The Cupertino CA voicemail software developer Adomo has 50 enterprise deployments in legal, insurance and accounting markets where employees are highly skilled and highly mobile. Although not a particularly significant statistic, since many voicemail vendors have thousands of deployments, it is important with respect to the segment that the company focuses on: large enterprises, each with over 1,000 employees, multiple locations and multiple vendors providing telephony infrastructures.
When I rolled out email to my children in 1998, I was very conscious of email security. My youngest son was 8 at the time while his oldest sister was only 13. They had had a computer in their bedrooms for three years or so, but Internet service was pervasive in our house for only for a short while.
Being a careful parent, I briefed each of them on ten (or so) rules that I had prepared to make their use of email a safe and pleasant experience. I even posted it near their computers for easy reference in large fonts. Rules like always use correct grammar, never leave your email address on a website without parent approval, don't reply to emails from people I don't know and never click on emails sent to you from people you don't know, ask if in doubt...
in any event, being a child in the age of the Internet, satellite TV, Instant Messaging and SMS is tough enough without the worries of inoculating children against the risk of nasty emails.
For a more automated approach, the folks at the email hygiene processor Only My Email have launched a service designed for parents to help their children enjoy their email experience without fear of abuse, phishing or fear of spam. It's called www.ome-kids.com and it's webmail with rules that parents will love. I met Steven Canale, the President of OnlyMyEmail on the phone and we discussed the challenges of helping children have a positive email experience.
In mid-September there are normally many interesting displays at the Museum of Natural History in New York. A few were available only to IBM invited customers and analysts. Of course, Mike Rhodin made much of the pun of instead of having Lotus Sphere, we were participating in Lotus under the Sphere (of the Planetarium). Great venue though, although a little expensive from the financial district, but hey, I almost got into the 'Cash Cab' or one that looked like it and mid-September is a great time to be tooling around NYC.
My favorite display was the 'Lotus Expediter for mobile' exhibit. Here, Michael Masterson showed me Sametime and Connections together in a mashup using Google Maps (screen shot mockup on the left) on a Windows Mobile device. Expediter and the Eclipse framework are Lotus' push into the new paradigm of composite applications.
With only a few lines of code, the availability of location-sensitive information makes user realtime navigation an accessible solution. Michael made it clear that this was not a product demonstration. Instead, it was a technology demonstration showing what the Expediter could do for extending the functionality of Sametime onto mobile devices. Granted, the navigation service is really, really cool, I found the IM and Presence capabilities useful for business.
In fact other research that I have done in 2006 shows just how useful mobile IM is to business users.
Michael did make it clear that the goal was to show the power of the Eclipse framework and Expediter environment at enabling new kinds of composite applications for mobile users and mobile devices.
Of course, I asked 'works on iPhone?' and got the standard - it's not an enterprise platform - story. [See letter to FMC companies.] But, I understand that it's running on Nokia E-series and N-series devices, which are both [[Symbian]] platforms.
The recent history and market maneuvers around the hosted services market are quite fascinating.
[[Microsoft]] has been in the hosted services game for a decade or more. The original online service, MSN, was quite consumer-centric and even the IM service, Messenger is consumer-centric. Near the turn of the millennium, Microsoft acquired a leading SMB-ish hosted software company - Great Plains Software - and focused their considerable energies on repositioning that service as one of a portfolio of offerings to address select communications services needs of small business, specifically search engine submissions, web hosting, email marketing and the like. With the acquisition of Placeware in 2003, Microsoft began to build up its Live Meeting offering and real time hosted services portfolio towards core business communications services. bCentral has been morphed into a small business Microsoft-centric resource center.
As discussed in other blog entries , with the acquisition of [[Webex]], [[Cisco]] has taken steps to close off the hosted services space as a platform for Microsoft dominance. They have correctly acknowledged (through action) that no competitor ought to be allowed unfettered access to any dimension of the market.
