Stay away from the Headlines! Cyber Security imperatives for the new normal

95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error.” – Cybint

Rapid technology innovations on multiple fronts pose a complex challenge for those tasked with the security and availability of the IT infrastructure. On one hand, new devices such as mobile phones, smart screens, and IoT-enabled devices are deployed alongside computers. At the same time, IT policies allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and WFH (Work From Home) has now become the norm, which has compounded the security problem

The result is a significant increase in the threat surface along with the number of points from where the IT infrastructure can be compromised. Of all recent developments, the now accepted shift to WFH and the use of personal devices pose the biggest challenge. IT Managers now need to take measures to secure both the device and the access point from where employees connect to the Corporate network. But how can they ensure the identity of the user accessing the system and adherence to security norms while employees work from the comfort of their homes?

Many Enterprises have become soft, yet lucrative targets for hackers as a result of the increased threat surface that is as yet unsecured. Trends indicate:

  • Remote workers will be soft targets for cybercriminals
  • As a side effect of remote workforces, cloud breaches will increase
  • Cybersecurity skills gap, specially in Enterprises, will remain an issue
  • Growth of always on, connected devices will increase network vulnerability

The invisible threat to your IT infrastructure

When employees worked in offices, businesses were able to ensure that only authorized staff accessed critical infrastructure, in part through physical security measures. It was easier to ensure that staff complied with the established security norms. But with employees now working from home, businesses have to rely purely on the users’ virtual identity and trust that users comply with security processes

The probability that malicious users can compromise the System, either from within the organization or by taking advantage of unsuspecting employees, is very real. CIOs need to assign equal emphasis on securing the IT infrastructure from external threats and from internal vulnerabilities.

Indicators of Internal Sabotage

Internal Sabotage is when employees have access to the company’s sensitive systems, information and use it for malicious purposes. Most internal saboteurs come in two flavors – Players and Pawns.

Players – Are aware of the crime and have malicious intent.  They are typically disgruntled employees or people who have joined the organization with a certain motive. Research has shown that most of these have some kind of personal predisposition and hence get into this.

Pawns –  Are typically employees who do not have a motive but unknowingly participate in the act.  They are typically people who are helpful and enthusiastic. Their intention to help people or their ignorance gets exploited. 

It is important to understand the persona and motivation of the “Players”:

  • Most internal attacks are triggered by an unfavourable event or condition at the workplace. The motive generally  is revenge.
  • Largely the attacks happen after office hours and outside the office premises via remote access. Perpetrators find comfort in not being surrounded by people  or physically being present in the workplace.
  • Generally, it’s likely that peers are aware of the sabotage, or at least observed a change in behaviour even if they are not aware of the concrete plan.
  • Most attacks are carried out through compromised or shared computer accounts.
  • In several cases these indicators are observed but ignored by organizations due to work load or carrying on the age-old way of doing things.

Preventive steps / actions

Combating internal vulnerabilities and securing the IT infrastructure requires a coordinated approach on 2 fronts. Organizations need to take advantage of the latest technologies to monitor, analyze and identify threats in advance. Simultaneously, people processes also need to be updated to address security topics for the remote working scenarios

HR Initiatives

Align all teams who are responsible for data security. This includes HR, IT, Maintenance, and Security. Make them aware and educate them on the increased threats and the latest trends in cyber attacks. Educate employees about internal attacks and encourage them to come up with a collaborative plan.

Clearly document and consistently enforce policies and controls. Ensure all the employees who have access to data are also educated about the new threats and vulnerabilities.

Encourage employees to provide insights on the new policies and take inputs for threats that could potentially come from within.

Incorporate malicious and unintentional insider threat awareness into periodic security training for all employees.

Disgruntled employees are a major source of internal threat. Create an HR plan to identify and track potentially disgruntled employees.

One of the best ways to track personal-level issues and problems is to use peers themselves. Create strong and well-crafted whistleblower policies where the employees feel empowered and responsible for the well-being of the company.

Technology-led Initiatives, Systems, and Approach

The Zero Trust model

Created by John Kindervag back in 2010 based on “never trust, always verify”. It is a concept where organizations should not automatically trust any research or individual inside or outside. It suggests a fresh start by revoking all access and providing access on a case-by-case basis with a clear understanding of the need. Technologies such as Identify and Access Management (IAM) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are complementary to this approach.

It is just not enough to implement these technologies alone. There should also be a strategy and a clear SOP in place to manage the operations of the organization. However, this strategy is a little aggressive and requires a complete overhaul of the security policies and ongoing work which is not always practical and more often than not, could potentially break the system or make it brittle by holding it together with bandages.

Security Mesh

Most traditional security systems are designed and inspired by the castle-and-moat layout where all systems inside the moat are secured. This was an effective strategy in the traditional ecosystem. Over the years though, certain adaptations such as cloud and distributed workforce have created new challenges. Security mesh is one such approach where the focus is on securing every node of the network and not the traditional approach of building a boundary around the entire network.

Identity-first security and Identity Management

Identity management (IdM), also known as identity and access management (IAM) is the security practice that enables the right individuals or machines to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons.

Identities are the most vulnerable threat surface of every organization. Identity includes people, machines, IoT devices, and an active device or a group of devices on the network that needs to access a resource or service. Identity Security is one of the primary implementations of the Zero Trust model where all identities used in the organization are secured and managed using technology.

This enables providing fine-grained access to resources and data at an almost individual identity level and prevents Privileged Account Compromise. One example of this is the IAM security provided by AWS. Most solutions in this space span multiple technologies and platforms.

There are several products in the market that cater to this need:

  • IBM Security Verify Access
  • Cisco Identity Services Engine
  • CyberArk – Idaptive
  • Okta
  • OneLogin – Access

Remote worker Endpoint Security

With remote work becoming the new normal, securing remote access nodes poses new challenges especially with them being present outside the firewall. This problem is further compounded with infrastructure moving to the Cloud.

Breach and attack simulation

Is a continuous fire drill performed typically by independent vendors where they simulate sophisticated attacks similar to techniques used by cybercriminals to find vulnerabilities and report the same. 

Cloud security breaches

Refers to the compromising of data or nodes on cloud infrastructure. With more companies moving to the cloud, this has only snowballed in the past few years. Most of the data breaches can be attributed to configuration errors, IAM permission errors, re-use of identity. 

Best practices to reduce these vulnerabilities are

  1. Encrypt all data that is persistent (databases, logs, backup systems). Build this process in the QA checklist for all releases. Classify systems and data into sensitive and others. Ensure that sensitive data is secured and encrypted
  2. Prevent re-use of resource identities in the infrastructure and ensure each identity’s permissions are allotted on a need basis. Use tools like Centrify, Okta and CyberArk to manage these permissions.
  3. Routine audits on identity permissions, firewalls and cloud resources can help prevent these breaches. 

Securing your infrastructure

Over the years as companies have moved to the cloud, we have seen only an increase in cyber attacks.  With remote working becoming commonplace,  the line between internal and external attacks has blurred.  It is better to preempt the company’s defenses than be a victim.  Get in touch with us for an inside on how you could secure your company’s business and infrastructure. 

Want to know more? Contact us now

Cybersecurity Mesh – Key Considerations before Adoption & Implementation

The infamous Botnet data leak that took place recently exposed a total of 26 million passwords, with 1.5 million Facebook passwords among leaked data. In another cyber-attack incident, the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S. Colonial Pipeline Co. was hit by ransomware. Hackers gained entry into its networks with the help of a compromised password and caused shortages across the East Coast.

Incidents of cyberattacks continue to jeopardize data security. With remote work becoming the norm during the pandemic, threat actors have an expanded vulnerable surface to target. TechRepublic predicts more ransomware attacks and data breaches as threat actors continue to explore new vulnerabilities.

Not surprisingly, then, enterprises are now focusing on strengthening cybersecurity. A Gartner survey reports: “With the opening of new attack surfaces due to the shift to remote work, cybersecurity spending continues to increase. 61% of respondents are increasing investment in cyber/information security, followed closely by business intelligence and data analytics (58%) and cloud services and solutions (53%).

