Exclusive Interview: Lata Singh, Director, Channel Ecosystem, IBM

Cloud platforms and security are becoming more and more important for the enterprises as well as channel partners. Lata Singh, Director, OneChannel, IBM ISA, discusses with us about its various dimensions

What new developments are taking place in cloud platforms in the IT sector in the coming months, which are important for Systems Integrators? What is IBM doing in this direction?
For many organizations, the practical way to transform from an on-premise model to a public cloud is to use a hybrid cloud model, giving the customer access to both on-premises resources and public cloud resources in a relatively seamless manner. One concern that customers have historically faced in a hybrid cloud model is portability of applications, for which containerization has emerged as an ideal solution. Containers are a widely used abstraction layer across different infrastructures, clouds, and system architectures today. Both new and existing applications are being repackaged using containers, whether designed as a set of microservices or not.
IBM recognized the value of containers early on and invested two years of IBM research and development resources to transform its software portfolio to be cloud-native. We are now delivering our cloud-native capabilities as pre-integrated solutions called IBM Cloud Paks.
The IBM-certified and containerized software will provide a common operating model and common set of services – including identity management, security, monitoring and logging –and are designed to improve visibility and control across clouds together with a unified and intuitive dashboard.Additionally, IBM has optimized more than 100 products from across IBM’s expansive software portfolio to run on Red Hat OpenShift. With new Cloud Paks and IBM software optimised for Red Hat OpenShift, enterprises can now build mission-critical applications once and run them anywhere — on all private and public clouds, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba and IBM Cloud. IBM Cloud Paks are built to support Open Source and include a number of products such as Open Source tool chain for Secure DevOps.
How does IBM help its Channel Partners to migrate to the cloud? 
IBM knows that every client has its unique technology and cloud strategy, which needs to be cloud infrastructure vendor agnostic. Our partners in India are also part of this journey. We are helping clients across sectors like BFSI, telecom, Government embark on Chapter 2 of their transformation journey. Our partners are playing a key role in enabling many customers to start with their cloud journey. We work with partners across the board including the top 4GSIs, Systems Integrators and Independent Software Vendorsto support clients in various stages of their cloud journey.
To support growth in thecloud, we are enabling partners to adopt IBM Cloud Paks which are enterprise-grade container software packages with guidance and step-by-step instructions to quickly build with open standards to enable hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. Built for Kubernetes on the IBM Cloud, IBM Cloud Paks are designed to accelerate time to production and improve readiness at a lower cost than containers alone. This will help our partners to reduce the overall cost and time of deployment moving forward.
We also have a new Cloud Digital Technical Engagement program for partners and clients, which gives unprecedented, self-service access to technical assets focused on product demos and tutorials.
These assets enable a deep understanding of our product offerings and help clients in their adoption of the cloud and AI. IBM also offers resources & methodologies to support our partners for building next generation solutions driven by IBM technologies. Think. Build. Grow programme helps partners in their entire product journey, right from thinking/designing the concept to providing resources to build it and enabling faster go-to-market opportunities.

What are the security-related challenges linked to migration to cloud platforms? What solutions is IBM developing to resolve these security problems?
As businesses move further into cloud maturity, applications and data are frequently spread across multiple private and public clouds and on-premise resources. Seventy-six percent of organisations surveyed for an IBM report stated that they are already using between two and 15 hybrid clouds, and 98 percent forecast they will be using multiple hybrid clouds within three years. Attempts to protect this fragmented IT environment often require security teams to undertake complex integrations and continuously switch between different screens and point products.In a recent SANS Institute report, sponsored by IBM Security, more than half of security teams surveyed said they struggle to integrate data with disparate security and analytic tools and combine that data across their cloud environments to spot advanced threats.
Cloud Pak for Security is the first platform to leverage new open-source technology pioneered by IBM, which can search and translate security data from a variety of sources, bringing together critical security insights from across a company’s multicloud IT environment. The platform is extensible, so that additional tools and applications can be added over time. With the introduction of IBM Cloud Pak for Security, we are not only reimagining what security could be — we are making it a reality. For organisations struggling with too many products, we are offering a platform that integrates existing security tools, helping to generate deeper insights into threats across hybrid, multi-cloud environments while leaving data where it is. For organisations worried about response time, a unified interface helps orchestrate actions and automate responses to security incidents. For organisations concerned with flexibility, Cloud Pak for Security is pre-integrated with Red Hat OpenShift, so it can be installed and run on any environment. It also leverages open-source technology co-developed through the OASIS Open Cybersecurity Alliance. We help our clients and partners on their journey to cloud and IBM Cloud Pak for Security is the open, connected solution that is built to help protect that hybrid, multi-cloud world.

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