Turbotodd

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Archive for March 6th, 2013

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.”

Live @ IBM Pulse 2013: A Q&A With IBM Tivoli GM Deepak Advani

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Deepak Advani, IBM Tivoli GM

Turbo sat down for a chat with IBM Tivoli general manager Deepak Advani earlier this week, discussing a range of topics relevant to to the broader smarter infrastructure management discussion taking place at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas this week.

This week at IBM Pulse 2013, I had the opportunity to sit down with IBM Tivoli general manager, Deepak Advani.

Deepak has served in a variety of executive capacities at IBM during the course of his career, including most recently as the Vice President of IBM’s Business Analytics organization. He was also instrumental in the development and growth of IBM’s Linux portfolio, and later served e1as the Chief Marketing Officer for Lenovo.

Our chat ranged across a variety of topics relevant to the conference and the broad opportunity presented by more effective infrastructure and asset management and utilization. Deepak recapped some of the key themes he presented to the audience of 8,000+ attendees, spoke of the challenges the world’s largest organizations face with respect to their IT operations, and explained how more effective visibility, control and automation of their systems can help turn opportunities into business outcomes.

Live At IBM Pulse 2013: NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning On “Getting Back To Zero”

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NFL quarterback Peyton Manning explains to the IBM Pulse 2013 audience in Las Vegas the importance of effective decision making in football and in life.

NFL quarterback Peyton Manning explains to the IBM Pulse 2013 audience in Las Vegas the importance of effective decision making, in football and in life.

Peyton Manning has earned his way into NFL history, playing for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons before making his way west to the Denver Broncos, where he had to learn a completely new playbook and offense.

The backstory: After undergoing extensive neck surgery in May 2011, he was forced to miss the entire 2011 season with the Colts and was released in March 2012, at which point he visited with and worked out with several NFL teams during a two-week period before settling on the Broncos.

Along the way, Manning developed his own personal playbook for cultivating leadership and effective decision making, the points of which he shared in the IBM Pulse 2013 day three general session.

The four-time MVP quarterback hit the stage running, explaining he’d just returned from a USO tour overseas where he’d been visiting the troops. He began by explaining that he “hope what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, because I don’t need the Ravens and Patriots to hear some of what I’m telling you today.”

Manning then segued into his key theme, the art and science of decision making and “how quality decision making leads to resilience.”

Manning explained to the gathered Pulse audience that “people make decisions every day,” but that there are those who “make good decisions habitually,” and acknowledging that “it’s easier to practice a skill when the heat is off and when there’s nothing important on the line.”

But unlike most people, Manning explained, “my decision making is instantly judged by 80,000 fans in the stadium and millions on Twitter” — and that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

In fact, Manning explained, “I savor being on the front line,” and that “you can’t wait for someone else to make or execute the plan — you have to be willing to take the risk, even when you have doubts.”

“If not you,” Manning queried, “ then who?”

The key, he went on to explain, is that you make key decisions without hestitation and no stutters, because “when you demonstrate 100% confidence, your team will follow.”

Manning acknowledged that he’s become known for “making audibles,” calling plays ad hoc once his team is lined up in reaction to “something I’ve noticed on the field.”

Manning claimed that his teammates have to trust those instant, snap decisions, and “that if they hear it in my voice that I believe in my decision, that they’ll believe in it, too.  They’ll run better and they’ll block better.”

But to get to that level of confidence, Manning explained, it requires an enormous amount of preparation.  Days of practice, of watching and analyzing game and practice film on his iPad, talking with his teammates.

“Usually there is no one right answer,” Manning conveyed, “but you can’t build decisions on hope. You need a strong and more stable foundation, and thorough preparation is absolutely essential.”

Every week, Manning said, “I gather every piece of relevant information about my opponent, and I study every tendency a defense has. I know exactly what coverage to expect and how to counter it.”

But once on the field, he simply “blots out both the spotlight and the noise and then just decides. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. I can eliminate options before the ball is even snapped.  That allows me to take more calculated risks more confidently.”

Because at the end of the day…or perhaps more appropriately, at the end of the fourth quarter, “If you’re the boss or the quarterback, that’s what you’re paid to do.”

And even with all that preparation, Manning acknowledged, “it’s important to recognize that you can thoroughly prepare and still be hit by a thunderbolt.”

“Some decisions in life,” Manning explained “just aren’t yours to make.”

Manning explained his own decision making philosophy as “getting back to zero.”

“We have seconds to pick ourselves up off the field after we’ve been hit and immediately focus on what’s ahead. You can’t dwell on what just happened, because if you do, your head just won’t be in the game.”

Manning then channeled that great American writer, Ernest Hemingway: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”

After his injuries in 2011, Manning related that “I’ve learned to savior what resilience can do for people.” His first pass after his rehabilitation “went literally about ten feet,” and he explained “it’s hard for most people to understand the magnitude of changes and the elasticity needed” after such an ordeal.

He had to take his rehab slowly, that the healing had to “happen at its own pace. And no matter how painful it was, I had to accept that.”

Once he arrived in Denver, he explained, he also had “to get my team to trust that I could lead the Broncos. I was now one of them and I was going to put the work into making us a winner.”

Despite taking a brutal hit during a preseason game that year, he bounced up for more. “Resilience was the reward for more meticulous preparation and strategic decision making.”

Written by turbotodd

March 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm

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