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Sustainability monitoring high on CIO agenda for cloud environments

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Fifty percent of organisations will adopt sustainability-enabled monitoring by 2026, to manage energy consumption and carbon footprint metrics for their hybrid cloud environments, according to a poll of CIOs conducted by Gartner.

This is in response to pressure from investors, customers, regulators and governments, which is forcing organizations to adopt carbon neutrality and net zero goals by 2030. For example, the Australian Government recently introduced legislation to establish the Net Zero Economy Authority to support the country’s net zero transformation.

“Organizations have strong carbon reduction goals to achieve and expect their infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams to launch sustainability initiatives that align their current IT carbon footprint with corporate goals,” said Padraig Byrne, VP Analyst at Gartner and Conference Chair of the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference in Sydney this week.

The 2024 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey revealed that 79% of Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) CIOs expected to direct the second largest amount of new or additional funding in 2024 towards cloud platforms, which increasingly makes the environmental sustainability of cloud a core responsibility for I&O leaders. The survey gathered data from 2,457 respondents in 84 countries, including 87 in ANZ.

According to Gartner, the reporting of activities, energy usage, water efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in cloud and data centers will become new areas of IT management, resulting in new IT operating models (GreenOps) that will require new processes, capabilities and tools.

“I&O leaders and managed service providers will demand monitoring, analytical and generative AI services from software and cloud vendors to manage and optimize CO2e emissions and power consumption for reporting and IT management purposes,” said Byrne.

To satisfy this demand, monitoring vendors will evolve their portfolio of products and will enable new capabilities to track CO2e and power consumption across different IT layers – data center, hardware, middleware and applications. According to Gartner, this will provide analytical capabilities and insights to optimize every type of workload.

There are a number of adoption challenges for sustainability-enabled monitoring. Organizations that currently manage sustainability metrics use historic data and little to no real-time information, which can impact some real-time business decisions.

“Most relevant metrics aligned to net zero carbon are based on CO2e emissions and power consumption,” said Byrne. “However, IT organizations don’t currently have the capability to gather this information directly. Some request it from their IT providers, but the quality and granularity of information at the data center and cloud account level aren’t accurate enough to rely on for good management decisions.”

Gartner analysts said there are a few processes and monitoring/observability tools specialized in the tracking of CO2e and power metrics at different IT levels (hardware, middleware, application, data center, cloud, etc). However, this makes it difficult for I&O leaders to determine whether their environmental sustainability initiatives will succeed.

Current monitoring tools that address some of the sustainability metrics are mainly focused on on-premises environments, which makes it challenging to address these goals in current hybrid IT environments.

To overcome these challenges, Gartner recommends organizations adopt GreenOps or sustainability practices to start building the operating model that will help achieve carbon-neutral goals. Sustainability telemetry must also be collected and managed from their cloud providers, just as health performance and consumption cost telemetry are managed.

“This may not need to be acted on as urgently now, but treating those signals with equal importance positions organizations to benefit from real-time GHG emissions and power consumption optimization when the capability becomes available,” said Byrne.

Gartner recommends I&O leaders explore and evaluate monitoring providers across a new set of metrics related to power consumption, power efficiency and CO2e emissions for IT infrastructures and verify their capabilities are valid for hybrid IT environments.

5 MINUTES WITH: Darren James, Senior Product Manager at Specops

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In the latest instalment of our cybersecurity industry executive interview series we sat down with Darren James, Senior Product Manager at Specops, to talk about the increasing prevalence of nation state-sponsored attacks, the benefits of taking a holistic approach to cyber defences, growing interest in CTEM and the perilous state of attitudes to password security…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

Specops has been solving Password, Identity and Authentication problems with simple, easy to implement solutions since 2001.

We’re now part of Outpost24 and as a group we cover a broad range of cyber security solutions that meet the CTEM or Continuous Threat Exposure Management requirements.

We’re ISO and Cyber Essentials Certified and have offices and customers all over the world.

What have been the biggest challenges the IT security industry has faced over the past 12 months?

With the worsening geopolitical events happening across Europe and the Middle East, along with emerging threats in Asia, we have seen a massive uptick in nation state sponsored attacks targeting organisations not just for financial gain, but also undermining opposing governments and critical infrastructure as well.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

For one thing these very public breaches have shone an even brighter and larger spotlight on the cyber threats that face any organisation today. So even though budgets are tight, there is a tendency to spend more resources on consolidating your cyber security solutions and have a more holistic approach that mitigates the cyber risk from both the application and human layer.

What is the biggest priority for the IT security industry in 2024?

Getting the basics right is still very important, we talk to hundreds of customers a week who still have poor password hygiene issues. Breached, weak and shared passwords are still a huge problem. But fixing that issue isn’t hard.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2024?

As mentioned before we are seeing growing interest in the CTEM market, that will allow businesses to scope, discover, prioritize, validate and finally mobilize against the cyber threats they face on a continuous basis, whether it’s applications, infrastructure or human risks

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this coming year?

I suppose this is where you want me to talk about AI and Machine learning, but to be honest although there are movements in this area, there’s still some way to go before we need to consider the Terminator movies becoming a reality. This year I’m hoping to see passkeys become more commonplace and adopted more widely, certainly in the consumer market, but we need to remember that they can’t solve everything.

In 2028 we’ll all be talking about…?

Beach front holidays in London and poor passwords!

Which person in, or associated with, the IT security industry would you most like to meet?

Johnathon Ellison – Director for National Resilience and Future Technology (NCSC).

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the IT security sector?

How absolutely awful most people’s password choices are.

You go to the bar at the Cyber Secure Forum – what’s your tipple of choice?

I’m always partial to a well-made Mojito, but failing that a good old Gin and Tonic will do the trick.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Working with some super smart people and speaking to organisations every day and actually solving a big problem for them.

And what’s the most challenging?

Keeping up with all the super smart people I work with.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always ask questions and always listen to the answers, and always read the log files 😊

CALL FOR SPEAKERS: Share your thoughts on today’s biggest cybersecurity issues

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If you’re a cybersecurity professional and would like to share your knowledge, case studies and best practice with peers, then please get in touch – we have speaking opportunities upcoming at the Cyber Secure Forum this November.

This long-running and unique, invite-only event is attended by senior IT security professionals and leading suppliers, offering a great environment for networking and knowledge sharing within specialist seminar sessions.

Among the topics we’re looking for thought leadership on are Insider threats, Dark web, AI, Cyber Risk Management and more.

The Cyber Secure Forum takes place on November 7th at the Hilton London Canary Wharf.

So, if you would like to deliver a talk sharing your experiences and knowledge with delegates, please contact Natasha Cobbold at n.cobbold@forumevents.co.uk or visit https://forumevents.co.uk/speaker-opportunities.