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Quality of user engagement more important than applications

SN blogs: This week, analysts say that application ease of use is the most important; FIDO is working on new authentication standards.

Current Analysis analyst Brad Shimmin says that collaboration in the enterprise is more than just having a lot of applications with advanced capabilities. Shimmin writes that cloud, mobility, social networking and big data integration are essential to the continued success of IT. But he also says that focusing on ambient user engagement is necessary to make sure these applications are used to their full potential. Ambient user engagement, he said, is "the means to collaborate and communicate anywhere with any device, on any network, at any time, by any means." Shimmin emphasized vendor collaboration on application program interfaces (API) and the importance of investing in independent software vendors (ISV).

Read more of why Shimmin thinks there should be less emphasis on adding applications to the mix.

FIDO to release authentication standards

The Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance is not "now," but it will be. At least that's what Enterprise Strategy Group Senior Analyst Jon Oltsik says. In a recent post, Oltsik shares his frustration with passwords and wonders why we all aren't using stronger authentication methods. "After all, Whit Diffie, Marty Hellman, and the RSA guys first came up with public key infrastructure (PKI) back in the 1970s, so you'd think that passwords would be dead and strong authentication would be ubiquitous by now," he said. Oltsik adds that he has some faith in the FIDO alliance, which is working on an initiative that would create a "trusted convenience" framework that would streamline the password/log-in process.

While FIDO might be on to something, the alliance is "greatly misunderstood," according to Oltsik, who writes that the group, "has morphed into its own little hype machine, spending more time on crowing about new members and pre-announcing marketing programs rather than educating developers, customer organizations and technology vendors." That said, its mission is important, and overall, "FIDO is a great idea," he added.

The FIDO alliance aims to have its standard -- 1.0 -- out by late 2014 or early 2015.

Read more about Oltsik's thoughts about FIDO.

Data science as a service, high cost-high reward

Steve Myers from Enterprise Management Group says that it's difficult to justify the cost of data science as a service (DSaaS) to maximize your return on investment. While DSaaS can offer a company large financial rewards, the cost of staffing a team and providing the necessary services can be high. Myers compares using data science to skiing a black diamond: "You receive lots of 'reward' skiing the black diamond slopes, but you have a significant amount of 'risk' associated with variable terrain, such as the presence of trees and the possibility of injury," says Myers. Just as it is important to plan and prepare for a black diamond before hitting the slopes, DSaaS "offers the rough equivalent of a 'ski helmet' for infrastructure, and a 'ski instructor' for operating the environment and getting the best results,” says Myers.

Apache Hadoop is one example of a data sciences platform that can help. It is free to download, but the cost to staff the team and manage operations can be high.

Read more about what Myers says about DSaaS and how it can benefit your organization.

Magic Quadrant preview for ADCs

Gartner Inc. Analyst Andrew Lerner, in previewing Gartner's Magic Quadrant for application delivery controllers (ADCs), shares some interesting statistics. A major finding: Hardware still rules all. About 84% of people Gartner surveyed for the study said they own hardware ADCs, while 33% use software versions.

ADCs continue to play an important role in the networks. Of the respondents Gartner surveyed, the number of applications associated with existing ADCs will grow by 25% over the next 12 months. One finding that didn’t surprise Lerner: Load balancing continues to be the most popular use of ADCs -- 93% of respondents told Gartner they use ADCs for server load balancing.

Another 33% use more advanced capabilities such as TCP multiplexing, the research found, but only a small percentage of respondents use ADCs as Web application firewalls.

Read additional findings Lerner is sharing about Gartner's report on ADCs.

This was first published in August 2014

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