Roundtable, pg

By eweek  |  Posted 2002-11-18 Print this article Print

. 3"> eWeek: So the whole infrastructure has to be there, not just point solutions?

Calabrese: Yes.

Inks: Some improvements in coordination in telecommunications would be great. I had feelings of déjà vu listening to Frank earlier.

Atlantic Research has been replacing its frame relay with VPN technology, and we tried as hard as we could to sole-source the broadband part of it. Of course, when it gets down to the last mile or two of the company, you cant, and thats where weve had a significant amount of problems coordinating between the local carriers and AT&T [Corp.], which is our primary broadband [provider]. Its been a real challenge. They tend to point fingers at each other an awful lot, and thats been the biggest concern that weve had in doing VPN.

eWeek: So the hardware and software really arent the issue—its really a matter of supplier relationships and people accepting responsibility for making it work?

Inks: Yes. The hardware seems to be pretty solid; we havent had any problems with the stuff that we chose. Its more been issues with local configurations and coordinating AT&T configurations.

Baradet: At the S.C. Johnson School of Management, were going back and looking at developing policies and procedures for some things that we havent considered in the past, such as encryption—how do we develop an escrow for the keys?

eWeek: You mean things such as encrypted e-mail and documents?

Baradet: Yes, and corporate data and what constitutes corporate data. The university is addressing this at a higher level but is basically [saying] that we have to develop a policy if we use it. So were trying to decide who decides whats corporate data and when its appropriate to encrypt and not encrypt, and then who should hold the keys.

Gunnerson: Have you looked at timer destruction of key storage as a method for getting rid of content?

Baradet: No, were just getting started. Ive written something that will be brought up in front of our management committee to see where they want to go with it.

eWeek: Gary, youre basically talking about automating a document retention policy so that if something is old enough that its not needed, then it is automatically destroyed?

Gunnerson: Well, what youll do is end up destroying the keys that created an e-mail document. Once the keys are destroyed, you cant read the document anymore. Thats a retention policy thats enforced by key management.

eWeek: Right. Kevin Wilson, what are you tracking for the coming year?

Wilson: Were dealing with the energy market, and there are things happening with the energy companies. Were reassessing, re-budgeting, re-scoping most of the development efforts to see, for next year, what we want to do. People are still knocking on their budgets right now.

eWeek: When you say development ...

Wilson: Application development. A lot of application projects are just getting re-scoped with different budgets right now.

eWeek: Is Microsoft .Net development occupying a lot of mind share right now?

Wilson: .Net is being explored as part of our electronic vendor interfaces. Electronic vendor interfaces are viewed as having a lot of benefit right now.

Baradet: Were also going to look at putting in things like Microsofts system update server and central anti-virus definition distribution, so a lot of the routine stuff doesnt have to leave the campus.

eWeek: So youre looking at mechanisms for reducing the workload of administering these things?

Baradet: Right. Were also looking to minimize the number of people who keep go- ing and hitting Symantec [Corp.]s Web site for the latest patches when we could just download them once and then have them hit on an internal connection.

eWeek: Kevin, I think you were one of the ones who mentioned that things such as Windows 2000 and Active Directory were taking a long time to get traction in your environment. Are they there now?

Baradet: It wasnt Active Directory; it was the transitioning of older servers that were running third-party applications that we used. We had to put in Active Directory when we brought up our Exchange 2000 system, and we just finished migrating all of the folks out of the old NT domain and have shut that down.

eWeek: But thats something you got done during the current year?

Baradet: We just got it done. A lot of it is that we need to test the applications to make sure we got the right permissions on the servers and so on.

It looks at this point as if the NT stuff will just die by attrition and well wait till the vendors bring out new versions of the software. Most of the apps are going to undergo fairly significant rewrites and move to a different platform, so at that time well put them up on Windows 2000 servers.

eWeek: So when your Microsoft rep comes by with coffee and doughnuts and a proposal to upgrade your entire environment to .Net server ...

Baradet: Not interested at the moment.

eWeek: Do you think thats something you might want to do in two years? One year? Never?

Baradet: Well see what the product is like when it ships.

eWeek: But by no means is it an automatic assumption that youll adopt it in any foreseeable future?

Baradet: No.

eWeek: Is anyone here actively evaluating the new Microsoft server platforms?

Calabrese: Casually, not aggressively. I think everybody would probably agree that there is casual activity going on, but nobody is looking to rapidly move it out once its shipping.

eWeek: And it sounds like its not in anyones budget.

Calabrese: No.


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