IBM Opens Up Series of Security, AI and Cloud Initiatives

In a bid to encourage more open platforms, IBM announced its new Security Connect, MultiCloud Manager and AI OpenScale platforms.

IBM is looking to further position itself as an open vendor with a series of announcements on Oct. 15 across security, cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) services.

IBM AI OpenScale is a new platform that enables organizations to use multiple AI frameworks including TensorFlow, AWS SageMaker, AzureML and others on the IBM cloud. In addition, AI OpenScale has a new system that will use AI to build new AI models. The new IBM MultiCloud Manager is a service designed to help organizations automate and manage workloads across different cloud providers. Finally, the IBM Security Connect offering provides an open cloud-based platform for integration of multiple security tools.

"IBM Security Connect will be our centralized cloud platform moving forward for delivering new cloud-based offerings and will complement our existing IBM Security portfolio," Jason Corbin, director of IBM Security Connect at IBM Security, told eWEEK. "In addition, it will also be open for partners and customers to connect their data repositories or even build integrated applications that can then access federated analytics and search data across IBM and third-party security products."

Corbin said that IBM Security Connect is a community platform where organizations can develop apps on it and leverage services that come with it for search and analytics. He added that it also has back-end data integration with prebuilt real-time connectors to multiple data sources.

At launch, Corbin said IBM has 16 companies that have committed to opening data streams or developing apps and solutions with IBM Security Connect. He added that the Security Connect platform does not require QRadar or any one of IBM's products and it can connect into any security information and event management (SIEM), such as Splunk, McAfee and ELK Stack.

"IBM Security Connect is built so that if an app is integrated with the platform, then it can integrate with all other apps," Corbin explained. "This happens through sharing of data and insights to common shared services that can then automatically add context to other apps for a more integrated workflow."

Additionally, he noted that IBM has developed a catalog that enables it to group or recommend applications together as a solution, as well as recommend other applications or capabilities while a user is within a workflow. For example, Corbin said that as a threat researcher is investigating a vulnerability, IBM can have its own vulnerability services or even partners such as Qualys or Tenable integrated. IBM can recommend the use of the capabilities right within the Security Connect user interface and the user can start using them right away, as opposed to having to go to another marketplace.  

One of the core technologies that helps to enable Security Connect is the STIX-Shifter project. STIX (Structured Threat Information eXpression) is a protocol used to securely share threat information.

"STIX-Shifter allows for consistency in retrieved data across all IBM Security and third-party products to deliver analytics," Corbin said. "Combined with our universal data services which provides one common API, we can now query data across any data source—product or repository—and get the same data back for analysis and search."

MultiCloud Manager

While Security Connect is about opening up IBM's cloud to enable multiple security services, the IBM MultiCloud Manger server is about opening up IBM beyond its own cloud, to support multicloud management.

IBM MultiCloud Manager runs on the Kubernetes-based IBM Cloud Private platform. The goal is to enable organizations to be able to run cloud workloads on IBM Cloud as well as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

"With its open-source approach to managing data and apps across multiple clouds, the IBM MultiCloud Manager will position companies to scale their many cloud investments and unleash the full business value of the cloud," Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of IBM Hybrid Cloud, wrote in a statement. "In doing so, they will move beyond the productivity economics of renting computing power to fully leveraging the cloud to invent new business processes and enter new markets."

AI OpenScale

One of the challenges with AI is that organizations can become siloed and locked into a particular model or platform. With AI OpenScale, IBM is looking to make AI more open, by enabling Watson, Tensorflow, Keras, SparkML, Seldon, AWS SageMaker, AzureML and other frameworks to all run.

Ruchir Puri, IBM Fellow and the chief architect and CTO of IBM Watson, told eWEEK that AI OpenScale also works the other way, enabling AI models to output in any number of different formats, providing a form of AI portability.

"We take your AI, irrespective of where it was built, how it was built and where it is running, and we enable it to be trusted and transparent," Puri said. "We can actually detect bias issues in the AI, and we can automatically correct the bias as we detect it at runtime."

Beyond just taking in existing AI models, IBM is also rolling out an AI automation engine called NeuNetS, which stands for Neural Network Synthesis, that will automatically build AI models for users.

"Given a dataset, NeuNetS builds a custom-designed neural network for you," Puri said. "This is really AI building AI, as we have algorithms that learn how to design neural networks and they actually do it for you."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.