More often than not, innovation is fueled by real-world needs. Security, compliance, and the need to leverage data more efficiently are just a few of the daily challenges facing IT. From wireless roaming to SOAs to keeping the feds happy, the following technologists are hard at work anticipating the next wave of enterprise demands. They are already delivering forward-thinking, practical solutions to pressing challenges, so it’s likely you’ll be hearing more about them in the year ahead.
Security breaches and federal regulators have companies in search of a more penetrating view into their networks. Elemental co-founder and CTO Dan Farmer responded by developing ECS (Elemental Compliance System), security compliance software that provides policy-based views into all computers on a network. “The No. 1 thing is visibility,” Farmer says. “You have to know the basic Ws — who, what, why — to create a good security policy. Without the basic Ws, you can’t secure anything with any guarantees.” ECS monitors and enforces cross-platform host- and network-level policies on individual machines, allowing companies to improve network security and to ensure compliance across a wide-reaching organization. At the core of Farmer’s ECS, a custom policy language, which is a dynamic grouping capability, adapts to changing environments, and a policy-driven packet filter exerts control based on group and policy abstractions rather than on ports and IP addresses.
End-to-end control over corporate data is fast becoming synonymous with competitive advantage. To help businesses make the most of their information assets, DataFlux CTO Scott Gidley revitalized the company’s Data Quality Integration Solution and placed the tenets of an SOA model at its core. “Many companies today struggle with finding a single ‘truth’ from applications and data siloed within the organization,” Gidley says. “Our goal has always been to break down the walls among information sources.” Designed to discover, integrate, and manage business-critical data stored in myriad sources, Version 7.0 extends the product’s reach across the enterprise, allowing users to design workflows and to establish rules to ensure that data meets established business requirements. Flexible and scalable, Gidley’s upgrade provides the kind of on-demand SOA and real-time processing on which businesses will increasingly rely.
To ward against the security dangers of providing roaming access to always-on networks, Ken Hardwick, chief scientist at Blue Ridge Networks, invented a cryptographic authentication process for the company’s BorderGuard Secure Wireless VPN. Avoiding the trade-offs inherent in SSL VPN and IPSec solutions, Hardwick’s process leverages the key material from the VPN tunnel prior to connectivity disruption, thereby preventing session hijacking and man-in-the-middle attacks. Ideal for VoIP, videoconferencing, and Pocket PC apps, Hardwick’s solution provides security without sacrificing convenience.