In response to these infrastructure attacks in recent times, President Biden’s administration enacted a cybersecurity executive order wherein the federal government will partner with the private sector to secure cyberspace and address the many concerns through its far-reaching provisions.

The rise in digital interactions and remote work arrangements has compelled enterprises to find a way to curtail cyber attacks. Besides, cloud-based ransomware attacks have put them in a pickle as the shift to the cloud had accelerated during the pandemic. Amidst these vulnerabilities and circumstances, cybersecurity mesh has emerged as a viable solution to circumvent cyber threats and secure digital assets everywhere.

Let’s delve deeper to know what it’s all about and how it’s changing the IT security paradigm across the globe.

Why adopt cybersecurity mesh?

A 600% uptick in sophisticated phishing email schemes since the pandemic began shows how vulnerable our IT systems are. Ransomware attacks are predicted to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021; a new organization is falling prey to ransomware every 11 seconds. 98% of cyberattacks are based on social engineering and new employees are often the most vulnerable. Emails constitute 92% of all malware attacks, while Trojans account for 51% of all malware.

The accelerated shift to the cloud to meet the growing needs of customers and the ensuing weaknesses in cloud security have led to frequent attacks. Explains Michael Raggo, cloud security expert at CloudKnox, “One of the systemic issues we’ve seen in organizations that have been breached recently is a vast amount of over-permissioned identities accessing cloud infrastructure and gaining access to business-critical resources and confidential data. We’ve seen when an attacker gains access to an associated identity with broad privileged permissions, the attacker can leverage those and cause havoc.

Cybersecurity mesh facilitates scalable, flexible, and reliable means to ensure cybersecurity across all levels to protect your processes, people, and infrastructure. Considering that a vast majority of assets now exist outside the traditional security perimeter, a cybersecurity mesh helps you stretch its boundaries to build it around an individual’s identity. So rather than having one large perimeter to protect all devices or nodes within a ‘traditional’ network, we now create small, individual perimeters around every access point to heighten its security. A centralized point of authority will manage all the perimeters to ensure there are no breaches.

Key benefits

Cybersecurity mesh helps you adopt an interchangeable, responsive security approach that stops threat actors from exploiting the weaker links within a network to get into the bigger network. When employed correctly, cybersecurity mesh offers the following benefits:

  1. Cybersecurity mesh will support more than 50% of IAM requests by 2025

As traditional security models evolve, enterprises will now rely on cybersecurity mesh to ensure complete security. Identity and Access Management has been a bit of a challenge for enterprises for some time now. Akif Khan, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner, elaborates, “IAM challenges have become increasingly complex and many organizations lack the skills and resources to manage effectively. Leaders must improve their approaches to identity proofing, develop stronger vendor management skills and mitigate the risks of an increasingly remote workforce.”

Cybersecurity mesh with its mobile, adaptive, unified access management model is expected to support more than half of all IAM requests by 2025.

  1. IAM services will be largely MSSP-driven

Considering that most organizations lack the necessary resources and expertise to plan, develop, acquire, and implement comprehensive IAM solutions, the role of managed security service providers (MSSPs) will be crucial. Where multiple functions will have to be addressed simultaneously, organizations will leverage their services.

Gartner expects 40% of IAM application convergence to be driven by MSSPs by 2023, thereby shifting power from product vendors to service partners.

  1. 30% of Enterprises will implement identity proofing tools by 2024

Vendor-provided enrollment and recovery workflows have often posed a challenge in building trust as it is difficult to differentiate genuine users and attackers. Multifactor authentication via email addresses and phone numbers has often proved to be ineffective.

Gartner predicts 30% of large enterprises will use identity-proofing tools from the beginning, embedding them into the workforce identity lifecycle processes to address these issues and make way for more robust enrollment and recovery procedures.

  1. A decentralized identity standard will manage identity data

The traditional centralized approaches have been futile in managing identity data when it comes to the three main focus areas that include privacy, assurance, and pseudonymity. A decentralized approach based on the cybersecurity mesh model and powered by blockchain ensures total privacy necessitating an absolute minimum amount of information to validate information requests.

Gartner expects the emergence of a truly global, portable decentralized identity standard by 2024 that will address identity issues at all levels – business, personal, social, societal, and identity-invisible use cases.

  1. Demographic bias will be minimized everywhere

There have been several instances of demographic bias based on race, age, gender, and other characteristics that iterated the need for document-centric identity proofing in online use cases. Face recognition algorithms became part of the ‘ID plus selfie’ to ensure identity through photo comparison of customers with the ones seen in their identity document.

However, it’s important that the face recognition process is foolproof to eliminate bias and keep damaging implications at bay. By 2022, 95% of organizations will expect vendors responsible for identity-proofing to prove that they are minimizing demographic bias.

A building block for zero-trust environments

Contrary to the traditional approach of building ‘walled cities’ around a network, cybersecurity mesh paves the path for password-protected perimeters to secure networks. Devices are allowed into the network via permission levels that are managed internally. Such an approach minimizes the risk of users’ devices or access points being hacked or compromised.

Organizations are increasingly leveraging the cybersecurity mesh as a building block to create zero trust end-to-end within the network to ensure data, systems, and equipment are securely accessed irrespective of their location. Unless verified, all connections and requests to access data are considered unreliable according to the principles of zero trust architecture.

Navigate your security landscape with Trigent

Trigent offers a multitude of solutions to support your cybersecurity initiatives. Our team of technology experts can help you level up with modern cybersecurity approaches and best practices to strengthen your IT security defenses.

Fortify your security stance with Trigent. Call us today to book a business consultation.

Understanding the Scope of AIOps and Its Role in Hyperautomation

The rapid acceleration of digital transformation initiatives in the modern business landscape has brought emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to the fore. Integrating AI into IT operations or AIOps has empowered IT teams to perform complex tasks with ease and resolve agility issues in complex settings.

Gartner sees great potential in AIOps and forecasts the global AIOps market to touch
US$3127.44 million by 2025 at a CAGR of 43.7% during the period 2020 to 2025. From just US$ 510.12 million in 2019, it is expected to touch a whopping US$ 3127.44 million in 2025. It believes 50% of organizations will use AIOps with application performance monitoring to deliver business impact while providing precise and intelligent solutions to complex problems.

A global survey of CIOs iterates why AIOps is so critical for IT enterprises. The survey pointed out that despite investing in 10 different monitoring tools on average, IT teams had full observability into just 11% of the environments. Those who needed those tools didn’t have access to them. 74% of CIOs were reportedly using cloud-native technologies, including microservices, containers, and Kubernetes, and 61% said these environments changed every minute or less. In comparison, 89% reported their digital transformation had accelerated in the past 12 months despite a rather difficult 2020.
70% felt manual tasks could be automated though only 19% of repeatable IT processes were automated, and 93% believed AI assistance is critical in helping teams cope with increasing workloads.

AIOps offers IT companies the operational capability and the business value crucial for a robust digital economy. But AIOps adoption must be consistent across processes as it would fail to serve its purpose if it merely highlights another area that is a bottleneck. AIOps capabilities must therefore be such that the processes are perfectly aligned and automated to meet business objectives.

Now that we understand how crucial AIOps is let’s dive deeper to understand its scope.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data have all been spoken about in great length and form the very backbone of Artificial Intelligence for IT operations or AIOps. AIOps are multi-layered technology platforms that collate data from multiple tools and devices within the IT environment to spot and resolve real-time issues while providing historical analytics.

What is AIOps?

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data have all been spoken about extensively and form the very backbone of AIOps. AIOps comprises multi-layered technology platforms that collate data from multiple tools and devices within the IT environment to spot and resolve real-time issues while providing historical analytics.

It is easier to understand its importance if we realize the extremely high cost of downtime. As per an IDC study, an infrastructure failure’s average hourly cost is $100,000 per hour, while the average total cost of unplanned application downtime per year is $1.25 – 2 billion.

