An Ode to Defensibility

Defensible (de·​fen·​si·​ble\di-ˈfen(t)-sə-bəl) is described as “capable of being defended”. “Defensibility” thus alludes to the ability to remain protected from attack. Cybersecurity should have always been defensible… to be able to adapt to changes, especially continuously changing business intent and risks thereof….

The industry has felt this quite long ago. As early as 1970 a Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force about Security Controls for Computer Systems, noted that providing satisfactory security controls in a computer system is in itself a system design problem. This seems to be true today too. Despite spending billions on cybersecurity, cybersecurity teams are continuously fighting fires because protecting the organization is an asymmetric challenge.  Security Leaders need to protect an increasingly larger number of entry points while the bad guys just have to find just one-way in.

In the aftermath of COVID19, we are looking at a new way of doing business…. Now, there are more and more users outside of the enterprise accessing services than inside… more unmanaged devices connecting to services than managed devices and… more and more internal users are consuming applications delivered from outside of the enterprise network than the inside. Digital transformation is hinged on using the Internet more and more, but the Internet was designed to be flexible and open, not secure. Every mobile phone, cloud application, branch office, IoT and remote employee is an entry point.

It is time for defenders to change the approach.

On May 12, CMS IT Services launched a fresh new approach to cybersecurity – the Defensible Cybersecurity Model, in an industry where there are just too many cybersecurity technologies overlapping in intent and content at the enterprise.

The CMS IT Services Enterprise Cybersecurity Solutions are designed to help enterprises embrace the Defensible Cybersecurity way of ensuring that they can protect their crown jewels through optimized investments in cybersecurity technology and processes, detect deviations, events, incidents, and breaches in their computing infrastructure, and can respond effectively to ensure that the consequences are limited and contained to the extent the leadership desires to, within the boundaries of their risk appetite.

Intricacies of the Protect, Detect and Respond Portfolio

The genesis of the Defensible Cybersecurity model can be traced to2 key papers. The first is the report of the New York Cyber Task Force at Columbia University SIPA, titled “Building a Defensible Cyberspace”, And the second is a physical security concept that was designed to reduce crime by intelligently designing defensible spaces, through Natural Surveillance, Access Control, Territorial Reinforcement, and Maintenance, called as Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).

Defensible Cybersecurity is a holistic approach to address cybersecurity challenges, aligned to the context of business, addressing systemic issues, challenges and stakeholder requirements, designed to handle constant change while Consistently improving operational controls, designed to address cybersecurity risks for both traditional & digital businesses and their supply chains.

To learn more about the Defensible Cybersecurity Framework

Director Cybersecurity

Ensure Customer Delight: Automate your Customer-Service Lines with Conversational AI

Providing amazing customer service is one of the primary goals of any business. In the current scenario AI Chatbots are turning out to be the safest way to interact with customers. Chatbots allow us to eliminate a fair share of the ‘human’ factor from the interaction chain. Especially for answering standard queries and sharing general or specific information that customers might require. Whether a customer is retained or not is highly dependent on how smooth their initial interaction with the company is and how well they are treated during this crucial step.

Chatbots work along the same lines as a human in terms of communicating with prospects, but it is more apt to say the chatbot works practically the way it is programmed to. Chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence, do not rely on written process material or videos, it learns from real-time scenarios or the archives of earlier conversations. The way chatbots can stimulate the conversation and keep customers engaged has made them a promising option in the market.

Companies are drawn towards digital services and/or digital platforms today but the apprehensiveness over the loss of existing or potential customers due to unsatisfactory service remains. While most enterprises have more or less accepted the Chatbot trend and are providing a complete digital experience for their customers, some still prefer a human touch or intervention to the transaction.

At times, the communication channel of the chatbot may hit a dead end, and to avoid such situations the most important thing is to have common and critical intents fed to the Bot. But complications could still pop up post ironing all teething issues. The AI Chatbot may be functioning properly but may fail in considering the limits and be unable to deliver information at its best level of proficiency during a customer conversation. At such critical juncture, it is important for a human to take over the conversation to diffuse the situation and avoid the user from taking away a negative experience from the interaction. To avoid such stray experiences, it is necessary to set the communication patterns and expectations, so that users are not let down due to restricted knowledge or competence during communication.

