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After months of speculation, AOL Time Warner’s America Online unit has taken the wraps off its enterprise instant messaging solution.

The offering adds proxy-based management tools on top of the media and Internet giant’s free, wildly popular public service, AIM. Indeed, Enterprise AIM’s use of the same client for public AIM is a key selling point for America Online, which claims a broad user base of about 180 million users — including 60 percent of all businesses.(As of September, Web researcher comScore Networks’ data found that AOL had about 29.2 million users, about 8 percent of which are users logging on from work.)

Regardless of the specific numbers, AIM’s installed user base means fewer headaches for IT departments. For one thing, there’s likely to be little or no training required for an enterprise-wide rollout and relatively simple installation — in many cases, the client will already be installed on users’ workstations. (There’s also bound to be fewer complaints from companies’ public AIM users, which can continue using the client with which they’re familiar.)

“End users are adopting AIM within their enterprise, and those end users had asked for some tools,” said Bruce Stewart, senior vice president of Dulles, Va.-based America Online’s Strategic Business Services unit, which oversees AIM. “That all sort of led us to the view of ‘let’s have a suite of enterprise AIM services.’”

Based on FaceTime Communications‘ flagship IM Director offering, the Enterprise AIM Gateway server enables system administrators to manage individual corporate users’ AIM accounts — to control whether they can send files, or send messages outside the company, for instance.

Deployed behind a company firewall, it also provides for host-based broadcast messaging, anti-virus protection (integrating third-party anti-virus applications) and local routing — ensuring that interoffice communications don’t traverse the larger AIM public network. The Gateway also serves a hub for keyword-tracking, logging, auditing and reporting on employees’ IM use.

Additionally, AOL also offers Private Domains with Federated Authentication, which enables companies — rather than AOL — to manage their users’ AIM accounts. One benefit is that companies can authenticate its AIM users against the corporate directory — simplifying management of screen names and privileges.

Another upshot of this is that companies can assign real-world AIM handles to their users. That is, the module allows John Smith to sign on under his real name, rather than “John2345” — an awkward naming convention necessary due to the number of AIM users named John. (To AIM users outside the company, however, John Smith’s user name appears as his e-mail address.)

Private Domain also supports the AIM buddy list, so both corporate and external AIM users appear. The technology is already in use with Apple’s iChat software for its .Mac service.

In spite of the importance of the product to AOL — and its prerelease buzz — the release has some notable drawbacks. First, the Enterprise Gateway won’t actually filter any messages until AOL has deployed version 5.1 of AIM — which supports the proxy-locking necessary to track and properly direct AIM traffic. AIM 5.1 is currently in beta and slated for release later this quarter.

Companies also will have to wait for encryption capabilities from Enterprise AIM. AOL has tapped VeriSign to handle x.590v3 security certification, and has been testing a secure version of both its gateway and AIM client with about 20 customers since summer. However, the product isn’t expected to be brought to market until the first quarter of 2003.

Not so much a drawback as it is a continued company stance, Enterprise AIM also won’t support server-to-server interoperability. AOL had briefly experimented with the concept in a project with IBM’s Lotus Sametime, but ceased the trial in June. At the time, AOL said that the effort — relying on the IETF’s proposed SIP and SIMPLE protocols — proved too costly and limited in security and functionality.

“Server-to-server interoperability standards aren’t where they need to be,” Stewart said. “We take very seriously the importance of customer privacy, network security and network performance. In the interim … we’ll continue to closely monitor the number of different standards and board activities.”

America Online will offer the Gateway Server on both licensed and subscription models. Sources close to AOL said license pricing would run between $34 to $40 per seat. Private Domains and Federated Authentication will be subscription-based as well, while AOL plans to charge additional fees for the encrypted client.

In addition to the core Enterprise AIM offering, AOL also is pushing to roll out the messaging and presence technology in AIM to businesses and third-party software developers through a developer kit and certified developer program.

“Multiple partners and customers are interested in using IM … to build a multiple of business applications that fundamentally allow them to plug into the AIM service — to establish presence within those applications, or to embed an AIM client in those applications,” Stewart said.

So far, partners having signed on under AOL’s developer program include PresenceWorks. AOL said is speaking to “a number” of other companies about establishing commercial relationships around the technology, but declined to disclose further specifics.