The trends and factors driving AIOps include:

  • Complex IT environments are exceeding human scale, and monitoring them manually is no longer feasible.
  • IoT devices, APIs, mobile applications, and digital users have increased, generating an exponentially large amount of data that is impossible to track manually.
  • Even a small, unresolved issue can impact user experience, which means infrastructure problems should be addressed immediately.
  • Control and budget have shifted from IT’s core to the edge as enterprises continue to adopt cloud infrastructure and third-party services.
  • Accountability for the IT ecosystem’s overall well-being still rests with core IT teams. They are expected to take on more responsibility as networks and architectures continue to get more complex.

With 45% of businesses already using AIOps for root cause analysis and potential forecasting problems, its role is evident in several use cases, as mentioned below.

Detection of anomalies and incidents – IT teams can leverage AIOps to see when anomalies, incidents, and events have been detected to follow up on them and resolve them. The thing with anomalies is that they can occur in any part of the technology stack and hence necessitates constant processing of a massive amount of IT data. AIOps leverages machine learning algorithms to detect actual triggers in almost real-time to prevent them. Full-stack visibility into applications and infrastructure helps isolate the root cause of issues, accelerate incident response, streamline operations, improve teams’ efficiency, and ensure customer service quality.

Security analysis – AI-powered algorithms can help identify data breaches and violations by analyzing various sources, including log files and network & event logs, and assess their links with external malicious IP and domain information to uncover negative behaviors inside the infrastructure. AIOps thus bridges the gap between IT operations and security operations, improving security, efficiency, and system uptime.

Resource consumption and planning – AIOps ensures that the system availability levels remain optimal by assessing the changes in usage and adapting the capacity accordingly. Through AI-powered recommendations, AIOps helps decrease workload and ensure proper resource planning. AIOps can be effectively leveraged to manage routine tasks like reconfigurations and recalibration for network and storage management. Predictive analytics can have a dynamic impact on available storage space, and capacity can be added as required based on disk utilization to prevent outages that arise due to capacity issues.

AIOps will drive the new normal.

With virtually everyone forced to work from home, data collected from different locations varies considerably. Thanks to AIOps, disparate data streams can be analyzed despite the high volumes.

AIOps has helped data centers and computer environments operate flawlessly despite the pandemic through unforeseen labor shortages. It allows data center administrators to mitigate operational skills, reduce system noise and incidents, provide actionable insights into the performance of services and related networks and infrastructure, get historical and real-time visibility into distributed system topologies, and execute guided or fully automated responses to resolve issues quickly.

As such, AIOps has been instrumental in helping enterprises improve efficiency and lighten workloads for remote workers. AIOps can reduce event volumes, predict outages in the future, and apply automation to reduce staff downtime and workload. As Travis Greene, director of strategy for IT operations with software company Micro Focus explains, “The end goal is to tie in service management aspects of what’s happening in the environment.”
AIOps and hyperautomation

A term coined by Gartner in 2019, hyperautomation is next-level automation that transcends individual process automation. IDC calls it digital process automation, while Forrester calls it digital process automation. As per Gartner ‘Hyper-automation, organizations rapidly identify and automate as many business processes as possible. It involves using a combination of technology tools, including but not limited to machine learning, packaged software, and automation tools to deliver work’.

Irrespective of what it’s called, hyperautomation combines artificial intelligence (AI) tools and next-level technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) to automate complex and repetitive tasks rapidly and efficiently to augment human capabilities. Simply put, it automates automation and creates bots to enable it. It’s a convergence of multiple interoperable technologies such as AI, RPA, Advanced Analytics, Intelligent Business Management, etc.

Hyperautomation can dramatically boost the speed of digital transformation and seems like a natural progression for AIOps. It helps build digital resilience as ‘humans plus machines’ become the norm. It allows organizations to create their digital twin (DTO) or a digital replica of their physical assets and processes. DTO provides them real-time intelligence to help them visualize and understand how different processes, functions, and KPIs interact to create value and how these interactions can be leveraged to drive business opportunities and make informed decisions.

With sensors and devices monitoring these digital twins, enterprises tend to get more data that gives an accurate picture of their health and performance. Hyperautomation helps organizations track the exact ROI while attaining digital agility and flexibility at scale.

Those on a hyperautomation drive are keen on making collaborative IT operations a reality and regard AIOps as an important area of hyperautomation for breakthrough IT operations. When AIOps meets hyperautomation, businesses can rise above human limits and move with agility towards becoming completely autonomous digital enterprises. Concludes John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice-president at Gartner, “Optimization initiatives, such as hyper-automation, will continue, and the focus of these projects will remain on returning cash and eliminating work from processes, not just tasks.”

It’s time you adopted AIOps too and deliver better business outcomes.

Accelerate AIOps adoption with Trigent

Trigent offers a range of capabilities to enterprises with diverse needs and complexities. As the key to managing multi-cloud, multi-geo, multi-vendor heterogeneous environments, AIOps need organizations to rethink their automation strategies. Our consulting team can look into your organizational maturity to know at what stage of AIOps adoption you are and ensure that AIOps initiatives are optimized to maximize your business value and opportunity.

Our solutions are intuitive and easy to use. Call us today for a business consultation. We would be happy to partner with you on your way to AIOps adoption.

Understanding the Concept of Anywhere Operations and Its Scope

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many things including the way we work. We have all transitioned into the digital world for virtually everything. The massive shift has posed infrastructure challenges to organizations urging them to re-examine traditional methods of working and enable a ‘work from anywhere’ culture. It has also become important for enterprises to use their resources wisely both during and after the pandemic. They are now pulling up their socks to prepare for the evolving needs of hybrid workspaces in the New Normal.

What they truly need is Anywhere Operations – an IT operating model Gartner believes 40% of organizations would have applied already by the end of 2023 to offer a blended virtual and physical experience to employees as well as customers. It is garnering a lot of attention since the time it has come into being.

So what is Anywhere Operations after all and how does it impact enterprises? Let’s find out.

The concept

Remote working has become a reality that will continue even in the future. In a recent survey by Gartner, 47% of the respondents said they intended to allow employees to work remotely full time. Explains Elisabeth Joyce, Vice President of advisory in the Gartner HR practice, “The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce. While remote work isn’t new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done.”

As boundaries between real and virtual environments continue to blur, enterprises need to ensure ubiquitous access to corporate resources. There is greater dependability on digital tools and the resilience of enterprises will largely depend on how well they deploy them. Enterprises will have to adopt a more serious approach towards the transformation of their IT infrastructure – be it devices & apps or remote IT support and cybersecurity.

It is imperative that businesses deploy management solutions that allow teams to work in tandem and continue to enjoy the same accessibility irrespective of the location they log on from. Anytime Operations, clearly, is inevitable and the need to match pace with the fluid working style of today will push it towards mass adoption. Remote work however is more about the workforce whereas Anywhere Operations includes customers into the mix so that customers are also able to connect and interact for all their needs any time from wherever they are.

When implemented correctly, Anywhere Operations will serve as the perfect model for building resilience and flexibility.

Anywhere Operations supports:

  • Remote work
  • Remote deployment of products/services
  • Business partners, stakeholders, and customers

It encompasses productive business operations and its core objective is to ensure that these operations can be managed effectively from literally ‘anywhere’.

Anywhere Operations is not just an enabler of work from home, online customer support, or remote deployment of products/services but an organizational paradigm that offers value across multiple areas. These include:

Collaboration and Productivity

The need to attain the pre-pandemic level of collaboration and productivity has led to the emergence of virtual offices replete with task management tools, meeting solutions, club office suites, digital whiteboards, and video conferencing platforms. This enables employees to see each other, interact, conduct meetings, assign tasks, share ideas in real time, review space occupancy and usage, etc.

Remote assistance is crucial to enable sharing of digital replicas of devices and maintain real-time analytics. While it was easier to visit the client’s office in the past, the need to implement XR tools is being felt today to facilitate better collaboration around tangible objects and help clients in this period of social distancing.

Secure Remote Access

Development teams and clients are provided secure remote access via cloud solutions powered by firewalls to ensure safe access to the virtual environment. In order to fortify the security measures, ways and means are being explored to replace traditional VPN for users operating in multiple time zones.

