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Batten Down The Hatches! IBM’s X-Force 2012 Trend And Risk Report

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It’s been a busy year for IT security incidents. Yesterday, John Markoff and Nicole Perlroth with The New York Times told us about yet another incident, this time a cyberattack involving antispam group Spamhaus and an anonymous group unhappy with their efforts.

Based on disclosed incident details such as the vulnerability used and attack type, IBM X-Force was able to determine that the majority of the security incidents disclosedin 2012 were carried out by the top left quadrant above, with attackers going after a broad target base while using off-the-shelf tools and techniques. This can be attributed to the wide public availability of toolkits, and to the large number of vulnerable web applications that exist on the Internet.

Click to enlarge. Based on disclosed incident details such as the vulnerability used and attack type, IBM X-Force was able to determine that the majority of the security incidents disclosed in 2012 were carried out by the top left quadrant above, with attackers going after a broad target base while using off-the-shelf tools and techniques. This can be attributed to the wide public availability of toolkits, and to the large number of vulnerable web applications that exist on the Internet.

But the list goes on and on. From the discovery of sophisticated toolkits with ominous names like Flame to cross-platform zero-day vulnerabilities, both consumers and corporations have been inundated with advisories and alerts regarding emerging threats. The frequency of data breaches and incidents—which had already hit a new high in 2011—continued their upward trajectory.

At the mid-year of 2012, IBM’s X-Force team predicted that the explosive nature of attacks and security breaches seen in the first half would continue. Indeed this was the case. While talk of sophisticated attacks and widespread distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attempts made the year’s headlines, a large percentage of breaches relied on tried and true techniques such as SQL injection.

What continues to be clear is that attackers, regardless of operational sophistication, will pursue a path-of-least-resistance approach to reach their objectives. Integration of mobile devices into the enterprise continues to be a challenge. In the previous report, X-Force looked at some of the pitfalls and perils of implementing BYOD programs without strict formulations of policy and governance to support the use of these devices.

That said, recent developments have indicated that while these dangers still exist, and X-Force believes mobile devices should be more secure than traditional user computing devices by 2014. While this prediction may seem far fetched on the surface, it is based on security control trends and requirements that are being driven into the market by knowledgeable security executives.

In its latest report, X-Force explores how security executives are advocating the separation of personas or roles on employee-owned devices. It also addresses some secure software mobile application development initiatives that are taking place today. The distribution and installation of malware on end-user systems has been greatly enabled by the use of Web browser exploit kits built specifically for this purpose.

The intense proliferation of social networking across the Internet poses new challenges to companies that need to control the sharing of confidential information. Any employee that has access to the Internet is going to be exposed to social networking sites and because they are so frequently accessed,they have become a favorite target of scam and phishing.

Click to enlarge. The intense proliferation of social networking across the Internet poses new challenges to companies that need to control the sharing of confidential information. Any employee that has access to the Internet is going to be exposed to social networking sites and because they are so frequently accessed,
they have become a favorite target of scam and phishing.

Exploit kits first began to appear in 2006 and are provided or sold by their authors to attackers that want to install malware on a large number of systems.  They continue to be popular because they provide attackers a turnkey solution for installing malware on end-user systems.

Java vulnerabilities have become a key target for exploit kits as attackers take advantage of three key elements: reliable exploitation, unsandboxed code execution, and cross-platform availability across multiple operating systems. Java exploits have become key targets in 2012 and IBM X-Force predicts this attack activity to continue into 2013.

As X-Force also reported in the mid-year, spam volume remained nearly flat in 2012, with India claiming the top country of origin for spam distribution, but the nature of spam is changing. Broadly targeted phishing scams, as well as more personalized spear-phishing efforts continue to fool end users with crafty social-engineering email messages that look like legitimate businesses. Also, fake banking alerts and package delivery service emails have been effective as attackers refine their messages to look like the authentic messages that customers might normally receive.

Whether the target is individuals or the enterprise, once again, X-Force reminds organizations that many breaches were a result of poorly applied security fundamentals and policies and could have been mitigated by putting some basic security hygiene into practice.

Web applications are still topping the chart of most disclosed vulnerabilities, rising 14% in 2012 over the 2011 end of year numbers. As reported earlier in the mid-year report, cross-site scripting (XSS) dominated the web vulnerability disclosures at 53% of all publicly released vulnerabilities. Although SQL injection attack methods remain as a top attack technique, the actual disclosures of new SQL injection vulnerabilities remain lower than the 2010 peak X-Force recorded.

Social media has dramatically changed our lives with new ways to connect, personally and professionally. From this constant availability of information about individuals, attackers can readily access data to use in their activities.

Now, more than ever, individual employees who share personal details in their social profiles can be targeted for attacks.

