Daily Tech Digest - January 27, 2021

When Kubernetes is not the solution

Automation and orchestration are frequent reasons to leverage Kubernetes. Keep in mind that automation and orchestration often get confused, and for good reason. Automation can help make a business process more efficient by reducing or removing human involvement with software or hardware that performs specific tasks. For example, automation can launch a process to reorder raw materials automatically when other processes notice that supplies are below a specific level. In short, a single task is automated. Orchestration, in contrast, allows you to automate a workflow. Orchestration can keep track of sequence and activities, and can even invoke many single-task automations that are part of the workflow. Orchestration is a powerful Kubernetes tool that also allows you to invoke services such as database access across disparate systems. What's happening now is that many developers and architects choose Kubernetes to automate processes using the orchestration engine. That’s like hitting a thumbtack with a sledgehammer. You’ll end up spending way too many dollars on development and cloud resources to solve a simple, specific problem. Another fact that often gets overlooked is that Kubernetes is a complex system itself; it requires special expertise and at times can increase risk.

Learning from Incidents

When we use language that wraps up complexity in a neat parcel like “human error,” or we make counterfactual assertions (“system X should be able to detect this scenario,”) we give participants in our investigation the opportunity to agree with something that might be true given what we know in hindsight, but which does not help us understand the behaviour of the people or systems during the incident. Everyone in the room can nod and acknowledge that the human did indeed make a mistake, or that system “X” really should have detected the issue. Have you understood anything new about how your system really works? Unlikely. Secondly, when we ignore power structures and the social dynamics of the organizations we work in, we risk learning less. Asking “why” questions can put people on the defensive, which might make them less likely to speak frankly about their own experience. This is especially important when the person being asked is relatively less powerful in the organisation. “Why did you deploy that version of the code?” can be seen as accusatory. If the person being asked is already worried about how their actions will be judged, it can close down the conversation. “During this incident you deployed version XYZ. 

4 Ways Blockchain Could Catapult Into the Mainstream

We are used to storing valuables at home such as money, jewelry or art. However, when the value of these goods exceed what we can insure, or what we feel safe in keeping at home, we usually turn to banks or special custodians as more convenient safeguards for storing our liquid assets. Cryptocurrency offers alternative storage options via personal wallets or easy on-ramps to exchanges or a new category of crypto custodians that possess their own secure vaults. Today, many self-custody wallets already exist, allowing users to experience the self-service option for assets storage. Those same wallets also enable the storage of another blockchain novelty: “digitally unique” artifacts also known as non-fungible tokens (or NFTs; think CryptoKitties). In the long term, banks and old-style physical storage services may not be the most popular or safest storage methods anymore. Being your own custodian is an attractive value proposition that comes with a degree of freedom and efficiency, as long as its relative ease of use and trust levels continue to improve. Many users will gradually de-bank their assets and move them into self-custody to take advantage of new services that are only available in the blockchain world. 

Security's Inevitable Shift to the Edge

Many security architects are initially attracted to the SASE model as it helps them apply security controls at the optimal location in their rapidly changing architecture. That optimal location is the edge of the Internet, which will be close to any infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or co-location facility that the business uses today or in the future. The edge deployment model provides agility for hybrid multicloud organizations and is well suited to changes to IaaS vendor or new locations from mergers and acquisitions. The flexibility of deploying security inspection at the edge means that, regardless of shifts in the location of compute, security inspection can be performed at a local edge node. This provides for optimized routing of traffic and avoids what Gartner describes as the unnecessary "tromboning of traffic to inspection engines entombed in enterprise data centers." Furthermore, since multicloud is the predominant architecture, deploying security at a homogeneous edge makes more sense than trying to engineer consistent controls using heterogeneous capabilities available at various cloud security providers (CSPs). Another driver for SASE is the migration of users outside of the traditional corporate offices.

Cisco bolsters edge networking family with expanded SD-WAN, security options

Among the four new models is a low-end box – the Cisco Catalyst 8500L – that's aimed at entry-level 1G/10G aggregation use cases, Cisco stated. The 1RU form factor 8500L is powered by 12 x86 cores and features up to 64GB memory to support secure connectivity for thousands of remote sites and millions of stateful NAT and firewall sessions, wrote Archana Khetan, senior director of product management for Enterprise Routing and SD-WAN Infrastructure at Cisco, in a blog about the new boxes. Businesses find that establishing aggregation sites at either core locations or colocations helps them own the first mile on their branch and remote-worker connectivity to the internet and other software-defined cloud interconnects, Khetan stated. "The Catalyst 8500L provides ultra-fast IPsec crypto performance and advanced flow-based forwarding to keep up with the demands of today's high-speed, secure connectivity," Khetan stated. Targeting the branch, Cisco added the Catalyst 8200, which supports eight CPU cores for high-performance packet forwarding and 8GB of default RAM to run the latest security services, Khetan stated. The Catalyst 8200 Series supports up to 1Gbps of aggregate forwarding throughput, which is double the performance of its ISR 4300 predecessor, according to Khetan.

