Saturday, December 11, 2010

SonicWALL releases top 9 tips to protect against online threats, scams and frauds this holiday season

Interesting read!

BANGALORE, INDIA: SonicWALL, Inc. the leading provider of intelligent network security and data protection solutions, today released tips on how to recognize and avoid the top holiday threats that well-wishers and online shoppers face this holiday shopping season.

With the holidays fast approaching, phishers, hackers and scammers are preparing to attack by perfecting social media scams, developing new and different merchant phishing techniques, cultivating data harvesting methods and perfecting greeting card malware. Consumers can prepare by being aware of the top online security-related frauds and scams awaiting them this holiday season and by learning how to best protect themselves.

“During the holidays, consumers the rush to quickly buy presents drives consumers to let their guard down and bypass their normal security precautions. Phishers and scammers are expecting this,” said Boris Yanovsky, vice president of software engineering at SonicWALL.

“We already see an increase in malware, Trojans and phishing attacks before the holiday season begins. This year, Facebook targeting is rampant. Unfortunately, consumers won’t learn the extent of any damage until it’s already too late and the holidays are over. Consumers should arm and prepare themselves now against the flood of holiday-related threats.”

Malware and phishing threats tend to show up in a variety of forms consumers often wouldn’t expect during the holidays. For example, malware disguises itself as a multimedia Christmas greeting card from a long lost friend. A new Facebook “friend” nudges you to play a special holiday game or directs you to “favorite” sites. Your favorite online retailer offers you a special discount if you “click here.”

To stay protected during this holiday season, SonicWALL’s Yanovsky gives tips to avoid the top 9 threats of the season:

1. Purchasing and payments: This is a big one! Phishing for additional personal information such as your credit card number is common during the holidays. Phishing threats posing as communications from retailers like, eBay or PayPal will notify you that they “were unable to process your credit card transaction” or need more details to process your transaction.

Be sure a site is secure and reputable before providing your credit card number online. Don't trust a site just because it claims to be secure.

There are two general indications of a secured Web page:

A) Check the Web page URL
Normally, when browsing the Web, the URLs (Web page addresses) begin with the letters "http". However, over a secure connection the address displayed should begin with "https" - note the "s" at the end.

B) Check for the "Lock" icon
There is a de facto standard among Web browsers to display a "lock" icon somewhere in the window of the browser (NOT in the web page display area!). For example, Microsoft Internet Explorer displays the lock icon in the lower-right of the browser window.

2. Holiday offers from your favorite retailer: Each year, anticipated holiday offers from spammers increase. Consumers may find “Special Shopping Offer” or “Special Discount” spam campaigns in their inboxes. But those may have nothing to do with a holiday bargain. Be aware that this may be a drive-by Trojan download. Never purchase anything advertised through an unsolicited email.

Ensure that the offer you receive is legitimate by double-checking with the Web site of your favorite retailer. If you do respond to a legitimate offer, use a primary email address for people you know and get yourself a secondary address for all other purposes. Never respond to suspicious offers, as this will confirm to the sender that your email address is “live.”

3. Social media threats: Social media applications are top destinations to browse. With access to Facebook and MySpace now accessible via mobile devices, consumers are easily able to upload and share photos and other online information. Be on alert when you get “nudges” and suggestions from “friends” to view pictures, receive special holiday “offers” or invitations to play “games.” You may become the victim of a malware or a phishing threat.

Also, be aware that phishers are using social media for spam related purposes as spammers are looking to attract names. Change your Facebook privacy settings and configure them to meet your needs; you never can be careful enough about who views your information.

4. Discounted gift cards: With cash-strapped consumers looking at their wallets this holiday season, discounted gift cards may seem like an attractive gift option for stocking stuffers. Before you make your purchase, however, be sure that the Web site and the discounted offer are legitimate. Check with the retailer and use PayPal when making your purchase. If the site asks you to mail in an order or does not accept PayPal or credit cards, be aware, as you may become the victim of fraud.

5. Greeting card threats: During the holiday season, the number of electronic greeting cards, sent via email grows exponentially. Clicking on an e-card or video holiday card, can direct you to a link, ask you to download Adobe Flash, another type of animation or a PDF. This can install dangerous malware on your computer. No matter whether or not you know the sender - assume that suspicious links, Flash video, animation or any PDF card, document or invoice are potentially malicious and dangerous.

6. Delivery threats (UPS and FedEx): This type of phishing threat (aka “Bredlow” or “Fake Antivirus” spam) takes the form of a friendly notice from UPS, FedEx or DHL. Typically, the email message includes a few lines such as, “We tried to deliver your package, but were unable to reach you. Please click here to reschedule your delivery.” In the phishing case, once you click, malicious code gets installed on your computer and it will harvest your personal information.

As with any online business transaction, never click on links that arrive unsolicited. When shopping or doing business online, instead go to the company website directly by typing the URL in your web browser instead of clicking on a link.

7. Holiday-themed games and videos: Consumers should be on the lookout for any “click here” messages associated with holiday games and videos, such as the Elf Bowling game. Do not open suspicious links. The links may open malware. For those asked to view videos, users may be asked to activate a plug-in and wait for a download of a java applet—essentially a fake video codec that may be cross platform malware or Java based malware.

8. Popular Google search results: While Google and other search engines have taken precautions to eliminate URLs that contain malware, searches using popular keywords like “Christmas” can still result in the download of malware. For example, a search for "free printable Christmas stickers” may lead to links that initiate a malware attack. Make sure that your system is updated with the latest virus protection and the latest security patches.

9. Harvest attacks after the holidays: Scammers frequently focus on November and December, the busiest shopping months, to gather email addresses of potential victims for later use in January. In fact, Trojan downloads are at an all-time high during November and December. Online shoppers should brace themselves for online fraud and phishing attempts during the second and third weeks of January—about the time December’s credit cards bills arrive.

“Be wary of any email or social media interaction that requires your account or financial information even if it does not look suspicious at first,” said Yanovsky.

“Scammers and phishers will be looking for new ways to lure in consumers, especially with Facebook traffic at an all-time high, and with more and more consumers looking for discounts. When shopping online, know how the online merchant communicates, especially in case of shipping delays and credit card matters.

"Assume that any email that either directly or indirectly asks for your account, financial or identity information is fraudulent. Lastly, double-check your credit card statement—especially in January—for incorrect expenses. Using these steps as a baseline, consumers can stay protected this holiday season.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Facebook email: Latest strike to dominate communications?

Eden Zoller, Principal Analyst, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: If Facebook positions this as a full web email service it will put Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! on the defensive. It should also give telcos a lot to think about as Facebook is becoming an increasingly rich communication platform. All it needs to do now is put search into the equation.

