Posts tagged "email"

Facebook Chat Now Available in Hotmail Inboxes Everywhere

When it was first announced that Hotmail would offer Facebook chat access from within the inbox, it was only available to six different regions.This week the Hotmail team has expanded the feature to reach customers worldwide.

Dick Craddock, Group Program Manager for Windows Live Hotmail, fully admits that Gmail beat them to bringing chat to the inbox, but Hotmail hopes to earn some kudos back by offering the integration of Facebook chat as well.

If you're a Hotmail user and you want to try it out, first connect your Facebook account to Windows Live and confirm that the “Chat with my Facebook friends in Messenger” box is checked. Once the two accounts have been linked you can start a chat from Hotmail by clicking on the name of a Facebook contact.

Says Hotmail's official announcement

Since announcing the availability of Facebook chat in Messenger worldwide two weeks ago, nearly 2.5 million more people connected their Facebook accounts to Windows Live, bringing the total to over 20 million customers. And with three out of four Hotmail customers using Facebook, we expect that many more people will want to take advantage of this feature, now that it’s available from your Hotmail inbox.

Google's Soft Spots

It's a fairly clever move on Hotmail's part. Consider the alleged battle between Google and Facebook, which was most recently highlighted when the social network nabbed the Internet giant's place as the most-visited website in the United States.

Spokespersons from both sides of the fence will tell you that there's no real competition here, as the companies are inherently different. These claims haven't quelled speculation in the slightest, of course, and we would personally be scratching our heads in wonder if the Facebook chat functionality suddenly appeared in Gmail.

Hotmail's addition further supports the idea that Google might want to watch its back when it comes to Zuck's kingdom, as well as the social media movement as a whole (something Google seems continually unable to latch onto). 

At the same time, it's also a feature that could bring some life back to both Hotmail and Messenger if it's successful. If Facebook chat within Hotmail is something you plan on trying, let us know in the comments below how it turns out, and whether or not you think it has a lot of pull.

EMC Extends MS Exchange, Adds Email Disaster Recovery

EMC and Microsoft can’t seem to get enough of each other. This time, EMC (site) is using a new API that came with Exchange 2010, extending the Exchange platform and offering back-up and disaster recovery for it.

Announced recently as a continuation of its “deep engineering” work with Microsoft, EMC is using Exchange’s Replication API not only to provide disaster and recovery solutions but also to add synchronous replication to Exchange.

By adding EMC’s Replication Enabler to the Exchange environment, EMC is giving companies an added layer of back-up, and by automating it ensures that in the event of a systems failure email will still be available across the enterprise.

Exchange's Replication API

This is the first time that a company outside of the direct Microsoft family has made use of the Replication API that came with the recently released Exchange Server 2010. In doing so, EMC has been able to considerably extend the reach of its data and recovery tools.

There are three new tools:

  • Replication Enabler for MS Exchange Server 2010: Enables integration of synchronous replication into the Exchange environment and supports EMC RecoverPoint Continuous Replication and MirrorView Remote Synch replication.
  • EMC Autostart: Provides infrastructure monitoring and automated restart for MES 2010 and is particularly useful and aimed at enterprises with geographically distant data centers.
  • Replication Manager: Provides point-in-time replicas of information lost in databases located on EMC arrays.

Consulting Services

EMC is also offering consulting services to enterprises that are looking to deploy or upgrade to Exchange Server, which was introduced last November, as well as for those that are looking to deploy Microsoft’s holistic communications strategy, Microsoft Unified Communications (MUC).

Exchange Server 2010 is corner-stone of that strategy, which aims to manage all asynchronous communications and delivers unified messaging (e-mail, voice mail, faxes, and calendaring) to users directly.

While EMC is not the only company to offer services for Exchange 2010 — Dell (site) started offering migration services in November — by providing comprehensive back-up disaster recovery, they are likely to be amongst the most popular.

Posterous Gains Funding, Makes Blogging Free & Easy

Among the 7 Ways to Blog Using Your Mobile Phone, which we wrote back in 2009, a few of them included emailing your posts directly to your blog. But what if everything you wrote, posted and created came only from your email? Well, then you’d have Posterous.