The values for the evaluated threat and residualthreat can be determined by comparing thelikelihood or frequency of a threat occurring (high,medium, low) against the damage impact that couldhappen if the threat occurred (catastrophic, high,medium, low). The goal is to implement mitigationprocesses that either reduce the frequency of thethreat occurring or reduce the impact if the threatdoes occur. A requirement for this to be successful is to have aspecific, designated monitoring mechanism to monitorthe implementation of the treatment processes andfor the appearance of the threats. This monitoringmechanism should be monitored and alerts should beresponded to. It does no good to have network-basedanti-virus consoles gathering information about virusalerts across the network, if nobody is assigned tomonitor the console and respond to those alerts.Monitoring and responding is part of the mitigationprocess. (An example threat assessment and riskmitigation process chart is provided below, thoughthe IR team may identify a greater list.)

Click to enlarge. The values for the evaluated threat and residual threat can be determined by comparing the likelihood or frequency of a threat occurring (high, medium, low) against the damage impact that could happen if the threat occurred (catastrophic, high, medium, low). The goal is to implement mitigation processes that either reduce the frequency of the threat occurring or reduce the impact if the threat does occur. A requirement for this to be successful is to have a specific, designated monitoring mechanism to monitor the implementation of the treatment processes and for the appearance of the threats.

2012 X-Force Trend And Risk Report Highlight

Malware and the malicious web

  • In 2012, near daily leaks of private information about victims were announced like game scoreboards through tweets and other social media. Personal details, such as email addresses, passwords (both encrypted and clear text), and even national ID numbers were put on public display.
  • Based on data for 2012, it is not surprising that the bulk of the security incidents disclosed were carried out with the majority of attackers going after a broad target base while using off-the-shelf tools and techniques. X-Force attributes this to the wide public availability of toolkits and to the large number of vulnerable web applications that exist on the Internet.
  • The year began and ended with a series of politically motivated, high-profile DDoS attacks against the banking industry. An interesting twist to the banking DDoS attacks was the implementation of botnets on compromised web servers residing in high bandwidth data centers. This technique assisted in much higher connected uptime as well as having more bandwidth than home PC’s to carry out the attacks. In the sampling of security incidents from 2012, the United States had the most breaches, at 46%. The United Kingdom was second at 8% of total incidents, with Australia and India tied for third at 3%.
  • IBM Managed Security Services (MSS) security incident trends are markers that represent the state of security across the globe. The relative volume of the various alerts can help to describe how attacks are established and launched. They also frequently provide hints about how methods have evolved. Based on this, the main focus in 2012 may have been the subversion of systems, with larger coordinated attacks being executed across fairly broad swaths of the Internet.
  • IBM MSS has noted a dramatic and sustained rise in SQL injection-based traffic due, in large part, to a consistent effort from the Asia Pacific region. The alerts came from all industry sectors, with a bias toward banking and finance targets.
  • Web browser exploit kits (also known as exploit packs) are built for one particular purpose: to install malware on end-user systems. In 2012 X-Force observed an upsurge in web browser exploit kit development and activity—the primary target of which are Java vulnerabilities—and X-Force supplies some strategies and tips to help protect against future attacks (see end of post to download full report).
  • Java continues to be a key target for attackers. It has the advantage of being both cross-browser and cross-platform—a rare combination that affords attackers a lot of value for their investment. Web content trends, spam, and phishing Web content trends Top used websites are readily deployed as IPv6- ready, although attackers do not yet seem to be targeting IPv6 on a large scale.
  • One third of all web access is done on websites which allow users to submit content such as web applications and social media.
  • Nearly 50% of the relevant websites now link to a social network platform, and this intense proliferation poses new challenges to companies that need to control the sharing of confidential information.

Spam and phishing

  • Spam volume remained nearly flat in 2012.
  • India remains the top country for distributing spam, sending out more than 20% of all spam in the autumn of 2012. Following India was the United States where more than 8% of all spam was generated in the second half of the year. Rounding out the top five spam sending countries of origin were Vietnam, Peru, and Spain.
  • At the end of 2012, IBM reports that traditional spam is on the retreat, while scam and spam containing malicious attachments is on the rise. In addition, attackers are demonstrating more resiliency to botnet take downs which results in an uninterrupted flow of spam volume.

Operational Security Practices

Vulnerabilities and exploitation

  • In 2012, there were over 8,168 publicly disclosed vulnerabilities. While not the record amount X-Force expected to see after reviewing its mid-year data, it still represents an increase of over 14% over 2011.
  • Web application vulnerabilities surged 14% from 2,921 vulnerabilities in 2011 to 3,551 vulnerabilities in 2012.
  • Cross-site scripting vulnerabilities accounted for over half of the total web application vulnerabilities disclosed in 2012. Cross-site scripting dominated the web vulnerability disclosures. Fifty-three percent of all publicly released web application vulnerabilities were cross-site scripting related. This is the highest rate X-Force has ever seen. This dramatic increase occurred while SQL injection vulnerabilities enjoyed a higher rate than 2011 but were still down significantly since 2010.
  • There were 3,436 public exploits in 2012. This is 42% of the total number of vulnerabilities, up 4% from 2011 levels.
  • Web browser vulnerabilities declined slightly for 2012, but not at as high a rate as document format issues. While the overall number of web browser vulnerabilities dropped by a nominal 6% from 2011, the number of high- and critical severity web browser vulnerabilities saw an increase of 59% for the year.
  • Few innovations have impacted the way the world communicates quite as much as social media. However, with the mass interconnection and constant availability of individuals, new vulnerabilities and a fundamental shift in intelligence-gathering capabilities has provided attackers and security professionals alike with information useful for enhancing their activities.
  • Rather than seeing a particular enterprise as an individual entity, attackers can view enterprises as a collection of personalities. This gives attackers the opportunity to target specific people rather than enterprise infrastructures or applications. Furthermore, targeted people may also be targeted as individuals and not just as employees. In other words, the personal activities and lives of employees can be leveraged to target an enterprise.

