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.

LAN Instant Messaging Software - LAN Messenger

LAN Messenger is an instant messaging software for home or office users that can be very useful for your work. LAN chats allow you to commu...