America Online’s foray into the space comes just a month after rival Web portal and public IM player Yahoo! announced its own enterprise IM offering, expected to ship during first quarter.

Unlike Enterprise AIM, Yahoo! Messenger Enterprise Edition is only available in a hosted version. It is expected to be priced similarly to AOL’s product.

Microsoft , maker of the other major public IM network, is also gearing up to release enterprise instant messaging tools under its larger Greenwich initiative.

According to Microsoft, Greenwich will serve as a secure enterprise IM management platform based on standards — likely to be SIP/SIMPLE, which is already supported in Microsoft’s Windows Messenger. The product is expected to debut in the middle of 2003.

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Commercializing Hadoop With Cloudera Enterprise

The open source Hadoop project is all about providing the ability to manage and understand large datasets. Yahoo which uses Hadoop to manage 120 terabytes of data per day, this week released a new version of their edition of Hadoop but they weren’t the only ones with a new Hadoop release this week.

Commercial Hadoop vendor Cloudera this week announced Cloudera’s Distribution for Hadoop (CDH) version 3, including some technologies that were previous closed source. In addition to the new version of CDH, Cloudera is announcing a new Enterprise version of their Hadoop distribution, providing additional usability and management features for enterprise users.

CDH is a version of the Apache Hadoop project that bundles additional projects and technologies to make Hadoop more usable for enterprises. CDH includes the Yahoo developed open source Oozie workflow engine as well as including projects originated by Cloudera. Among the Cloudera-originated projects is one called HUE (Hadoop User Experience), which began its life as the closed source Cloudera Desktop.

“Cloudera Desktop was a desktop based user interface for people building apps for Hadoop,” Cloudera CEO Mike Olson told chúng tôi “That was always available for free, but it wasn’t open source. We believe that the platform has got to be open source in order to succeed.”

Olson added that Cloudera has rebranded the desktop product as HUE and it has now also evolved. He explained that HUE has become a collection of APIs and an SDK aimed at developers that want to build attractive applications that talk to a Hadoop cluster.

Additionally Olson noted the Cloudera developed the open source Flume project. The Flume project, which is included as part of CDH, is all about getting various data sources into a Hadoop cluster in a continual, reliable and fault-tolerant way. Flume is a complement to the Sqoop project, also developed and open-sourced by Cloudera, which is a tool for importing database tables into Hadoop.

With the HBase project included in CDH, Cloudera is also aiming to expand beyond just SQL types of database inputs.

“HBase is a NoSQL layer on top of HTFS (Hadoop’s filesystem),” Olson said.

Cloudera Enterprise

To date, Cloudera has built its business around offering services for Hadoop, but with Cloudera Enterprise, they’re now aiming to monetize software as well. Cloudera Enterprise includes deployment management tools as well as support and legal indemnification.

As to where Cloudera draws the line between what is an open source feature for CDH versus what is an Enterprise feature for paying customers, it’s all about the platform.

“If it is a platform feature, it belongs in the open source platform,” Olson said. “Platform features include ways to store data reliably — basically any of the plumbing that is required to make data storage and analysis work well.”

Olsen explained that the enterprise features are the tools that are required to integrate Hadoop clusters with existing infrastructure and the dashboards that IT staff needs to manage thousands of nodes in a cluster.

While Yahoo is a big contributor and backer of Hadoop, Olson doesn’t see Yahoo’s version of Hadoop as being competitive with Cloudera’s corporate efforts. Olson noted that Cloudera benefits from the work that is done in the open source Hadoop community, including Yahoo’s contributions. That said, in his view the Yahoo version of Hadoop isn’t necessarily the right fit of services for enterprise deployments.

“Yahoo has build a Hadoop distro that runs well on its own infrastructure,” Olson said. “Not all enterprises have the same compute infrastructure as Yahoo does and Yahoo does not provide support for that software.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at chúng tôi the news service of chúng tôi the network for technology professionals.

Linkedin Launches Native Video Meetings

LinkedIn is rolling out native video meetings, which lets users have one to one calls directly within the LinkedIn app.

Since last year, LinkedIn has allowed users to initiate video meetings with each other.

