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Vendor sponsored Analyst conferences are oftentimes long on self-congratulatory hyperbole and short on substance. That wasn’t the case with IBM’s Systems and Technology Group Analyst conference held last week in Rye Brook, NY.

The STG conference, led by Rod Adkins, Senior Vice President of the STG Group, showcased the division’s solid accomplishments over the last several years and detailed the current and future product roadmap and investment strategy. Investments focused around three major areas: Systems, growth markets and strategic acquisitions. Adkins could have easily added a fourth category: patents. The U.S. Patent Office granted IBM’s STG division 2,680 patents in 2010 and it could exceed that number in 2011. One only has to scan the headlines and peruse the ongoing patent purchasing frenzy and the plethora of lawsuits involving all of the major vendors to realize the pivotal role patents play as both and offensive and defensive weapon. IBM, in its Centenary year, holds more patents than any other U.S. technology vendor.

STG 2011 Milestones

Noting that STG is aligned with IBM’s overall growth strategy, Adkins detailed the division’s milestones throughout the first three quarters in 2011. They included:

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For the third year in a row, IBM AIX v7.1 UNIX operating system (OS) running on the company’s Power System servers scored the highest reliability ratings and recorded the least amount of overall downtime from Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 outages among 18 different server OS platforms.

Over three-quarters or 78% of survey respondents indicated they experienced less than one of the most prevalent, minor Tier 1 incidents per server, per annum on IBM’s AIX v. 5.3 and AIX v 7.1 distributions. An 83% majority of IBM AIX v 7.1 and Novell SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 11 and 82% of Windows Server 2008 R2 survey respondents indicated their organizations experienced less than one unplanned, severe/lengthy Tier 3 outage per server, per annum (See Exhibit 1).

Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 R2 (which scored the biggest year-over-year reliability gains), and Novell’s SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 11 closely challenged IBM’s AIX v 7.1 server OS reliability and uptime – particularly with respect to the most severe and costly Tier 3 outages. Unplanned Tier 3 outages – whether manmade or as the result of a disaster — typically cause downtime in excess of four hours. There is widespread disruption of applications and network operations; customers and business partners are frequently impacted and Tier 3 incidents will almost always require remediation by a significant portion of the IT staff.

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Thanks to the 300 of you who took time out of your busy schedules to respond to the joint ITIC/GFI survey on customer relationship management and for OSF-Global in assisting us in composing the questions.

The survey results showed that nearly three-quarters – 74% — of companies are currently using a CRM solution and 57% of survey participants revealed that interest in CRM is increasing significantly. And perhaps most surprising, a 52% majority of survey respondents said they use more than 51% of their CRM solution’s functionality; of that number 18% utilize over 75% of CRM features.

CRM Usage Soars Among SMBs and SMEs

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions long a staple in large enterprises are now also being widely embraced and deployed by small and mid-sized businesses to more efficiently track and manage businesses’ interactions with customers and partners.

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Hackers have had a bonanza in April, May and June (so far). Nary has a day gone by without news of yet another major attack. Here’s a partial list of some of the most publicized hacks of the last 10 weeks:

RSA Security: On April 1, in a move akin to raiding Fort Knox, RSA’s Secure ID technology (one of the industry’s gold standards in security software) was hacked. RSA executives described the hack as “very sophisticated.” They characterized it as an advanced persistent threat (APT)-type targeted attack. It used a routine tactic – a phishing Email that contained an infected attachment that was triggered when opened.

Epsilon:  This Irving, TX –based company handles customer email messaging for over 150 firms, including large banks and retailers like Best Buy, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and L.L.Bean. In April, millions of consumers learned that Epsilon’s networks were breached when they received Emails from their banks and credit card companies informing them that the hack might have exposed their names and Email addresses to the hackers. Epsilon released a statement assuring consumers that only Email addresses and names were compromised and that no sensitive data was disclosed.

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It’s time for corporations to wise up and use the latest, most effective weapons to safeguard and secure their data.

High tech devices, software applications, Emails, user accounts, social media and networks – even those presumed safe — are being hacked with alarming alacrity and ease.

Security tools, encryption and updating your networks with the latest patches are certainly necessary, but they are not enough. Corporations must arm themselves with the latest security tools and devices in order to effectively combat the new breed of malware, malicious code and ever more proficient hackers. I’m referring to the new breed of continuous monitoring tools that identify, detect and shut down vulnerabilities before hackers can find and exploit them.

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