Multiple changes are on the horizon for public sector information technology managers. Over the next two years, IT organizations could be heavily impacted by these transformations, via a very distinct series of events. Government and education CIOs, program managers, and business process planners will need to keep an eye on these looming changes as they embark on long-range IT plans.
As the Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to drive one of the most sweeping market transitions in history, organizations will need to be hyper-aware, predictive, and agile. And IT will demand an infrastructure that is flexible enough to keep pace with rapid change and fast innovation, as it responds dynamically to ever-rising threat levels. Above all, it must support business leaders looking to capture their share of the $19 trillion in IoE-related value at stake.
But a rethink on the traditional role of IT is critical. Today, IT cannot simply continue “keeping the lights on.” More than ever, IT must partner with the business as an orchestrator of services and a true leader in innovation. The new IT operating model for the IoE era is Fast IT. And it enables more efficient processes, better asset utilization, an increasingly productive employee base, and improved customer experiences.
Fast IT is the way forward for businesses looking to compete and thrive in the rapidly changing IoE economy. Is your organization ready for the transformation?
Here are a few questions to consider as you evaluate your organization’s readiness:
How confident are you in your current network’s ability to propel your business into the future?
What are your top three concerns about your network?
What are the criteria you see as crucial for your organization to adopt a Fast IT model?
How will next-gen networking affect your IT staff, role and influence?
Follow @JosephMBradley to learn more about the Internet of Everything and how companies must embrace Fast IT to fully maximize the value of the Internet of Everything for both themselves and their customers. Join the discussion by simply using hashtags #InnovateThink and #FutureOfIT on Twitter to join the conversation.
Learn more about the role of Fast IT in an Internet of Everything world:
One of the best times I always have at Cisco Live involves getting to play ‘TV Anchor’ for the various live shows we stream. Well the Cisco TV team lets us use their equipment to do a live version of TechWiseTV each afternoon as well. Now honestly, I do plan these out…a little. But our day three show is generally a ‘hey…what do we WANT to do” kind of show. Planning for day 3 simply involved asking Jimmy Ray and Tina what they wanted. We had TWO wireless cameras this year to play with so it felt like we could do a little more. As for me (with input from the hillbilly of course), we wanted to take advantage of Wireless Stew’s presence and get him up to tell his story…so that is how we started.
Stewart Gouman’s is a fantastic fan of the show, running his wireless consultancy and very informative blog from the Great White North. He has sought us out in just a few visits over the years stopping by the studio in San Jose or catching us while at Cisco Live when we all end up in the same place. Watch the show and get his career and community advice.
Our service provider customers like you are trying to simultaneously keep pace with the surging network traffic in today’s Internet of Things (IoT) era while providing consistently high quality of experience and introduce new services quickly for a competitive advantage.
New technologies like Voice over LTE and the need to connect the expected 37 billion devices like cars, trains, building sensors, and “wearable devices” by 2020 means that data must be treated differently than it has been historically. At the same time, your consumers are expecting the same quality of experience whether they connect to th Read More »
The HAVEX worm is making the rounds again. As Cisco first reported back in September 2013, HAVEX specifically targets supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), industrial control system (ICS), and other operational technology (OT) environments. In the case of HAVEX, the energy industry, and specifically power plants based in Europe, seems to be the primary target. See Cisco’s security blog post for technical details on this latest variant.
When I discuss security with those managing SCADA, ICS and other OT environments, I almost always get the feedback that cybersecurity isn’t required, because their systems are physically separated from the open Internet. This practice, referred to in ICS circles as the “airgap”, is the way ICS networks have been protected since the beginning of time; and truth be told, it’s been tremendously effective for decades. The problem is, the reality of the airgap began to disappear several years ago, and today is really just a myth.
Today, networks of all types are more connected than ever before. Gone are the days where only information technology (IT) networks are connected, completely separated from OT networks. OT networks are no longer islands unto themselves, cut off from the outside world. Technology trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) have changed all of that. To gain business efficiencies and streamline operations, today’s manufacturing plants, field area networks, and other OT environments are connected to the outside world via wired and wireless communications – in multiple places throughout the system! As a result, these industrial environments are every bit as open to hackers and other cyber threats as their IT counterparts. The main difference, of course, is that most organizations have relatively weak cybersecurity controls in these environments because of the continued belief that an airgap segregates them from the outside world, thereby insulating them from cyber attacks. This naivety makes OT environments an easier target.
The authors of HAVEX certainly understand that OT environments are connected, since the method of transmission is via a downloadable Trojan installed on the websites of several ICS/SCADA manufacturers. What’s considered a very old trick in the IT world is still relatively new to those in OT.
It’s absolutely essential that organizations with ICS environments fully understand and embrace the fact that IT and OT are simply different environments within a single extended network. As such, cybersecurity needs to be implemented across both to produce a comprehensive security solution for the entire extended network. The most important way to securely embrace IoT is for IT and OT to work together as a team. By each relinquishing just a bit of control, IT can retain centralized control over the extended network – but with differentiated policies that recognize the specialized needs of OT environments.
We’ll never completely bulletproof our systems, but with comprehensive security solutions applied across the extended network that provide protection before, during, and after an attack, organizations can protect themselves from most of what’s out there. A significant step in the right direction is to understand that the airgap is gone forever; it’s time to protect our OT environments every bit as much as we protect our IT environments.