Organizations willing to invest in chatbots need to choose the right platform and have the BRD (Business Requirement Document) ready in hand. They also need to invest time in designing the intents that are recognised by humans and bots. It is also advisable to use a human-agent-based bot, with clear indicators for the agent to understand and pick up the conversation from the bot, to ensure a seamless transition of the customer’s query.

 

AI Chatbots can efficiently tap into their understanding of automated workflows and knowledge management to ensure the user has a delightful experience where they had a faster resolution of their concerns assisted by technology, in the right way and at the right time. Chatbots have self-service/self-help features that lead users to pointed solutions, web pages and documents instead of deviating them and wasting time. They can also raise a service request ticket on behalf of the customer with all the communication history for the agent to act precisely. They can even book conference rooms and suggest travel itineraries.

So Customer engagement via AI-driven Chatbots is a trend that is here to stay. AI Chatbots are programmed and well-equipped to deal with customers and respond to their queries without human interference. This not only increases efficiency but makes great strides in reducing the workload of customer support teams and at the same time ensures a smooth transition for the customer.

Embrace AI-powered customer acquisition, support and engagement.

Drive business continuity and growth

Head, Automation Practice

Data References:

Top 12 Benefits of Chatbots: Comprehensive Guide [2020 update], MAY 12, 2020 by AI Multiple based on Drift’s 2018 State of Chatbots Report.

https://research.aimultiple.com/chatbot-benefits/

What Is a Chatbot and How Is It Changing Customer Experience? APRIL 25, 2019 by Salesforce Blog.

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/04/what-is-a-chatbot.html

Chatbot Report 2019: Global Trends and Analysis, APRIL 19, 2019 by ChatBot Magazine

https://chatbotsmagazine.com/chatbot-report-2019-global-trends-and-analysis-a487afec05b

4 Evolving Technologies That Are Empowering Chatbots by AITHORITY, JAN 16, 2020

https://www.aithority.com/guest-authors/4-evolving-technologies-that-are-empowering-chatbots/

Two-out-of-three Americans interact with AI chatbots, but we still prefer humans by ZDNET, MAY 18, 2019

https://www.zdnet.com/article/two-out-of-three-americans-interact-with-ai-chatbots-but-we-still-prefer-humans/

Conversational AI Statistics: NLP Chatbots in 2020 by Landbot.io FEB 21,2020

https://landbot.io/blog/conversational-ai-statistics/

Application Integration Trends in 2019

Enterprise Application Integration is the science of connecting software applications and hardware systems within a complex enterprise IT environment. It also entails seamless integration with external entities like customers and vendors, adopting a strategic collaborative approach. The integration enables free access and flow of information across devices in a secure and agile manner while overcoming the barriers without any data transfer.

Middleware technology and APIs are used for app integration at functional levels, regardless of app types and service provider domains. App integration enables the power of simplifying the complex on-premise and cloud server’s ecosystem, an integral part of technology deployment for an agile IT infrastructure to function consistently and in a unified manner across various business units.   

Let’s explore the latest Data Integration trends governing the enterprise apps this year.

Data-Centric Integration

Although all the data is not important, yet huge bulk of data is produced daily across various systems, applications and services. However, enterprises have woken up to the criticality of useful data and its gravity for their business in long term.

Businesseshave started deploying latest data integration and data management solutions, such asdPaaS (Data Platform as a Service) to manage and secure their data from the boundaries of applications. Application integration solutions will be accommodating data integration solutions even furtherfor a streamlined and better centralized platform.

DevOps will be Highlight

DevOps stands for “development” and “operations”, the concept that stresses on the significance of communication and collaboration among product management, software development and operating team.

DevOps has already been ruling the roost and will continue to do so in 2019 too, since it enables enterprises to follow an agile and lean approach to deliver a successful finer final product to the users while meeting their expectations.

Cloud-based Solutions

Modern business enterprises employa variety of cloud-based applications and services in tandem with on-premise systems; although, the free flow of information across applications and services can be a daunting task.

Cloud-based Integrated Solutions are already in vogue among major organizations to integrate back-office systems while shift their SCM systems from on-premise to cloud servers.

These agile solutions will be embraced with open arms by many more businesses, given the cost-effective cloud elements, effectiveness of cloud API and flexibility and rapid connectivity while efficiently running numerous business-critical applications.

Adoption of Hybrid Integration

An amalgamation of on-premise systems and cloud integration of applications, hybrid integration employ secure technology like Transport Layer Security (TLS), to patch the gap between enterprise systems and SaaS/PaaS/iPaaS services.

