com.

Founder and CEO of Yuuguu, Anish Kapoor said: “We have always been focused on building a service that integrates community, messaging and collaboration. By opening up our service to Google Talk IM network users, even more colleagues and friends can message and chat while they share screens for enhanced collaboration. Typical IM clients don’t allow screen sharing and have limited collaboration capabilities and typical web conferencing and screen sharing services have no presence or instant messaging capabilities. We wanted to bring these features into one application to ensure that users see, chat and control from one simple interface.”

Yuuguu will be exhibiting at Future of Web Applications, London, Web 2.0, Berlin and Defrag 2008, Denver.

About Yuuguu:

Yuuguu, named after the Japanese word for fusion, was founded by entrepreneurs Anish Kapoor and Philip Hemsted in 2007 after they became frustrated by working together remotely and not being able to see and share each other’s computer screens in real time. The company is based in Liverpool and received funding from Rising Stars and Liverpool Seed Fund among others. www.yuuguu.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Communications Server environment. How to secure?

As (UC) unified communications are getting to become much more popular, it has become apparent that unified communications networks are prone to many of the same types of security threats as normal TCP/IP networks. Some of the more common threats include things like spam directed at instant messaging, man-in-the-middle attacks, denial-of-service attacks, sniffing and the list goes on.

Unfortunately, there is no way that I can possibly provide even a high-level overview of unified communications security within the confines of an article. There are simply too many aspects of the unified communications infrastructure that would need to be addressed. That being the case, I want to focus my attention on one particular component that I think deserves some of the most attention: the Office Communications Server (OCS) edge server.

The edge server allows OCS to be accessible to the outside world. The OCS edge server is placed in the network's demilitarized zone and proxies requests between the Internet and the back-end network. The reason why I want to talk about the edge server is because it is exposed to the Internet.

Install the appropriate roles

The first suggestion I would make is that you install the appropriate roles on your edge server. An edge server actually supports three different roles. You can install one, two or all three roles. Installing roles that are not needed can constitute a security risk.

The three roles are:

Access Edge: Allows external users to authenticate into the OCS deployment.

A/V Edge: Allows external users to take advantage of the network's audio and video capabilities from outside the organization.

Web Conferencing Edge: Allows external users to participate in Web conferences.

Be careful with how you enable 'federation'

In an OCS environment, federation refers to the way in which your OCS infrastructure is exposed to the outside world. When you initially configure the edge server, there is a setup wizard screen called the Enable Features on Access Edge Server screen that allows you to choose whether or not you want to allow anonymous users to join meetings, and whether or not you want to enable federation.

Although it is not exactly spelled out on this screen, there are three types of federation you can use. The first type that OCS allows is called direct federation. Direct federation is basically a trust relationship between two organizations. The organizations would have made an agreement to share presence information with each other, and to support the use of direct collaboration between the two organizations. With this type of federation, the participants use digital certificates to positively verify each other's identities.

The second type of federation that is available is something called enhanced federation. Enhanced federation (sometimes called open federation) is enabled through the Enable Features on Access Edge Server screen that I described earlier. By selecting the Allow Discovery of Federation Partners check box, you allow users to communicate with users in other organizations that also run OCS or Live Communications Server. What makes this different from direct federation is that there is not a direct trust between organizations, but rather an open trust that allows communication with any external OCS or LCS organization.

The third type of federation is called federation with public instant messaging providers. Once again, this type of federation is activated through the Enable Features on Access Edge Server screen. The screen contains check boxes administrators can use to enable federation with MSN, Yahoo and AOL instant messaging.

None of these types of federation are necessarily dangerous to use, but they do give your organization varying degrees of exposure. It is therefore important to choose the federation type that fits your plans for unified communications. Of course if you only want to use OCS as an internal communications mechanism then you don't have to enable federation at all.

In this article, I have explained that one of the most important tasks in protecting your unified communications network is controlling access to it from the outside world. This is important, because sensitive information is often passed through unified communications networks, and you do not want to accidentally expose your unified communications network to the world.

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