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Illumio 2017 Predictions: Auld Lang Syne - "Retro-dictions" for 2017

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Alan Cohen, Chief Commercial Officer at Illumio

Auld Lang Syne - "Retro-dictions" for 2017

I don't know about you, but one of the things that bugs me about New Year's predictions is the tech-school-of-marketing-certified-approach whereby vendors come up with predictions that hype how much different the world will be in the coming year. Some of the prognostications we heard were:

●       AV is dead (again)

●       The data center is dead and the public cloud is going to consume everything (not true)

●       Security is holding up adoption of the cloud (can you hear the snickering in Seattle?)

●       White box switching is going to consume traditional network vendors (time will tell, it's still early)

●       Security buyers are eliminating new innovators and want fewer vendors (probably some truth in that!)

I've had a pretty good career working at companies that are driving change in the IT industry over the past 25 years, so I will be the last person to suggest this $3 trillion industry is not on a roller coaster. But today I'm going to make what I call "retro-dictions" - predictions that give homage to the past, in contrast to the mostly dire inflection points posited by some of my industry colleagues. Here they are:

●       Companies will take more advantage of existing capabilities rather than just rip and replace. The other day I met a company that is making traditional AV more effective by "tricking" malware into going to sleep. Rather than replace the hundreds of millions of desktop clients, the company's goal is to make the existing AV the enforcement point. There are a host of security controls in the compute layer and people will want to take more advantage of them.

●       Security teams will renew focus on minimizing the attack surface. One of the core issues in security is that most malware is not state-sponsored, or even very sophisticated for that matter. One of the key focus areas for 2017 will be an examination of high-value assets (i.e., targets) and implementation of security strategies that make them harder to compromise through better prevention technologies. The industry is tired of locking the barn door after the horse has escaped. Minimizing the attack surface is more effective than relying on post-infection bells and whistles.

●       Simplicity will make a comeback. Extracting simplicity is always more valuable than mastering complexity. For the most part, security initiatives are complex and time consuming from an operations perspective. Look to IT and security teams to simplify their efforts through programs, such as removing security policy debt -- rules that no longer apply but are not removed because people are afraid of not understanding the vulnerabilities of removing them.

●       Automation will fill the cyber skills gap. Welcome to your security AI overlords. The "human middleware" component of security operations is both untenable from a complexity point of view and near impossible to maintain from a personnel perspective. Increasingly, machine learning and algorithms are going to play the role that people used to in monitoring and managing security incidents, much the way that autopilot systems augments pilots in the sky.

●       We'll still be arguing about encryption. Nothing more to say here.


About the Author

As chief commercial officer, Alan leads Illumio's go-to-market strategy and customer engagement life cycle organizations, including marketing, support, and talent. He is a 25-year technology veteran known for company building and new-market-creation experience. Alan's prior two companies, Airespace (acquired by Cisco for $450 million) and Nicira (acquired by VMware for $1.26 billion), were the market leaders in centralized WLANs and network virtualization, respectively.

Prior to Nicira, Alan led the enterprise marketing organization at Cisco, a team of 300 responsible for bringing to market an associated $25 billion product portfolio. He serves as an advisor to technology companies including Highfive, Mist, Netskope, and Vera. Alan is a frequent industry speaker and commentator whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Fortune, Re/code, and Gigaom. He has a BA from SUNY Buffalo, an MA from the School of International Service at American University, and an MBA in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Alan Cohen 

Published Monday, January 02, 2017 9:04 AM by David Marshall
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