Monday 7 August 2023

Building Digital Resilience

Digital resilience is a critical topic about which I've already written and spoken. Digital resilience should be a concern for every business as everything in every business now depends on digital technology. Unfortunately most business management are ignorant of their total dependency on something they fundamentally don't understand. It's just something that IT does, right? No, wrong. Completely and dangerously wrong.

I was recently a guest at Splunk's .conf23 user conference, a fabulous confection of announcements, technical sessions, customer stories, fez-wearing MVPs, and a giant inflatable pony called Buttercup. Splunk has grown from log analysis into what is now called SIEM, allowing technical teams to find what has gone, or is going, wrong in their networks, especially during security incidents.

While Splunk is a leader in SIEM tools, a growing part of Splunk's toolset is observability tools where it's leadership has also been recognised. These help businesses know what devices and applications are on their network, what data is flowing where, potential vulnerabilities, and other information that a naive  business person might think were well known. The sad reality is that most businesses of any size have only a rough idea of what systems they have, how they are connected, and which parts are most important. Of course there's documentation, but it's out of date and mostly wrong. Some key individuals know in what way the documentation is wrong, but don't have the time to correct it; after all they are key individuals. Sometimes they don't have the inclination either, and prefer keeping that knowledge to themselves.

Clearly SIEM and Observability belong together, with observability providing essential context for security and other incidents. I was, therefore, delighted to find that the big theme of Splunk .conf23 was how the combination was helping Build Digital Resilience. I will be writing about some of the details of new announcements in subsequent posts, but I was really delighted to find the message of Digital Resilience at  the core of the vision presented by President & CEO Gary Steele.  This was reinforced by Gretchen O'Hara, VP of Partnerships and Alliances, who called digital resilience a board-level topic.

Unfortunately all too few companies share her enlightenment. While legal and financial non-executive directors are the norm for many boards, the are precious few that see the importance of having independent technical expertise available at this level. The rash of ransomware and other cybersecurity incidents demonstrates the critical nature of our digital infrastructure. It's time for the importance of digital resilience to be fully recognised with a seat on the board.

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