However, the call would take place on another app, like Zoom, as LinkedIn didn’t have the technology for facilitating video calls.

Owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn has leveraged Azure to create a native solution for connecting users through video.

Here’s more about LinkedIn’s native video messaging, which is now available to everyone.

Free Video Meetings on LinkedIn

LinkedIn users can now meet virtually without leaving the app.

In an announcement, LinkedIn explains what native video messaging can do for users:

“From an initial job search to a 1:1 conversation, we wanted to drive the productivity of our members end to end while keeping them safe.

By adding video conferencing as a part of the messaging experience, members can connect virtually while maintaining the context of their existing conversation.

Now, members can easily schedule free video meetings with their network without the need to download a client or sign up to any service.”

In addition, a native video call will include LinkedIn-specific profile information, which provides members with useful context about who they’re meeting with.

The next section goes over how to initiate a native video call.

How to Start a Video Meeting on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s new video meeting feature can be accessed from any chat window by tapping the “create video meeting” button.

LinkedIn will default to using the native video conferencing option, though users can still select a different service if they prefer.

At times LinkedIn may prompt you to start a video meeting if it detects the conversation is headed in that direction.

More About Native Video Meetings on LinkedIn

Native video conferencing is powered by Azure Communication Services, which is built on the same technology that powers Microsoft Teams.

LinkedIn created video meetings as a brand-new service, and it sounds like the company has big plans for it in the future.

The company states:

“Now that we have built the foundations of video conferencing, we have many exciting features ahead as we continue to make LinkedIn video meetings even better…

Our investment in video meetings has opened innovation for video conferencing across the LinkedIn ecosystem, with potential use cases ranging from messaging peers to interviewing candidates.”

Several features planned for future updates include:

A calendar integration so that a scheduled meeting sends an email with an ICS to both parties

Allowing for messaging chat while you are in a video conversation

Screen sharing and virtual backgrounds

For now, the feature is limited to basic one to one video calls, though that’s a significant step up from what was available before.

It’s interesting the social network that specializes in connecting professionals is lagging so far behind on video calling, considering how it’s become integral to the workplace over the past year.

LinkedIn was keen to send users to other services, but now it’s investing in its own. With Microsoft behind it there’s a lot of potential for the future of video calling on LinkedIn.

Source: LinkedIn Engineering

Ip Centrex: Low Cost Enterprise Voip

There has been a lot of press on VoIP recently; however, the jury is still out as to when this technology will become the business standard rather than the new kid on the block.There are a number of reasons but the primary one is the cost to move away from traditional and highly reliable analog telephone systems to digital. Most small office environments have key systems installed, many of which have been in use for a decade or more, and they continue to run with little or no upkeep.

Convergence of voice and data is, and will continue to be, the key enabler that will drive the deployment of VoIP on a wide scale across Corporate America.Convergence offers more flexibility in the development of automated and streamlined business processes, but equally important, it provides the opportunity to consolidate access to the WAN and the PSTN which will drive down support and recurring costs.

This potential to reduce staff as well as recurring data and telephony costs will enamor the CIOS and CFOS. The carriers are driving this point home by taking the legacy Centrex service offering out of moth balls with a fork lift upgrade to IP and then branding the service with new sexy names. Regardless of the name, it is essentially Centrex with a new dress. This new Centrex service, which is now available, makes it possible to provide both data and telephony service at branch offices with a single pipe to the phone company.

Services such as AT&T’s Voice DNA makes it attractive to modernize branch offices because. By converging voice and data at these remote locations, an immediate reduction in recurring costs will be realized in most cases. This also opens up a plethora of applications such as voicemail, 4-digit dialing, and call waiting which the old key systems that are in use today simply cannot accommodate economically. Now you folks that have resided in the ivory towers of headquarters all of your career will not be able to appreciate this. However, the seasoned professionals who venture out to the branch offices periodically to kick the tires will fully understand what I am talking about.

I looked at a couple of services but was impressed most by AT&T’s. Voice DNA eliminates the need for a PBX or Key System at a given location, yet provides all the functionality one would expect to see at a corporate headquarters. A multitude of functions including call waiting, call forwarding, DID, DOD, conferencing, faxing and a host of other applications can be made available.

