The intersection of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity is already beginning to change the enterprise technology landscape.
This was one of a number of takeaways from “Supercloud 3: Security, AI and the Supercloud,” a two-day event produced by theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s live streaming studio. The rising influence of AI has injected chaos and disruption into the tech world, sparking innovation and significant change in IT infrastructures.
At the centre of this trend is supercloud, an abstraction layer that resides above and across hyper-scale infrastructure. As highlighted over two days of discussion with industry leaders and experts during theCUBE’s event, supercloud represents a noteworthy evolution in the future direction of IT, an opportunity to transform industries and foster new technology platforms driven by an emerging set of innovative entrepreneurs.
Supercloud is also a movie that industry leaders have seen before.
“I believe the supercloud is IT history repeating itself,” said Vittorio Viarengo (pictured), VMware Inc.’s vice president of Cross-Cloud Services, in an interview during the Supercloud 3 event. “Products create sprawl, and sprawl gives you choice but then gives you cost and complexity. We believe that the supercloud is an industrywide movement.”
Viarengo’s comments came during interviews led by John Furrier and Dave Vellante, industry analysts for theCUBE, during the Supercloud 3 event. Here are three key insights you might have missed:
1. AI is changing everything, everywhere all at once.
During the event, Vellante presented new data from Enterprise Technology Research. The results demonstrated a significant rise in spending interest among organizations in AI implementation for IT tasks.
“AI bottomed in October of 2022 right before ChatGPT,” said Vellante, in his analysis of the ETR data. “OpenAI is top of mind for everybody, as is Microsoft. Normally, adoption and spending come way after the hype. I’ve never seen this before. It’s like a gold rush.”
The gold rush referred to by Vellante is creating a new wave of entrepreneurs who are leveraging AI to automate key programming tasks. This can open the door to the creation of successful new companies without requiring an investment in hiring or training large staff, according to Howie Xu, senior vice president of engineering for AI and machine learning at Palo Alto Networks Inc., in an interview during the event.
“I felt like entrepreneurship will evolve a little bit towards the solopreneur,” he said. “There we’ll see a lot more solopreneur than the traditional version of the entrepreneur … because they have co-pilots, they have AI, their tech stack is not the same as before. They can get a lot done.”
Between growing enterprise interest in spending for AI and the rise of solopreneurship, recent developments are leading some industry observers to describe the march toward artificial intelligence as a dramatic acceleration for the tech world in general.
“It seems like it’s a championship round,” said Sarbjeet Johal, guest analyst and industry expert, in a conversation with theCUBE. “The AI is the championship round before we start with the next round with supercomputing and a different paradigm shift.”
2. Companies are embracing supercloud as a bridge over the multicloud river.
Developers are building next-generation software and infrastructure that must be able to run effectively on all clouds. This is because their companies want this functionality to maximize application efficiency.
“I would argue every company out there in Silicon Valley is a cross-cloud service company,” Viarengo said, during his Supercloud 3 interview. “They will use whatever cloud makes sense for the need of their applications.”
Being able to efficiently navigate across multiple cloud environments is not an easy task, as many companies are discovering. Platforms built on supercloud models provide an opportunity for businesses to leverage multicloud more efficiently.
“How do you optimize policies across these very complex networks and be more proactive and resilient?” asked Doug Merritt, the newly appointed CEO of the cloud-native networking company Aviatrix Inc., in his interview with theCUBE “Just getting secure and resilient transport between clouds on a seamless basis is [something] that most companies really, really wrestle with. You need an effective data plane and control plane and a way to observe what’s happening and invoke policy anywhere that that traffic flows across different clouds, across different edge providers.”
One company building cross-platform capabilities is Cloudflare Inc. The firm’s approach is to act as a scheduling engine to create a secure, high-performance connectivity layer that serves as a fabric for linking multiple platforms together.
“We’re the sort of layer that sits on top of the clouds,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and chief executive officer of Cloudflare, in his discussion during the event. “I think of it more as we’re the connectivity that connects anything that’s online, whether it’s a cloud, a device, a database, on-premise hardware, anything that you have. We want to make it as easy as possible for that connectivity to exist, and for sure that exists out at the edge.”
3. Security will be a battle in the cloud from here to eternity.
More businesses are using the cloud, and cloud threats have risen accordingly. This basic reality has resulted in a need for new approaches, including novel uses for AI tools, to protect data in the enterprise.
“It starts with how dangerous it is in the cloud environment; what we’ve seen over the last year [is a] 95% increase year over year in cloud service exploitation,” said George Kurtz, founder, president and chief executive officer of CrowdStrike, during an interview with theCUBE. “What we have to start to realize and accept is that the adversaries have figured out that the cloud is a great opportunity to exploit services, gain data and ransom other organizations. A lot of the technologies that we have come to rely on in traditional environments either need to be redone or reconstituted in the cloud environment.”
Use of AI tools to combat increasingly more sophisticated threats will be necessary because there is growing evidence that threat actors are using AI-based methods as well. This could lead to attacks based on an ability to take vast amounts of public data and channel it into realistic lures.
“Imagine having these bad guys using GenAI, where they start looking at public data about you and they start having a conversation with you, maybe online maybe an email, maybe even a phone call that sounds like you,” said Mario Duarte, vice president of security at Snowflake Inc., in conversation with theCUBE. “Now that presents opportunities for companies and also presents challenges for companies who are trying to defend against it.”
Security companies are rapidly adapting new models to stay ahead of the threat wave. Cybersecurity provider Zscaler Inc. is already building new protections to defend against AI-generated threats, according to Deepen Desai, global chief information security officer and head of security research and operations at Zscaler.
“Being a CISO at a cybersecurity vendor, I have lot of advantages with [defense],” he said, during an interview with theCUBE. “We have visibility across the full kill chain. Leveraging that visibility combined with the telemetry that we’re collecting … we’re leveraging this intel to then learn, train our models and then deliver high efficacy security control.”