The Magic of 2020 (and some personal notes)

The magic is here. It’s 2020. Remember when this was marked as the breakthrough year for IT? Everything would change in 2020.

A lot has indeed changed. We have electric cars almost as a commodity. Drones delivering packages to our homes. Artificial Intelligence. Quantum computing, or at least quantum simulation. Learning machines. Holograms used for concerts and meetings. The Jetson’s paradigm has become near reality. Remember the Jetsons? Back in 1962 Hana-Barbera created an animated family living in the future. Everything in their homes was automated, with robots doing the housekeeping. Since everything is automated, there’s no need for people to work anymore – which leads to the awkward situation where George Jetson does go the work, but actually does nothing. And when work is done, he steps into his flying car and flies home.

I admit: the flying cars are still a bit far off (although there are prototypes already, take a look at the Terrafugia, for instance – it doesn’t get any cooler than that), but for the rest… well: I would say that the producers did pretty much get it right. Here you have it: the Jetson’s Paradigm.

The suffer from legacy

It’s always interesting to see what has become of predictions. The year 2020 was a sort of magical year, a dot on the horizon. A lot of predictions – some called it business strategies – were projected to that year. Truth is that in 2015 we had most of the features that we have today. Read this quote from an article by George Lawton, dated January 2nd in 2015 (https://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/feature/2015-cloud-predictions-What-to-expect): ,,Enterprise will move more traditional and new apps to the cloud and will require the flexible infrastructure to support these workloads. As enterprises carry baggage in the form of legacy applications and processes, in the short term we will see a transition from old to new, which will inevitably create hybrid setups. Disparity in deployment environments will necessitate more standardized setups. The rapidly evolving nature of cloud technology and commoditization of cloud infrastructure means developers will need to plan for change, taking advantage of strategies such as containerization.”

I could stand with this for the upcoming year without changing one word, really. Well done, George. Summarizing: infrastructure is commodity, hybrid set-ups the most feasible option for most companies, containers are on the roll and yes: we still suffer from legacy. We will be suffering from legacy for a long, long time. Trust me.

It’s zero trust time

Talking about trust. Something that did change is the way we think about security. No wonder that most innovations and new products can be found in the security domain. It’s easy to explain: with moving to public cloud, a lot of companies went under the impression that these public clouds would take care of their security issues.

Now: I do think that Azure, AWS and Google Cloud are likely the best secured platforms in the world. But unfortunately it does not mean that you can leave security at their responsibility. It will always remain your responsibility. The platforms as mentioned provide you with toolboxes to enable security measures, but it’s up to you on how to use these tools. And like it is with building a home: just the tools don’t make the craftsmanship. You need to be skilled and trained. You got to have a plan and know how to use the tools to achieve the goals set in the plan.

Security and more over security awareness has changed over time. In an article on Forbes, dated August 2016 I read this (https://www.forbes.com/sites/gartnergroup/2016/08/18/top-10-security-predictions-through-2020/#7f2488455b39):

1)    Through 2020, 99% of vulnerabilities exploited will continue to be ones known by security and IT professionals for at least one year. Companies should stay focused on fixing the vulnerabilities they know exist. While these vulnerabilities are easy to ignore, they’re also easier and more inexpensive to fix than to mitigate.

2)    By 2020, a third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises will be on their shadow IT resources. Business units deal with the reality of the enterprise and will engage with any tool that helps them do the job. Companies should find a way to address shadow IT and create a culture of acceptance and protection versus detection and punishment.

Amex Armageddon

Shadow IT. I call it Amex Armageddon. It’s the part where people pull out credit cards and simply start building stuff in public cloud, not worrying about security at all. Or governance as a whole, for that matter. Companies should train their staff in some real old-fashioned thinking: the public cloud is just another datacenter and it should be treated as one, just like the traditional, hard-wired machines in a physical building. Why would you perceive the cloud differently? Companies run critical workloads with sensitive, even personal data in the cloud: security should be top of mind of every one in IT.

I’m going to make this my personal mission for 2020. Train and coach companies in using the cloud safely, yet getting the best out of it. And since I am an Azure-geek, my focus will be on Azure. First stop: getting my AZ-500 exam done in January.

(Side note: It’s not all Azure, off course. At Fujitsu – we are multi-cloud, remember? – we still run quite a volume on private stacks with VMWare. At VMWorld I got impressed by the demo’s on Carbon Black and Secure State, especially on the thinking behind the tools. So, here’s another stop for the upcoming year.)

Well, that wraps it up for me this year. I will continue to write blogs and you will occasionally be confronted by some sport activities that hopefully motivate you to stay fit and healthy – since that is more important than anything else.

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2020 in good health!