Emerging Trends In Security

Mobile

  • Prediction: Mobile computing devices should be more secure than traditional user computing devices by 2014. This is a bold prediction that IBM recently made as part of its look ahead in technology trends. While this prediction may seem far-fetched on the surface, it is based on security control trends and requirements that are being driven into the market by knowledgeable security executives.
  • Separation of personas or roles: While a small percentage of enterprises have dealt with BYOD by using virtualized desktop solutions to separate and control enterprise applications and data from the rest of the personally owned device, a greater number of enterprises have wanted or required some form of separation or dual persona on mobile devices. This difference in use or adoption could be the result of greater numbers of devices driving greater risk in the percentage of personally owned mobile devices versus personally owned PCs in a BYOD program.
  • In many cases, enterprises have made significant investments into implementing Secure Software Development Life Cycle (SSDLC) processes. Today’s mobile application development benefits from this. Tools exist to support secure development as part of the process instead of being conducted in qualification or production. As a result, it should be more common for enterprises to have more securely developed mobile applications than their existing legacy applications. Closure of vulnerabilities in some traditional computing applications may only conclude as existing versions are sunset and replaced with newer, more securely developed replacements.
  • Over 2012, it is safe to conclude that more enterprises are supporting BYOD or the use of personally owned devices than previously. In the last two years, IBM Security has spoken to hundreds of global 2000 customers and out of those interviewed, only three said they had no plans to implement any kind of BYOD program.

To learn more on how your organization can work to address these types of vulnerabilities, download the full IBM X-Force 2012 Trend And Risk Report here.

Live @ IBM Pulse 2013: A Cloud Computing Security Roundtable

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At the IBM Cloud Security press roundtable, several IBM Security experts expounded on the issues and challenges organizations are facing as they work to better secure their cloud computing environments.

At the IBM Cloud Security press roundtable, several IBM Security experts expounded on the issues and challenges organizations are facing as they work to better secure their cloud computing environments.

If you’ve followed the headlines recently, you can’t help but notice the constant barrage of news concerning security break-ins at some of the most public cloud sites on the planet: Facebook, Google, Evernote…the list goes on and on.

Yet in spite of the looming cloud security concerns, enterprises and organizations continue to ramp up their investments in both public and private cloud infrastructure as a cost-effective, dynamic way to scale up their IT capacity.

At the IBM Cloud Security roundtable here at IBM Pulse 2013 yesterday in Las Vegas, several IBM security experts came together to discuss some of the challenges, best practices, and solutions to protect against threats and provide security-rich cloud computing environments.

Jack Danahy, director of security for IBM North America, hosted the panel before the gathered industry press, and offered up some prefacing comments to set the stage for the security discussion.

Jack began by stating that 9 out of 10 global CEOs say that cloud computing is critical to their business plans and “a way to increase their organizational productivity, but all also admit security is a lingering concern.”

Brendan Hannigan, the general manager for the IBM Security Division, explained that there are some key basic security concerns around cloud, including the safety of enterprise data, and whether or not it can be compromised or lost.

Hannigan explained: “Cloud is simply another computer upon which we can deploy capabilities for our customers, and we should be able to look at cloud security the same way we do across other domains.”  That includes giving organizations a single view of identity across their cloud environments.

Kris Lovejoy, general manager for IBM Security Systems, discussed some of the key inhibitors to organizations providing more effective cloud security measures, and explained that the cloud is actually inherently more securable than traditional IT infrastructure because of they way it’s designed and the manner by which you can replicate security controls.

So if the cloud is inherently more securable, why the seeming contradiction that nobody seems to be able to effectively secure it?

Because, Lovejoy explained, when you buy public cloud capability you typically have to buy the security features as an added extra, and may customers don’t do so.

“Think about the provider as being a hotel,” Lovejoy explained, “and in each hotel room they have a series of diseases. The provider must provide you good housekeeping to protect you from diseases in the other rooms, and yet so many cloud computing tenants don’t make that obvious investment to protect their cloud applications and data.”

When Danahy asked the panel about what can be done to make executives more comfortable with the idea of security investments in the cloud space, Hannigan chimed in, and explained the rationale comes down to a distinction in the type of data you’re working with, and delineating between the information that is critical and that which is less sensitive.

