Cloud Computing, Cardinal Rules of Security, Voice To Text Revolution, Calendar

Cloud Computing
Many believe an inevitable migration is underway from desktops and proprietary servers to "cloud computing." In this scenario, virtually all applications, data and documents reside on Web-networked servers and are accessed anytime, anywhere from virtually any browser-enabled digital device.

Because Web-based applications can be platform agnostic, they readily lend themselves to access through disparate mobile devices, suggesting a potential boost for portable productivity. Smartphones and other gadgets are increasingly powerful in their own right, but using increased bandwidth to move processing and memory demands off of the device in the hand and into the cloud opens a range of possibilities unimaginable on even the most powerful handheld devices.

Enterprise 2.0 applications have the advantages of easier collaboration, open standards, low development costs and rapid prototyping and revisions. This makes them ideal for ad-hoc teams and collaboration across organizational boundaries.

This has inspired vendors, pundits and a few brave businesses to declare the advent of "Office 2.0." The faithful flocked to the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, Sept. 5-7, 2007, to evangelize at the Office 2.0 Conference.

Conference organizer Ismael Ghalimi, CEO of Intalio, says the event itself is an experiment designed to test the premise. With varying degrees of success, he resolved to produce a paperfree conference using only online services. These included Constant Contact newsletter publisher, 14Days time tracking, Dabble DB database, EchoSign for contracts, EventWax for registrations, Gaboogie for conference calls, MindMeister for collaborative brainstorming and Veodia for live video feeds, as well as Clearspace for the Web site platform, Facebook for networking and PayPal for payments. (Complete list at

Each Office 2.0 attendee was offered a new iPhone optimized with an interface from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendor Etelos linking to conference schedules, contacts, rating and chat systems, and photos and videos. (ED. As a speaker at the conference, the author was one of the iPhone recipients). The Etelos solution worked through both the iPhone's WiFi capabilities and, when necessary, AT&T's EDGE wireless data network.

"A year and a half ago, as an experiment I began putting everything on a cloud," Ghalimi says. "I don't have to worry about my hard drive crashing or a virus wiping out everything or somebody stealing my laptop. It's also a lot easier to share and manage data with other people if it's online than if it's on my laptop."

Marc Orchant, of Platform Agnostic Consulting, says that despite false starts in the past, the current public network-- and explosion of services and applications that leverage it --represent an accelerating shift in how we work. He points to a new generation of employees that has grown up in this connected world. "Their notions of work, career, and collaboration on both a professional and social level are profoundly different from those of us who came to this networked world as adults." ME< body>   --STEVE BARTH

Cardinal Rules of Security
This month we'll discuss the fourth and final installment in Ben's Laws of Mobile Data Security.

As previously discussed, user awareness and tactical technology implementations alone will not protect an organization's sensitive information from vulnerabilities introduced by the use of consumer-driven mobile devices. An overarching secure enterprise mobility strategy is needed to ensure the protection of sensitive information. Once this holistic approach is developed, less importance is placed on which device is actually being used to store or transport sensitive information.

The task of creating a secure enterprise mobility strategy may seem daunting, but it is notinsurmountable. The first step is to identify your user community. Examples include office workers, telecommuters and logisticians. Then, think about the enabling technologies at their disposal, such as VoIP, RFID, smartphones and Bluetooth. Lastly, develop usage scenarios that map the users to the appropriate technology. Some suggested scenarios to start with are field service, asset tracking and campus mobility.

The lifecycle aspects of people, process and technology must be fully developed to provide for proper support of the secure enterprise mobility strategy. As part of any good information technology- related lifecycle process, the aspects of monitoring, auditing and capability enhancement also must be addressed. The importance of buy-in from above should not be overlooked; in order for a secure enterprise mobility strategy to be successful, it must be embraced by the organization's leaders.

As our four-part series draws to a close, here's a recap of what organizations need to knowas they develop and maintain a secure enterprise mobility strategy.

Ben's Laws of Mobile Data Security:
  • You can't stop mobile device proliferation
  • User awareness alone is ineffective
  • Point solutions will only shift the target
  • Overarching secure enterprise mobility strategy is needed ME

Benjamin Halpert, CISSP, works for a leading defense firm and writes a monthly about security.
Comments, questions and requests can be sent to him at [email protected], please include SECURITY in the subject line

Voice To Text Revolution
Let the voice-to-text revolution begin. Three companies are touting services that convert voicemail messages to text and deliver them directly to mobile devices or email inboxes.

New York City-based SimulScribe says its voicemail-to-text and visual voicemail services are offered by more than 95 percent of wireless carriers in the United States, the most of any such service. SimulScribe enables subscribers to combine multiple phones-such as mobile, home, and work phones-on multiple networks into a unified solution.

Nine-year-old CallWave, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., goes a step further than other solutions. Its Vtxt GIST service-which works with all major U.S. carriers-summarizes the voicemail messages left on wireless phones before sending a text message to a subscriber's handset. The technology recognizes important words and phrases, such as "hospital," "emergency" and "call me back immediately." A full transcription of any voicemail message, as well as an audio file of the original message, can be sent directly to an email inbox. The company's Business-Class Mobile Voicemail suite is compatible with Windows and Macintosh operating systems and functions with any email client.

SpinVox's patented Voicemail Message Conversion System (VMCS) works on either wireless or landline voicemail. The resulting SMS messages are delivered to any mobile handsets, including phones, BlackBerrys and PDAs. The London-based company claims an 80 percent retention rate among its 130,000 subscribers across various carriers worldwide.

Businesses with high call volumes can use SpinVox's CallMail service to single out important messages for text conversion. Business bloggers will appreciate Spin-my- Blog, which lets them update their blogs simply by speaking into their mobile phones. Spin-my-Broadcast enables SMS messages to be sent to a group of recipients, such as work colleagues. --Jessica BinnsME

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