IT people, places and things we want to hear more – or less – about in 2008

Municipal Wi-Fi and Applie’s Leopard grow in newsworthiness while NTP’s patent fights face lack of interest in 2008.

Looking ahead to 2008, here are three subjects we hope to hear more about: 

Municipal Wi-Fi success stories. It seems the latest stories about municipal Wi-Fi projects are all negative; Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston are among cities struggling to deliver citywide wireless Internet services amid political infighting. It’s time for some success stories. 

Mobile data security. About 60% of IT security practitioners lack the resources to implement proper policies and put controls on off-network devices, according to a recent survey by Ponemon Institute. Enterprises need to get better about protecting data on electronic devices that leave the network — and fast. 

Apple in the enterprise. Leopard, Apple’s new operating system for servers and desktops, has been generating a lot of buzz. Now it’s go time: Will enterprises adopt the 10.5 release of OSX? 

… and five we hope to hear less about:

Things catching on fire. Flaming cell phones, combustible laptop batteries and fiber installations gone wrong were everywhere in the news in 2007. Enough already. 

Data breaches. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer advocacy group, has kept a running tally of the number of records containing sensitive personal information involved in security breaches in the United States since January 2005. As of early December, a whopping 216 million records have been compromised. 

The SCO Group. The company lost a key court ruling in its lawsuit against Novell, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and reported weak quarterly results within the last few months alone. Are we done yet? 

Patent prospectors. Patent holding company NTP in September filed lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA for infringing on several of its patents related to the delivery of e-mail to mobile devices. NTP’s similar 4-year-old patent suit against BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion in 2006 netted a settlement of $612.5 million -- so it seems unlikely this round of NTP suits will go away. Can’t hurt to hope, though. 

• Corporate malfeasance. Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio was convicted of insider trading in April, and in July was ordered to pay $52 million and spend six years in prison. Ex-CA CEO Sanjay Kumar, meanwhile, in August reported to federal prison to begin serving his 12-year term for accounting fraud. Kumar also was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in restitution to victims of securities fraud. Five years after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, let’s hope the trail of technology vendor convicts is waning.  

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