What does 2019 have in store for you and your clients?
It could serve as the foundation for an increasingly prosperous relationship, provided you’ve prepared for all the challenges to be faced.
The digital world now changes on an almost monthly basis, whether it’s the introduction of innovative AI promising ever-greater ease of managing everything from data to product deployment, or the abrupt spread of contagious malware created by worryingly adept cyber criminals.
As businesses increasingly adopt cloud portfolios, cognitive cloud management platforms are rapidly becoming essential, automatically monitoring and adapting to any detected changes while also seamlessly accepting the necessary integration of new software and applications.
So please take a look at our summation of trends that are swiftly becoming the new normal.
The Evolution of the Botnet into the Thingbot
Thingbots are botnets composed of infected IoT devices.
And just as with botnets – networks of infected computers that can be used to perform a range of cyber-crimes – thingbots are readily available for sale on the Dark Web.
Controlled by a cybercriminal, they’re used to steal sensitive data or, more commonly now, instigate a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). Unfortunately, they’re also being used with increasing ingenuity and maliciousness to install Tor nodes, fraud trojans, packet sniffers, and proxy servers to launch crypto-jacking and DNS hijack attacks from.
Primary targets for thingbots include wireless routers, modems, cameras, and network storage systems, most of which use Linux as their operating system. Attackers simply take existing Linux malware and recompile it to target the specific architecture the device is running on.
At present, certain industries and countries are more susceptible to heavy attacks than others, but cybercriminals are becoming ever more sophisticated. Fortunately, your clients can be protected from these attacks, and any future escalations, using the right solutions.
Take steps to protect your clients against the thingbot threat by reading this invaluable IBM report.
Maintaining a sustainable application environment
As you know, and as your clients hopefully know, an environment is a computer – real or virtual – which runs the software placed under your clients’ control.
A personal computer is referred to as a local environment, while the server providing customer access to your clients’ products or services is the production environment.
Although environments are usually assigned specific applications, environments themselves tend to have different topologies. One might, for example, consist of a single server, while another is spread over several servers, or even a cluster of servers.
Naturally, it all sounds so incredibly obvious to you, but the fact is businesses are struggling to understand – let alone optimise and protect – their rapidly expanding application environments.
Such companies generally remain unaware of just how many applications they have in use, with the majority admitting they have no scheduled tests for web application vulnerabilities.
And yet the increase in sophisticated cybercrime has made it an essential procedure, along with the need for the integration of specific solutions including behaviour analytics, bot protection, and application-layer encryption and security.
To considerably simplify matters, IBM® UrbanCode™ Deploy maintains an inventory of every artefact that is deployed to each environment, while also tracking the differences in the inventories and property values of those environments. Environment properties can be created vai an environment’s Properties Pane, while Environment Gates specify conditions to be met before components can be deployed, ensuring an efficient mapping of all resources.
Applying application services for optimum performance
Optimised applications are essential in today’s AI-intensive businesses.
When your clients begin utilising the cloud or invest in any form of digital transformation, the different application portfolios and infrastructures installed will obviously benefit from a frequent modernising process of configuring, monitoring, and orchestrating.
This ensures a perfect balance of effective controls and innovative freedom, while providing additional layers of availability and security – all resulting in a more consistently reliable quality of service.
To optimally deploy, run and improve applications in this way, a pool of services is required, including acceleration, performance monitoring, load balancing, autoscaling, micro‑segmentation, service proxy, and service discovery. Applications deployed in cloud-based resources have their own specific services, with extras such as firewalling for private, public, hybrid, or multi-cloud environments.
Thankfully, you can ensure your clients’ applications – whether on premises or on the cloud – are always fully optimised by taking advantage of IBM AI resources, automation tools, and IBM Security practices.
For instance, our ADM-Innovation INSPIRE talent management framework comes automation-ready to help you develop, maintain, and modernise your clients’ applications. Similarly, our application IMPACT delivery method is designed to provide speed, efficiency and an enhanced user experience through a mix of state-of-the-art tooling and processes. These include integrated DevOps, Design Thinking practices, agile methods, automation, Garage models, and security-focused coding practices, applicable throughout all delivery streams.
Services can be rapidly changed without affecting other parts of the application, particularly if application-centric enterprises take advantage of the flexible, container-based infrastructure of a microservices architecture. The application services can be created individually and deployed separately from each other, with scaling services based on specific business needs.
Just to give you some idea how important custom application services are, they can reduce digital operation defects by 30% and time to market by 40%.
Is your head in the multi-cloud?
To succeed in today’s increasingly AI-orientated business environment, your clients will need to become increasingly aware of the potentialities offered by the multi-cloud.
Put it this way; if they don’t see the advantages on offer, then their rivals most surely will.
But, of course, many clients who have attempted to embrace the multi-cloud have discovered that they soon begin to lose control and visibility.
Deploying a multi-cloud architecture involves distributing multiple cloud assets such as software, applications, and storage services across several cloud-hosting environments. For instance, the operational system can make use of two or more public clouds, working in combination with multiple private clouds.
This ensures your clients can assign workloads to the environments that are best suited for specific tasks, taking into account agility, speed, and security. They don’t have to rely on any single cloud provider either.
Naturally, it’s a system susceptible to resiliency issues if its structure is allowed to become too fragmented, while security can also be hard to manage. Each integration of a new set of cloud services comes with its own tools, adding to the overall complexity of the system, and managing it all via multiple providers can begin to feel overwhelming.
However, higher levels of automated governance are already being driven by the rapid increase in cognitive AI, which proactively manages data utilising built-in analytics, diagnostic, and orchestration capabilities. The result is an agile, multi-cloud integration architecture, where necessary breaking up integration runtimes into smaller, more manageable and dedicated components, while also enabling your clients to use a central dashboard to control all processes.
Hybrid Cloud: a more controllable, more secure multi-cloud
A Hybrid Cloud fuses all that’s best in the multi-cloud into one far more easily managed whole.
We’re sure that your clients would be interested to know that companies with a defined hybrid cloud strategy achieve 2.5x higher gross profits than businesses who’ve adopted more regular digital transformations.
Hybrid Cloud gives greater flexibility and more data deployment options. It enables the monitoring, management, and smooth movement of workloads through a mix of harmonised on-premise, private cloud, and third-party, public cloud services.
It accelerates deployment while minimising disruption, and ensures openness while granting the highest security.
In fact, the unparalleled cloud security of Hybrid Cloud on IBM Z keeps all your clients’ sensitive information safe, being the only platform to offer complete encryption of all application and cloud service data.
A stable infrastructure that effortlessly scales to a growing business, IBM Z allows the easy creation of accessible cloud services and microservices, using common language and open technologies. Moreover, performance issues can be detected and fixed before they impact users by running synthetic tests.
You, your clients and IBM; Building tomorrow together
If you’ve read this far, you’re obviously in the business of ensuring your clients are benefiting from the very latest innovations in digital transformation.
IBM technologies give you the solutions you’re both seeking.
Better still, if you’re interested in partnering with us you can claim $12.000 worth of IBM Cloud credits to use over the next 12 months: absolutely free