As IBM continues its transformation into a cloud services and AI technology company, there has been no shortage of naysayers predicting that Big Blue was heading for a fall. Despite the challenges that the company faces in the decline of its mainframe business, they're continuing to go all-in on their AI and cloud offerings. Although their share prices continue to suffer, there's evidence that the company's bet is starting to pay off. In January, IBM returned to growth for the first time in several years, boosted by gains resulting from their continuing reinvention.
In their continuing push to adapt and expand to current market demands, IBM has also made another recent announcement that signals a renewed focus on evolving their product lines to meet new challenges. On March 14, IBM announced that they would be partnering with Cloudflare, Inc. to bring enhanced DDoS protection to users of its cloud platforms. On the surface, the move seems insignificant, but it actually represents a critical development that should bolster IBM's cloud platform, particularly in light of some of the tech giant's other current business relationships.
The Evolving DDoS Threat
The reason that IBM's partnership with Cloudflare is so significant is that the global internet is on the verge of seeing a seismic shift in the kinds of attack vectors cloud vendors are likely to face in the very near future. It's all about the dramatic rise in the global adoption of IoT devices, and the lack of coherent security standardization within that sector. Current estimates indicate that by 2025, there will be 75.44 billion IoT devices in use worldwide, and they've already proven to be vulnerable to attack. Just this month, attackers harnessed 13,000 IoT devices to launch a DDoS attack on a number of global financial companies that generated traffic upwards of 30Gbps. The attack is expected to be just a small taste of what's to come.
Threats to IBM Partners
For a global cloud provider like IBM, the rising tide of botnet attacks is no small thing. That's especially true considering that the company has been inking cloud services agreements with some of the world's biggest potential DDoS targets. For example, in June of 2017, IBM agreed to a 10-year cloud services deal with UK banking powerhouse Lloyd's Banking Group. The financial giant did so not long after suffering a massive DDoS attack early in the year that threatened to compromise up to 20 million customer accounts. The mere mention of such a possibility sent nervous investors to terminals everywhere, tracking Lloyds' share price live, ready to sell their holdings if the attack worsened.
An Integrated Solution
Fortunately for Lloyd's, the crisis passed without any permanent damage done. The incident, though, provides a pretty clear window into IBM's thinking in electing to incorporate Cloudflare's DDoS protection technology into its cloud products. It reflects IBM's accurate recognition of the fact that they hadn't the time to develop an In-house solution to DDoS mitigation, and that it was necessary to raise their defensive posture immediately. That's great news for all users of the IBM cloud platform, and it signals the company's willingness to reach out for solid, 3rd-party solutions rather than opting for a lengthy internal development cycle. It's also a sign that users of the platform can expect IBM's focus on driving cloud and AI growth to remain steady and well executed, and that it's a great time to buy into IBM's ever-growing line of cloud services and products.