Archive for July, 2009

July 29, 2009

Unified Communication

Unified communication is an industry term used to describe all forms of call and multimedia/cross-media message-management functions controlled by an individual user for both business and social purposes. This includes any enterprise informational or transactional application process that emulates a human user and uses a single, content-independent personal messaging channel for contact access.

The essence of communication is breaking down barriers. In its simplest form, the telephone breaks distance and time barriers so that people can communicate in real time or near real time when they are not together. There are now many other barriers to be overcome. People can use many different devices to communicate (wireless phones, personal digital assistants, personal computers, thin clients, etc.), and there are now new forms of communication as well, such as instant messaging. The goal of unified communications involves breaking down these barriers so that people using different modes of communication, different media, and different devices can still communicate to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Unified communication (UC) encompasses several communication systems or models including unified messaging, collaboration, and interaction systems; real-time and near real-time communications; and transactional applications.

  • Unified messaging focuses on allowing users to access voice, e-mail, fax and other mixed media from a single mailbox independent of the access device.
  • Multimedia services include messages of mixed media types such as video, sound clips, and pictures, and include communication via short message services.
  • Collaboration and interaction systems focus on applications such as calendaring, scheduling, workflow, integrated voice response, and other enterprise applications that help individuals and workgroups communicate efficiently.
  • Real-time and near real-time communications systems focus on fundamental communication between individuals using applications or systems such as conferencing, instant messaging, traditional and next-generation private branch exchanges.
  • Transactional and informational systems focus on providing access to m-commerce, e-commerce, voice Web-browsing, weather, stock-information, and other enterprise applications.

Cisco Unified Communications

July 28, 2009

End Point Security

Endpoint security is a strategy in which security software is distributed to end-user devices but centrally managed. Endpoint security systems work on a client/server model. A client program is installed on or downloaded to every endpoint, which, in this case, is every user device that connects to the corporate network. Endpoints can include PCs, laptops, handhelds, and specialized equipment such as inventory scanners and point-of-sale terminals. A server or gateway hosts the centralized security program, which verifies logins and sends updates and patches when needed.

Simple forms of endpoint security include personal firewalls or anti-virus software that is distributed and then monitored and updated from the server. The term is evolving, however, to include security elements such as intrusion detection and prevention, anti-spyware software, and behaviour-blocking software (programs that monitor devices and look for operations and actions that are typically initiated by unsanctioned applications or those with malicious intent).

The most complex endpoint security programs use network access control to grant authentication and specific forms of access to user devices. When a device attempts to log in to the network, the program validates user credentials and also scans the device to make sure that it complies with defined corporate policies before allowing access. Required elements may include an approved operating system, a firewall, a VPN and anti-virus software with current updates, as well as any mandatory corporate software. The program will also scan to ensure the lack of unauthorized software, such as peer-to-peer applications and games. Devices that do not match the policy are given limited access or quarantined

Cisco Endpoint Security

Check Point Endpoint Security

July 5, 2009

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery planning is a subset of a larger process known as business continuity planning and should include applications, data, hardware, communications (such as networking) and other IT infrastructure. A business continuity plan (BCP) includes planning for non-IT related aspects such as key personnel, facilities, crisis communication and reputation protection, and should refer to the disaster recovery plan (DRP) for IT related infrastructure recovery / continuity.

General steps to follow while creating BCP/DRP

  1. Identify the scope and boundaries of business continuity plan. First step enables us to define scope of BCP. It provides an idea for limitations and boundaries of plan. It also includes audit and risk analysis reports for institution’s assets.
  2. Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA). Business impact analysis is study and assessment of financial losses to institution resulting from destructive event as unavailability of important business services.
  3. Sell the concept of BCP to upper management and obtain organizational and financial commitment. Convincing senior management to approve BCP/DRP is key task. It is very important for security professional to get approval for plan from upper management to bring it to effect.
  4. Each department will need to understand its role in plan and support to maintain it. In case of disaster, each department has to be prepared for the action. To recover and to protect the critical systems each department has to understand the plan follows it accordingly. It is also important to maintain and help in creation of plan for each individual department.
  5. The BCP project team must implement the plan. After approval from upper management plan should be maintained and implemented. Implementation team should follow the guidelines procedures in plan.
  6. NIST tool set can be used for doing BCP. National Institute of standards and Technologies has published tools which can help in creating BCP.


Acronis, Inc. is a company incorporated in Delaware that produces hard disk utility software, including disk-imaging backup and recovery, partition management, and boot management software. It also develops software for virtualization migration and conversion, for the purpose of migrating a physical server to a virtual server (such as VMware), or what is also termed P2V. Its best-known product, Acronis True Image, creates a software image of a computer disk in order to restore an exact image on the same or another computer. Most software is produced in different versions, from low-priced software for single computers up to versions for companies with many desktop and server computers.

Reference: Wikipedia

July 2, 2009

Cost Effective Communication

Recession gave me to start thinking about cost effective communication solution. In corporate and SMB environment communication cost is one of the major portion of operational cost. Communication can’t be avoided, so how we can reduce with using other effective solutions. Consider the legal aspects, cost of infrastructure, management, maintenance, expertise requirement.

In a run through the present office scenario, we have lot of single man office or mobile office. That too spread across. All the users required to access different services. Some of them are in house hosted or some of them are from internet. Companies are integrated the work flow through the devices. Here users are using different gadgets, laptop, soft phone, note book, Black Berry, I Phone, etc.

All the areas communication cost is an integral one. The ways of cost involved is different ways. Internet charges, telephone charges, leased line cost, ADSL cost, LAN phone cost, mobile phone cost.

Couple of Solution:-

  1. Office Communicator
  2. Open Source SIP based Unified Communication
  3. VPN over ADSL to ADSL
  4. BlackBerry

These are just high level of technologies, work each solutions depends on the size of organization, requirement, infrastructure availability, skill set. A detailed exercise required.  Out of the box, the solutions give you a major reduction in communication cost.