Following the cloud integration trends, many more clients are embracing hybrid integration technology as it enables users to access both on-premise data and cloud application-based data in addition to incorporating new systems within the business enterprise. Such advanced and robust solutions are cost-effective and efficiently transfer data while giving a competitive edge and drive innovation.

Focus on Mobile and Real-Time Integration

Application integration is not mere connection of two or more applications to enable data flow, it must be result oriented and value-add to end-users. Modern users expect a seamless experience across various devices – be it for shopping, data storage or data access.

By mid-2019, integration solutions in e-commerce landscape will steer focus towards ensuring real-time data synchronization between systems across various POS (Point of Sale) – desktop PCs, laptops, handheld devices or store purchase for an enhanced shopping experience to buyers.

Focus on IoT, Mobile and Cloud

Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming ubiquitous. The cutthroat competition among enterprises in big data space where the sheer volume, variation and velocity of data are overwhelming. The world of IoTis flooded with new applications and devices against rising demand of real-time data analytics and insights.

Integration solutions will make moolah by incorporating IoT technology in a full-sizematured infrastructure to bring together all the connected and next-gen devices and applications within the existing IT system.

iPaaS, Latest Golden Standard

Enterprise operate in quite a complex environment, mainly with advent of cloud solutions and Pass/Saas. Integrating various platforms and applications is not an easy task for vendors. SaaS integration will not suffice to meet the requirements of increasingly complex IT infrastructure.

iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is a cloud integration solution that can be deployed for a cohesive IT environment. iPaaS will witness an incredible demand among businesses due to its ability to deliver simplified point-to-point integrations along with developer tools to design and implement customized integrations.

Integration of Chatbots with Mobile

Chatbots, a common name in customer support, primarily in the e-commerce landscape, heavily depend on written or spoken messages to interpret what shoppers want and based on that communicate with them, the function that heavily relies on the robustness of the message platform.

Seeking assistance from integration middleware, chatbots can be integrated with company’s mobile applications and databases to draw the desired information spread all over the organization with just a click of a button. Such development will provide umpteen business opportunity in understanding the customer needs much better and grow the e-commerce on different devices.

BYOD Policy

With expanding businesses, rising workforce and struggle for office space and physical devices, many organisations encourage employees to use their own devices, bring your own device (BYOD) to perform multiple business functions in a securely fashionusingbusiness applications. Mostly the applications are connected with company cloud server, accessed via a security code. BYOD policy empowers employees from anywhere anytime in a cost-efficient and flexible manner thus encourage cloud adoption and increase efficiency. Therefore, businesses are pushing for BYOD-focused integration in the existing IT infrastructure. Focus on BYOD driven policies will be a priority.

Outsourcing Application Integration

With increasing IT complexities, often, in-house IT teams struggle due to lack of expertise and time to facilitate business workflow and data exchange between multiple applications and software packages. Data security becomes a key concern that CIOs cannot forsake their integration solutions nor experiment with it.

Enterprises are turning to third party and IT partners to outsource app integration services. Outsourcing companies efficiently leverage evolving technology, integration maintenance and provide secure and scalable solutions while performing event exchange, routing and workflow implementation.

Conclusion

Companies must ensure they are effectively implementing app integration in order to bring about a successful digital transformation before their competitors do. Application integration offers best of service providers to cater to varying integration requirements. There is a rapid adoption of cloud-based integration, in lieu with key elements like mobile, ecommerce, and real-time synchronization.

IoT-focused and data-centric integration have gained the center stage in the integration network to counter the big data challenges. Apart from that DevOps, iPaaS, chatbots and integration outsourcing will be the trends to watch out for into 2019, showcasing an intriguing phenomenon against the rapid evolution of application integration.

References
https://www.appseconnect.com/app-integration-trends-2018/
https://www.information-age.com/6-critical-trends-integration-apis-12347064
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Benifits of Hiring Managed Services Providers

INTRODUCTION

Managed IT services enable enterprises to entrust their IT operations to a third-party who are called as Managed Service Providers (MSPs). MSPs are entirely or partly responsible for the business’ IT systems, as per the Service Level Agreement (SLA), providing round-the-clock monitoring, issue resolution and reporting, and more.

