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Collaboration

Part 2 of 2In my prior Collaboration blog entry, I reflected on the shift to rich media -how it enriches Unified Communications (UC) and heralds a shift back to more natural forms of interactions among people. Today I am thinking about undiscovered territory: cross-company, secure and flexible forms of communication, which, we believe, will unlock a new wave of productivity gains through reduction of”human latency.”In looking at most UC productivity systems, traditionally the focus has been on intra-company communications. In the flat world, however, competitive advantage is created not only in how companies work inside, but how well they work outside -with customers, partners, suppliers, and, even competitors. In the world where command and control over one’s business is giving way to various forms of collaboration -albeit some that are only sustained for a few transactions -it is essential to look at the workforce and the workspace differently. Indeed we are caught between two paradigms:- Traditional messaging and voice systems are not designed for inter-company ucommunications. There are a host of inhibitors in the way, including lack of adherence to standards or more significantly, security limitations- Emerging Web 2.0 Collaboration technologies such as Facebook or video technologies are compelling, but cannot provide the compliance, auditing and security requirements that business requires?This leaves innovative, fast-moving businesses caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of flexibility with security when trying to accelerate integration and collaboration outside of the enterprise. The next frontier for UC is providing for a context-aware approach to entitlement and security that allows companies to collaborate across various borders in real-time. New policy capabilities that are provided by our Securent acquisition provide scalable, distributed policy platform that allow enterprises to administer, enforce, and audit access to data, communications, and applications in heterogeneous IT application environments. Said simpler, policy capabilities now can make inter-company communications safe, granular and fluid. Traditional identity access management solutions have succeeded at the perimeter level (i.e., authenticating “who” is allowed inside) but once someone has been granted general access organizations do not have effective tools with which to manage access at the application level for fine-grained security controls (“œwhat” is allowed). These fine-grained security policies must then be dealt with on a per-application basis. Think about it as a series of doors, each of which must be opened one at time. If one key is lost, transit is blocked. Practical applications of this concept-situations in an investment bank, where stock analysts can instant message with each other but are prevented from doing so with stock brokers. And, an audit trail is created. Or, M&A teams from two companies, discretely working on a merger. Now we have the ability to further dissolve the barriers and delays of cross-company, even cross-border and communications and information flows. By being able to embed policy by user, application, and role -to name a few approaches -we can unlock even greater productivity for business and support the increasing regulation and compliance requirements of the information economy. It’s now about asking the question, ‘What new things could I do if I could do them securely?’The old adage goes,”time is money,” thus delay builds cost -- an ancient paradigm made new by security issues of the Web 2.0 world. Perhaps Hamlet would have survived, had not the most procrastinator in literature spent nearly the entire play crippled by delay:”œFor who would bear the whips and scorns of time,The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,The insolence of office and the spurnsThat patient merit of the unworthy takes.”

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