“When you have a specific application or data set,” Hannigan explained, “there are wonderful opportunities afforded by the cloud because in security, one of the biggest challenges is striking a balance between locking the infrastructure down and providing free and unfettered access to the that information customers and employees need.”

Lovejoy explained it was not dissimilar from the crazy notion of automakers selling cars without seatbelts or brakes. “You don’t want to suddenly discover you don’t have these features going 60 miles per hour down the interstate.”

Kevin Skapintez, program director of product strategy for IBM Security, said that the need for more cloud security standards reminded him of the late 1800s, when fire hydrants had different nozel sizes that required varying widths of connectors for the hoses.

“You have to have standards related to identity,” Kevin explained, “so you don’t have to build different registries per cloud!”

“More organizations needed to also heighten their log management regimes,” he explained, “so that they have improved visibility to see if they have the right controls in place and where incidents are occuring.”

Lovejoy explained that “most organizations have a pretty defined pathway to cloud success.” Many are using develop and test environments and are moving to non-core workloads, allowing a lot of applications to emerge and consolidate on the cloud.

At the same time, she explained, most companies are planning a security operations optimization and that the cloud is a remarkable opportunity. “As we consolidate,” she explained, “things get simpler. Companies need to think about this in the context of business transformation. You need to adopt the cloud in a safe and reliable manner while managing the risk.”

During the Q&A, I asked the panel whether or not all these very public public cloud security incidences we’ve seen in the headlines were driving any real productive conversation in terms of making cloud security more of a priority.

Lovejoy explained the scenario typically went something like this: A CEO would call up their provider, ask for an assessment, give them a threat briefing, then go to a third party standard to see if they matched the security checklist.

But that not enough of them were what she termed “security aware.”

Hannigan concluded, “It’s a classic dilemma with security spending. Security concerns are not specific just to the cloud, and clients are working about losing data, period. The question is, can they invest all the money necessary to adequately secure those environments?”

To date, the answer seems to largely be “no.”

IBM Unveils Comprehensive Mobile Portfolio

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IBM Mobile First

Click to enlarge the infographic.  As the first new technology platform for business to emerge since the World Wide Web, mobile computing represents one of the greatest opportunities for organizations to expand their business. Based on nearly 1,000 customer engagements, 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the last four years, a team of thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations, IBM MobileFirst offers an array of solutions that helps businesses connect, secure, manage and develop mobile networks, infrastructures and applications.

 

IBM is going big on mobile.

Today, the company unveiled “IBM MobileFirst,” a comprehensive mobile strategy that combines security, analytics, and application development software, with cloud-based services and deep mobile expertise.

Using IBM MobileFirst solutions, businesses can now streamline everything from the management of employee mobile devices, to the creation of a new mobile commerce app that will transform their entire business model.

Today’s move by IBM builds off of its experience helping nearly 1,000 customers become mobile enterprises, and takes advantage of its thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations.

IBM has made 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the past four years alone.

IBM also announced an expanded relationship with AT&T to provide developers with tools to create faster, richer mobile apps and services for customers. For instance, organizations can now quickly incorporate payment and messages into their apps.

With this expanded partnership, the AT&T API Platform, featuring IBM Worklight Adapters, will enable the more than 31,000 members of the AT&T Developer Program to quickly create and securely deploy enterprise apps that improve subscriber engagement and customer loyalty.

With these adapters that support AT&T’s ecosystem of APIs including those for speech, SMS, device capabilities, notary management and payment, developers can quickly and securely create rich, business-ready apps across a variety of platforms including iOS, Android and Windows.

Through IBM MobileFirst, IBM is providing companies with the essential tools to take advantage of new business opportunities being enabled by mobile.

A Broad Portfolio of Mobile Solutions

To be successful in embracing mobile for driving revenue growth, clients must have an integrated strategy for mobile, cloud, big data, social business and security. Today’s announcements from IBM help clients harness these complex technologies to drive innovation and growth.

IBM’s mobile solutions portfolio provides the key elements of an application and data platform with the management, security and analytics capabilities needed for the enterprise.

In addition to meeting mobile-specific requirements, the portfolio provides for rapid integration between social and cloud services as well as back-end technologies that help secure and manage strategic business processes. Key aspects include:

  • IBM MobileFirst Platform – New updates include expanded capabilities of IBM Worklight to simplify deployment. It also features single sign-on capabilities for multiple applications. A new beta of the Rational Test Workbench for mobile helps to improve the quality and reliability of mobile apps.
  • IBM MobileFirst Security – IBM extends its context-based mobile access control solutions and expands mobile application vulnerability testing with support for Apple iOS apps with the latest release of AppScan.
  • IBM MobileFirst Management – New updates to IBM Endpoint Manager include enhanced support for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs and increased security standards that are critical to governments and regulated environments.
  • IBM MobileFirst Analytics – IBM is expanding its Tealeaf CX Mobile solution to give enterprises more visual insight into mobile behaviors so they can better understand where improvements are needed and create exceptional and consistent consumer experiences across mobile devices.

To provide organizations with maximum flexibility and accelerate their adoption of mobile computing, these solutions can also be delivered through cloud and managed services.