Identity & Access Management (IAM) solutions that enable multi-factor authentication, passwordless authentication, Zero Trust models, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are now being applied to ensure secure access to data and applications, anywhere, any time. Cybersecurity mesh is also being considered by modern enterprises. While ensuring timely responses and a more modular security approach, it makes identity the security perimeter.

Cloud and edge infrastructure

Organizations had already started discovering the power of automation and how certain tasks that were being performed manually needed immediate automation. In order to ensure 24/7 secure access, ubiquitous cloud migration was important.

Distributed cloud now has become the future of cloud computing and provides edge cloud for a nimble environment. Edge computing provides an opportunity for enterprises to collect a huge amount of data from various locations separated by distance and time zones to create efficiencies and bring down operating costs. It ensures that cloud computing resources are closer to the location where data and business activity is.

Project management and product development tools along with CRM tools used by sales and marketing departments are therefore being moved to the cloud. Enterprises are shifting infrastructure to cloud to ensure governance and accessibility for business continuity. Apart from flexibility and security, cloud solutions offer cost benefits with respect to smart repository usage.

Enterprises are looking at integrating IoT and 5G technologies to catalyze connectivity beyond imagination. The ability of IoT to allow back and forth flow of data makes it critical for dynamic business environments of today and will continue to drive edge-computing systems. Cloud and edge infrastructure will help avoid latency and gain real-time insights. Cloud and edge architectures will minimize time lags in data processing to help industries perform computing tasks closer to where data is gathered quickly.

AI edge processing is now being leveraged extensively for applications that have sub-millisecond (ms) latency requirements and helps circumvent bandwidth, privacy, and cost concerns. Enterprises are now critically evaluating their API platforms that serve as the essential building block on the road to successful digital transformations.
Google’s recently rolled out Apigee X is a case in point.

Says James Fairweather, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes, “During these uncertain times, organizations worldwide are doubling-down on their API strategies to operate anywhere, automate processes, and deliver new digital experiences quickly and securely,”
Automation to support remote operations

Automation will be at the helm of operations in a bid to minimize human intervention. Enterprises are now keen on automating tasks that can help make better business decisions.

Enterprises are increasingly using AIOps platforms that connect ITSM and ITOM to deliver high-value insights that can predict outages, prioritize events, and get to the root of event patterns to fix them. The modern AIOps platforms help a great deal for discovery, endpoint automation, and self-enablement. Zero-touch is also being deployed for automatic provisioning and configuration of devices without manual involvement.

Quantification of the digital experience

Dubbed as ‘total experience’, digital experiences are a culmination of customer experience, employee experience, and user experience that can be tracked by mapping the EX and CX journeys. Quantification concerns the entire interaction from the time the first contact was made up to the present day. As interactions get more virtual, distributed, and mobile, total experience will give enterprises the edge to reach new frontiers of growth and make technological leaps.

Enterprises need to offer better technology to support the hybrid workforce while supporting the buying behaviors of customers. Just offering a great customer experience is not enough, and effort must be made to monitor and respond to experiences in real time to strengthen the relationship with employees as well as customers.

Achieve Anywhere Operations with Trigent

With decades of experience in turning insights into strategies and a sophisticated suite of products to drive your business, we can help your organization usher in a much-needed technology transformation for achieving Anywhere Operations seamlessly. We can be your trusted partner in delivering Enterprise IT solutions.

Talk to our experts for a business consultation.

A Deep Dive into Zero Trust Security

Why implement zero trust security?

With today’s workforce becoming progressively agile, gaining access to scattered apps from a multitude of remote devices from anywhere globally, there has been an acute need to protect the data, apps, users, and devices. As remote working has become mainstream, there is more load on the Cloud, and consequently, there is increased potential risk for security breaches. The Zero Trust Security model is a strategic idea and principle that helps firms stop data breaches and protect their assets, urging them to trust no entity within the organization before verifying, as threats can come from external users and internal ones. The cloud service provider is responsible for the platform’s security, but the onus lies on the customer to secure the data they store. AI/ML, blockchain, DevOps, and other emerging technologies require companies to consider their digital environment’s veritable security. For a business, it is imperative that employees securely access enterprise apps deployed behind the firewall. Other entities that will access the apps include vendors, contractors, associates, customers, and developers. Whether these apps are hosted in a public cloud or a private data center, this is a complex, unwieldy task that requires on-premise-hardware and software, including Application Delivery Controllers, VPNs, Identity, and Access Management (IAM) systems. Despite these technologies, an enterprise is subjected to many security threats caused by access to internal apps that expose the entire network to detrimental attacks. To offset these challenges, more and more enterprises are shifting to zero trust security.

The nuts and bolts of zero trust security

The Zero Trust Security model assumes zero trusts. Every request is thoroughly authenticated, authorized, and encrypted before granting access. Also, as cyber criminals can manage to compromise any of the assets, it is easy to breach the organization’s network. The attacks are more sophisticated by blatant poachers such as cyber criminals and bad actors. Once hackers cross the corporate firewall, it is easy for them to navigate without much resistance.

The zero-trust security concept relies on existing tech and govt. processes such as micro-segmentation and granular perimeter reinforcement to trust a user, a machine, or an application seeking access to critical data. To ensure high security, various systems and methodologies are incorporated, including: (ref. image)

The nuts and bolts of zero trust security

Common IT challenges to implementing the zero trust security model

Once you are acquainted with the zero-trust network, the pros, and cons, the subsequent move in the journey is to absorb some of the challenges you may have to overcome in implementing and adopting the zero-trust security system. You, along with the security team, must understand the importance of implementing policy as a code, and evaluate the policies and the complete degree of change involved in advancing from the traditional model that covers only the security boundaries to a comprehensive zero trust security model.

Network security can be demanding in this era of mobility, IoT, and Work From Home (WFH) settings. The challenges to implementing Zero Trust include technical debt, influence on legacy systems, and conventional development of peer-to-peer & distributed systems. The other common IT challenges include network trust & malware, secure application access, complexity, and IT resources. The best security strategy is moving to a least-privilege app access model, where access is given only to those needed to perform a task.

Ways to implement zero trust security

Assimilating zero trust security theoretically can be easy, but implementing it can be an arduous task. Zero trust security was first implemented over a decade ago. However, many enterprises are still ambivalent about implementing it in their organizations, despite the widespread popularity of the model. Complex IT environments, legacy systems should be embraced in a multi-phased manner. Build zero trust by design and not retrofit it. Here are the steps involved in implementing it:

  • Efficiently deploy micro-segmentation: Micro-segmentation is a process of disintegrating security perimeters into smaller zones to ensure that dedicated access is given to each part of the network.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a smart approach to achieving high network security. It is considered as the guiding principle of zero-trust security. MFA involves three factors, namely, the knowledge factor, the possession factor, and the inference factor.
  • Incorporate PoLP (Principle of Least Privilege) or limited user access: PoLP restricts access to users with only adequate permission to those files required to perform the accorded task. They can read, write, and execute these files. Also, the PoLP access can be applied to limiting access to apps, systems, processes, and devices to only those permissions necessary to carry out the task.
  • Verify all the devices located at the endpoints on a network: While hackers can be deliberately notorious, systems and devices are prone to fallibility. So, both have to be verified. Each device accessing corporate resources must be enrolled and verified before giving access to the data.

Transiting to zero transit security model

The quest for the zero-trust security model is just an email or a phone call away. Trigent enforces stringent security policies and assists with any possible security anomalies or incidents. Trigent’s Security Solutions team assesses your company’s IT vulnerability and builds a zero-trust security model, whether it’s an existing IT environment or a transition from a legacy system, or replacing VPN with ZT Remote Access. Our security services include operational management, security incident management, compliance management, audit support, solution analysis, information security advice & guidance, system assurance, and global information security coordination.

Reach out to us to know which zero trust security technologies can most suitably guide your security transformation.