Now, [[IBM]] recognizes the same fundamental window to the market and at the Lotus Collaboration Summit in New York earlier in September 2007 announced Lotus Notes 8 (the latest release) being available on demand. 'On demand' is IBM-speak for hosted service. Of course, IBM Global Services have been engaged in managed services for the better part of two decades.
The Notes on demand offering is more managed than hosted. There is no multi-tenant capability so the implementation may seem a little costly to smaller organizations. Expected to cost something in the range of $5-$10/mailbox depending on the need for Sametime and Quickr services too.
I would expect that this offering will be attractive to Notes customers that are several revs behind and are facing big migration costs in software licensing and server hardware to get their implementation up to the latest release. An on demand solution is very effective at handling this scope of functionality and effecting a technology transition.
Many email security pundits like to rail against challenge-response technology arguing various issues. One of them is the backspatter argument which goes like this:
Since spammers use forged email addresses challenge-response users unwittingly send email to forged users who didn't send the original message unfairly penalizing them for the protection offered to the challenge-response user. All this extra email has been called 'backspatter'.
I think the ‘Backspatter’ argument is a red herring (smelly fish to distract people from the truth). Here’s the logic:
My research shows that people are getting 11.5 spams a day on average despite the best efforts of spam filters. And if they’re 95% successful at removing spam, that means that their email inbox is a target for 11.5/0.05 = 230 spam/user/day.
Another recent study just completed (not yet published) shows that C/R users represent 5.6% of business email users. Well behaved C/R systems send out only 2-6% challenges with about 1% going to legitimate first time senders.
My address hasn’t been forged by a spammer in a long time, except to send a message to me from me.
If the forged address is count is low (likely) say 1% then the probability of getting a backscatter message is 0.0000224 or 1 in 44,643 email. At the rate of 230 spam a day, that would be about once every 194 days. Of course honeypot operators are likely to be more vulnerable than others.
So, although one can argue that challenge-response is unfair to forged address users, this math shows that it is trivially unfair to them and at the same time both correctly and completely unfair to spammers. I’d suggest that that is a very reasonable side-effect of the technology.
I have been thinking and writing about email for business for many months now and it occurred to me that Brockmann & Company should define spam.
As I see it, spam is email that is inappropriate, anonymous, bulk and irrelevant.
Inappropriate - email that invites women to improve erectile dysfunction, email that invites children to view pornography, email inviting muslims to convert to Christianity. These are inappropriate.
Anonymous - email requires every email to be sent from (or assumed to be sent from) a well-formed email address. There is no anonymity when it comes to email. Because of the trust assumed by the original sendmail program, email addresses can be easily forged. The context of a conversation can provide clues to users as to whether this email is a forgery or not. Context like the last four digits of your credit card, a practice used by Citibank when communicating with customers in email.
Irrelevant - similar to inappropriate, irrelevant may also describe the nonsense prose often used by spammers to poison the spam filter. Read more about the limitations of spam filters in our report, The Spam Index Report.
Bulk - to be effective, spam must be sent to thousands of email accounts in order to make the tiny fraction of users that will respond to the spam a worthwhile quantity.
At Interop Las Vegas earlier this spring, I had the pleasure to meet Gary Thuerk, the charming former DEC marketing executive and posed for a photo with him at the Sendio booth. That's Gary on the left.
Gary is an articulate and spry retiree with a penchant for self-effacement and just call it like it is talk. His story about the first unsolicited marketing message (not really spam since it was quite appropriate and certainly well identified and therefore not anonymous) in 1978 that he was responsible is quite funny.
As part of the DEC team assigned to the ARPA (a Defense Department-funded advanced research agency), Gary wanted all 300 endpoints in the network to get the message about a new DEC computer that they could proudly purchase. Well, the issue was that there was no 'undisclosed recipients' and given the limits of addressing, half or more of the 300 addresses bled into the message field.
This made the message quite unintentionally illegible, and for some addressees, the message led to storage overload for the messaging application. The original nodes of the Arpanet were afterall multipurpose computers and not the specialized email servers that are certainly in regular use today.