 

Post Things Fast and Free

Founded in 2008, Posterous lets you post things online fast using email. By emailing post@posterous.com with your text, photos, videos and links, you’ll receive an instant reply with your new Posterous blog.

There’s no sign up required (but it is available to users who plan to send more than just once from multiple email accounts), and you can even make your posts private so you can share them exclusively. However, because email is free and so is Posterous’ services, keeping afloat can be tricky. It’s not like you’re emailing them money, after all.

Funding & Future Plans

Yet, Posterous has been able to raise US$ 4.4 million in its first round of funding. Investors included Redpoint Ventures, Trinity Ventures and angels including SV Angel, Founder Collective, Lowercase Capital, Brian Pokorny, Aydin Senkut and XG Ventures.

Currently the San Francisco-based Posterous offers their free web publishing platform to 12 million unique monthly visitors and boasts 25 million page views, which put the unique blogging platform poised at a tipping point.

And there are plans to monetize a professional version of the platform later this year.

Autoposting, Widgets & Analytics

Posterous also lets users autopost to all the other social media services you already use, like Twitter and Facebook. As well, there are buttons and widgets, care of Widgetbox, to share your blog, and analytics to add via Google and Feedburner. Users can even create custom domains.

Document Management Roll-up: Can't Let Go of the Paper, Has SharePoint Met Its Match?

This week there’s been a couple of wild claims doing the circuit, not least of which is the demise of SharePoint at the hands of Salesforce.com’s Chatter, while Microsoft gets social with Outlook.

Outlook Gets Social

The promised link between Microsoft Outlook and social networking has finally happened with Microsoft reporting this week that software updates between LinkedIn (site) and Outlook have just been released in beta.

Designed for Office 2010, the new set of applications that will also include email links for Facebook (site) and MySpace (site) will go on general release later this year.

The LinkedIn connection to Outlook lets people using the email program stay in tune with any changes in job status, contact information or affiliations being shared by friends at the career-focused online community.

The company says that the new connections are all about bringing, friends, family and colleagues into your inbox and enables you to communicate with them and see their social activities at the same time.

If you’ve been following us here you will be aware of the problems that managing unstructured content in emails is causing enterprises.

Likely that the same companies can hardly wait to thank Microsoft for this new Outlook ability. The test version of Outlook is available online at the Office website.

SharePoint To Be Killed By Chatter?

That Salesforce.com (site) has launched the private beta of Chatter, an enterprise collaboration tool for the cloud will stir some interest; that some of those involved in the private beta say Chatter heralds the end of SharePoint should cause more than a stir.

The end of legacy collaboration software like Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus Notes is here," said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, salesforce.com. "Consumer Internet services like Facebook and Twitter have shown us better ways to collaborate …".

Muscle-flexing aside, Chatter does come with a number of document collaboration tools, amongst other features, that should be useful for those with document management issues.

In this respect the document sharing and security settings are of interest. With Chatter, users can instantly and securely search the Chatter feed to access, share and even download the documents and other information files via an Internet browser.

It also enables users to manage who has access to what information based on Force.com platform security settings, which decides what information can be seen by who.

If you’re interested in more, you can find out more from the website, but nothing there would seem to back up Benioff’s claim that SharePoint is on its way out!

We Can’t Leave Paper Alone

According to AIIM (site) office staff just won’t give up on paper copies, despite the wide availability of scanners and document management systems.

A recent survey by the content management organization found that 62% of important paper documents are still archived as paper. Even when documents are sent off for archive scanning, 25% are photocopied beforehand “just in case” and less than a third of the paper originals are systematically destroyed after scanning.

Despite the fact that the legal admissibility of scanned paper documents has been established for nearly 20 years and is nailed down in legislation and standards around the world, there is still this suspicion among users that they may need to produce the original paper copy at some stage, the study says.

In the survey, 70% of the respondents agreed with the statement, “Users feel that paper records are needed for legal reasons.” Even at the organizational level, in 25% of businesses the legal admissibility of scanned documents is still seen as an issue.

According to AIIM president John Mancini, we still haven’t tapped into the real potential savings of using document management software, because we just can’t let the paper go.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can download the research from the AIIM website.

How Is Your Records Management?