Now I would be remiss if I didn’t indicate that I was swayed by the intuitive administrator web tool. This tool makes MAC activity a breeze. The tool also makes it easy to set up billing codes and pull up an abundance of reports, such as usage for starters, that the CIO is always requesting at the spur of the moment.

The infrastructure and intelligence behind the Voice DNA service puts the workload on AT&T’s network for voice traffic and not mine. If the traffic is destined for a Voice DNA enabled location, it is processed and delivered on the Voice DNA network. All other traffic hops off the Voice DNA network an on to the PSTN rather than eating up valuable bandwidth on my private IP network.

Most national companies are organized by geographical areas, and as a result, there is a significant amount of interaction between offices in a specific area. This is a perfect situation for Centrex. In example, why not put all of the offices in the Atlanta metropolitan area on a common Centrex service? Then multiply this across the nation in the other large metropolitan areas where you do business. This would, in effect, make each of these areas a large virtual office and provide the same functionality the folks over at corporate consider a given.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of this service is the flexibility it provides the road warriors who are in and out of branch offices more than they are at their own desk. This will enable them to sit down at any office with the service, log into a telephone, and voila, all their phone calls will come to them regardless of the office they happen to be working out of that day.

You techies out there will say “this is nothing new.” We can do this ourselves by implementing our own private VoIP capability at the branch offices and the corporate WAN.

Yes, you are indeed right, but I ask you why would you want to?

Another big item you need to consider is the “feet on the ground” required to support these chúng tôi you implement it yourself, you are going to have to “belly up to the bar” and add staff or make arrangements for contractors to be at your beck and call.

Why would you want to do this? Offload this burden to the carriers such as AT&T, MCI, or Sprint who are all better equipped than you to do the job. After all, they have been doing it since Alexander Graham Bell first started providing the service.

This article was first published on chúng tôi

2005: The Year In Enterprise Security

So, here we are at the start of a new year. And what has this past year brought us? A few things have changed compared to last year’s review and some things haven’t. How’s that for a generalized statement?

Two things still stand out as highlights (or lows) for the past year: phishing and the lessons taught by Katrina.

Phishing and pharming, or more specifically identity theft, were made headlines early in the year. They continue plague many financial institutions and e-commerce websites. The number of phishing attempts or variants continues on an upward trend. December 2004 came and went with 8,829 reported incidents to the Anti-Phishing Group, while last month (December 2005) that number is 15,820, with some time still on the clock. People are either becoming more aware of the problem, and thus reporting it more, or there are more actual phishing variants out there.

Along with some of the phishing attempts, we have seen the installation of Trojans and other RATs (Remote Access/Administration Tools) onto users machines as methods of getting credit card information. These operate primarily on the user and home user level, but the risk is still there for those that bring home their laptops home and use them to surf.

But even if you did manage to avoid traps like phishing and pharming, you still could be susceptible to credit card information theft due to incidents like those with ChoicePoint, Bank of America and Lexis-Nexus. As I write this, Ford Motor Co., is in the process of notifying 70,000+ of its present and past office workers that their personal data may have been compromised due to a laptop theft in November. The importance of identity and protecting it will certainly be a key resolution for 2006 for many enterprises.

And it should be, given how robust the Internet is today. Yet, we still have some e-commerce sites using insecure ordering forms. For instance, I recently went to place an online order and was rather shocked that this major company, in Canada and using a major search engine to host their store, didn’t employ any encryption at all as I was about to enter my credit card info for a gift certificate.

You would have thought that after 9/11 companies would have realized the importance of using things like warm/hot sites and remote backups. But Hurricane Katrina highlighted many of the flaws in existing disaster recovery and business continuity plans. For those that have them.

Those incidents aside, there wasn’t much else other than the usual viruses, botnets and other malware running around (spyware). I still contend one of the funniest stories was that of the hacker who broke into US military in hopes of finding proof of hidden UFOs and such. He definitely wasn’t in it for the money. When we look at 2005 it was in many respects a continuation of 2004. Except there was more SOX to worry about, and that’s becoming rapidly a procedural exercise for many administrators.

That all said, what does 2006 hold for us?

Well, 2006 is the Year of the Dog but I think the bite will be just as good as the bark (sorry, had to toss it in).