An email service from Facebook makes a lot of sense. It has a huge base of 500 million users that already love to communicate and share, and Facebook is giving them richer ways to do this through virtual gifts, games, location and even voice thanks to the recent integration deal with Skype.

Adding email to the mix is a logical step and Facebook could tap into user data to provide an attractive, highly personalised service. You would also expect it to push mobile features given its big move in this direction.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nearly all my Blogger blogs are being targeted by cybercriminals! Please help me, friends!

Interesting! Nearly all my blogs on Blogger -- Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog, Pradeep Chakraborty's Point, PC's Semicon Blog, have been targeted by cybercriminals from early last evening!

Incidentally, I had bought one of the domains from Google itself. And now, it is reportedly under attack!

I have been reporting this strange phishing site message to Google, and don't know whether they can help me out!

I have also been sending regular emails to a contact at Google India with the hope that I can get help.

Otherwise, there is very little I can do. I do not have the resources to check what is really happening.

The same story happened last year as well! My main blog was injected with malware and taken out, while all other blogs were marked as spam. While I could not save my main blog, I did manage to save all of the others.

This time, I have no idea!

If Blogger and Google cannot protect bloggers like us, then who can?

I am also wondering: how can a blog -- with hardly any links, and not carrying porn or other sex or fashion related stuff, or even entertainment stuff -- keeps getting attacked like this! :)

Can someone throw some light? I need help, my dear friends!

By the way, I have also posted this message and blog link on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. So, you all know what is really going on right now!

Just in case, friends, I do go on to loose all of my current blogs by the morning, will try and get all of them them up and running with different URLs.

Right now, I am really, really irritated, angry and tired!

I'll be back!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My old blog address is back! Am so happy!!

My dear friends, this is a great day for me! Rohit Basa, manager - Business Development (North America), ProcSys, who is currently in the USA, just responded to an email I'd sent out inviting him for Durga Puja celebrations in town!

In his mail, Rohit very kindly informed me that my old blog address -- -- is again available for fresh registration. His message to me was crystal clear: "Book it before anyone else does and direct a link to your new website. I'm a great fan of yours, your blog and articles."

Indeed! I was overjoyed when I re-registered the same old blog address, and got it back! I even brought back the same old look!! Well, at least, most of it!!!

The sheer pain of losing my original blog and blog address last August is something extremely difficult for me to get over! The effort I'd put in to develop that blog had been immense, and the loss was really shattering, to say the least! In fact, I even used to constantly check Blogger to find out whether the old blog address was still available.

While the pain has eased a bit on getting back my old blog address, I know very well that I simply cannot bring back the original traffic that it used to have. I moved my old blog to Wordpress since that day it was taken off Blogger. The blog's doing very well on Wordpress. Still, the loss of my original Blogspot blog last year has haunted me every single day!

Thanks a ton, Rohit! I am so very touched and will remain forever obliged to you!!

I chose Sagar Desai of Symantec, from the US, a very close friend, as the next one to be informed that I'd got back my old blog address. Sagar stood by me in my darkest hour -- when my old blog was injected with malware and removed by Google in August, last year.

In fact, Sagar had commented just a while ago, on seeing my Durga Puja invite -- "Did not know this cultural side of yours. Good to know that your life is just not semiconductors! ;)"

I'd then asked him whether I'd got typecast. His reply was -- "That’s probably more to do with the way you brand yourself. Image set ho gaya hai! You need to break the stereotype." :)

It is so very nice and touching to hear such remarks from a close friend! It shows that he cares, a lot! Perhaps, I am getting typecast as a semicon blogger.

Guess what! The other day, I was at a National Instruments event. A journalist friend and an ex-colleague, actually, found some new names for me. One was 'Semicon Bong' -- since I'm a Bengali, and the other was 'Semicon Bomb'! Ok, whatever that last one means.

Well, now I simply can't wait to inform Usha Prasad, my associate and buddy, that I've managed to get back my old blogspot address. Usha stood by me during that time and has steadfastly been by my side since that time. I just can't wait to see her reaction when she hears this news! She's fast asleep now.. come morning, and this is the first thing I'm going to tell her!

Finally, many, many thanks to all of those friends who've stood by me all this time!

And, a very special thanks again from the bottom of my heart to Rohit! You really made my day, sorry, my year, buddy! :)

Here's wishing everyone a very happy Durga Puja and Dusshera!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Facebook's down! Get 'social'!! For real!!!

If you happened to try log into Facebook tonight, am sure that you would encounter a strange message saying -- Service unavailable, DNS failure. The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later!


This gives all of us anti social beings an opportunity to really become social and call up or chat with our real life or 'real' friends! :)

Twitter is full of messages from users lamenting the fact that Facebook isn't currently working. In fact, the current global trends on Twiter shows topics such as:

* DNS failure.
* Facebook Isnt Working.
* Mark Zuckerberg.
* Service Unavailable.

One Twitter user has posted an interesting message, saying that since Facebook is down, it means that nine months from today, too many children will be born! Hahahahahahaa! Nice!!

Another tweet says, Facebook RIP 2004-2010. Sincerely, one hopes not!

Yet another says, 'Facebook is currently down with a DNS failure. Businesses are reporting a near impossible 480 percent increase in productivity.' Hilarious!

The Facebook page on Twitter has posted this note -- "Facebook may be slow or unavailable for some people because of site issues. We're working to fix this quickly."

One hopes that Facebook will be restored soon and everyone will be happy.

Update: Even as I was logging off this post, I tried Facebook, and it worked! I managed to log in and log out. Hope that friends across the world are able to do the same. Best wishes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spot fixing? What's wrong with these youngsters?

This post has much more to do with cricket! What a lovely game it is! Only, it is getting constantly tarnished by match fixing claims!

The most recent one being the Lords Test between England and Pakistan, where two of Pakistan's fast bowlers -- the hugely talented Mohammad Amir and the brilliant Mohammad Asif -- are said to be part of spot fixing! What did they do? They are said to have delivered no balls, during a specific time of the test match, and received some payment for it, as alleged by the News of the World in its telecast.

When I see Amir and Asif bowl in tandem in test matches, I wish India had such a pair of fast bowlers. But when I read about what they have 'supposedly done', I wince! Why? Just look at Amir, he is not even 20 years old! And Asif, barely 27!

Why is it so easy to sell you country for the love of money? Don't you love your country guys?

We in India are always very pleased to welcome and see cricketers from Pakistan in action. They have always been a talented bunch. And well, and India-Pakistan game has its own charm.

Post 26/11, all such bilateral tours have come to a standstill. Following a brutal attack by terrorists on a bus carrying Sri Lanka cricketers in Lahore in early 2009 has led to nearly every country boycotting Pakistan. And then, not a single player from Pakistan made it to IPL 3.