MSPs adopt a holistic approach to IT services, that result in much more efficient standard of operations as opposed to in-house IT management. Competent managed service providers support in management and maintenance of the overall infrastructure besides giving end-user support.

Evidently, in 2014 merely 30% of companies used MSPs. However, in a year’s span the number doubled with reduced IT costs by 40% and higher efficiency. The number of enterprises embracing the managed service outsourcing doesn’t seem to stop since then.

MANAGED IT SERVICES MODEL

MSPs employ extensive IT expertise to resolve issues efficiently, keep systems up-to-date and prevent issues before they arise. MSP services are typically offered in tiered levels, deploying thesophistication of automation and enhanced degree of management at higher levels based on SLAs. End users generally pay for the services they need and are offered tailored services based on the business requirements and demands.

There are other important business functions such as utilities that the end users pay for all the services provided offsite, like remote monitoring and management, help desk solutions, backup and disaster recovery, and beyond.

Slowly yet steadily Managed IT services has become an important operating expense to maintain core functionality, as opposed to additional expense incurred during one-off issue resolutions with break/fix models.

BENEFITS OF MANAGED IT SERVICES

MSPs offer a virtue of experience in abundance by proactively managing multiple clients for each of the organization that is otherwise nearly an impossible task for the in-house team. In addition, while using the MSP services, businesses can efficiently plan and forecast their IT spend and free-up their core team from focusing on operational readiness. Which also empowers small businesses to completely shift their focus towards growing their reach and achieve organic growth without wrecking their brains on routine IT issues. MSPs are always equipped with compliance to individual organization security policies, thereby impart maximum security expertise to the entire IT infrastructure.

Let’s discuss some of the key benefits of having a third-party IT partners for IT managed services a bit further:

Free-Up In-house IT team

Often the IT team in an organization is stretched thin. By outsourcing back-end functions or complex and rapidly evolving technology solutions, organizations develop the capacity to free-up their core IT team in-house and deploy their technology expertise to critical projects. This endeavor further enables businesses to achieve core objectives via focused innovation.

Geared -Up with evolving IT demands & keeping pace

Organizations both in India and globally face a major challenge of finding the right resource for their IT requirement, mainly for cyber security and mobile application services. By outsourcing these functions to a technically robust IT partner, the pressure of hiring specialized engineers frequently is quelled to a great extent.

Higher Scalability

IT infrastructure requires exhaustive time and cost which can stretch from months to few years to set-up an agile, streamlined and secure massive systems. Under volatile market dynamics, it is huge risk take for organizations. Therefore, organizationsprefer a more viable option to start on a smaller scale, move rapidly and dwell on expansion based on growth.

IT partners such as CMS IT Services enables enterprises to fulfil their business goals while adopting a modular approach to advanced managed services. This further makes is easier for enterprises to scale their operations based on demand.

24×7 Availability

A 9-10 hours of service provisioning is as obsolete as searching for a phone booth to make a phone call. When users work throughout day and night, the network support must be equally efficient. MSPs make that possible by offering 24x7x365 help, irrespective of weekends and holidays to provide seamless and secure IT infrastructure support to their users.

Offload the Compliance burden

Besides theroutine audits, often enterprises have to go through the rigor of meeting various excruciating standards and requirements while implementing their IT initiatives. There are numerous stringent Acts of Privacy and Compliance that organisationsmust abide by as per the government instructed directives, regardless of the sector they operate in.

A smart and efficient MSP partner understands all the IT regulations their clients must fulfil and clearly specify their bounds while managing the IT infrastructure with due diligence. There are systems, processes and reports set in place by MSPs to vouch for compliance without burdening the in-house team.

Planned Expenses

Every IT investment entails certain peripheral costs. Organizations require plentiful networks, storage, and security. They are obligated to periodic hiring and training, deploy systems and manage equipments to suffice those requirements, resulting in unforeseen sudden surge in IT spend.

MSPs charge a flat fee for delivery of their services as per the SLAs over a set period of time. The SLA clearly marks out what services will be provided and to what extent they will be provided, and they also furnish the metrics to measure the performance and output.

By outsourcing the IT managed services to a third party, organizations become efficient in breaking down their costs into fixed periodic payments, as opposed to the huge expenses resulting from managing systems in-house.