A Deep Set of Mobile Services for Clients

Enterprises are embracing the mobile revolution at a rapid pace. IBM has thousands of mobile experts to help clients understand how industries will be transformed in a mobile world, based on client engagements across more than a dozen industries.

The IBM MobileFirst portfolio features several services to help clients establish mobile strategies, design and implement mobile projects. These include:

  • IBM MobileFirst Strategy and Design Services – Clients can tap into IBM expertise to map out a mobile strategy for employees and customers, and key experience design skills from IBM Interactive to build compelling mobile experiences. IBM’s new Mobile Maturity Model can assess how a business is progressing towards becoming a mobile enterprise, while new Mobile Workshops help clients develop applications, architect infrastructure and accelerate their mobile progress.
  • IBM MobileFirst Development and Integration Services – IBM offers services that help organizations roll out a mobile infrastructure and manage mobile application portfolios and BYOD environments. Enhanced Network Infrastructure Services for Mobile provide IT network strategy, optimization, integration and management. Mobile Enterprise Services for Managed Mobility help manage and secure smartphones, tablets and devices across a business. Mobile Application Platform Management helps speed deployment of mobile infrastructure to develop mobile applications more easily and quickly.

An Expansive Set of Mobile Resources and Programs for Business Partners, Developers and Academics

According to IBM’s recent Tech Trends Report, only one in 10 organizations has the skills needed to effectively apply advanced technologies such as mobile computing.

To help overcome this skills gap, IBM is rolling out a series of resources to help its ecosystem of developers, partners and academics tap into the mobile opportunity and augment existing skills or develop new ones.

These include:

  • Developers – IBM today is announcing a relationship with AT&T that will enable developers to enhance mobile apps by using IBM Worklight to access AT&T’s APIs in the cloud. Now, developers have another tool with AT&T to quickly and easily create apps with rich features such as speech recognition and rapid payment. IBM is also rolling out new technical assets on developerWorks and CodeRally, a developer game community.
  • Business Partners – With Ready for IBM MobileFirst, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can also embed mobile technologies into their solutions and Software Value Plus now provides mobile certifications, workshops and incentives for resellers and systems integrators.
  • Academics – To help train the next generation of mobile developers, IBM is offering new faculty grants for curricula development. IBM is also making IBM Worklight available, free of charge, for the classroom and via online training to teach both students and faculty to develop for mobile environments.

IBM Global Financing, the lending and leasing arm of IBM, can also help companies affordably transform into mobile enterprises.

Credit-qualified clients can take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages for the IBM MobileFirst portfolio — some starting at as low as 0% for 12 months with no up-front costs — allowing businesses to acquire essential technology and services while managing cash flow more effectively.

To learn more, visit the IBM MobileFirst site.  You can also follow @ibmmobile, #ibmmobile on Twitter, and see IBM MobileFirst on YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram.

Also, watch the video below (3:46), for it paints a broad, comprehensive, and gorgeous “picture” of the enterprise mobile opportunity and challenges.

IBM MobileFirst Announcement Coverage:

Taking The Pulse On Mobile

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IBM Pulse on Vivastream

IBM Pulse 2013 is introducing a new social networking feature called “Pulse on Vivastream,” where you can connect and interact with other attendees and speakers to find people with similar interests and skills, share agendas, discuss hot and trending topics, and network with your peers. So, sign up now so you can make the most of IBM Pulse 2013 — before, during, and after the event.

First it was Ubuntu Linux on phones, and now it looks like it’s going to be Ubuntu Linux on Tablets.

TechCrunch posts that on Thursday, developers will be able to start “playing with” the new code, citing Ubuntu founder and VP Products Mark Shuttleworth saying that the strategy is “One Ubuntu” that contains the same codebase but works across multiple platforms, including desktops, phones, and tablets.

But, that each platform “uses a Linux kernel” that’s tailored for the specifics of the target hardware.

This in juxtaposition with iOS and Android, which don’t work as well beyond the handset form factor.

For the record, I currently run Ubuntu on several of my older machines, and save for some VPN woes, I’m a (mostly) happy Ubuntu user.

But what’s more interesting to me about this announcement is the timing. The global mobile confab, Mobile World Congress, is set to launch next week in Barcelona (one of my favorite cities on the planet!).

And speaking of mobile, just last week, IBM announced that Forrester Research, Inc. has recognized IBM as a leader in enterprise mobility services in its recent Forrester Wave report “Enterprise Mobility Services, Q1 2013.”

The report gave IBM the highest score possible on its current offering, writing that IBM “brings clients a world-class design agency (IBM Interactive) combined with breadth and depth of enterprise mobility consulting in terms of technology and global presence.”

I expect you’ll hear more about IBM’s mobile strategy in Barcelona, and shortly thereafter at the IBM Pulse event in Las Vegas, which I’ll be covering for Big Blue.

If you’re planning on attending IBM Pulse, I would highly recommend you start preparing your schedule now.  Already-registered attendees simply need go to the Pulse SmartSite to start checking out this year’s fare.

