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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2009-12-16 11:18:01

Problem: social networking cloud services (e.g. Facebook) have to rely on advertising for revenue. This obviously annoys users and isn't very reliable.

Problem: people spend a lot of time at work on these social networking sites, in some cases prompting their employers to block access to said sites. This results in lowered employee morale (although arguably better productivity).

Problem: larger companies attempt to replicate the service in-house. Invariably, communication and collaboration software developed specifically for enterprises is crap. In addition, employees need to maintain two different social network accounts with overlapping functions.

Solution: the Enterprise Enhancement Proxy (EEP). A proxy server that is purchased by the enterprise from the cloud operator and placed inside the enterprise firewall. This proxy serves a dual purpose.

(1) It serves as a proxy for all communication to the public cloud, allowing the enterprise network administrators to filter or block certain types of traffic at a more granular level than currently possible (e.g. you probably do not need to publish facebook videos while at work, although status updates might be acceptable).

(2) It interfaces with an enterprise-local database to seamlessly (or maybe seamfully) integrate public and enterprise-specific social data. The resulting view would include social data from both public and enterprise networks, and any interactions with the enterprise data would remain within the enterprise database itself.

So, for example, let's say Twitter develops an EEP and it is deployed at some corporation. When employees on the corporate network go to see their Twitter feed on (or any app that accesses the Twitter API), the EEP will intercept the request and mix in tweets from their co-workers into the resulting view. Any replies from an employee to a co-worker will get intercepted by the EEP and get saved to the enterprise database, and will not be visible on the public internet.

This solution allows enterprises to retain full control over their intellectual property while also taking full advantage of the services provided by public social networks. It also provides the social networks with a more reliable revenue stream. The users benefit too by not having to maintain separate social network accounts for public and corporate use. Everybody's a winner!

Posted by Fai at 2009-12-18 19:28:12
What about the in-house developer who wants to write his own facebook? he loses.
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Posted by kats at 2009-12-18 19:45:54
An in-house developer who *wants* to rewrite Facebook should quit and start his own company.
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Posted by Fai at 2009-12-19 20:07:13
but now you're forcing him to choose.
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Posted by stak at 2009-12-20 22:01:41
Like I said, everybody's a winner :)
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Posted by Tony at 2009-12-21 11:56:05
I predict that this will be a non-starter because enterprises are notoriously fickle and won't be willing to run the risk that a bug in the EEP might leak proprietary data outside.
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Posted by stak at 2009-12-21 21:13:06
That is probably true for some enterprises, but I'm sure there is a middle class that is willing to take the risk. Probably overlaps the group that use Google Apps.
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Posted by Tony at 2009-12-22 12:10:57
I think the companies that use Google Apps are almost exclusively small businesses, where the value of an internal social networking platform is debatable at best.
[ Reply to this ]
Posted by stak at 2009-12-22 21:31:42
Hmm, good point.
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