CONCLUSION

While new technologies and evolving IT landscape provides outstanding opportunities for enterprises, in parallel they pose unique challenges. For many organizations, those challenges spiral into uncontrolled enormousexpenses – starting from cost of hiring, training to regular maintenance and update of the IT infrastructure.

To circumvent the struggle and keep pace with technology, modern enterprises turn to managed services providers with advanced capabilities for help. Choosing a trusted IT partner offers a cost efficient and streamlined approach towards robust managed IT services without having to deploy in-house resources.

Data Center and Cloud Predictions 2019

It’s that time of the year to look back and ponder on the highlights in 2018, hits and misses, and what can be done better in 2019. In this article we will focus on data center and cloud, trying to strike an equilibrium between the cloud and on-premises implementations.

A lot has already been discussed and researched about the emerging trends, here’s a brief recap through logical assumptions with predictions into 2019 for data centers and cloud.

Edge Computing is smarter than before, needs the right business model

Every IT based company prefers edge computing. Data center operators find it as an opportunity and easier to lighten the burden on central servers, and businesses also find it as an opportunity to achieve minimum response time. Leading vendors are coming up with various models for placing edge computing at base station, with 5G in the tow with national roll out. 

Since edge computing is highly priced, it requires right owners who will be bearing the cost burden of it. Will that be the IT vendors or the client enterprise?

We will see more AI mitigating human errors

Data centers have umpteen functionalities that have moving parts – individual servers, cooling system, power system and a robust network that can connect all of these parts seamlessly. Until now, all these parts have been manually configured, monitored and optimized to operate seamlessly.  

With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is all together a new class of AI that has been entrusted with taking a lead of optimizing the equipment leveraging 24×7 monitoring and adjustments. There have been other examples wherein AI have been implemented constantly, without room for human error element with tireless monitoring and instant system adjustments.

There will be more efforts into leveraging AI for highly efficient data centers in the year 2019.

Growth of Data-Center will Continue

The data center is here to stay. The demand of computers has been exponential and will rise further so. Mainly with the advent of AI and cloud has proven to show high cost as side-effects.

What does that mean for Data center operators?

Data center has been repurposed. Though a certain amount of workload will be allocated to the public cloud service providers, the remaining critical percentage of workload will be taken over by the data centers. This entails anywhere massive data sets like BI, analytics, AI and ML because moving all these platforms to cloud will be quite an expensive affair.

Against the backdrop of all these changing trends, data centers have taken the center stage, versatile and powerful than before.

Microservices and Serverless Computing more in-vogue

Virtualization needs a complete range of operating system which can also limit the number of virtual machines on server, with huge memory. The most appropriate solution to that is containers or to say microservices and at advanced levels aim at serverless computing.

Containers are small elements with 10MB memory space, whereas a virtual machine has more GB of memory and serverless functionality has single function app which is smaller. While the apps are transforming to smaller modular pieces from the monolithic setup, containers and serverless will become more in demand – both on-premise and on cloud.

The underlying principle to rising demand of containers or serverless is that these technologies were created to work both on premise and on cloud and facilitate easy migration, and as a result become a part of the rising demand.

Bare Metal will continue to Grow

Bare metal means operations without software. You rent or own CPUs, hard drives for data storage, then you offer your own software stack. Bare metal works on ‘lift and shift’ principle wherein you move your entire computed bulk from data center to your cloud provider unaltered, putting the OS, apps and data in third party’s data center.

Major enterprise software vendors would naturally want their customers to increase the usage of their software and operate within their data center than shift to SaaS vendors. However, there is a likelihood of these trends to change and get into bare-metal scenario.

Cloud Providers in race for Desktops

There are major cloud vendors who have entered the race of leading the virtual desktop market. With Windows 7 at its penultimate stage, 2019 will be a watchful year to lookout for transitions. However, an impending question is will users directly take a plunge to Windows 10 and continue to reinstate the market hold of brand Microsoft, or will they experiment with AWS Workspaces and Google Chromebooks.

Conclusion

As the cloud and data centers continue to evolve and work on more digital strategies, your business operations will heavily rely on the robustness and seamless integration of your IT ecosystem for new platforms and support new initiatives.

Let us know your thoughts, opinion on emerging trends and feedback on our blogs. Please leave a comment below.

References

https://www.networkworld.com/article/3324050/data-center/10-predictions-for-the-data-center-and-the-cloud-in-2019.html

https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/manage/be-aware-these-5-data-center-trends-2018

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