Improve Your Cybersecurity Posture and Resilience with VAPT

Just a few months ago, Japanese car manufacturer Honda confirmed that it suffered a cyberattack drawing attention to gaping vulnerabilities that had come to the fore as a result of the increase in the size of the remote workforce in the wake of the pandemic. Then came the Russian cyberattack against the United States that is now being considered as an act of espionage. Malicious code was inserted into updates and pushed to SolarWinds customers giving hackers access to computer networks of government agencies, think tanks, and private firms.
These are classic examples that demonstrate how vulnerable networks can be and how easily servers, infrastructure, and IT systems can be compromised. Fortunately, Vulnerability Assessment and Performance Testing (VAPT) provide the much-needed monitoring and protection to help enterprises protect themselves from hackers and security breach.

Understanding VAPT

Both vulnerability and penetration testing are two distinct security testing services that are often said in the same breath and sometimes even classified as one and the same. Penetration testing however needs a complete assessment of vulnerability to check for flaws or deficiencies in order to proceed further. It involves simulating an attacker’s attack. A thorough analysis conducted from the attacker’s perspective is presented to the system owner along with a detailed assessment that iterates implications and offers remedial solutions to address the vulnerabilities. When conducted together, VAPT offers complete vulnerability analysis.

Notorious tactics like sniffing (passive listening on the network) and ARP spoofing (an attack technique used to intercept traffic between hosts) call for stringent measures to ensure cybersecurity across computer systems and networks. To safeguard themselves from hackers, enterprises globally are investing heavily in vulnerability assessment and penetration testing or VAPT to identify vulnerabilities in the network, server, and network infrastructure.

Vulnerabilities have existed from the very beginning though they were not exploited as often as they are now. As per a study by Splunk, 36% of IT executives said there was an increase in the volume of security vulnerabilities due to remote work. In a day and age when ‘digital’ means everything, it is important to secure business operations from cyberattacks, threats, and breaches that can demobilize businesses. Vulnerabilities may also lead to litigation costs, loss of trust, and compliance penalties; all of which may affect the credibility of an enterprise in a big way. VAPT helps address all of them in the most effective manner.

The tricky part about VAPT is that it cannot be assigned to the security officer of the organization to conduct it as the results may not be so accurate. This is because the security officer would know the security system inside out and is likely to look for inadequacies in places where they are most likely to be found. But things change when a specialist is brought in. It is quite common to have third-party contractors run the pentest (penetration test) as they can identify the blind spots within a security system quickly. Often, the results are startling and the loopholes that have gone unnoticed are identified and fixed before they can cause damage.

What VAPT entails

Typically, VAPT comprises a network penetration test, application penetration test, physical penetration test, and device penetration test.

Network penetration tests involve identifying network and system-level vulnerabilities, incorrect configurations & settings, absence of strong passwords & protocols, etc.

Application penetration testing involves identifying application-level deficiencies, malicious scripts, fake requests, etc.

Physical penetration testing covers all physical aspects such as disabling CCTV cameras, breaking physical barriers, malfunctions, sensor bypass, etc.

Device penetration testing helps detect hardware and software deficiencies, insecure protocols, configuration violations, weak passwords, etc.

VAPT is carried out very systematically in stages that include everything from collating information and analyzing threats and vulnerabilities to emulating real cyberattacks and creating reports replete with findings and suggestions.

The need to assess the threat landscape

There would be a point in time when you feel that you have the best of security measures and there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. A pentest then would be the last thing on your mind. But in reality, a pentest is akin to an annual health checkup that helps detect health hazards well in advance. Regular pentests will ensure the wellbeing of your enterprise keeping your technical and personnel arsenal in perfect health.

2020 saw organizations battling not just the impact of the virus but also a digital pandemic that was equally deadly. According to PwC, 55% of enterprise executives have decided to increase their budget for cybersecurity in 2021 while 51% are planning to onboard a full-time cyber staff in 2021.

Secure your environment with sustainable VAPT

Digital fitness is everybody’s responsibility and employees should take ownership of their online behaviors to build a cyber-aware culture. As connectivity continues to grow, your most sensitive assets are at risk. Vulnerabilities have often been the root cause of breaches and call for immediate remedial steps. VAPT provides the necessary roadmap to enterprises on their way to building cyber-resilience. The vulnerability assessment services offer a detailed assessment of external and internal network infrastructure, applications, servers, and client devices along with recommendations to address security weaknesses. Penetration testing on the other hand exploits these vulnerabilities to depict an accurate picture of their impact. Real-world scenarios and techniques are emulated for this purpose.

A robust, compliant ecosystem rests on the adoption of VAPT best practices to minimize the ‘attack surface’. These should include frequent testing based on historical data and a sustainable VAPT program to empower security leaders and vulnerability management teams. A good VAPT program will identify, evaluate, treat, and report vulnerabilities to ensure that every time you onboard a new employee, customer, or partner, you are not exposing yourself to new threats.

VAPT can help ensure

  • Network security
  • Application security
  • Endpoint security
  • Data security
  • Identity management
  • Infrastructure security
  • Cloud security
  • Mobile security

Following SolarWinds hacking, there is a greater focus on beefing up cybersecurity. Markets and Markets predict the global cybersecurity market to grow at a CAGR of 10.6% from $152.71 billion in 2018 to a whopping $248.26 billion by 2023, with North America holding the biggest market size followed by Europe in the second position. And yet, a significant number of organizations continue to remain ignorant about the importance of expanding their cybersecurity capabilities.

As Richard Horne, Cyber Security Chair, PwC infers, “It’s surprising that so many organizations lack confidence in their cybersecurity spend. It shows businesses need to improve their understanding of cyber threats and the vulnerabilities they exploit while changing the way they think about cyber risk so it becomes an intrinsic part of every business decision.”

Stay a step ahead of threat actors with Trigent

Threat actors will continue to resort to new tactics threatening the cybersecurity of global corporations. It’s up to us to evolve and rise to the challenge with the right measures in place. At Trigent, we help you protect your business. We assess your business environment using diverse tools and scans to detect vulnerabilities and eliminate them.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with us. Allow us to help you identify vulnerabilities and discover where you stand on the cybersecurity resilience scale. Call us now.

7 reasons why you should adopt a Virtual Command Center (VCC)

In my interaction with a customer, he complained about the rising number of network, infrastructure, and application issues while working remotely. He referred to his current persisting issue with their enterprise collaboration tool, and upon calling his infrastructure support team, he was being informed about the probable reasons why this happened. He dryly remarked to me: “I don’t wish to get into the nitty-gritty of why the app is not running. I just want these problems to be resolved – fast and easy.”

Sounds familiar? I guess so. Most professionals wish to leverage communication and collaboration technologies to perform their core functions; they are not keen on understanding the underlying technologies. More so in the new normal of remote working, where we place a premium on business continuity.

Is your infrastructure support team struggling to provide frictionless access to your distributed and remote workforce? In the technology stack, the limelight is hogged by the uppermost layer, applications, where value creation happens. The infrastructure, atop whose foundation the entire stack rests is the least focussed. Unless it’s a time of peak utility or a panic-inducing calamity, which is where we currently are.

What we need is the smooth functioning of all enterprise applications, devices, and the infrastructure supporting it. The key is to enable integrated monitoring and management of your applications and infrastructure – like our next-gen Virtual Command Center (VCC).

Moreover, a siloed collaboration between Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) is inadequate to be future-fit. The next normal requires businesses to virtualize and integrate the NOC and SOC.

Based on my experiences and customer interactions, I share the 7 key reasons why businesses must adopt a VCC solution.

  1. VCC is complex, but not a black box

The driving factors of the VCC solution and the way it works is undoubtedly complex, but explainable. It’s like a central engine where the intelligence from across the organization is continuously collected and analyzed. The insights derived provide threat intelligence and situational awareness. You can tune its functioning with your organization’s goals.

We are witnessing successful adoption across verticals and market segments (enterprise and mid-market) to overcome anxiety brought about by unpredictable disruptions. Now, more than ever before, you need to continuously oversee the health of your network to empower employees to ensure business continuity.

  1. Harness real-time analysis:

With enterprise IT assets monitored in real-time, there’s a tab on data, network resources, communication tools, devices, servers, and infrastructure. All reflected and operated from live dashboards. The enterprise-wide visibility eliminates the need to cater to each issue individually, and instead provisions troubleshooting at the root cause level.