But wait, there’s more!

This year, IBM has introduced an exciting new social feature in the form of Pulse on Vivastream, a unique social networking platform where you can connect and interact with other attendees and speakers in advance of, during, and after the event to find people with similar interests and skills, share agendas, discuss hot and trending topics, and network with other attendees before you ever land in the land of what happens there stays there.

I’m already registered on “Pulse on Vivastream” myself, so feel free to drop by and introduce yourself.

This year, IBM Pulse guest speakers and performers include 4-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning and 6-time Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood.

You’ll also have the opportunity to mix it up with 8,000+ of your peers and hear from IBM business partners and top industry analysts on the latest trends and hottest IT topics…including, yes, mobile.

You can go here to learn more about IBM Pulse 2013, which goes from March 3-6.

I’ll be bringing you more insights and coverage leading up to and during the event right here in the Turbo blog, and will once again be broadcasting via the Interwebs from the show floor, speaking with a variety of IBM executives, industry analysts, and other thought leaders that help make the IBM Tivoli world go round.

IBM To Acquired StoredIQ

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IBM today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire StoredIQ Inc., a privately held company based in Austin, Texas.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

StoredIQ will advance IBM’s efforts to help clients derive value from big data and respond more efficiently to litigation and regulations, dispose of information that has outlived its purpose and lower data storage costs.

With this agreement, IBM adds to its prior investments in Information Lifecycle Governance. The addition of StoredIQ capabilities enables clients to find and use unstructured information of value, respond more efficiently to litigation and regulatory events and lower information costs as data ages.

IBM’s Information Lifecycle Governance suite improves information economics by helping companies lower the total cost of managing data while increasing the value derived from it by:

  • Eliminating unnecessary cost and risk with defensible disposal of unneeded data
  • Enabling businesses to realize the full value of information as it ages
  • Aligning cost to the value of information
  • Reducing information risk by automating privacy, e-discovery, and regulatory policies

Adding StoredIQ to IBM’s Information Lifecycle Governance suite gives organizations more effective governance of the vast majority of data, including efficient electronic discovery and its timely disposal, to eliminate unnecessary data that consumes infrastructure and elevates risk.

As a result, business leaders can access and analyze big data to gain insights for better decision-making. Legal teams can mitigate risk by meeting e-discovery obligations more effectively. Also, IT departments can dispose of unnecessary data and align information cost to value to take out excess costs.

What Does StoredIQ Software Do? 

StoredIQ software provides scalable analysis and governance of disparate and distributed email as well as file shares and collaboration sites. This includes the ability to discover, analyze, monitor, retain, collect, de-duplicate and dispose of data.

In addition, StoredIQ can rapidly analyze high volumes of unstructured data and automatically dispose of files and emails in compliance with regulatory requirements.

StoredIQ brings powerful, innovative capabilities to govern data in place to drive value up and cost out.

StoredIQ brings powerful, innovative capabilities to govern data in place to drive value up and cost out.

“CIOs and general counsels are overwhelmed by volumes of information that exceed their budgets and their capacity to meet legal requirements,” said Deidre Paknad, vice president of Information Lifecycle Governance at IBM. “With this acquisition, IBM adds to its unique strengths as a provider able to help CIOs and attorneys rapidly drive out excess information cost and mitigate legal risks while improving information utility for the business.”

Named a 2012 Cool Vendor by Gartner, StoredIQ has more than 120 customers worldwide, including global leaders in financial services, healthcare, government, manufacturing and other sectors. Other systems require months to index data and years to configure, install and address information governance. StoredIQ can be up and running in just hours, immediately helping clients drive out cost and risk.

IBM intends to incorporate StoredIQ into its Software Group and its Information Lifecycle Governance business.

Building on prior acquisitions of PSS Systems in 2010 and Vivisimo in 2012, IBM adds to its strength in rapid discovery, effective governance and timely disposal of data.  The acquisition of StoredIQ is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.

Go here for more information on IBM’s Information Lifecycle Governance suite, and here for more information on IBM’s big data platform.

IBM’s 2012 Tech Trends Report: Skills, Skills, And More Skills!

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Across the four technology areas covered in the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report  – mobile, business analytics, cloud and social business – only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs. These shortages are not trivial or isolated. Within each area, roughly one-quarter report major skill gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls.

Across the four technology areas covered in the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report – mobile, business analytics, cloud and social business – only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs. These shortages are not trivial or isolated. Within each area, roughly one-quarter report major skill gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls.

Okay boys and girls, it’s that time of year.

No, not the time for Saint Nicholas to come shooting down your chimneys to deliver lots of tablets and smartphones for Christmas.

That time will come soon enough.

No, I’m referring to the results from IBM’s third annual Tech Trends Report, where we talk to an extended sample of technology decision makers to find out what’s on their minds.

In 2010, I explained from the results that it was all about mobile and the cloud.

Last year, the headlines centered on IBM’s Watson technology and business analytics.

This year…while we wait for the drum roll, let me first tell provide you with some background about this year’s study.