Ransomware: Should Governments Hack Cybercrime Cartels?

One proposal has been to ban all ransom payments. Whether such bans could be enforced is not clear. Also, organizations that did their best to safeguard themselves, but still saw their systems get crypto-locked, could go out of business or suffer devastating interruptions due to a ban. Short of a ban, Ciaran Martin, an Oxford University professor of practice in the management of public organizations who until last August served as the British government's cybersecurity chief, says governments should at least crack down on insurers being able to help victims funnel payoffs to attackers. "I see this as so avoidable. At the moment, companies have incentives to pay ransoms to make sure this all goes away," Martin tells The Guardian, expanding on suggestions he's previously made. "You have to look seriously [at] changing the law on insurance and banning these payments, or at the very least, having a major consultation with the industry." Responding to suggestions that ransom payments be banned, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers tells Information Security Media Group: "Insurance is not an alternative to managing the cyber ransomware risk; it is part of a toolkit to combat this crime." The spokesman also notes that policyholders must have all "reasonable precautions" in place.

Experts predict hot enterprise architecture trends for 2021

There is increasing competition in enterprise architecture tools, with a lot of new players. There's going to be more investing in R&D. Hopefully, that means customers will get better tools for their EA initiatives. We'll see tools going in different directions and having different focuses. The newer generation of tools is typically data-driven. You don't draw your architecture. It is basically derived from the data you put into the tools. That opens up different uses for data analytics to create future-state scenarios, quantify the benefits to the business and use that to make strategic decisions. You can do organizational modeling. It's difficult to do that unless you have a data-driven approach, because you would have to create every single future-state scenario. The entire delivery vehicle for the newer tools is cloud only, so you can deploy more rapidly. Companies that have moved to the cloud over the last couple of years realize that you can't be in one cloud anymore. You have to be in multiple clouds in order to ensure redundancy. That's another area where EA tools are focusing, creating native integration with these modern-day cloud environments and using enterprise architecture practices to manage and model them.

Streamlining cloud compliance through automation

The first is inherent in compliance with any cybersecurity and privacy requirement, and the cloud doesn’t make it go away (in fact, it arguably makes it worse) – and that’s the time it takes to audit. Companies preparing for audits must sink significant time and effort (hundreds of hours, every audit, across multiple requirements) into collecting a vast amount of technical data on information security controls and processes. Manually collecting data, taking screenshots, and organizing evidence takes that time away from cloud and DevOps teams that could otherwise be spent building new products or services. ... Second, security capabilities meant for on-premises environments no longer apply when companies begin migrating to the cloud, making evidence gathering all the more complicated. Quite simply, the cloud creates a new paradigm, forcing companies to re-architect the best security practices they have spent years perfecting, i.e., to fundamentally start from scratch. Third, software development and change management in the cloud moves at light speed compared to more traditional monolithic application updates, and it can be difficult for companies to keep up with the security and privacy implications of that ever-changing cloud environment.

How to deliver an effective technology strategy in 2021

Technology strategies, like data strategies and digital transformations can no longer be considered in isolation. Having the right technology platform is just one of a number of critical enablers to being competitive, agile and innovative in the 2020s. The growing trend for business transformation is a holistic approach which recognises to succeed, technology, data and digital transformations need to be tackled together, or at least in parallel. In the 2020s businesses can be divided between those who are disrupting and those being disrupted. Disruptors enter categories with a transformative new product, service or customer experience — posing an existential threat to the existing players. Disruptors are digital, data and technology first companies, leveraging these as assets in the battleground of customer experience. Any technology strategy should be intertwined with a data strategy. It should be focused on delivering the customer approach to serve the overall business plan. I appreciate that sounds a lot harder than focusing just on technology, but the alignment needs to be embraced rather than avoided if the desired outcomes are to be achieved. The world is littered with technology that’s easy to buy, more challenging to implement and often only partially or completely unused.

Cybersecurity, Modernization Top Priorities for Federal CIOs

One significant focus not covered by the first 100 day plan but indicated in the proposed stimulus package is a response to something more recent -- the SolarWinds hack, which has impacted both government and commercial IT organizations. In response the new administration is putting a new focus on cybersecurity, adding provisions that cover this area to the COVID-19 stimulus package. While it needs to go through Congress, the American Rescue Plan from the administration calls for a total of more than $10 billion for cybersecurity and IT modernization efforts, plus some other IT-related areas. "In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, we also face a crisis when it comes to the nation's cybersecurity," a brief of the plan says. "The recent cybersecurity breaches of federal government data systems underscore the importance and urgency of strengthening US cybersecurity capabilities. President-elect Biden is calling on Congress to launch the most ambitious effort ever to modernize and secure federal IT and networks." Even if it doesn't remain in the stimulus package that Congress ultimately passes, the Biden administration's inclusion of funding for cybersecurity highlights just what a priority this area is for the administration going forward.

Quote for the day:

"If we were a bit more tolerant of each other's weaknesses we'd be less alone." -- Juliette Binoche

No comments:

Post a Comment