Email archiving: Solving the problem of digital data hoarders

Email-archivingWe all know how important email is to business. But I sometimes wonder if we’re becoming too obsessed with our email, to the point where we can’t let go of a single message for fear of losing a file or piece of correspondence. Unfortunately, all that worrying is having a negative effect on business — forcing organizations to invest in unnecessary amounts of storage and backup space.

Consider this real-world scenario. In my past life as an Exchange administrator, I found that my organization’s Exchange server was running low on disk space. After running some reports, I made a surprising discovery: 65 percent of all the email in our system was in the deleted items folders of user mailboxes! In addition, most of that email was more than a year old.

Excited that I was able to solve a problem without needing funding to purchase new storage for our Exchange server, I shared the good news with my boss. I told him we didn’t need to spend the $6,000 on new storage. I could simply create a policy to purge the email in the deleted items folder that was more than a year old. With that, I sat back in anticipation of the kudos that was certainly on the way.

Much to my surprise, he answered, “What if people need that email later on? I go back and get stuff out of the deleted items folder all the time.” So the decision was made to keep the old email and add new storage to the Exchange server.

However, this eventually led to another problem: The size of our email data had grown so large that it was taking too long to finish our daily backups. We couldn’t get them done in the off-hours. But the problems didn’t end there; our Exchange admins were facing a number of issues: (more…)

Think digital signage isn’t for you? Think again.

digital signage solutions from SHIAdvertising has been around for as long as humans have had something to sell. Historians have found examples of commercial messages in Pompeii and lost and found advertising on papyrus in Ancient Greece and Rome. As time rolled on, advertisers found opportunity to place ads on everything from billboards, cars, buses, boats, to even an athlete’s skin. Now the question becomes, how can business leaders capitalize on advertising in the digital world to drive their businesses into the next decade?

Enter digital signage. Already seeing widespread use in malls, airports, and train stations, digital ads are making their way into every industry. What’s driving this shift? Since digital signage can be both frequently and easily updated, it saves you the printing and construction costs associated with traditional signage techniques.

Think there isn’t a place for digital signage in your organization? Look to these four industries for inspiration and direction. (more…)

Plugging the leak: Data loss and smartphones

Smartphones are becoming more powerful every day, and tablets have evolved to the point where people are using them as their on-the-go computing device, allowing them to leave the laptop at home. But while smartphones and tablets are sharing the spotlight with laptops for many business users, their underlying design makes them very different from a traditional PC. That difference could be putting your organization at risk. Luckily, there’s a way to get a handle on it.

The risk that I’m speaking of is data leakage. The very things that make smartphones easy to use (social sharing, constant connectivity, location services, etc.) are also putting your company’s data at risk. In fact, Forrester Research estimates that between $90 and $305 dollars can be lost per customer record. With devices carrying thousands, if not millions, of records, the total cost of a compromised device is high.

SHI-The-rising-cost-of-data-loss-CHART (more…)

Everyone needs mobile device management, but nobody’s buying it

A study by B2B International recently highlighted the slow adoption of mobile device management (MDM) software. It revealed that only 11 percent of the companies surveyed had an MDM solution in place to ensure those employees with mobile phones and tablets are complying with corporate security policies. This tells us that even though the entire industry is talking about bring your own device (BYOD) programs, very few companies are correctly implementing them.

According to Gartner, this problem will only grow in the coming years, as the BYOD trend shows no signs of slowing down. Shortly after the B2B International study, Gartner predicted that over the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will adopt an MDM solution. However, the B2B study suggests that companies aren’t embracing the challenge of securing corporate data on mobile devices.

Our experience in working with SHI customers integrating mobile devices into their enterprises show the accuracy of both of these studies — MDM adoption is slow despite heavy BYOD use.

The IT departments I talk to recognize this problem and want to manage their devices, but they’re having problems determining which solution is best for them. They don’t want to spend money on one solution, only to find out six months later it wasn’t the right fit.

The problem lies within the industry. There’s so much noise that people are becoming confused. There are hardware solutions for BYOD, and there are software solutions. Some solutions are touted by big-box security companies, while others are from no-name, angel-funded startups. Without the proper education, companies don’t know which solution to choose, and the problem falls to the wayside.

So today, I’d like to share the top-five pieces of advice I give my customers to help them pick the correct MDM solution for their organization: (more…)

Microsoft User CAL Changes: What it means for you

As the nature of the cloud evolves, so too does its licensing models. In the past, organizations were set up with licensing on a “per device” basis, but with the ongoing consumerization of IT and the proliferation of new devices (mobile phones, tablets, ultrabooks, etc.) in the workplace, many organizations are looking to cut costs by shifting focus to the user rather than the device.

