The prevalence of recent communication trends – including social networking, mobile computing and VoIP calling – has changed the way that businesses transmit and share information. As new communication mediums continue to arise, the security of an enterprise’s network infrastructure and confidential data becomes more difficult to ensure.
Christian Renaud, President and CEO of Palisade Systems, an industry leader in the data loss prevention market, recently spoke with TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani regarding the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information that is sent out and received through new communication channels.
Renaud also conveys his opinion on a variety of other hot topics in the technology space, including net neutrality regulations, cloud computing, mobile video chat and a number of other subjects. Furthermore, he gives readers a sneak peek into Palisade Systems’ upcoming exhibition at ITEXPO West 2010, which will take place from October 4-6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
For more information on Renaud’s thoughts about the future of the communications industry, check out the complete interview below.
What is the most significant trend in communications today? Why?
The rapid exchange of information from any place and any device via the cloud is probably the most significant trend today. Communications has taken on a broad meaning as voice and data networking converge. Simply speaking, businesses and individual users are exchanging information on many levels through many diverse mediums. Whether we’re talking about smartphones, cloud computing, mobile computing or social networking, the common denominator of all is information.
What is the one product or service the market is most in need of?
If we agree that the free-flow of information is the most significant trend in communications, then information requires certain prerequisites to make it actionable. For that we return to the CIA Triad of confidentiality, integrity and availability. This is more than the application and guarantee of security; it means ensuring that information exchange is true and reliable. It means having access to data wherever it resides, and providing access from any point from any device. And, most importantly, acting upon that information with the same level of integrity as was provided. Products that provide this level of assurance will find a receptive and grateful market.
How is your company leveraging the growth of social media to enhance your own business?
Social media has evolved from a curiosity to conventional communications channels to a necessary component of any communications and marketing plan. At Palisade Systems, we’re using the blogs of our experts to publish research reports, expert advice and observations and analyses of market trends. We’re using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to disseminate information to our customers and the greater market. And we’re participating in numerous social networks, adding our voice to the discussion on issues and trends that affect our users and industry. Many people think of social media as the democratization of information generation. Equally true is how social media is enabling technology vendors and users, experts and neophytes, partners and competitors to collaborate in ways that were nearly impossible a decade ago. Nearly every phone manufacturer is now incorporating support for wideband codecs.
Will we finally see widespread HD voice deployments in 2011?
Phone manufacturers have been adopting various wideband codecs within their own handsets, and often within single carriers in the United States. What we will see in 2011 is not widespread deployments per se, but rather the beginnings of cross-platform and cross-carrier wideband voice. Once the platforms and carriers line up behind specific codecs, widespread adoption can occur.
What are your thoughts on the viability of mobile video chat or conferencing?
Mobile video – either chat or conferencing – is an evolutionary inevitability. Cisco is making video the cornerstone of its next-generation strategy. Apple (News - Alert) made Facetime one of the killer apps in iPhone 4. And video is being used more regularly on communications applications such as Webex, GoToMeeting and Skype. It’s not enough to just read or hear information, people want to see the people and the goods they’re dealing with. Video conferencing provides a level of personal connectivity that is desired in individual and business communications.
Which wireless operating system (Android (News - Alert), iOS4, Microsoft, etc.) will see the greatest success over the next three years? Why?
I wouldn’t count any of the out of the game. Despite its setbacks in this arena, Microsoft is putting tremendous resources behind the launch of Windows Phone 7 this fall. Android will continue to build device adoption and market share. And it seems Apple’s IOS4 is overcoming its initial platform issues with iPhone (News - Alert) 4 and will migrate to more devices in the next generation of iTouch and iPad. What’s really going to be interesting is watching how these platforms either integrate with or replace existing fat-client operating systems. That’s the real game to watch.
Some have suggested wireless networking will soon replace wired networks in the enterprise. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Suggested? It already has in many cases. The availability of WiFi networks with seamless roaming between access points and WiMax metropolitan and campus wireless networking is being deployed in many enterprises as a replacement for traditional CAT 5/6 cabling. We saw the value of wireless networking five years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, where impromptu networks were established to replace the shattered wired infrastructure. We’ve also seen the dangers resulting from insecure wireless networks. The TJX security breach that resulted in the compromise of 94 million credit card accounts was a result of the retailer not upgrading its wireless encryption. Businesses of all sizes need to be mindful that just because they adopt wireless doesn’t mean they’ve eliminated their security threats, and need to take precautions to ensure that they have adequate protections over the access and flow of information through wireless networks.
What impact has the growth of cloud-based services had on your business?
Cloud computing is opening new opportunities for Palisade Systems. We are a specialist in Web filtering and data loss prevention technology. Traditionally, our products were only available in hardware and software form factors, which have different barriers to adoption in different sized businesses. We recently launched ComplianceSafe, a cloud-based data loss prevention service designed specifically for small businesses. ComplianceSafe provides SMBs with the same level of data protection as large enterprises at a fraction of the cost – and that’s made possible by leveraging the cloud as a delivery and enablement medium.
If you had the opportunity to decide the Net neutrality (News - Alert) debate, how would you rule?
One of the core concepts that defined the Internet as the platform for worldwide communications is the concept of open access. In contrast, the recent dialogue intended to create preferential tiers of service for certain applications, or for mobile users versus non-mobile users, runs counter to this core concept. There is one platform, the Internet, which users access in a myriad of ways using mobile handsets, tablets, laptops and Internet appliances. While carriers and certain content providers may be intrigued with tiering service for better monetization, this will ultimately be unsuccessful as users will vote with their feet and move to carriers, content and Internet providers that provide them the ‘datatone’ that they require for their own work and non-work applications.
You are exhibiting at ITEXPO West 2010. What is the most exciting thing attendees will see at your booth?
We’re exhibiting in the MSP Alliance Pavilion among the leaders in managed services and cloud-based services. We’ll have information and demonstrations of our hardware and software packages, but the most exciting thing is ComplianceSafe. We believe this service will revolutionize data loss prevention by making this security technology more accessible to smaller businesses in need of security compliance and data protection technology. It’s absolutely amazing how even small healthcare practices and community financial institutions need the same level of regulatory compliance as large hospitals and multinational banks. ComplianceSafe provides that level of compliance and data protection assurance.
What is the one technology development that will have the greatest impact in 2011?
We at Palisade Systems believe the migration of data loss prevention to the cloud will have tremendous impact in 2011. If you subscribe to the notion of mobile computing, broad data accessibility and social media, then you must apply security protections to ensure that only those with proper access and need to know have access to data. Data loss prevention in the cloud will provide that protection to a broad number of networks and devices in ways that can’t be done via a traditional network infrastructure deployment.