IBM Interconnect 2016
The relegation to irrelevancy that has been predicted for IBM may be a bit premature. IBM is still big enough and relevant enough to draw nearly 25,000 Information Technology professionals to their annual Interconnect conference in Las Vegas. The fourth week of February is the week that IBM, IBM Partners and IBM Customers flood Las Vegas and spend the week exploring current and future capabilities in Information Technology. We are here looking at the conference through the lens of Enterprise Information Technology, and this blog is about what we are seeing so far.
One of the consistent themes so far at Interconnect is technology’s role in helping to bridge the I.T. Security skills gap. For perspective, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) recently did a research study on the I.T. Security skills gap. The ESG Research found that 46% of organizations classify themselves with a “Problematic Shortage” of Security skills. Notably, ESG did a similar study one year ago and the results this year show an increase of 28% of organizations that classify their situation as “Problematic.” In fact, the ESG Research 2012 study found that only 24% (half of the 2016 number) classified their situation as “Problematic.” Beyond ESG, Burning Glass analyzed cybersecurity job postings and found that the increase in the number of cybersecurity job postings was 74% from 2007 to 2013. That increase was twice the total increase of ALL I.T. job postings in a comparison of the same period of time. ISC2, the organization that manages the CISSP certification, projects that there will be a 1.5 million job deficit between CISSP-wanted and CISSP-certified in 2020.
With all of that in mind, it should be no surprise that the rumors at Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand this week have been about the potential of IBM acquiring Resilient Systems. Resilient Systems has built an Incident Response Platform that focuses on process automation. One way of addressing the skills shortage is to automate as much of the security work and processes as possible, lowering the headcount requirement for organizations. In that approach, if good automation platforms and tools are available then buy them because good and qualified security professionals are not available.
But it has not just been IBM acquisition rumors that speak to the security skills shortage. We attended a roadmap roundtable on the IBM QRadar SIEM this week and (without violating our NDA) we can report that most of the features and functionality being currently worked on and planned for the QRadar platform revolve around automation and integration of security tools that will relieve workload and increase effectiveness of existing staff. While QRadar is in an industry leadership position for SIEM, this trend is not unique to IBM.
One takeaway from the heavily-populated and vast hallways of the Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand Conference Centers, is that the Security Vendors may be able to make the biggest positive impact in closing the security skills gap for Enterprise Information Technology.
Chief Technology Officer