Mission Critical: Get Focused Now

The value of focus-especially in tough times-is extraordinary.

The value of focus—especially in tough times—is extraordinary. Dell stayed focused on being the most efficient computer vendor and is seeing some powerful gains in market share. IBMs new chief executive, Sam Palmisano, is getting a quick lesson in the need to reduce his work force by choosing exactly where to focus the sprawling company. The trick with bringing a company into tight focus is to make sure you are concentrating on the correct area.

In IT, ensuring you are correctly focused is critical in the communications area. The surplus telecom and networking gear auctions on eBay make apparent the miscues in manufacturing and market guessing. Navigating a company through a down market complete with rapid technological change and fickle buyers takes skill and resolve.

In this weeks issue, Stan Gibson interviews Gordon Stitt. Stitt is president and CEO of Extreme Networks, which is on track for a half billion in sales at a time when many communications vendors are knee-deep in expansionist dreams turned into financial nightmares.

The best place to focus IT security efforts is on catching problems before they turn into security disasters. eWeek Labs tells you exactly how to develop and execute a vulnerability scanning plan. While developing a plan is a good first step, finding products and services that can fulfill the plans needs is the critical second step. West Coast Technical Director Tim Dyck looks at two just-released application vulnerability scanners from Sanctum and SPI Dynamics. If youre considering having an outside company do the work, look at Anne Chens article to see how one company got the most for their managed security budget. For a different approach to vulnerability scanning, see John Tascheks analysis of Cenzics Hailstorm.

If one of your IT focuses has been on building collaborative systems that are both widely dispersed and secure, you might want to consider Groove Workspace 2.0. Technical Analyst Jason Brooks takes Groove for a test drive in this weeks issue and finds a lot to like. This is a big release for Groove and starts to define exactly how peer to peer will be used in the enterprise.

And, finally, in the focus area, IBM employees and the IT community at large are eager to hear from Palmisano on where the cuts will be and where Big Blue will put its emphasis as the economy returns to life.

What are your strategies for riding out this down market? Write to me at eric_lundquist@ziffdavis.com.