Something else from AIIM this week that might help companies see how effective their records management software: take AIIM’s quick, easy online assessment to find out what stage of records management competency your organization is in, and then learn more about that stage, its risks and the benefits of progressing to the next.

Participants will be asked 13 questions in order to determine their organization's Records Management competency. Once the assessment is completed, participants can download the Solution Brief for their identified stage which includes information on:

  • Current state of records management
  • The risks of your current state
  • The benefits of progressing to the next stage.

And it’s all free.

Iron Mountain Adds Archiving

We couldn’t let this week go by with some mention of the acquisition of Mimosa Systems by Iron Mountain for an estimated US$ 112 million in cash.

Iron Mountain is a major player in the information management market with this deal providing it with an on-premise content archiving solution — in this case Mimosa NearPoint — to complement their cloud based offering.

Mimosa NearPoint is an email archiving and eDiscovery solution. Version 4 was brought to market last June, offering an integrated content archive that includes not only email, but also content in blogs, wikis, documents and more. It also improved content search, case management and came with a new user interface and data capture methodology.

It's these capabilities along with being able to now capture and manage content from additional devices like desktops, laptops and systems like SharePoint that caused Iron Mountain to choose Mimosa.

SMB Tech Roll-up: Social Media Is Good And Bad For Business, With Security Top of Mind

We have a mixed bag of news for SMBs with conflicting views on whether social media is good or bad for business. There was a lot of other research published this week giving a considerable amount to think about for companies in, or thinking about entering the tech fray.

Social Media is good for Business?

American SMBs are turning to social media in an effort to boost their customer base, according to the recently released, Small Business Success Index.

Sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business, the report shows that over the past year alone social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24%.

The research showed that nearly one out of five small business owners is actively using social media in their business with many of them investing in social media applications, including blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

The biggest expectation small business owners have from social media is expanding external marketing and engagement with 61% of the respondents indicating that they use social media to identify and attract new customers.

Amongst the findings:

  • 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months
  • 72% have found ways to operate more efficiently

However, it also showed that there were still some concerns about using social media with:

  • 50% saying it takes more time than expected
  • 17% saying it gives people a chance to criticize their business in a public forum

Only 6% felt that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it.

Download a copy of the Small Business Success Index and also find out how your business scores on the six key dimensions of small business success from the growsmartbusiness.com website.

Social Media Is Bad For Business?

The flip side of the Small Business Success Index is the report from Webroot, which was also published this week showing that IT managers in small and medium-sized organizations believe malware spread through social networks, Web 2.0 applications and other Web-based vectors will pose the most serious risk to information security in 2010.

The data is part of a new survey of 803 IT professionals in companies with 100 to 5,000 employees in the United States, the UK and Australia.

The vast majority of respondents (80%) say Web 2.0-based malware will be a problem in 2010. In fact, seven out of 10 (73%) said Web-based threats are more difficult to manage than email-based threats. Survey respondents also identified data security and confidentiality, data loss prevention and securing mobile and laptop users as the top three priorities for Web security in 2010.

Webroot commissioned the survey to identify the threats security professionals most anticipate in 2010, the weakest links in Web security and how companies are addressing these issues.

Key findings include the fact that nearly one quarter of those surveyed believe their company is very or extremely vulnerable to threats from:

  • Microsoft operating system vulnerabilities (25%)
  • Unpatched client-side software (24%)
  • Browser vulnerabilities (24%)
  • Web 2.0 applications (23%)

The majority (73%) of respondents agree that managing Web-based threats is more challenging than managing email-based threats.

And while many believe they are under threat, many others have already been compromised. These included:

  • 23% compromised by employees who accessed personal Webmail accounts
  • 24% used social networking sites
  • 25% used P2P networking
  • 32% downloaded media

If you’re interested in more check it out on the Webroot blog.

SMBs Maintaining Not Upgrading Software

SMBs are spending more than half their budgets on maintaining existing software than they are on new or upgraded software, according to the latest Forrester's Enterprise And SMB Software Survey.

The survey of nearly 2,200 IT executives and technology decision-makers at enterprise and small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) in North America and Europe is part of Forrester's Business Data Services (BDS) series, which helps Vendor Strategy professionals profile their target market's budget allocation and technology adoption.