Given this status quo, it is a wonder whether we will see the likes of Amir and Asif bowl to greats such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid anytime soon in a test match in India.

What's wrong with these youngsters? Perhaps, it's the quick money, silly! Perhaps, it is the background they hail from, where youngsters want a better life for their families. Perhaps, at this age, their minds are really naive, and they are easy to fall into bad company.

Perhaps, youngsters of today need serious mentoring, a father figure to hold their hands and show the way.

Do not ever disrespect work!

If you do not like this headline, please do not read this piece! :) Cheers!

I had a friend with a very peculiar habit of disrespecting any work given to him. I always wondered why he had this nature! As I could understand, he always considered work = money, which is correct, but not completely. And, he probably did not respect the person who was bringing him all this work, simply because the money involved was perhaps, too small.

Neither was he a good communicator. He was either very slow or late to respond to messages to contact or call, which irked people no end! This led many times to him receiving angry messages, especially from his boss/mentor asking to get in touch at the earliest. And invariably, this led to verbal and personality clashes.

Further, in case the work was small, in terms of the money earned, the effort put in by this friend was either lacking or not quite visible. Also, there was a tendency to take such kind of work for granted.

Very soon, this friend lost projects he was working on, or could barely manage to sustain projects. Time and again, one aspect stood out -- the effort was seriously lacking. Finally, the mentor also gave up!

Work, which could have provided him with more opportunities to grow, turned on its head, and consumed him! No one wanted to give him any more work thereafter. It is frightening. However, he was lucky, and got into some other job. Hope he is doing fine now.

Work does not always equal money. You are getting the relevant experience to handle a variety of work. You are getting several networking opportunities, which will stand you in good stead in the years ahead -- provided, you respect your network. Next, you come into great association with a lot of people, and particularly, your good bosses and mentors -- if you have such people around you! Finally, knowledge, which is simply priceless!

No amount of money can buy these four things, ever! And, no amount of money can ever substitute either experience or knowledge!

I have a tendency of loosing my cool when I see such people who do not respect work. Maybe, I am wrong, and I will always be wrong. My behavior and action is not correct. I am not related to such people and should not loose my cool. I have lost friends as I used to loose my cool and say things, which I should not have said in the first place.

Today, some of those friends or people, who received my wrath sometime in the past, are doing quite well. Some among them have even cared to thank me for showing them the importance of work, however small it may have been.

For all such people, who think that work always equals money, here's an advice -- DO NOT EVER DISRESPECT WORK, and DO NOT DISRESPECT THE PERSON who is giving you that WORK.

No one knows what the future is going to be like. What you sow today, you will reap tomorrow. If you do not keep positive thoughts and maintain necessary action that is required for doing work, you will carry that negativity and lazy action on to your future jobs. You may even succeed for a while. But, not for long!

And that's when you will wish: hey, I should have listened to that voice, which wanted me to hear it! Chances are, that voice -- of another friend, or well wisher, or a mentor, or a teacher, or even your parent -- would have been lost by then!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New intelligent summarizing software provides solution to information overload

This was sent to me by Smarbee. You decide if it is worth a look!

OMAHA, USA: Smarbee Inc. has launched the GetRecap family of products, intelligent software that “reads” through documents and delivers meaningful, executive-level summaries – right on the desktop.

The family of products includes GetRecap for the education market, GetRecap PRO for the business market and GetRecap DOC that integrates with Microsoft Word. In addition to providing summaries, GetRecap PRO and GetRecap DOC identify keywords, phrases and themes, and allow the user to select words to exclude when summarizing.

All of the recaps delivered to the desktop provide links back to the original content. This saves the researcher time by knowing whether there is content of specific interest inherent in the document, and being able to get right to it to learn more.

“As the US economy becomes dominated by knowledge workers, more and more people are responsible for research and analysis,” said Kelly L. Kirchhoff, CEO of Smarbee. “The information explosion caused by digital media means people have to sift through mountains of information to do their jobs. The GetRecap family of products is the hot, new software available now that helps them do their jobs well, saving time – and money. There really is nothing else like this in North America.”

According to a March 2007 report titled “The Expanding Digital Universe,” the amount of digital information created, captured and replicated in 2005 was 151 billion gigabytes, which is about three million times the information in all the books ever written. That number has now increased six-fold to 988 billion gigabytes.

The GetRecap family of products digests most digital documents, including
Word DOCs, PDFs, html, website pages and more.

Free 30-day trials are available via GetRecap PRO sells for $199.00 for a lifetime license. GetRecap is available for $49.00.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Enterprise 2.0 – drop the Web 2.0 myths

This one's an Ovum comment! Up you, to agree or disagree, folks!

Dr. Steve Hodgkinson, Research Director, Ovum.

AUSTRALIA: When Enterprise 2.0 first hit the radar, many of us were excited by the new social collaboration tools and their power to usher in new collaborative behaviors.

Some of this promise has indeed been realized. The market for Enterprise 2.0 software is strong and growing, with social computing functionality such as profiles, wikis, blogs, microblogs, tagging, and presence now widely available, both in specialized Enterprise 2.0 products and embedded into office productivity and unified communications suites.

Organizations that are happy with their Enterprise 2.0 platforms find that they actually do lubricate interactions in ways that earlier, more rigid, groupware and content management solutions did not.

Sustaining participation in Enterprise 2.0 is harder than it first appeared
While some organizations naturally embrace the collaborative paradigm that lies behind Enterprise 2.0, others remain recalcitrant. Participation in Enterprise 2.0 platforms can be slow to take off and fragile once the initial burst of enthusiasm from the passionate is over. It is becoming apparent that many organizations find it more difficult than it first appeared to sustain an architecture of participation in the workplace in the way that it appears to happen naturally in the Web 2.0 world.

Challenge the myths
One theme that is emerging more clearly is the folly of assuming that innovations and behaviors that work in the consumer realm will simply self propagate in the enterprise. In the consumer realm anything goes, and whatever survives and prospers is deemed to be “good”.

The enterprise realm, however, is more constrained in its purpose and population. Enterprises exist to pursue their mission, and are rife with processes and behaviors that stifle the social dynamics that exist in the wilds of the Internet.

It is time to confront some common myths. Enterprise 2.0 is not just about appealing to “Generation Y” and digital natives – we must engage workers of all ages. Not all people will leap to Enterprise 2.0 platforms without training and support. Not everyone in the workplace loves hyper-transparency.

It is not OK that 1 percent write, 9 percent comment, and 90 percent passively consume; workplace collaboration needs more pervasive participation to be useful. Not everyone is naturally collaborative – collaborating, or not, is a learned behavior at work. Collaboration doesn’t necessarily “just happen” when a platform is provided.

