IBM i Community Predictions for 2022, Part 2 | #linux | #linuxsecurity


January 12, 2022

Alex Woodie

The new year is upon us, which means it’s time for predictions. We continue where we left off on Monday with our second installment of predictions from the IBM i community.

The way Fresche Solutions Chief Product Officer Marcel Sarrasin sees it, 2022 will be a period of heightened competition in the business jungle.

“Technology advancements and changing markets will drive new competitive threats in 2022, creating the urgent need for new digital solutions to help companies thrive, survive and grow,” Sarrasin says. “Focus will be on new IT products and applications that will deliver improved business processes, pave the way for modern solution stacks and architectures that are fully integrated, and use web, mobile, APIs and cloud to deliver the best possible user experience.”

The overriding trend that SoftLanding Systems Operations Manager Jim Fisher sees in 2022 is a continued high level of investment on digital transformation initiatives.

“Of course, digital transformation is a broad term that can be far reaching, but if we think about some of the specifics, there are a number of driving forces that come into play,” Fisher writes. “For instance, strengthening IBM i platform and application architectures in the wake of unprecedented cyber threats. Moving data from legacy systems onto IBM i to eradicate potential vulnerabilities and provide better levels of security, access, and audit compliance. And, finally, modernizing core business applications while leveraging hybrid cloud computing to deliver new capabilities that scale with the needs of the business.

“Greater adoption of agile methodologies will be crucial in delivering new software successfully and within acceptable timeframes,” he continues. “Therefore, solid change management processes coupled with intelligent automation are key.”

There has been a lot written and said about the situation with RPG programmers. If you think the looming RPG developer crisis is bad for IBM i shops, you’re going to just love what’s likely to happen in the security realm, per the security pros at Trinity Guard.

“We expect to see an increase in security breaches on IBM i servers in 2022 (sad but true),” principals Pauline Brazil Ayala and Tony Perera write. “Many were left reeling at the end of 2021, scrambling to address the Log4Shell Java vulnerability and a lot of eyes were opened to how IBM i does not enjoy the security immunity of the past.

“With the increase in the number and sophistication of cyber threats, the occurrence of these types of zero-day attacks is going to continue to rise and become more of a reality for more IBM i shops,” they continue. “Virus scanners can give a false sense of confidence to a lot of people. To truly increase data security and reduce the threat factor on IBM i servers against cyberattacks like ransomware, securing the network layer and the Integrated File System (IFS) are critical and cannot be overlooked. Hopefully, more action will be taken in these areas and this prediction will become less of a reality.”

IT departments have been put through the ringer the past couple of years. That will likely have the effect of increasing IT budgets in 2022, says Christine McDowell, vice president of marketing for Fresche.

“With the increased dollars, organizations will need to build roadmaps and identify high value initiatives that focus new IT dollars in the right areas,” she writes. “To ensure this, they’ll work closer with external organizations that can help them plan their digital journey and establish roadmaps and projects that bring the best value to the organization and support the broader priorities. Eliminating the risks and reducing technical debt from legacy applications and getting to modern infrastructures.”

There’s been a fair amount of doom and gloom in society at large. For a ray of IBM i-based hope, we turn to Kevin Beasley, the CIO at VAI, the New York-based provider of ERP software for IBM i.

“The IBM Power Systems and IBM i ecosystem will continue to do well and thrive this year, as IBM will be less impacted by the chip shortage than other providers,” Beasley writes. “The landscape is transitioning over to cloud deployments with the various providers who are offering Power Systems and IBM i in the cloud.

“Open source will continue to change the way applications look and are deployed with IBM i, as open source is now an integral part of IBM i,” Beasley continues. “More companies are utilizing applications that have open source or are based on open source, which helps with finding technical resources. Additionally, in the state of security we are now in, defensive and safety measures have moved to the forefront in IBM i shops, whether on-premise or in the cloud.”

Shmuel Zailer, the CEO and CTO of Raz-Lee Security, says IBM i security will need to become even more powerful and flexible in the coming year.

“Last year, I predicted a surge in ransomware. It did indeed get even worse than anyone expected,” Zailer tells IT Jungle. “Ransomware attacks are continuing and growing. Kia Motors, Accenture, the Washington DC Police Department and many others experienced it.

“COVID-19 and changing laws make workplaces face new rules. More people work from home and use VPN and web applications. At the same time, TV news now opens with detected vulnerabilities in VPNs and web libraries (such as Pulse VPN and Log4j). Password leaks and phishing attacks are now well known. And YES – IBM i can be affected by all these,” he continues.

“As such, usernames and passwords are no longer enough,” Zailer writes. “Multi-factor authentication has become a requirement, especially for users with high or elevated authorities. Organizations need powerful, intelligent tools that detect attacks when they start, shut them down before they do further damage. Antivirus tools, while they have their uses, don’t stop ransomware attacks. Security has to be enhanced by use of Micro-Segmentation, a method where each usage type must be approved for specific IP addresses only.”

The migration of IBM Power systems to the cloud will continue to be a strong market, predict Skytap’s Dan Jones, senior vice president of products, and Neil Holloway, senior vice president of business development.

“A recent IT Jungle article estimated that there are about 150,000 organizations in the world running IBM i and AIX applications,” Jones and Holloway write. “We estimate that less than 5 percent of these customers have migrated or are in the process of migrating applications to the cloud, so we expect strong activity here to continue throughout 2022.

“The pandemic accelerated cloud migrations, which served as proof of concepts for other workloads and systems, and the momentum hasn’t slowed down,” they continue. “Skytap has seen strong overall customer growth and exponential IBM i customer growth over the last two to three years. Market demand for cloud IaaS, solutions and systems integrators will continue to be strong as organizations often do not have IBM i in-house expertise to guide and execute complex cloud migrations.”

Dan Magid, the CEO of Eradani, says the keyword for IBM i shops will be integration in 2022.

“More and more companies will be integrating their IBM i applications with new interface technologies like JavaScript and .Net while connecting internally with Windows and Linux applications,” Magid says. “They will adopt open source modules and set up new sales channels through sites like Amazon and Shopify. They will provide machine to machine connections to automate business processes with their customers and partners. The business benefits of integration have become too compelling to ignore. At an increasing number of companies, the IBM i is becoming a core application and data server for a widely interconnected technology ecosystem.

“The log4j vulnerability found at the end of 2021 was a sharp reminder of how we must be vigilant about security when opening up our systems,” he continues. “In 2022, IBM i shops will focus on securing their environments so they can get connected without putting their systems at risk. In 2022, IBM i users will continue the move towards securely API enabling their IBM systems to support this new integrated environment. The flexibility of APIs will make it possible for them to rapidly take advantage of emerging opportunities to increase revenue and decrease costs through application integration.”

There will be renewed focus on keeping the lights on and the computers running in 2022, says Josh Osborne, the CTO of Abacus Solutions, which was acquired by Fresche in October.

“Hyper competitive threats, disruption and Mother Nature’s uncertainty is going to have organizations looking for innovative ways to ensure that business-critical applications are protected from downtime and data loss,” Osborne writes. “We’re going to see a surge in more advanced HA/DR implementations – optimizing on premise, cloud and hybrid – that are more sophisticated and ensure recovery of key applications and data.”

Stay tuned for one more installment of IBM i predictions in next week’s issue of The Four Hundred.

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