The survey shows that the poor economic environment has created a backlog of business application software upgrade activities for firms, and many plan to address the issue this year.

Amongst the areas companies will be spending on are:

  • 21 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade existing finance and accounting software,
  • 19 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade their customer relationship management (CRM) applications,
  • 18 percent of SMBs plan to upgrade industry-specific software.

In addition, more than 20 percent of all SMBs have concrete plans to implement CRM or information and knowledge management (I&KM) software in 2010 or later, representing the fastest-growing SMB software markets in 2010.

While cloud computing has many enterprises interested, growth of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications is driving the market more, and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is still slow, the report also shows.

More information about Forrester's Business Data Services is available at the Forrester website.

UK SMBs Save By Not Using WiFi

Instead of relying on Wi-Fi hotspots, small enterprises’ employees should use mobile broadband USB sticks and datacards when traveling to save their businesses an average of UK£ 2145 (US$ 3368) each year depending on the number of employees on the road, according to research by UK telecoms, technology and media consultancy Analysys Mason.

Entitled Small Enterprises Save Money With Mobile broadband, published ahead of Mobile World Congress 2010 just finishing in Barcelona, it shows that each employee who travels throughout the year can accumulate Wi-Fi hotspot charges of up to UK£ 700 (US$ 1099).

All in all, the quality of service, simplicity and performance of mobile broadband in the UK is very good. SMEs can choose highly competitive offerings, with or without contracts from different providers.

This short report is part of Analysys Mason’s Research Enterprise program on the global enterprise and SME sectors.

If you’re interested in more, details of the report can be found on the website.

EMC Extends Exchange 2010, Adding Archiving, Retention and eDiscovery

While EMC’s (site) SourceOne suite of modular integrated software enables email management, archiving, records management, search and eDiscovery, the company says it is expanding it to enable users make a speedier and more efficient move to Microsoft Exchange 2010.

Although EMC is consistently working to improve on its information infrastructure technology, SourceOne's extension of Exchange 2010 could be a game-changer in the eDiscovery market segment. Even Gartner in its recent MarketScope for E-Discovery Software Product Vendors report has given it a thumbs up.

The result is that EMC continues lead the charge on eDiscovery technology — something it had signaled last September with the acquisition of Kazeon (site). With email management and archiving a core element of current information management, the SourceOne suite should play a central role in developing that market for them.

Easing the Upgrade to Exchange 2010

Let’s take a quick look. The first thing to say in this respect is that EMC's SourceOne is Exchange 2010-ready out of the box and extends the archiving, retention and eDiscovery features of Exchange’s email management abilities.

SourceOne has the ability to take large quantities of PSR files and emails that have been inactive for long periods of time out of both Exchange 2003 and 2007 and place them in SoureOne’s business archive before users make the move to Exchange 2010.

These files are easily accessible and can be stored with specific retention and destruction schedules. The beauty of this is that they do not need to be moved across to Exchange 2010 which greatly eases the problems of migration.

In effect, what it does is improve the performance of Exchange 2010 by applying single-instance storage for messages in the archive, by automating the migration of messages to the appropriate location and by reducing backup and recovery times.

EMC, Kazeon And SourceOne

The other element that EMC has just introduced is EMC SourceOne eDiscovery — Kazeon based on the Kazeon’s eDiscovery Fourth Generation software, which was released last May (just before EMC bought the vendor in September).

Again, focusing on email management, Kazeon provides three principal products, integrated within a single, underlying software platform, aiming to ensure a smooth workflow. They include:

  • Analysis & Review: Capabilities include patented analytics, concept extraction and search.
  • Collection & Culling: The identification of ESI based on case requirements.
  • Legal Hold Management: Fully indexed or index-less targeted collection, and a forensically sound and defensible collection from any source.

Searching through emails, SourceOne Kazeon automates the identification, collection and preservation of electronically stored information (ESI) that resides "in the wild", tags it for legal hold and places it in a protected repository under user-defined retention and destruction policies.

Already on the market, EMC says the purpose of developing the SourceOne Exchange 2010 capabilities in the first place was to enable organizations to develop complete, actionable information governance strategies with email management as one of the core elements.

If you’re concerned with rampant emails getting out of control, it might well be worth checking out.