Integrating SOC with NOC enables you to detect anomalies and vulnerabilities even before they escalate into an issue. Combining these helps you mobilize response teams faster and empowers you to respond to them proactively and promptly.

  1. Leverage strong incident management:

As they say, you don’t dig well when your house is on fire. It helps to create a priority ranking and escalation pipeline before the storm hits you. By establishing the processes and procedures to deal with incidents, recurring and unforeseen, your organization can respond in a thoughtful manner, instead of reacting spontaneously.

  1. Build trust and transparency

A virtualized and integrated NOC-SOC provides for a higher level of visibility and enforcement of service level agreements (SLAs). Visualizing data and reports through easy-to-grasp graphical representation of alerts, indicators, and patterns provide a solid foundation to quickly investigate issues and record them for reference.

  1. Reduce MTTR:

Leveraging automation and new-age tech will help you reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR). VCC helps you rise above the fragmented workflows, unactionable alerts, data overload, and insights scarcity. It enables you to rise above the pervasive noise to detect patterns as they emerge and proactively respond to it.

  1. Manage remote and branch offices effectively:

The next-gen VCC needs to be acclimatized to the new normal of work from anywhere, all-digital environment. The confluence of data streams from across the organization and locations empowers both the organization and the employees to make data-driven decisions. As a result, your organization is fully capable of containing internal ripples even as your customers experience operational continuity.

  1. Leverage AIOps:

The conventional systems and technologies are inadequate to meet the staggering strain on infrastructure due to the overnight shift to working remotely.

AIOps enables you to automate IT operations, including correlating events, discovering anomalies, and establishing causality. It enables you to reduce repetitive tasks and concentrate on adding value to your offerings. It forms the basis for building a VCC that is self-aware and self-healing.

For more information, you can watch our webinar on the next-gen Virtual Command Center.

Make Sure You Are Not a Victim of Ransomware Attack

A few weeks ago, I was trying to surreptitiously pay off a speeding violation ticket such that my wife would not know, and that’s when I encountered another problem. The Baltimore payments portal was not accepting payments, and said that they were the victims of a ransomware attack. In fact, the whole City of Baltimore was a victim and all the records for several years were locked out with the cyber thieves demanding a huge amount of money. Towns in Florida paid huge amount of money recently to cybercriminals. Not following basic simple security protocols can land your company into a ransomware mess.

Gartner says, “Malwarebytes found that ransomware families have grown by more than 700% since 2016, and Datto asserts that as many as 35% of attacks are resolved through paid ransoms. Threat analysis isn’t about the threats themselves. It’s about the organization’s specific vulnerabilities and the exposure of those vulnerabilities.”

Don’t lose sleep over the threat of ransomware attacks. Don’t be vulnerable and take steps today. Do what you can and follow basic systems and processes to prevent them. Learn more about how being smart in IT can help you reduce the risk. Talk to Raghu, our IT specialist at Trigent and get a free assessment done.

Read our brochure to know more.

Why Consider IT Infrastructure Managed Services

The global managed services market is predicted to reach US$ 260 billion by the year 2022. Digital transformation and innovations are enabling businesses across industry segments to experience improved performance and faster time to market. But the challenge for IT organizations is to align IT to business goals in this fast disrupting digital era. Most of the time IT organizations are caught up with managing complex IT infrastructure environments and the whole process of planning, building, running and maintaining IT makes it difficult to think of much else. Typical IT infrastructure consists of data center infrastructure, end user systems, enterprise networks, infrastructure security, storage and IT operations, often handled by internal teams with help from vendors. In the absence of efficiency of scale and manpower, disparate systems, and legacy software, scaling to adapt to a digitally transforming business environment is virtually impossible.

To take the example of Windows 10, the up-gradation process can be difficult, disruptive and yet its advantages far outweigh the migration process. Modernizing the existing IT infrastructure, is therefore, great to talk about but difficult to implement. So, which is of greater concern for IT managers? The day to day life where everything is uncertain, where computers crash, softwares don’t work and so forth or worry about the greater good of a highly scalable and superior future oriented, cost effective IT infrastructure set up?

To manage day to day activities and focus on disruptive changes is what is required from IT today. IT managers already understand the changing business environment but what they need is a strong, state of the art infrastructure environment. Legacy systems have to be upgraded to embrace digital infrastructure. There is a need for more people to manage operational activities and some of them to help with the digital transformation journey. All this can add up to escalating costs, plunging efficiency levels with a strong possibility of the whole thing failing.

Why Infrastructure Managed Services?

  • Experienced infrastructure management partners who specialize in making varied infrastructures work in harmony, while complying to set regulatory norms, standards and guidelines.
  • Typically, IT Infrastructure Managed service providers have the capability to run entire infrastructures by `keeping the lights on’. They will help by continuously monitoring updates, patches, services and manages infrastructure without costing the earth.
  • Managed Infrastructure services can help to transfer the load from time deficient IT to experienced hands. They help to maintain 99% up time, and manage new technologies, expertise, time and budget with existing budgets and super efficiency.
  • In several ways, Managed Infrastructure services are designed to ensure that the right people and resources are allocated to provide the maximum benefit.
  • IDC’s data, confirms that unplanned downtime costs organizations $58,118 for every 100 users. The average employee loses 12.4 hours a year due to server downtime and 6.2 hours a year for network downtime. By implementing Managed IT Infrastructure services, it is possible to reduce server and network downtime by more than 85 percent.
  • Managed Infrastructure service providers charge on a monthly basis. While it may seem that the expenses have not changed substantially, a study by IDC confirms that by bypassing the need for additional staffing costs they experience a 42% savings in IT budget.
  • IT Infrastructure Managed service providers will ensure that software’s are updated, and technology is always up-to-date.

To summarize the high value outcome from MSPs are:

  • Standardized and cost efficient IT operations
  • Enhanced Operational intelligence and security
  • IT consumerization and automation

Build an agile infrastructure to meet your business needs.  Partner with us to overcome your IT challenges. https://www.trigent.com/services/infrastructure-services/.

Upgrade to Windows 10 in Less Than 5 Weeks

CIOs mostly worry about the scale and complexities involved in upgrading to Windows 10. Some even say that this will be one of most tiring, expensive and time-sensitive IT project for organizations. To ensure that the upgrade does not cause an enterprise-size migraine would require IT to strike a balance between speed in upgrading and least disruption to operations.

The first step lies in building a solid business case for the upgrade. This will offset the arguments that will ensue, most of them objections to up-gradation. Here are a few strong points to get the buy-in of the management as well as every single user within the enterprise.

  • Windows 10 has several amazing security updates making security the number one driver for upgrading to the latest version of the operating system. According to Gartner, this is one of the biggest points favoring Windows 10 up-gradation.
  • Microsoft’s Focused Inbox helps to maximize operational time by managing Outlook mailbox. Bio-metric support ensures faster sign-on.
  • Windows 10’s continuous update methodology ensures that business users will receive updates regularly (two at least a month), in addition to monthly quality and security updates. By following the regular updates methodology, Microsoft ensures that users are not overwhelmed by a sudden spurt of features and instead have the time to adapt slowly and steadily to the Windows 10 environment.
  • Enterprises normally use several applications many of which could be third-party applications. The vendors who are responsible for maintenance of these applications will work to support the most up-to-date versions of platforms. Thus, older versions may not receive the support that is required resulting in loss of support.
  • Integrated processes will ensure that IT is not just perceived as an enabler and will instead be seen as the central hub for ensuring business goals are exceeded. Windows 10 provides IT managers with the tools for delivering the services that are needed to manage a better integrated business model.

The features mentioned above are generic to some extent and enterprises considering Windows 10 are most likely aware of its strength. These are just selling points to remove the roadblock to migration. However, once the decision to upgrade to Windows 10 has been approved, that is when CIOs have to face their internal demons. An example of the kinds of questions that send shivers down the backs are, ‘how long will the whole  process be?’ This question conjures several scary scenes such as a long one to two year period of disruption, escalating expenses, crashing systems and thankless moments.