Web 2.0 is a survival-of-the-fittest jungle, where people opt in to sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn for their own self-actualization and entertainment. Enterprise 2.0 is a designed, purposeful space, where particular behaviors and activities need to be created and nurtured.

Think like a gardener, not an engineer
Enterprise 2.0 requires a different approach to traditional IT systems implementation. Implementing a transaction processing system can be viewed as an engineering task because the users really have no choice. They must use the system to do their jobs. User participation in Enterprise 2.0 platforms, in contrast, is entirely voluntary. People choose to collaborate, or not.

Organizations that are experiencing disappointing outcomes with Enterprise 2.0 need to take a fresh look at how they are going about it.

Thinking like a gardener rather than an engineer is helpful. Choose the right business problem to solve, create the initial structure sensitively, seed the conversations, moderate them carefully to stimulate engagement and shape behavior, show commitment to “feeding and weeding” the collaboration, acknowledge good behaviors, and manage the lifecycle of topics and threads to keep things vibrant.

Successful implementation of an Enterprise 2.0 initiative is a social thing. It is all about changing people’s behavior. Enterprise 2.0 platforms are simply the gardener’s tools – if the garden dies it is seldom the tool’s fault.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My WOT (Web of Trust) rank is higher than some leading sites!

I just signed up for WOT -- or Web of Trust -- for a month! In fact, I'd been seeing this sign across several web sites for some time now, and was wondering whether I could check and see how my blog was ranked on the web.

What's WOT?
According to the site, Web of Trust (WOT) is the world's leading community-based, free safe surfing tool that helps all web users stay safe as they search, surf and shop online.

The WOT add-on tells you which sites you can trust when using Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia and other popular sites. Web site ratings are powered by a global community of millions of trustworthy users who have rated millions of websites based on their experiences. The free add-on works with Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer and is a free download.

WOT Trust Seals?
WOT Trust Seal helps all web sites, especially e-commerce, use their excellent reputation to increase sales, stand out from the competition and manage their reputation. Reputation data comes from the world's leading community-based safe surfing tool, Web of Trust.

The WOT Trust Seal show visitors that you are trusted and give them the confidence to buy, click and sign-in online.

My WOT rank is better than several leading sites!
Well, I signed up and it offered me WOT Trust Certificate for free, for a month. Thereafter, one is supposed to pay, should one wishes to carry on!

There's a box on WOT, which allows you to check your website's reputation. Naturally, I checked for my site, as well as the ones I have been associated with recently, as well as in the past.

To my sheer surprise and delight, I am pleased inform you that my WOT rankings for Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog (Pradeep's Point) is either on par with or better than some well known websites such as CIOL, EM Asia, Voice & Data, ISA Online, Elcina, etc. NASSCOM and MAIT are understandably ahead.

I am also very happy to learn that is ahead of me -- or alternatively, I've more work to do to catch up with it! However, I'm wondering how Global Sources is trailing me, although EE Times Asia is ahead. Also, Wireless Week is trailing me. Wonder why! I also believe that the rankings keep changing by the day, if not hour.

I'm not really sure why some of the country's leading websites are trailing me. My guess is: they have not been rated by WOT users. Or, what most folks dread: their sites are incorrectly rated, and sometimes, as a prank, not rated properly at all! For instance, you know a site deserves a good rating, but as a prank and fun -- or simply to play the fool, you give it a low rating.

Nevertheless, I am really grateful to have been considered someone to trust by people. Ranks don't matter much; it is the trust of people that matters more!

WOT is a great initiative by WOT Services Oy, a Finnish company, to make the Web a much safer place and to let us all know what are the best practices to follow on the Web. And yes, word of mouth remains the best agent to enhance your reputation online and in life. Best of luck, my friends.

Friday, July 9, 2010

CIOs should have a plan in place now to tackle a second economic downturn

This one's from Gartner. Don't quite agree, but nevertheless, enjoy!

STAMFORD, USA: In 2008, most CIOs were forgiven for being unprepared to deal with the global recession, but if another recession unfolds in the next 12-18 months, no CIO will be forgiven for being unprepared a second time, according to Gartner Inc.

In May 2010, investor doubts about the health of the global economy returned to the world's capital markets with a vengeance. The possibility of nations defaulting on repaying massive loans, high unemployment rates, depressed housing prices, limited access to consumer and business credit, a growing belief that a sustained economic recovery may not be possible this year, and an array of other factors have all combined to shake investor confidence to its core.

As these and other factors were unfolding, many economists were still maintaining that 2010 and beyond would be a period of modest recovery and growth. Because so much uncertainty exists about the sustainability of the current recovery, CIOs should confront such uncertainty with clear and decisive action. They should augment current near-term plans by preparing for a second recession.

"Just the potential for a second business downturn should be sufficient to compel CIOs to plan for another business downturn," said Ken McGee, vice president and Gartner fellow. "However, most CIOs will not have a response strategy prepared if a second business downturn occurs."

McGee said CIOs today are uniquely placed to tackle a second economic downturn, if they plan accordingly.

"As questions, or even doubts, grow about the ability for economies to recover, CIOs in 2010 have one advantage over their predecessors. For the first time in the history of the IT industry, more than 90 percent of CIOs today possess extremely recent and practical experience dealing with a recession," McGee said.

"In light of this fact, we strongly urge these recession-hardened CIOs to leverage their recently acquired and economic battle-scarred experiences by proactively preparing their entire enterprises should another economic downturn occur within the next 12 to 18 months."

Gartner recommends that CIOs take the following key actions to ensure that their enterprises are best placed to weather any potential financial storms over the next 12 to 18 months:

Enlist C-Level Action Now: As IT leaders learned from the recent recession, executives will once again have to make a multitude of decisions to minimize the effects of a second business downturn. Because most official national recession declarations are announced well after the actual start of a recession, IT leaders should suggest that their enterprise executives convene now, so that business downturn response guidelines may be established before capital markets, customers, suppliers, creditors, etc. panic in the wake of bad economic news.

Focus on the Current Fiscal Year: To save money as quickly as possible in the event of another business downturn, CIOs should work with executives to determine which IT projects scheduled and approved under the current IT budget may be postponed and which may be entirely canceled. Likewise, once all projects for the next fiscal year are identified, CIOs should determine which of those projects may be postponed and which may be entirely canceled.

Focus on the Next Fiscal Year: Once all projects for 2011 are identified, simultaneously determine which of those 2011 projects are relatively expendable and, therefore, may be postponed and which may be canceled, should deteriorating business conditions warrant such steps. Of course, the decision process for determining which projects may be postponed or canceled must include an assessment of the contractual exposures that may exist or arise with IT vendors for hardware, software and services.

