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6 hard truths IT must learn to accept

Dan Tynan | Oct. 18, 2017
The rise of shadow IT, shortcomings in the cloud, security breaches — IT leadership is all about navigating hurdles and deficiencies, and learning to adapt to inevitable setbacks.

"It's like we're in Star Trek and the Klingons are coming after us," he says. "But we do know how to deal with it."


4. Your software is unpatched and insecure

Unpatched software is a huge security and compliance risk. Yet according to a Feburary 2017 survey by Flexera, 10 percent of U.S. users were running unpatched versions of Windows. A May 2016 report by Duo Labs claimed that one in four business systems was at risk due to outdated software.

"We've seen customers who can't keep pace with patches, which are rapidly growing in size and take longer to apply," says James Lee, executive vice president and CMO for Waratek, an application security company. "This is coupled with legacy applications that can't be updated or secured short of complete rewrite or replacement."

Worse, adds Lee, security is often a lower priority for software developers, who are incentivized to emphasize features and deliver code on time and under budget. The result: software that is increasingly vulnerable to attack.

The problem stems from a failure to conduct true software quality assurance, says Mark S. Kadrich, interim CISO for Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles.

"I've been in the industry long enough to know that if I'm losing sleep over technology failing, I'm in the wrong industry," he says. "Eighty percent of software is crap, while 20 percent of it just sucks. There's very little that can be considered well-engineered."

His response: Assume the software will fail and plan for the worst case scenario.

"You know the software will fail; you know you're going to get hacked," he says. "So I plan for failure. I make the network fail, see how long it takes for us to detect and recover from it, and implement my procedures accordingly."


5. You'll never have enough bandwidth

It's inevitable: Just as you've finished installing that 100-gigabit ring around your corporate campus, some bright bulb in the C-suite decides they need to stream all training and marketing videos in 4K.

"No matter how fast the internet gets, we keep shoveling bigger files through the pipe until it clogs," says Simon Jones, application delivery expert at Cedexis, a software-defined application delivery platform.

Thanks to the influx of mobile and IoT devices, the amount of data flowing across business networks is expected to more than double by 2021, according to Cisco.

The good news is that companies are getting better at intelligently managing network congestion, Jones adds.

"Telemetry, data processing, and AI are moving so quickly that avoiding slowdowns is getting easier to automate," he says. "Managing internet traffic will work much as Waze works for drivers: With intelligence available to find all the possible routes around congestion, you'll only get slowed down or stopped when there simply isn't an alternative pathway."


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