Shock Headline: IT Saves $$$$ (again)!

Two and a bit years ago – I should remember, it was on my birthday! – I was presenting a panel debate on the latest Cybersecurity deterrents. With four vendors and two consultants on the panel, it was the general consensus that deciding exactly which combination of products and services a company needed to invest in was more difficult than sorting out Brexit…

One of the issues was: exactly what replaces what, and what compliments what? The problem here was that few of the products on offer actually appeared to truly replace and consolidate existing products – and haven’t we all spent enough on different security products already? The concerns here are two-fold; not just CapEx and OpEx, but the complications of integrating and managing that increasingly large portfolio of products. One configuration slip and you leave a gaping security hole the size of the NHS defence strategy.

So, it was with a combination of pleasure and relief that, at another event (both organised by Mark “Mr Netevents” Fox) I rejoiced in the company of JASK (even if the name grates – Just ASK, in case you just ask) and one particular slide from a Citi Research CIO report, which showed individual vendors replacing incumbent vendors and – in some cases – more than one! In the case of JASK – which itself consolidates security alerts and feeds from multiple platforms – it showed the company displacing IBM QRadar AND Splunk. And it gets better for this Yorkshire – the commentary on why it achieved this? Saving MONEY!!! Shock heading – IT SAVES MONEY -) Not before time…

At the same event, another vendor – this time in the SD-WAN space – Versa, has a similar take on its own market, that of cutting out the middle man and doing it all itself. The Versa solution is a complete SD-WAN stack, all software, that even includes the security element. One to definitely get my paws on. This is a valid message that Versa is promoting as, post WanOp market (as defined by Gartner/Riverbed), that same level of confusion has arisen, as in: “what do I keep, what do I chuck, what else do I need to buy?”. The Versa answer is – “buy our product, end of story”, or pretty much so. Of course, I have clients wot can add still to the Versa offering, but that’s another story…

And while we’re on the subject of feature consolidation, another company I’ve been following recently, Avi Networks, in the – what was historically – Load-Balancing/App Delivery Controller market, is simplifying the decision-making process too. In addition to load-balancing traffic in any direction on pretty well any platform – real, virtual, container – locally, and globally, multi-cloud etc – it combines now with Istio to create what it calls a Universal Service Mesh. Basically, Istio manages a network of microservices that make up such applications and the interactions between them. As a service mesh grows in size and complexity, its’ requirements can include discovery, load balancing, failure recovery, metrics, and monitoring. A service mesh also often has more complex operational requirements, like A/B testing, canary releases, rate limiting, access control, and end-to-end authentication. Istio provides behavioural insights and operational control over the service mesh as a whole. So, we now have macro and micro control of applications, in addition to identity-based security, real-time application monitoring, and enterprise-grade authentication and authorisation, as well as the Web App Firewall (WAF) security that Avi already offers.

Seems like the decision-making processes in IT are finally becoming streamlined – or is this wishful thinking? Either way, sounds like a good IT New Year’s Resolution – must consolidate…


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