Use Zero-Based Budgeting for Projects: As CIOs begin preparing for their 2011 budgets, they should adopt zero-based budgeting for projects in 2011. CIOs need to strongly suggest to C-level executives that all business unit executives sign documents affirming their understanding of:
* The one-time costs that will be incurred to implement their 2011 projects; and
* The annual recurring costs required to maintain those projects once they are completed.

Use Zero-Based Budgeting for Existing Applications: CIOs should compile an inventory of existing applications that are maintained by the IT staff and assign a reasonable estimate of the annual cost incurred to maintain each application. Once calculated, Gartner recommends having the business unit executives sign a document affirming their understanding of the estimated annual cost for overseeing and maintaining their applications.
"Our bottom-line advice is to prepare the 'second recession' plan, rehearse the 'second recession' plan and hope that you never have to use the 'second recession' plan," McGee said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I've been ranked on IndiBlogger!

I had chanced upon IndiBlogger just last month and well, became a member! Rather, my flagship blog on Wordpress -- Pradeep's Point -- was only approved as recently as May 29th.

Today, I received an email from IndiBlogger stating that my blog had been ranked 83rd among all Indian blogs! Of course, there are several bloggers who share a rank. Wow, that's brilliant! For someone who has not really gone about publicizing his blog -- at least for the first two years -- this is a real treat!

As per IndiBlogger, IndiRank is like runs in a game of cricket - the higher the score, the higher ranking one has! Blogs are ranked on a scale of 1-100. So, I hope the 83rd rank means that I am on the higher side! ;)

According to IndiBlogger, its IndiRank system has been built to rank the blogs in the IndiBlogger network. Although IndiBlogger manually verifies each and every blog, and correctly so, before it's allowed into the network, the IndiRank system is said to be completely automated.

Well, I only managed to find one other person blogging about semiconductors -- which is my main subject. So, does that make me no. 2 in that area? I don't really know!

Also, according to IndiBlogger, it has combined traditional ranking mechanisms such as a blog's Google PageRank, Incoming links and Alexa ranking. The system also checks to see the frequency at which a blog is updated -- well, I definitely try and update frequently -- as well as two other secret ingredients. Some of these factors have more weightage than the rest.

Fair enough! I am happy with whatever rank I can manage inside a fortnight or so of my joining. Thanks a lot, IndiBlogger.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Google Places helps build your online presence!

Google Places has not really impressed me! It could have been much better! Perhaps, I go back a long time in web development, hence, this impression.

I was part of a significantly huge exercise at Global Sources, Hong Kong, back in the late 1990s in developing the search engine -- specifically, developing a four-layer deep search, as well as the product specifications search for the massive site I independently managed -- Global Sources Telecom Products -- along with my colleague, Len Sangalang. Of course, all of this was made possible with the guidance of Raj, and Rita's assistance with the actual web development, and the backing of Spenser Au and Daniel Tam. We were trying to achieve all of this before GSOL was listed on the NASDAQ on 14 April 2000. Hence, the tremendous pressure and rush to complete all of our projects!

In those days, thanks to the backing of Raj Gopinath and Rob Nelson -- my bosses, I had actually rolled out four big sites under Telecom Products -- incorporating Wireless, Broadband, Telephones & Systems, and Telecom Accessories & Parts -- all of this inside one month -- post the NASDAQ listing of GSOL! Hope, my friend, Romy Udanga (in Auckland, New Zealand) is reading this post, as he also made this happen, by passing my proposal!

We had a lot of SMEs in place as well, and had to really do a lot of hard work. Remember, in those days, there was no Google, Yahoo was coming up, and well, there were no good models of online search and web presence. We did it all by ourselves! Heady days, those! Okay, let me get back to Google Places!!

Having said all that, Google Places is a cool Web tool for startups and those looking to make a very quick online presence, especially on Google! It is especially useful for those who do not want to invest in a website, but can have an online presence about their business up and running in a matter of less than five minutes!

Google Places, previously known as Local Business Center, helps a company verify and supplement business information, including hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons and product information, etc., thereby providing a way to communicate with customers. It will give businesses new insights that enable should them to make smart decisions.

Giving a demo of Google Places, Manik Gupta, product manager, Google India Pvt Ltd, highlighted the really easy procedure that anyone can use to set up the online presence. The best thing is: all of this comes free!

According to him, India is a nation of small entrepreneurs and it is estimated that there are more than 30 million small businesses in India. However, only a fraction of these are online.

He added: "We have also observed that one out of five searches on Google is related to a user's location, and very often people are looking for local businesses. As small businesses in India are realizing the advantages of having an online presence, Google Places is the ideal solution since it’s free and easy. The growth of Google Places in India has been phenomenal and we have seen over 40 percent growth in businesses registering on Google Places over the past six months."

The online presence is a customer verified listing, based on the information provided by the customer. Thereafter, Google crawls through all of the relevant information associated with the content provided by a company/entity, and summarizes it for the user. This concept is called a 'place page.'

Once you've signed up for your page, an SMS is sent to your mobile phone containing a PIN, which the user is required to add in the relevant place. Gupta added: "We do not believe in regulating. Users would need to verify themselves."

There's no provision as yet, to directly link to your Twitter or Facebook accounts, although, you could use your social media web address -- as a web address, if required, while filling up the information table.

Google is not looking at monetizing Google Places in India at the moment. At some point, it may introduce certain relevant products.

I wonder whether Google could work with the leading B2B and/or B2C websites of the world and extend Google Places. A debate regarding who controls the content may arise, but then, it is expected that such issues can be sorted out. Best of luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Worldwide IT spending to grow 5.3pc in 2010

This release is from Gartner!

STAMFORD, USA: Worldwide IT spending is forecast to reach $3.4 trillion in 2010, a 5.3 percent increase from IT spending of $3.2 trillion in 2009, according to Gartner, Inc. The IT industry will continue to show steady growth with IT spending in 2011 projected to surpass $3.5 trillion, a 4.2 percent increase from 2010.

"Following strong fourth quarter sales, an unseasonably robust hardware supply chain in the first quarter of 2010, combined with continued improvement in the global economy, sets up 2010 for solid IT spending growth," said Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner.

"However, it's important to note that nearly 4 percentage points of this growth will be the result of a projected decline in the value of the dollar relative to last year. IT spending in exchange-rate-adjusted dollars will still grow 1.6 percent this year, after declining 1.4 percent in 2009."

Worldwide computing hardware spending is forecast to reach $353 billion in 2010, a 5.7 percent increase from 2009 (see Table 1). Robust consumer spending on mobile PCs will drive hardware spending in 2010. Enterprise hardware spending will grow again in 2010, but it will remain below its 2008 level through 2014.

Spending on storage will enjoy the fastest growth in terms of enterprise spending as the volume of enterprise data that needs to be stored continues to increase. Near-term spending on servers will be concentrated on lower-end servers; longer-term, server spending will be curtailed by virtualization, consolidation and, potentially, cloud computing.

