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IBM: Security data is at a tipping point


As we enter the third decade of the twenty-first century, enterprises are moving more and more of their business to the cloud, but security tools and data aren’t always included in that transition.

Highly sensitive data is frequently spread across different tools, clouds and, most commonly, on-premise IT environments. This omission creates gaps that allow major threats to be missed and are often only addressed when companies undertake costly complex integrations. On an average day, companies may receive tens of thousands of alerts, ranging from disruptive malware inadvertently loaded by an employee, to a pernicious cybercriminal making a determined run at the company’s core data. Monitoring is constant — each red flag requires real-time analysis and response, matching the tool to the threat. In fact, according to a SANS Institute Survey sponsored by IBM, more than half of security teams surveyed stated they struggle with integration between security analytic tools and cloud infrastructure.

We are currently at a tipping point in the security industry, driven by two major market forces that are converging – security fragmentation and the march towards widespread cloud adoption. In order to avoid becoming the next security headline, companies have raced to adopt the latest and greatest security tools, causing the market to expand rapidly. According to Gartner, this has catapulted worldwide security spending to US$124 billion in 2019, nearly double the spend from just five years ago.

As a former national security practitioner with almost four decades of experience observing and engaging the threat environment in Canada and in many parts of the world, I can confidently say that at no time has the technology and security challenges facing Canadian businesses been as disparate, yet so wholly inter-connected. Based on recent conversations with clients, the complexity of business processes, especially in hybrid multi-cloud environments, has caused an important security gap. It is a challenge that pits early 21st century approaches against what is increasingly a cloud-enabled world.

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These challenges grow as companies move more of their workloads to the cloud. While a hybrid multi-cloud environment offers considerable advantages to keep businesses competitive, the mix of public and private clouds, as well as on-premise resources, creates a fragmented security landscape. A security team interacts with dozens of product screens, often managing a multitude of tools that weren’t designed to work together.

To address the extreme complexity that has emerged, we need simplified, integrated platforms that connect and streamline security tools. If done right, this will mean we can reinvent security, so it is smarter, faster, better, and designed to protect the unique nature of the cloud. Both the literature and expert opinion from CISOs and others are crystal clear. Security environments require more simplified security tools. Equally important, we need to create tools that can work across product categories and vendors, keeping Canadian businesses secure and competitive in a multi-cloud world.

It’s time for a security reset. The traditional approach to security just isn’t working. As global threat actors with access to increasingly large sets of human and capital resources continue to innovate, so must we. Within that innovation challenge has been a number of security solution leaders that are working to flip today’s disjointed security model on its head. As one example, IBM recently designed and launched Cloud Pak for Security. Built on open technologies, it is intended to help security teams connect data and workflows and bring together information from across hybrid cloud environments, while deploying across any on premise or cloud environment.

In a world where security is top of mind for every enterprise, it’s about time for an integrated offering that can uncover hidden threats across any cloud or on-premise location — all while leaving your data exactly where it is. Welcome to 2020.

Ray Boisvert is associate partner at IBM Security Services.