About the 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report Study

The 2012 Tech Trends Report is based on a survey of more than 1,200 professionals who make technology decisions for their organizations (22 percent IT managers, 53 percent IT practitioners, and 25 percent business professionals), and who come from 16 different industries and 13 countries (which span both mature and growth markets).

IBM also surveyed more than 250 academics and 450 students across those same countries in order to better understand how tech trends are impacting future IT professionals.

The Headlines This Year: What’s Old Is New, And What’s New Is An Emerging Skills Gap

According to this year’s survey, what’s old is new. Mobile technology, business analytics, cloud computing, and social business continue to be emergent key themes. What’s new is this: Though new and exciting business possibilities are emerging from these new capabilities, significant IT skills shortages, combined with lingering security concerns, are threatening adoption and business progress.

By way of example, the survey revealed that only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs, and within each of the four areas previously mentioned, roughly one-quarter of respondents report major skills gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls.

The skills shortage is more acute in mature markets, with roughly two-thirds of respondents indicating moderate to major shortages versus roughly half in growth markets.

With respect to security concerns, they consistently rank as the most significant barrier to adoption across mobile, cloud computing and social business.

The report observes that IT security is not just a technology concern, however. It’s a broad business issue with far-reaching policy and process implications, and notes that moving into mobile means organizations must address the increased risk of data loss and security breach, device management challenges, and complications introduced by the growing trend toward “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD).

In cloud computing, it calls for policies on employee use of public cloud services, segregation of data within shared or hybrid cloud solutions, and ensuring the right data is in the right place subject to the right controls.

In social business, organizations need to consider customer privacy expectations, regulatory compliance, and employee guidelines on confidentiality, acceptable use, and protecting the corporate brand.

Pay Attention To The Pacesetters

So with all this in mind, which organizations are better positioned to create competitive advantage? Early adopters or late arrivers? Those focused on strategic impact or tactical implementations?

The data suggest it’s those companies forging ahead faster (in spite of adoption hurdles) and using mobile, analytics, cloud, and social technologies in more strategic ways.

The so-called “pacesetters” believe emerging technologies are critical to their business success and are using them to enable new operating/business models.

They’re also adoption ahead of their competition.

What sets them apart from the “followers” and “dabblers” are three key factors: They’re more market driven, they’re more analytical, and they’re more willing to experiment.

And where they say they’re headed next also provides a learning opportunity.

More than 75 percent of pacesetters are increasing investments in mobile and cloud computing over the next two years, and they’re betting heavily on business analytics and social business (two to three times as many pacesetters are raising those investments by 10 percent or more).

With respect to skills, 70 percent of pacesetters are building capabilities in mobile integration, security, privacy, and mobile application architecture, design and development.

Twenty-eight percent have already developed business analytics expertise in probability, statistics and mathematical modeling (and another 60 percent are eagerly developing those capabilities).

In cloud computing, more than 70 percent are developing skills in cloud security, administration, and architecture.

The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report data suggests an opportunity for organizations everywhere to help close the large and expanding technology skills gap. Is your organization prepared to take these important and often necessary actions?

The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report data suggests an opportunity for organizations everywhere to help close the large and expanding technology skills gap. Is your organization prepared to take these important and often necessary actions?

And nearly one-quarter of them have already built the expertise needed to extend social business solutions to mobile and to perform social analytics.

Their intent to combined technologies — mobile and social, social and analytics, etc. — are helping drive even greater business value for their organizations.

The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Upshot?

CEOs understand the external factors impacting their organizations most: Technology and skills.

But one without the other is a recipe for innovative decline, and to effectively address these interconnected imperatives, business and IT executives need new approaches for bridging skills gaps and helping their organizations capitalize on the strategic potential of emerging technologies.

The figure to the right demonstrates specific actions that can help you as a leader move your organization into a pacesetting position.  And IBM is also stepping up and offering some new skills-building initiatives as well.

Bridging The Skills Gap

On the heels of this study, IBM has announced an array of programs and resources to help students and IT professionals develop new technology skills and prepare for jobs of the future.

The initiatives include new training courses and resources for IT professionals, technology and curriculum materials for educators and expanded programs to directly engage students with real-world business challenges.  You can learn more about those here.

IBM Announces New Security Solutions, Focuses On Cloud, Mobile, Big Data

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Today, IBM made a move designed to reduce the biggest security inhibitors that organizations face in implementing cloud, mobile and big data initiatives with the announcement of a broad set of security software to help holistically secure data and identities.

I blogged about IBM’s 2012 Global Reputational Risk and IT Study recently, the headline of which was this: Managing reputational risk is crucial to many organization’s business, and managing IT is a major part of their efforts.

I also interviewed Brendan Hannigan, the general manager of IBM’s Security Systems Division, at IBM InterConnect last week about some of these critical security matters.

Today, IBM made a move designed to reduce the biggest security inhibitors that organizations face in implementing cloud, mobile and big data initiatives with the announcement of a broad set of security software to help holistically secure data and identities.