Questions such as ‘Can our infrastructure handle automated deployments? In addition, ‘Can Windows 10 security features be implemented remotely?’ are some of the trouble shooters that CIOs will have to deal with.

To ensure peace of mind and a disruption-free upgrade requires CIOs to consider some key requirements to mitigate project risks such as:

  • Gathering and analysis of existing desktops system and network information
  • Understand security and compliance requirements
  • Post up-gradation of the operating systems to Windows 10, ensure that all desktops are back to normal operations
  • Document the entire process and conduct a basics user training on Windows 10.

While this is on a broader level, there is the need to get down to intrinsic detailing, such as ‘where do users store their content, i.e. local drives, in which case it could be lost during the upgrade process, to are the current apps compatible with Windows 10.’

Service providers with Windows expertise, ask all these questions and more to ensure that the entire upgrade process is risk-free, fast and smooth. Trigent’s expertise in Windows 10 up-gradation has resulted in a well-drawn out process for implementation. This starts with week one focusing on design and discovery and ends with user training and knowledge transfer, post-migration, by week five. To know more about Trigent’s Windows expertise, visit: our technologies expertise

How does Infrastructure Maturity Impact Business KPIs?

IT infrastructure, which includes hardware, software and human resources, is defining the present and the future of organizations across all industry segments. Those organizations that have a higher maturity level of infrastructure see marked improvements in KPIs versus those that have a lower maturity level. To fix short time business goals, it is common to look for quick fix solutions such as cloud migration. However, in the absence of a clear understanding of existing infrastructure, its limitations, risks, and benefits, preparing for the future can result in lower KPIs. Thus, ensuring higher KPIs requires a deep dive into the heart of the organization, i.e. its infrastructure level and determine its level of maturity.

The four levels of Infrastructure Maturity:

Level 1 – Equipped to meet current business requirements

Companies that fall under this category have a simple, efficient and scalable IT infrastructure within their own data centers. Their converged infrastructure decisions are need-based and driven by individuals. These organizations typically do not have cloud infrastructure but based on ad hoc requirements may use public SaaS or PaaS. They do not have a clear workforce plan in place.

Level 2 – Awareness of the future

These companies have supplemented or migrated to the cloud for greater agility and flexibility. They have access to real-time data across units and geographies, and experienced cost benefits. These companies hold onto their data centers but their decisions are mostly team driven. A pilot initiative with the cloud is possible but this may not be linked to business KPIs. They may have an annual IT workforce place.

Level 3- Ready to meet future needs

Taking their infrastructure to the next level, companies that plan for the future, focus on using big data analytics for driving business decisions. With a revolutionary approach to IT infrastructure management, decisions are at an IT organizational level. They do have a cataloged presence across private and public clouds. The IT organization is well planned and aligned to future requirements.

Level 4 – Inspiring and creating the future

They have a plan in place for the future that encompasses converged infrastructure, cloud and big data analytics. Business decisions influence converged infrastructure and the approach is revolutionary in nature. These organizations have cloud catalogs, security and data control in place. They regularly track and automate performance across different clouds. Future planning includes envisaging emerging technologies and strengthening existing teams to enhance skills or plan to hire future technologies.

Four Crucial Business KPIs:

Financial stability

Financial stability requires the management of operational, man power and physical assets of an organization in the immediate present but with a strong foundation to manage change and grow even in uncertain times.

Internal processes

Organizational processes are key aspects of internal services which can impact all facets and relationships of a business. Internal processes relate to procurement, billing, work orders and so forth. Efficient management of internal resources is key to managing resources efficiently.

Innovation and growth

Key innovation practices help to create a high performance workplace where learning is interlinked to growth. The organization’s culture in such cases embraces change and growth to continuously reinvent itself for long term business sustenance.

Customer Service Excellence

This KPI focuses on an organization’s ability to meet customer requirements of quality, time and value and beyond that exceed expectations through uncompromised services. Companies that continue to evaluate their offerings for relevance and open to developing new offerings are setting the path for future growth and stability.

Mapping Infrastructure Maturity to Business KPIs:

Infrastructure Maturity Financial Stability Systematic Processes Innovation and Growth Customer Service Excellence
Level 1
Equipped to meet current business requirements
Lack visibility into the overall costs and benefits of existing IT Infrastructure Information silos and manual processes which delay operations and reduces efficiencies Data analytics not captured, even though it may be available No systematic and automated processes to continuously meet and exceed expectations
Level 2
Awareness of the future
Some visibility into the next financial year’s overall budget requirements Adopted cloud infrastructure but unable to maximize its usage No data analytics in place to plan future innovation A few processes in place but lacks insight into customer expectations
Level 3
Ready to meet future needs
IT plans in place but no clear idea of its impact on financial stability Lacks a roadmap to migrate and manage cloud infrastructure Data available but unable to derive intelligence from the same Meeting customer expectations
Level 4
Inspiring and creating the future
A clear idea about existing IT infrastructure. Continued focus on existing and planned infrastructure to ensure maximum cost benefits A robust roadmap for future IT infrastructure management to automate all processes and enhance efficiencies in the short and long term. Data analytics available on a continuous basis to empower C level executives to plan for the future Next-gen technologies in place to ensure continuous customer engagement and appreciation

Trigent’s Managed Infrastructure Services

At Trigent, we use a highly structured, agile and collaborative approach to achieve your business goals using the right cloud technology infrastructure. We collaborate with best-of-breed technology providers – Microsoft Azure and AWS, to ensure our services are perfectly tailored to your business needs. To know more, visit: Trigent’s Infrastructure Services

Marked Improvement in ROI for Cloud Ready Organizations

Evolve into a cloud-native culture and enjoy the myriad benefits it has to offer.

The cloud infrastructure market is cumulus and expected to cross $51.7 billion in 2019, driven by the need for cost-effective and scalable IT solutions. Talking about the cloud effect on businesses, Natalya Yezhkova, IDC Research Director of Storage Systems says, “The breadth and width of cloud offerings only continue to grow, with an expanding universe of business- and consumer-oriented solutions being born in the cloud and served better by the cloud. This growing demand from the end-user side and expansion of cloud-based offerings from service providers will continue to fuel growth in spending on the underlying IT infrastructure in the foreseeable future.”

The cloud infrastructure boom is a natural transition for organizations whose IT costs were weighing them down. Scaling up or down meant more costs. Mandatory software upgrades were also needed and the overall IT infrastructure management required resources to manage it, but with no scientific method to limit costs.

Cloud infrastructure has changed this scenario and is providing companies of all sizes and across all industry segments the opportunity to maximize their IT infrastructure. However, having said that, when it comes to measuring Return on Investment (ROI) on cloud infrastructure some questions crop up. If one were to choose cloud computing – in-house or public cloud, how would one assign an ROI to it? What features of cloud infrastructure affect ROI?

ROI is the proportionate increase in the value of an investment over a determined period. Investments when moving to the public cloud are less, but calculated over a period, can be more. With a private cloud, the initial investment is more, but over time, this cost is factored out. This kind of measurement is purely technical and misses the broader impact of the cloud on a business. Overall, for any company, revenue numbers matter, but so do customer value, brand value, and the value of competitive advantage which cannot be ignored. Therefore, when calculating ROI on the cloud, one must focus on productivity, speed, size, and quality.

Keeping these factors in mind, here are some tangible ROIs from cloud computing:

  • Cloud computing as an abstract virtual hosting solution offers a real-time environment. It has taken away the need to invest in physical servers and upheld the pay-per-use model. It provides businesses with the resilience required for workplace productivity. It enables resource sharing and thus helps to improve utilization. This sharing feature is not restricted to enterprises; it can be between an enterprise and a public cloud or an enterprise with a private cloud. Its flexibility combined with the power of savings in the immediate future makes cloud infrastructure an attractive alternative to traditional IT infrastructure.
  • Cloud infrastructure empowers clients to access virtualized hardware on their own IT platforms. This offers numerous features and benefits such as scalability, limited or no hardware costs, location independence, security, and so forth.
  • Cloud infrastructure assures businesses tremendous performance whether they scale 10 percent or 100 percent. Not having to worry about additional infrastructure investment costs helps companies to plan their IT budgets better. There is also the fact that capacity wastage is brought down to nil.
  • There is no lockdown in infrastructure. A seamless performance wherever an organization’s businesses are located, performance remains the same. The pay-as-you-go model frees up investment costs bringing down IT expenditure considerably.
  • The capacity utilization curve is a familiar concept for all. The model illustrates capacity versus utilization. It helps organizations to maximize their IT spend and helps to provision more or less as deemed fit. It is fitted around the central idea of utility requirements provisioned by on-demand services to meet actual needs.