"Computing hardware suffered the steepest spending decline of the four major IT spending category segments in 2009. However, it is now forecast to enjoy the joint strongest rebound in 2010," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

"Consumer PC spending will contribute nearly 4 percentage points of hardware spending growth in 2010, powered by strong consumer spending on mobile PCs. Additionally, professional PC spending will contribute just over 1 percentage point of spending growth in 2010 as organizations begin their migration to Windows 7 toward the end of the year."

Table 1: Worldwide IT Spending Forecast (Billions of US Dollars)Source: Gartner (April 2010)

Worldwide software spending is expected to total $232 billion in 2010, a 5.1 percent increase from last year. Gartner analysts said the impact of the recession on the software industry was tempered and not as dramatic as other IT markets. In 2010, the majority of enterprise software markets will see positive growth.

The infrastructure market, which includes all the software to build, run and manage an enterprise, is the largest segment in terms of revenue and the fastest-growing through the 2014. The hottest software segments through 2014 include virtualization, security, data integration/data quality and business intelligence.

The applications market, which includes personal productivity and packaged enterprise applications, has some of the fastest-growth segments. Web conferencing, team collaboration and enterprise content management are forecast to have double-digit compound annual growth rates (CAGR), in the face of growing competition surrounding social networking and content.

"Cost optimization, and the shifts in spending form mega suites to the automation of processes will continue to benefit alternative software acquisition models as organizations will look for ways to shift spending from capital expenditures to operating expenditures," said Joanne Correia, managing vice president at Gartner.

"Because of this, vendors offering software as a service (SaaS), IT asset management, virtualization capabilities and that have a good open-source strategy will continue to benefit. We also see mobile-device support or applications, as well as cloud services driving new opportunities."

The worldwide IT services industry is forecast to have spending reach $821 billion in 2010, up 5.7 percent from 2009. The industry experienced some growth in reported outsourcing revenue at the close of 2009, an encouraging sign for service providers, which Gartner analysts believe will spread to consulting and system integration in 2010.

"We continue to see a long-term recession 'hangover' as a more-cautious mind-set continues as the norm among a lot of buyers who keep looking for small, safe deals where cost take-out is a key factor, said Kathryn Hale, research vice president at Gartner. "In the face of that ongoing strong pressure to renegotiate contracts, and in the absence of equivalent pressure from stockholders, we believe vendors will generally choose to maintain margins over revenue growth."

Worldwide telecom spending is on pace to total close to $2 trillion in 2010, a 5.1 percent increase from 2009. Between 2010 and 2014, the mobile device share of the telecom market is expected to increase from 11 percent to 14 percent, while the service share drops from 80 percent to 77 percent and the infrastructure share remains stable at 9 percent of the total market.

Worldwide enterprise network services spending is forecast to grow 2 percent in revenue in 2010, but Gartner analysts said this masks ongoing declines in Europe and many other mature markets as well as an essentially flat North American market.

"Longer term, the global enterprise network services market is expected to grow modestly, largely on the back of growth in Internet services, such as hosting," said Peter Kjeldsen, research director at Gartner. "Ethernet services will also grow significantly, albeit at the expense of both legacy services and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS)."

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I've moved to

Okay, this should have been done long ago! As they say, better late than never!

I have now moved my flagship blogspot blog to a proper domain -- again, using my name as I really don't know what else to use! :) Maybe, it will be easier for people to search by my name as they are already familiar with my blog's name for so long.

The new address is: Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog.

The link is already working, although Google indicated that it will take a couple of days. So, thanks a lot, Google.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Storage software market has typical Q4 jump, as well as slight increase from last year

This is courtesy, IDC.

FRAMINGHAM, USA: According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Storage Software Tracker, the worldwide storage software market experienced a slight increase in year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 (4Q09) with revenues of $3.09 billion, representing 0.5 percent growth over the same quarter one year ago, as well as 6.3 percent growth from the previous quarter (3Q09).

"The storage software market was able to increase in typical fourth quarter fashion, with all top six vendors showing positive growth from the third quarter," said Michael Margossian, associate research analyst, Storage Software at IDC. "Data protection and recovery was once again a strong market with the top four vendors showing growth from a year ago. IBM had the strongest year-over-year growth with revenues up 19.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008, while EMC enjoyed the greatest gains over the third quarter – a 13.1 percent increase – with the help of strong hardware growth."

"Sequential and year-over-year growth has returned for storage software, suggesting the market has started to show signs of recovery, said Laura DuBois, research director, Storage Software. "Another sign that bodes well for the segment is that, as storage consumes larger portions of IT budgets, driven by the exponential growth of data, the need for storage management and efficiency increases. Into 2010, storage capital investments are aimed at making more efficient and reliable use of data, data storage, and data management resources."

EMC led the overall market with 23.7 percent revenue share in the fourth quarter of 2009. Symantec held onto the second position with 17.5 percent revenue share, while IBM finished in the third position with 13.2 percent revenue share. NetApp finished in the fourth position with 7.9 percent revenue share, while HP and CA rounded out the top 5 with a statistical tie with 3.9 percent and 3.8 percent revenue share, respectively.
For the full year 2009, EMC led the overall market with 22.7 percent revenue share. Symantec held onto the second position with 17.9 percent revenue share, with IBM finishing in the third position with 13.5 percent revenue share. NetApp finished in the fourth position with 8 percent revenue share, along with CA rounding out the top five with 4 percent market share in 2009.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Deloitte's top trends for technology industry for 2010

This is courtesy, Deloitte.

BANGALORE, INDIA: The Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice at Deloitte announced its 2010 predictions for the technology sector, forecasting that 2010 will be the breakout year for net tablets.

The connected portable devices are expected to offer a more appealing balance of form and function, and are anticipated to be purchased by tens of millions of people in the year ahead.

Rajarshi Sengupta, Senior Director, Deloitte & Touche Consulting comments: “The rise of the net tablet could constrain the growth of the nascent e-reader market. For every million net tablets sold there will be a corresponding impact on e-readers. We also predict that in 2010 many enterprise purchasing decisions will be based more on the preferences of individual employees, rather than traditional IT department criteria.”

Deloitte also forecasts that Virtual Desk Infrastructure, a computing model based on thin or stateless clients, centralised applications and processing power, will be taken far more seriously than in previous years. An anticipated 1 million seats are expected to go thin client in 2010, with the largest deployments involving tens of thousands of seats. By 2015, thin client may reach 10 percent of all enterprise client devices.