New IBM Security Solutions

IBM’s new software capabilities help clients better maintain security control over mobile devices, mitigate internal and external threats, reduce security risks in cloud environments, extend database security to gain real-time insights into big data environments such as Hadoop, and automate compliance and data security management.

Along with IBM Security Services and IBM’s world-class research capabilities, this set of scalable capabilities supports a holistic, proactive approach to security threats spanning people, data, applications and infrastructure.

“A major shift is taking place in how organizations protect data,” said Brendan Hannigan, General Manager, IBM Security Systems. “Today, data resides everywhere—mobile devices, in the cloud, on social media platforms. This is creating massive amounts of data, forcing organizations to move beyond a traditional siloed perimeter to a multi-perimeter approach in which security intelligence is applied closer to the target.”

IBM is unveiling ten new products and enhancements to help organizations deliver real time security for big data, mobile and cloud computing.

Real Time Security for Big Data Environments 

State of the art technologies including Hadoop based environments have opened the door to a world of possibilities. At the same time, as organizations ingest more data, they face significant risks across a complex threat landscape and they are subject to a growing number of compliance regulations.

With today’s announcement, IBM is among the first to offer data security solutions for Hadoop and other big data environments.

Specifically, Guardium now provides real time monitoring and automated compliance reporting for Hadoop based systems such as InfoSphere BigInsights and Cloudera.

Highlighted data security solutions:

NEW: IBM InfoSphere Guardium for Hadoop

ENHANCED: IBM InfoSphere Optim Data Privacy

ENHANCED: IBM Security Key Lifecycle Manager

To learn more about the data security portfolio go here.

Mobile Security: Improving Access and Threat Protection

Today IBM is also announcing risk-based authentication control for mobile users, integration of access management into mobile application development and deployment as well as enhanced mobile device control.

IBM is also announcing a comprehensive Mobile Security Framework to help organizations develop an adaptable security posture to protect data on the device, at the access gateway and on the applications.

Highlighted mobile security solutions:

NEW: IBM Security Access Manager for Cloud and Mobile

ENHANCED: IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices

Go here to learn more about specific mobile security product attributes.

Cloud Security: From Inhibitor To Enabler

While the cloud can increase productivity with anywhere, anytime information access, it can also introduce additional challenges for enterprise security.

IBM today is announcing security portfolio enhancements designed to address these new challenges, providing improved visibility and increased levels of automation and patch management to help demonstrate compliance, prevent unauthorized access and defend against the latest threats using advanced security intelligence.

With IBM’s new SmartCloud for Patch Management solution, patches are managed automatically regardless of location and remediation cycles are reduced from weeks to hours thereby reducing security risks.

Additionally, IBM is announcing enhancements to its QRadar Security Intelligence Platform that provides a unified architecture for collecting, storing, analyzing and querying log, threat, vulnerability and security related data from distributed locations, using the cloud to obtain greater insight into enterprise-wide activity and enable better-informed business decisions.

The new IBM Security Privileged Identity Manager is designed to proactively address the growing insider threat concerns and help demonstrate compliance across the organization.

IBM Security Access Manager for Cloud and Mobile which provides enhanced federated single sign-on to cloud applications is now available with improved out-of-the-box integration with commonly adopted SaaS applications and services.

Highlighted cloud security solutions:

NEW: IBM SmartCloud for Patch Management

NEW: IBM Security Access Manager for Cloud and Mobile

NEW: IBM Security Privileged Identity Manager

ENHANCED: QRadar SIEM and QRadar Log Manager

Visit here to learn more about specific cloud security product attributes, please visit

Enhanced Mainframe Security Capabilities

In addition, IBM is announcing mainframe security capabilities that enhance enterprise-wide security intelligence based on QRadar security solution integration that provides real time alerts and audit reporting.

The mainframe offers Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ (EAL 5+) certification for logical partitions, providing a platform for consolidating systems, helping protect private clouds, and helping secure virtualized environment.

New IBM Security zSecure improvements help to reduce administration overhead, automate compliance reporting, enforce security policy, and pro-actively detect threats.

Highlighted zSecure security solutions:

ENHANCED: IBM Security zSecure

Through IBM Global Financing, credit-qualified clients can take advantage of 0% interest for 12 months on qualifying IBM Security products and solutions.

About IBM Security 

With more than 40 years of security development and innovation, IBM has breadth and depth in security research, products, services and consulting.

IBM X-Force is a world-renowned team that researches and evaluates the latest security threats and trends. This team analyzes and maintains one of the world’s most comprehensive vulnerability databases and develops countermeasure technologies for IBM’s security offerings to help protect organizations ahead of the threat.

IBM has 10 worldwide research centers innovating security technology and nine security operations centers around the world to help global clients maintain an appropriate security posture.

IBM Managed Security Services delivers the expertise, tools and infrastructure to help clients secure their information assets against attacks, often at a fraction of the cost of in-house security resources.

The Institute for Advanced Security is IBM’s global initiative to help organizations better understand and respond to the security threats to their organization. Visit the Institute community at www.instituteforadvancedsecurity.com.

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