2010’s Ten Hot Trends

Instead, Valley Yellow Pages deployed the NComputing desktop virtualization solution. NComputing has a unique take on desktop virtualization. Rather than having a distinct and high-dollar desktop virtualization server and fairly robust end devices, NComputing takes the unused power of an existing, in-use PC and shares it among multiple users. Think of it as a public kiosk that, with the addition of software and cheap replicating access boxes, multiple people can use at once via cheap keyboards, mice and displays.

However, new computing models overlook a serious problem: software licensing. In a related story on virtualization for sister-site Datamation, I discussed software licenses with Gartner analyst Tom Bittman.

The gist is that software licenses, based on a per-seat or per-CPU model, just don’t translate to the Cloud. How, then, are so many organizations offering Cloud-based applications? Are they just violating their licensing agreements? “No, what they’re doing is entering into custom licensing agreements,” Bittman said. “Software vendors are negotiating each and every deal.”

That model is fine with a few large organizations doing it, but it certainly won’t work for broader adoption. Vendors will have to move to usage-based pricing, which many are still reluctant to do. Until they stop dragging their feet, though, the applications made nimble and free through virtualization and Cloud computing will be reigned back in by out-of-date licensing agreements.

10. The enterprise struggles to control social networking. This is kind of a do-over on one of last year’s misses. Last year I predicted that social networking would slow down in the enterprise. It didn’t. I made two key points. One, social networking is the new time waster in the workplace. While some productivity-obsessed organizations do indeed block access to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the like, many more are asking their employees to leverage their own social-networking contacts for work.

The second point was that social networking sites are a security risk, mostly from a data-leak perspective. Actually, it’s turned out to be about more than data leakage. Social engineering attacks are emerging as the big problem for 2010.

I should have seen that coming. In my defense, I sort of did, but I chalked it up as a consumer problem, not an enterprise one. That was a mistake. This is indeed an enterprise problem. After all, attackers can take one look at your profile, know who you work for and can target employees of a specific organization, whether those employees access the social networking sites at work or not.

Spammers are also in the game, and where there is spam, there is plenty of fraud. Alex Quinonez, VP-American Operations for Cyberoam, a provider of unified threat management (UTM) solutions, noted that sites like Sourceforge.net and legitimate file-sharing service like Google spreadsheets have been targeted by spammers.

Few organizations will block either of these sites. Employees would hoot and howl if they did, and rightly so. However, Sourceforge.net has a wiki subdomain which allows solution providers to add their own related content. “In a recent security incident, spammers filled the user-generated wiki page with keywords and links to pornography sites, leveraging the popular domain and its subdomains to rank their own sites higher in search engine results,” Quinonez said.

Similarly, Google spreadsheets is considered trusted and gets through spam filters. “Pharmaceutical spammers encrypted the end key of the acceptable spreadsheet URL so that spam filters would fail to detect the malicious key,” he said. The pharmaceutical spam trick was similarly used with Facebook’s familiar blue-header. Spammers used it to fool spam filters that cannot identify image-based spam.

What does this mean for 2010? Most organizations will create social media policies in the coming year. Whether they enforce them or not or even can enforce them is a different matter. In a sign of things to come, security startup Immunet raised $2 million of Series A VC funding in November from Altos Ventures and TechOperators to develop “social antivirus software.”

Okay, that does it. We’ll see if 10’s the magic number for me in 2010. I’ll let you know in about 12 months. Cheers and Happy New Year!

Jeff Vance is a freelance writer and the founder of Sandstorm Media, a writing and marketing services firm focused on emerging technology trends. If you have ideas for future stories, contact him at [email protected] or visit www.sandstormmedia.net.