I started in tech working for IBM and what makes the company unique is not its age—over 100 years—but the fact that it has since the beginning of when I got to know them in the 1970s taken security very seriously. My first large scale security experience was at IBM, and I learned the need to secure the site and secure the trusted partners because after we thought we’d secured the test site, the group doing the test hacked in through an unsecure trusted partner.
Security couldn’t be more critical today because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Folks working at home have created nearly unlimited avenues for hostile actors, and increasingly foreign hostile governments to gain access and make mischief. And resulting breaches are occurring at an alarming rate.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the largest (over $3B+ globally) security company is in high demand during the most massive cybersecurity exposure the world has likely ever seen.
Let’s talk about that this week.
The New Cloud Threat
Initially, cloud providers were anything but secure, and, fortunately, over the years, that situation has significantly improved. Surveys have indicated that 76% of organizations use up to 15 different approved clouds (there are always cloud efforts that fly under the radar; I’ll highlight one below). In addition, 98% of organizations forecast they will be moving to hybrid cloud architectures within three years. This trend appears to be accelerating during the pandemic as companies discover cloud services significantly easier to manage remotely than legacy on-premise hardware.
One of the best examples of unauthorized cloud use was with a pharmaceutical company. A few years back, a team wanted to buy workstations to research a new drug, and IT told them it would take over $100,000 and six months for both approval and implementation. The team didn’t have either the money or the time, so they used the cloud, costing them $3K and under a month to complete the project. They got an award from the company for saving money. They then were terminated for violating security policy because the cloud service they used was in Eastern Europe. They couldn’t assure the data on the new drug hadn’t been compromised.
Security solutions, to be comprehensive, need to cover both on-premise and cloud elements to ensure that they protect the new hybrid-cloud enterprise. This dynamic is currently creating a $124B security service revenue opportunity, according to Gartner. IBM was one of the first and remained the largest to step up to this challenge.
IBM Security is built on more than a dozen individual security acquisitions and a sustained security budget of over $2 billion in dedicated R&D, which has resulted in a unique 10,000 related security patents. Currently, IBM has 8,000 professionals globally working on their comprehensive security solutions while managing 70+ billion security-related events per day across 133 countries.
This global reach gives IBM a expansive view of security threats. It makes them better able to respond to threats that first appeared in another geography because they’ve already experienced and mitigated them.
At the heart of their current security solution portfolio is the Cloud Pak for Security, which was the first unified hybrid cloud software designed to connect technologies across the full technology stack in and encompassing hybrid deployments. This solution is designed for the new normal of low staffing and the need for high integration through a single interface architecture, open data connections, and a rich partner ecosystem of integrations and applications.
Being IBM, which currently leads in enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) with Watson, this solution also has an impressive AI element which provided material assistance to remediate attacks at scale faster than security teams alone can. In addition, it automates critical security processes, reduces complexity, and provides those managing remotely with a clear view of their firm’s threat landscape.
The need for a large-scale enterprise-class hybrid-cloud enabled security solution has never been greater. Companies aggressively move toward the cloud, and state-level bad actors use the pandemic like a free pass to either harm or steal proprietary information. IBM stands alone as the one firm with the depth and reach to address this problem at an enterprise and global scale due to its security history and unique capability. Their ability to rapidly identify and mitigate threats at a global scale remains largely unmatched today, and this confluence of capability and need drove some impressive financial results this month.
With all of the things changing around us, it is nice to see that a trusted brand like IBM is stepping up to keep us all safe. Just a little bit of good news in what will likely go down in history as one of the worst years any of us have lived through so far.