The CleanTech sector’s performance is anticipated to be mixed, according to Deloitte. Although solar demand is likely to grow strongly in 2010 and 2011, some subsidy cuts and cheaper-than-expected electricity rates may prevent that growth from being as strong as some might hope. It is expected that the solar technology subsector will be outperformed by the broader CleanTech industry.

Rajarshi Sengupta said: “2010 will also see the world’s first laboratory scale carbon-negative cement plant delivering significant reductions in global CO2 emissions. In contrast, solar power technology could struggle in 2010 due to the cost of solar equipment, tools and raw materials, overcapacity and weak economics.”

Thinking thin is in again: virtual desktop infrastructures challenge the PC
Deloitte predicts that in 2010 thin client will be taken far more seriously than in previous years, even if it does not outsell its thick client counterpart. Over the next five years, thin client should reach 10 percent of organisations’ computers, with the majority of medium to large businesses considering a shift to virtual desktop infrastructure.

Thin client can help to deliver direct savings by minimising and making IT support and maintenance more efficient, as well as reducing hardware costs and licensing fees. There are other less tangible benefits to virtual desktop infrastructure including; mobility, increased productivity, lower real estate costs, lower power consumption and better security.

Those charged with deploying thin client may need to convince workers who begrudge the lack of a local hard disk drive that pure forms of thin client entails. However, abetted by a backdrop of recession or slow recovery, employers may consider it a good opportunity to reshape working conditions.

IT procurement stands on its head
In the past, technology and telecommunications hardware and software manufacturers have targeted products to the enterprise market, specifically the gate-keeping IT department. In 2010, many enterprise purchasing decisions will be based more on the preferences of individual employees.

With the rise of the ‘prosumer’—employees who buy a phone for both work and play—more and more enterprises are likely to allow employees to choose their own phones, or at least allow prosumer-selected phones to integrate better with enterprise networks.

Enterprise-focused vendors will need to alter sales techniques originally designed to sell to monolithic buyers whose concerns were enterprise in scale. While IT departments will have to become more flexible, best practices are still necessary, such as deleting data on employees’ devices if they change jobs.

Also, given the faddish nature of consumer sentiment, processes that reduce product churn will be needed. The future of many enterprise computing and telecom tools will likely involve compromises between work and personal life, that is, employees being available 24/7 but allowed to choose their own smartphone.

CleanTech makes a comeback. But solar stays in the shadows
After the CleanTech industry’s near-collapse during the economic crisis, government stimulus and investor interest has caused a sharp recovery. However, not all areas are sharing the bounty.

Although the CleanTech Index is up 75 percent since its market lows, the view for the dominant solar technology—crystalline silicon photovoltaic (C-Si PV)—and its infrastructure is less positive in the next year or two. Currently, C-Si PV faces two challenges that could limit its recovery: overcapacity and weak economics.

Prior to the 2008 economic downturn, governments created a spike in demand for C-Si PV manufacturing capacity and installation. Capacity expansion continues unabated, largely in China and the United States. By 2010, over-capacity will mean C-Si PV utilisation will be barely above 25 percent.

The economic crisis has also caused conventional energy prices to be lower than forecasted and some developers of PV installations are seeing payback on investment remain at around 15 to 20 years without subsidies. Consumers and utilities will benefit from the significant drop in PV silicon prices, making solar more affordable for those with longer-term investment horizons.

From grey to green: technology re-invents cement
In 2010, technology’s contribution to CO2 reduction could result in electric cars, more efficient airplanes and leaner data centres. Yet there is another largely-overlooked industrial segment that may deliver equal benefit: cement. Cement production represents about 5 percent of global emissions – almost double that of the aviation sector – but is an essential driver of economic growth.

2010 should see the world’s first laboratory scale carbon-negative cement plant, with an industrial scale plant expected in 2011. The total resulting reduction in global CO2 emissions and construction costs could be significant. The full benefits of carbon-negative cement could be realised after five to 10 years, with sidewalks and driveways likely to be the first carbon negative constructions rather than skyscrapers.

Smaller than a netbook, and bigger than a smartphone – net tablets arrive
NetTabs, connected portable devices will be purchased by tens of millions of people in 2010. These devices have an advantage over smartphones—which are small for watching videos or web browsing—and notebooks, netbooks, and ultra-thin PCs, which are too heavy or expensive.

The likes of Apple and Microsoft teaming up with Hewlett-Packard, are anticipated to launch their products early this year, following news out of the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2010. Custom-designed tablets are also likely to be released by start-ups, some existing phone and PC makers, netbook leaders, and various smaller manufacturers using open-source phone operating systems.

Since netTabs are designed to connect wirelessly over WiFi, wireless carriers are likely to try to push users off cellular networks and onto WiFi as much as possible. NetTabs are also more expensive than most smartphones, and consumers are likely to demand big upfront subsidies.

Moore’s Law is alive and well in 2010
Despite forecasts of a gloomier scenario, Moore’s Law will probably work in 2010, with advances allowing for greater transistor density. However, this may not yield more powerful chips. Moore’s Law — the traditional ability of the global semiconductor industry to double the number of transistors in a square centimetre of silicon every 18-24 months — is not expected to come to a screeching halt in 2010, or even slow down.

The increased density is unlikely to be used to produce larger or more computationally powerful chips. Instead, “good enough” chips that are smaller, use less electricity and cost less money could emerge. With current growth of lower cost laptops and ultra low-cost netbooks, the next generations of PC chips are likely to be optimised for price, with consideration given to power consumption, but little focus on performance.

Other hot markets - smartphones, and perhaps tablets - will likely be optimised for power consumption, and possibly price, however, performance will be almost irrelevant. Although some chips will remain performance-driven, this segment may not see much growth.

Many IT applications (server farms, etc.) are large users of electrical power, so more efficient chips are a good thing. New equipment that uses less electricity and requires less cooling may allow for re-architected or larger data centres without necessitating increased refrigeration or power supplies.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Strong rebound for domestic Indian IT services market: Ovum

INDIA: Ovum, the global ICT advisory and consulting firm, predicts 2010 to be a good year for the domestic Indian IT Services market.

According to a market sizing and forecasting model titled “India Market Trends 2009: IT services forecast”, the Indian IT Services market is anticipated to grow about 23 percent during 2010. Despite the positive outlook, the market will not see pre-recessionary growth levels until the tail end of the forecast period in 2013.

End users are expected to remain cautious with discretionary spending not picking up until 2011. By the end of the forecast period in 2013, the Indian IT services market will grow to over $24 billion, from $11 billion in 2010, mainly propelled by large e-governance projects being undertaken by central government.

2008 was a particularly buoyant year for the Indian IT Services market as strong economic growth helped propel IT spending. However, the latter part of 2008 and 2009 witnessed slowing growth as the global economic crisis made customers tighten purse strings. But India never technically went into recession, and with the global economy on its way to recovery, economic activity has also picked up in India.