ROI from cloud computing

To summarize, the ROI on cloud infrastructure requires intuitive planning right from the plan to the execution stage. More importantly, to maximize savings on the cloud requires intuitive planning. Trigent’s Managed Cloud Infrastructure Services helps enterprises to control their cloud journey.

We help enterprises to choose the right cloud platform to move on-premise infrastructure and help run business applications. We help enterprises to identify the business areas and workloads that can be migrated to a cloud computing model to reduce costs and improve service delivery in line with business priorities.

Leapfrog to a Higher Level on the Infrastructure Maturity Continuum

Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) managers have their jobs cut out for them. The ground below their feet is shifting and the seismic waves are unsettling the IT function, as they have known it. Today IT infrastructure is intrinsically tied to business value and outcome. It is no more the backbone of an organization; it is the central nervous system that controls how far and how soon a business can push geographical and other boundaries. It controls how fast and best can customer relationships become, and how, importantly, costs can be controlled. IT infrastructure which till a few years ago, hummed quietly in a data center, has moved to center stage. Summarizing this change, Gartner Senior Research Director Ross Winser says, “More than ever, I&O is becoming increasingly involved in unprecedented areas of the modern-day enterprise,”

Infrastructure maturity essentially means how future-ready or digitally empowered an organization’s infrastructure is. Organizations that are high on the maturity curve have paved the path for competitive advantage, seamless processes, and effective communications leading to business agility.

The Five Levels of Infrastructure Maturity or Maturity Continuum

Level One

Disparate tools, standalone systems, non-standard technologies, processes, and procedures define this level. More importantly, the infrastructure includes an over or under-functioning data center which does not make intelligence acquisition easy

Organizations when assessing their current infrastructure and mapping it to business needs will realize that they fall short of meeting organizational expectations while IT expenditure is out of bounds. IT infrastructure, therefore, becomes the weight that will pull an organization back from its path to progress.

Level Two

The infrastructure that has systems, tools, and processes in place but lacks standardization falls under this category. In the absence of standardization, ad-hoc decisions will be made to adapt to digital transformation and this can be more harmful than beneficial in the end. What is required is a systematic approach where road-map defining tools and technologies is established and processes are defined to pave the way for a digital future.

Level Three

Level 3 maturity assumes that tools and processes are in place but the infrastructure may not be cost-effective. It could be that data is stored in-house and the cost of running a data center far outweighs the benefits. While applications, tools, and platforms are modern, they may still be grounded.

What is required is for organizations to consolidate and optimize their infrastructure, for operational efficiencies and cost advantage. Data intelligence may still be far away.

Level Four

This level implies that the infrastructure can be moved to the cloud and it is ready for a transformation. It also assumes that legacy systems have been replaced by platforms and applications that can be shifted to the cloud, without interruption to existing business processes. The concern for these organizations is related to data security and data intelligence.

Level Five

Maturity in IT infrastructure sees a complete integration of tools, technologies, processes and practices. These organizations are future-ready. The infrastructure costs are optimized and data is secure. They have adopted nexgen digital solutions that are focused on transforming user experience. These organizations have brought infrastructure to the front stage and built a business model that is future-ready.

At Trigent, we use a highly flexible, agile and integrated solution that helps you adopt infrastructure for both traditional and cloud-enabled workloads.

Our portfolio of solutions for building, deploying and managing your infrastructure include:

CONSULTING

Help you develop a road-map for creating a flexible, responsive IT infrastructure aligned with your business

DESIGN & BUILD

Innovate new solutions, establish long-term goals and objectives so that your infrastructure is flexible and fully scalable for the future.

IMPLEMENTATION

Configure, deploy and oversee the smooth running of the project. Our qualified engineers perform implementation/installation.

ONGOING SUPPORT

Ongoing operating system monitoring and configuration support, after go-live.

To know more visit managed cloud infrastructure service page.

How to Plan Your Datacenter Migration to the Cloud

Cloud computing is on every CIO’s mind but not always for the right reasons. This could be because of the fears related to security, business continuity, cost efficiency and data availability. Summarizing these sentiments, Lydia Leong, Vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner says, “Efficiency-driven workload migration demands a different mindset and approach than agility-driven cloud adoption. The greatest benefits are derived from cloud-enabled organizational transformation, yet such transformations are highly disruptive and difficult. Moving to cloud IaaS without sufficient transformation may fail to yield the hoped-for benefits, and may actually result in higher costs”.

Datacenter migration

Datacenter migration requires evaluation of the weight of the data residing in the data center, and its current age and capacity. For example, if it is on its last leg, it might be better to decommission the data center and migrate to the cloud. If there are capacity limitations, these could also be reasons for considering cloud migration.

Then you would need to evaluate existing skill sets. If the internal IT organization does not have the requisite skillsets for cloud migration, it might be best to look for a cloud solutions service provider. The partner firm should have a strong reputation, experience in cloud technologies, and have a dedicated team of cloud specialists. If these technologists have industry experience, it would be even better.

The partner firm should be able to work out a thorough business case, perform a cost analysis, and prioritize workloads for a successful migration. The vendor needs to define the scope and road map for the migration. This immediately sets a context in terms of timelines and costs involved. It also prepares the existing teams for what is in store. During the discovery stage, the vendor should do a thorough analysis of the on-premise data center to prioritize it accordingly for migration.

Transition from “difficult to change” to Evolutionary Cloud Architecture

Data collection has to be as intense and exhaustive as possible to ensure that gaps are avoided. The vendor needs to work with the internal IT stakeholders to ensure that the data center is evaluated thoroughly, for a robust application inventory. This step could take at least a fortnight to complete but is crucial to planning capacity for cost optimization.

The above few steps naturally lead to the next one where the vendor does a deep analysis of critical information. The analysis will be comprehensive and map the migration to overall organizational goals, identify workloads and group them accordingly. This gives a clear perspective on cloud and infrastructure requirements post-migration and the costs for long term maintenance. Along with all these, there will need to be a plan for disaster recovery.

The final step, i.e. of creating a formal workload migration plan will be proposed by the vendor. Depending on the findings, the vendor may propose a wave or tier approach, to ensure short term return on investment and minimize operational disruptions. This migration plan is the blueprint or detailed architecture of how the migration will proceed.

Trigent Software’s 6 Keys to Successful Cloud Migration

  • Gain executive sponsorship and develop a strategy early
  • Portfolio assessment: Review and select the right applications to migrate
  • Budget for migration costs: tools, services, skilled resources
  • Start small and scale
  • Re-host (Lift and Shift) – low risk & reward
  • Re-platform (lift-and-reshape) – medium risk, high reward
  • Re-architect – high risk, high reward
  • Identify risks and ensure operational continuity
  • Create a repeatable plan and process to improve it.

Do you need help to securely and efficiently migrate your datacenter? We can help.

How to Ensure HIPAA Compliance in the Healthcare Cloud?

Cloud computing has overcast most, if not all, industry segments because of the benefits it offers. From manufacturing to e-commerce, banking to insurance, and education to real estate, industries are adopting cloud for its inherent benefits. The healthcare industry is also undergoing considerable change with healthcare organizations focusing on delivering ‘smart healthcare’ which means non-traditional care settings, multi-location facilities, and long-distance patient service. According to Deloitte, “With quality, outcomes, and value being the buzzwords for health care in the 21st century, sector stakeholders in the US and around the globe are looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to deliver patient-centered, technology-enabled “smart” health care, both inside and outside hospital walls.”

Continue reading How to Ensure HIPAA Compliance in the Healthcare Cloud?