Today’s post comes from Norv Leong, Director of Product Marketing at Actiance.
Star Trek’s popularity has spanned several generations. The captains’ names have changed (Kirk, Picard, Archer) through the years, but the fans’ devotion and passion have continued to chug along. The show was premised on federations and how many beings of different colors, shapes, and beliefs could still get along (save for the Klingons).
The same concept holds for federation when it comes to real-time communications. Gone are the days of closed networks where you can only talk or IM with folks in your own network (remember AOL back in the day?). Now, Yahoo! Messenger users can IM with Windows Live Messenger (WLM) users, and unified communications platforms like Microsoft Lync can federate with public IM networks, such as the aforementioned Yahoo.
This is great news for inter-planetary “keeping in touch,” but it also raises issues about security. Safely connecting to these public IM networks is of paramount concern for folks in charge of IT security. The old adage, “you never know who’s lurking out there,” couldn’t be more true. Tasked with ensuring that the security of their enterprise communications and collaboration platforms are airtight, great pains have to be taken to make sure that opening up to public IM networks doesn’t flood the corporate network with malware, worms, viruses, and the like.
This is where granular federation controls come into play. Being able to control which external parties can communicate with a given organization’s employees, groups, or networks is huge. Furthermore, it could very well be that a large enterprise has a regulatory duty to separate its business functions or divisions. Actiance Vantage enables organizations to control communications such that employees are blocked from contacting anyone (including external users) who might be on a blacklist.
This reduces the chances of malware infection, data leakage, and the potential to interact with another person outside of an ethical or regulatory boundary. It also means that you won’t be at the mercy of another organization’s security policy. Freedom to federate is great, but as Captain Kirk and his crew could attest to, you gotta be careful who you interact with because not everyone comes in peace.
“Get us out of here, Sulu! Warp factor 8!”