To address this shift, Microsoft is raising the cost of its User Client Access License (CAL) licensing model. Effective Dec. 1, 2012, the cost of the following User CALs will increase 15 percent:

  • Bing Maps Server CAL
  • Core CAL Suite
  • Enterprise CAL Suite
  • Exchange Server Standard and Enterprise CAL
  • Lync Server Standard, Enterprise, and Plus CAL
  • Project Server CAL
  • SharePoint Server Standard and Enterprise CAL
  • System Center 2012 Client Management Suite
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Endpoint Protection
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server CAL
  • Windows Multipoint Server CAL
  • Windows Server CAL
  • Windows Server Remote Desktop Services CAL, Terminal Services CAL
  • Windows Server Rights Management Services CAL

What does this mean for you? (more…)

Mobile Device Management: On cloud or on premise, your pivotal decision

It wasn’t long ago when mobile device management was a pretty simple matter. You outfitted your teams with BlackBerrys, you went with a BES solution, and the world was a wonderful place. Then along came Steve Jobs with the iPhone and changed the game for everybody.

Once the iPhone was released, Android and Windows Phone soon followed, and users started streaming into their organizations with all manner of smartphones (much to the chagrin of IT admins everywhere). And let’s not mention tablets. As any IT leader will tell you, all but the BlackBerry were unmanageable in the early days of the emergence of the mobile enterprise.

That’s the bad news. The good news: Over the past few years the landscape has changed, and dramatically so. The mobile device management (MDM) space has become very competitive, with more than 100 different mobile device management vendors in the game to date. While this certainly provides a great deal of choice for the buyer, it dramatically increases the complexity for IT leaders who have to sift through myriad offerings to find the solution that fits their organization. (more…)

VMworld 2012 wrap-up: What’s on the Horizon

When I wrote this post, my plane was soaring 34,000 feet above the eastern edge of San Francisco, rocketing me away from VMware’s ninth-annual VMworld 2012. It really seemed the place — floating above the clouds, catching a glimpse of the sun hitting the horizon — to reflect on some of the new products revealed at this year’s worldwide users conference.

The cloud played a leading role this year (as you can expect with any big tech conference nowadays) as vendors demonstrated how small business could use the cloud to create, automate, and provision their own cost-effective private clouds.

But I think the announcement that got everyone the most excited (and let’s be honest, it would only ever get a cheer in a room full of nerds) was that VMware is stepping away from its vRAM licensing model. Rather than pricing based on the amount of memory provisioned inside the environment, it will be based on the number of CPUs on the physical machines used to run the virtual environment, regardless of the power of those CPUs.

But VMware had a lot more in store for us than just licensing news. Here’s a look at my top-three takeaways from VMworld 2012. (more…)

VMworld 2012 wrap-up: What’s on the Horizon

When I wrote this post, my plane was soaring 34,000 feet above the eastern edge of San Francisco, rocketing me away from VMware’s ninth-annual VMworld 2012. It really seemed the place — floating above the clouds, catching a glimpse of the sun hitting the horizon — to reflect on some of the new products revealed at this year’s worldwide users conference.

The cloud played a leading role this year (as you can expect with any big tech conference nowadays) as vendors demonstrated how small business could use the cloud to create, automate, and provision their own cost-effective private clouds.

But I think the announcement that got everyone the most excited (and let’s be honest, it would only ever get a cheer in a room full of nerds) was that VMware is stepping away from its vRAM licensing model. Rather than pricing based on the amount of memory provisioned inside the environment, it will be based on the number of CPUs on the physical machines used to run the virtual environment, regardless of the power of those CPUs.

But VMware had a lot more in store for us than just licensing news. Here’s a look at my top-three takeaways from VMworld 2012. (more…)

How to maintain business continuity with a virtualized infrastructure

The benefits of virtualization are well known at this point. It’s not like it’s a new technology. It’s been an industry standard for the last five or six years, if not longer. However, we’re still seeing some mid-market customers that are hesitant to jump on the virtualization bandwagon. While many of these organizations don’t have a robust Fortune 50-type infrastructure, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from virtualization.

Those benefits are extensive. For example, the consolidation of an organization’s IT infrastructure, and anytime, anywhere access to its applications.

The main concern frequently expressed in our conversations with customers who are considering a switch to virtualization is in regards to business continuity. IT is being challenged more than ever to assure critical applications are always available to support lines of business.

(more…)