With its Bluetooth-based iBeacons turned on in all its U.S. stores, Apple is both attempting to improve customer experience and demonstrate its new location-based notification service. While retail is a natural fit for iBeacons, the teachnology has potential well beyond the store or mall. Here are ten other industries and spaces where iBeacons could deliver killer value.
Netskope wants to take a scalpel, not a sledgehammer, to cloud apps
Netskope is the latest vendor to try to help companies manage employee cloud app usage, this time with more granular controls than others such as Skyhigh. However, Netskope’s extra controls come at a price.
Netskope has had beta customers since October 2012, but is just now launching to general availability, bolstered in part by new funding. After raising $5.5 million in November, it is now adding $15.9 million to its coffers from The Social+Capital Partnership and Lightspeed Venture Partners. It’s got some marquee customers, including Netflix and Universal Music Group.
Like Skyhigh, Netskope first detects which cloud apps are being used by workers. Using a virtual machine on-premises at the enterprise, plus client software on user devices like laptops and tablets, Netskope can figure out what apps workers are using both in the office and at home or on the road.
But rather than fully block apps, Netskope lets IT managers take a more granular approach. “Instead of being a sledgehammer, we want to be a scalpel,” said Sanjay Beri, CEO of Netskope. “Rather than just let everything or nothing through, we can let them allow pieces through.”
For example, instead of fully blocking Box, an IT manager can let employees use Box but prevent them from sharing sensitive documents or prevent them from sharing anything with certain other businesses. When users try to share a document that they aren’t allowed to share, they’ll see a message letting them know they aren’t allowed to.
However, to get that level of control users have to pay a bit of a price. All traffic directed to any of the nearly 3,000 cloud apps that Netskope tracks travels first to Netskope’s servers. That’s where the company does deep packet inspection to figure out what kind of content workers may be trying to share, for instance. It’s the virtual machine (when the worker is on-premises) or the client on the worker’s device (when they are remote) that sends the traffic to Netskope.
Netskope operates from Equinix data centers in multiple locations. Beri says that the process of sending traffic through its service adds 5 to 10 milliseconds to any request, which he said is far less than the hundreds of milliseconds that most SaaS apps take per request.
The process of shuttling traffic through Netskope could raise alarms for security-conscious businesses, but Beri argues that overall his company will improve security for customers. “When we go into a company, they think they have 10 apps but they really have 150. That’s a large blind spot for them where they are already shuttling data to a large, disparate set of cloud apps. So for them, they’re viewing us as a way to take control of that,” he said.
Also, he notes that Netskope isn’t storing customer data that passes through its servers and that it has a number of security certifications that should mollify security conscious customers. “Whether they like it or not, they’re already in the cloud and what we’re doing helps them take control of that,” he said.
In addition to detecting apps and letting IT manages control how they’re used, Netskope also offers “unsolicited input,” he said. The company scores cloud apps and then shows customers which apps they’re using that are risky. It also shows customers apps by category so they can see how many project management tools or cloud storage services workers are using.
Customers pay for Netskope as a yearly subscription based on number of users. It’s targeting customers with 500 to tens of thousands of workers.
BlackBerry has a lot of hurdles to cross to stage a comeback but one in particular might be especially tough to overcome: the operators. My experience getting started with the Z10 shows AT&T, at least, doesn't seem to find the Z10 a priority.