2006 should also be the year of backup development and disaster recovery planning. 2005 highlighted those issues and many companies are seeing how devastating it can be if they don’t prepare. Options such as hot sites, remote journaling and backup as well as dual-center operations will be the items to look into.

2006 will also be the year of virtualization. The battle between VMWare and everyone else, specifically Microsoft, is starting to heat up. Companies are beginning to realize that virtualization of their many servers into one central location and minimize hardware costs means they can put more money into disaster recovery and backup options.

The New Year will continue to put security on the forefront, in a general sense and career wise. Companies are integrating more security, well beyond simple usernames and passwords, as the need for more stringent methods becomes clear. Additionally, the creation of various laws in Canada, the US and elsewhere is forcing companies to adhere to stricter cyber-security. In the job area, with all these changes that companies are doing they will need experts and specialists to fill roles. Security remains one of the few areas in IT where growth is happening. The CISSP designation is still king of the heap and hotly followed by the SANS GIAC certification and vendor-specific security designations.

However, 2006 will probably still remain victim to the various identity theft issues and phishing will continue to register big on the radar. Because of this, trust in e-commerce will continue to erode for the average consumer. If companies make the effort to provide more secure environment to do business, then the consumer will return.

So here’s to the past year as it reminds of where we need to be careful. And here’s to the New Year with all its hope that things are getting better. Best holiday wishes to all!

Facebook News Launches In The Uk

Since the United Kingdom attempts to sharpen its attention on the way that it governs big tech businesses, Facebook is carrying a large step upward from the function it plays in presenting media to the U.K. people, and to the way that it works together with the nation’s media sector.

Now it’s launching Facebook News from the U.K., Facebook’s first market beyond the U.S. because of its committed, curated news portal accessed, such as the U.S. variant, via a tab at the Android or iOS app menu.

The portal site will start with information from hundreds of national and local media organizations such as Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group. The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, STV and countless local news websites out of Archant, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midlands News Association, and Attain, also as”lifestyle” names GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vogue and many others were declared in a previous record of partners this past year.

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Facebook has confirmed to us that it’s going to be working with an agency named Upday to curate the tales which look on News. “The item is a mixture of curated, top stories and customized links selected by algorithm,” a spokesperson said. Upday is apparently a joint alliance involving German publisher Axel Springer and Samsung, which also conducts an information agency on its own telephones powered by it.

People have used newsfeeds on Facebook and other social websites to catch up with information while at the same time browsing articles from buddies, Groups and Pages they follow. Facebook News intends to take that a step farther, as a curated page to get headlines and links from hundreds of books in the nation to supply customers of its mobile programs a one-stop location to browse the stories of this moment.

Social networking has been a important source of information for customers , but as we have seen, an extremely skewed and faulty supply at that.

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Additionally, it helps Facebook News provides still another method for Facebook — that has made attempts in movie, entertainment material, mentoring and job-hunting, Nextdoor-style community listings, peer reviewed marketing, and much more — to keep on diversifying away in your Newsfeed for people who have grown tired with this: today, individuals are able to visit the Facebook program to browse information, also.

However, this global growth was a long time coming: Facebook News initially started as a evaluation in the US over one year ago, in October 2023, before heading to all consumers continue June.

No word from Facebook how many consumers or participation that the U.S. edition of Facebook News has picked up, except that”it’s risen steadily,” according to a spokesperson.

It is not clear why there has been such a long gap between its initial attempts in the U.S. and also the U.K. start now, but Facebook has more going on along with procuring those licensing prices to roll out within this marketplace.

Launching a brand new news portal site, together with the concept that it is intended to”assist” publishers, takes to a new dimension when you believe that Facebook continues to be in the crosshairs of labs from Europe, who were on a long-term assignment to inspect the range of major technology companies.

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Whether those regulatory motions will affect how a service such as Facebook News functions, or what earnings reductions and use information are shared with information spouses, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, it is full speed ahead for much more climbing: Facebook supported plans annually that its long term goal is to get a larger global expansion for Facebook News, together with the longer list of countries such as Brazil, France, Germany, and India. At a blog post now, Facebook’s manager of information partnerships in Europe, Jesper Doub, supported France and Germany were next in line for Facebook News, but no launch dates were given.

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