"The recession did impact the IT services market in India, with spending growth across all service lines witnessing a decline. However, growth in the Indian IT Services market is picking up as customers have renewed spending and are putting out work that was on hold during the past year. The resilience of the Indian economy and its rapid progress to normalisation should bring more investment, driving growth in the sector," commented Hansa Iyengar, co-author of the forecast, who is based out of Ovum’s India office.

"The pent-up demand from key verticals has resulted in a strong rebound. Still, the market remains fragmented with the top 10 vendors accounting for only 33 percent market share. We anticipate deal sizes to get larger as customers look at the consolidating contracts to reap greater cost benefits which ought to play well to the strength of the top vendors in the region," added co-author Nishant Singh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Symantec 2010 state of the data center study shows mid-sized enterprises emerging as data center vanguards

This release is courtesy, Symantec

BANGALORE, INDIA: Symantec Corp. released the India findings of its 2010 State of the Data Center study.

Now in its third year, the study found that mid-sized enterprises (2,000 to 9,999 employees) are more likely to adopt cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, de-duplication, replication, storage virtualization, and continuous data protection than small or large enterprises to reduce IT costs and manage increasing complexity.

Further, mid-sized enterprise data centers show more activity, with more IT managers predicting major changes to the data center and new applications in 2010. Mid-sized enterprises also place a higher importance on staffing and training than their small or large enterprise counterparts.

“Although mid-sized enterprises tend to evaluate and adopt new technologies at a faster rate than larger organizations, they still face similar data center complexities that are compounded by adopting new initiatives,” said Anand Naik, director, systems engineering, Symantec. “Standardizing on cross-platform solutions that can manage new technologies and automate processes will drive immediate cost reduction and make their jobs easier in the long run.”

Study highlights:
* Mid-sized enterprises are more aggressive and pioneering than either small or large enterprises. They are adopting new technology initiatives such as cloud computing, replication, and de-duplication at 10-15 percent higher rates than small or large enterprises.

* Top data center concerns include increased complexity and too many applications. Most enterprises have 10 or more data center initiatives rated as somewhat or absolutely important and fifty percent expect “significant” changes to their data centers in 2010. Half of all the enterprises say applications are growing somewhat/quickly and half of them are finding it difficult and costly to meet service level agreements (SLAs).

One-third of all enterprises say staff productivity is hampered by too many applications. Adding to the complexity is the continued increase in data causing 52 percent of organizations to consider data reduction technologies such as de-duplication. Controlling storage growth is also one of the major data center objectives for Indian mid- sized enterprises for 2010. Forty-six percent of enterprises consider that controlling storage growth is an absolute requirement while another 32 percent think it is somewhat important for 2010.

* Security, backup and recovery, and continuous data protection are the most important initiatives in 2010, ahead of virtualization. Sixty-eight percent of enterprises rated security somewhat or absolutely important. Sixty-two percent said backup and recovery is somewhat/absolutely important and 60 percent rated continuous data protection as one of their top initiatives.

* Staffing and budgets remain tight with half of all enterprises reporting they are somewhat/extremely understaffed. Finding budget and qualified applicants are the biggest recruiting issues. Seventy-nine percent of enterprises have the same or more job requisitions open this year.

* There continues to be room for improvement in disaster recovery (DR). One-third of disaster recovery plans are undocumented or need work and important IT components, such as cloud computing, remote office and virtual servers are often not included. Compounding the issue, almost one-third of enterprises haven’t re-evaluated their disaster recovery plan in the last 12 months. But at the same time, 65 percent of the companies seemed confident on their organization's DR plan unlike last year.

* Software that supports heterogeneous environments and eliminates islands of information is particularly important for mid-sized enterprises that are aggressively adopting new technologies because they can reduce complexity in the data center.
Organizations should deploy de-duplication closer to the information source to eliminate redundant data and reduce storage and network costs.

* Data center administrators need to manage storage across heterogeneous server and storage environments in a way that enables them to stop buying storage by leveraging new technology adoption such as storage resource management, thin provisioning, de-duplication, storage virtualization and continuous data protection and recovery. Organizations leveraging a holistic approach to storage management can control storage budget growth and often postpone storage purchases.

* Disaster recovery testing is invaluable, but can significantly impact business. Enterprises should seek to improve the success of testing by evaluating and implementing testing methods which are non-disruptive.

* Organizations should deploy a single, unified platform for physical and virtual machine protection to simplify information management.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Forrester: IT spending to rebound in 2010

Happy new year, dear friends. Here's a release from Forrester, for the enterprises.

CAMBRIDGE, USA: After a dismal performance in 2009, the technology sector will see a recovery in 2010 as businesses and governments in the US and around the world begin spending again on information technology, according to a new report by Forrester Research Inc.

After declining 8.2 percent in 2009, US IT spending will grow 6.6 percent in 2010 to $568 billion. Global IT spending, which dropped 8.9 percent last year, will rise 8.1 percent in 2010 to more than $1.6 trillion. Software and computer hardware will see the greatest growth, as Forrester forecasts a new multi-year cycle of technology investment growth and innovation defined by Smart Computing. The Forrester forecast provides Vendor Strategy professionals with recommendations regarding how to align their sales and marketing efforts to the current and future environment for IT spending.

“The technology downturn of 2008 and 2009 is unofficially over,” said Andrew Bartels, Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst. “All the pieces are in place for a 2010 tech spending rebound. In the US, the tech recovery will be much stronger than the overall economic recovery, with technology spending growing at more than twice the rate of gross domestic product (GDP) this year.”

With regard to sector growth, hardware and software will lead the charge. Measured in US dollars, global purchases of computer equipment will be up 8.2 percent, communications equipment buying will rise by 7.6 percent, software spending will increase by 9.7 percent, purchases of IT consulting and systems integration services will grow by 6.8 percent, and IT outsourcing services will be 7.1 percent higher.

On a regional basis, Europe will be the strongest performing region. Measured in US dollars, the strongest growth in 2010 will be in Western and Central Europe, where tech purchases will rise by 11.2 percent, boosted by the dollar’s decline against the euro. IT purchases in Canada will grow by 9.9 percent, Asia Pacific by 7.8 percent, and Latin America by 7.7 percent. The weakest market will be Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, rising by just 2.4 percent.

When measured against local currency, however, the US will actually post the strongest growth of all the regional tech markets.

“We are entering a new six- to seven-year cycle of IT growth and innovation that Forrester calls Smart Computing,” said Bartels. “New technologies of awareness married to advanced business intelligence analytics make computing smart. Smart Computing rests on new foundation technologies such as service-oriented architecture, server and storage virtualization, cloud computing, and unified communications. 2010 marks the beginning of this next phase of technology advancement.”