The Myth of Open Source

General Manager, Singapore, Red Hat

Multi-hybrid-cloud strategy – this has got everyone buzzing. Maintaining an on premise database while outsourcing to cloud systems on a demand-to-demand basis. Why is this viable? And what’s that security myth around open source platforms? Is it truly secure? 

CIO World Asia meets again with Guna Chellappan, General Manager, Singapore of Red Hat. Chellappan discusses the security myth of open source projects, the outlook for CIOs in the next quarter and why hybrid-multi-cloud is the way to go. 

Viability Of Hybrid-Multi-Cloud Solutions

As history has demonstrated, no operating system will be hot-selling forever. 10 years down the road, companies would want to extract data from a no longer popular system, to transfer it to the new darling of the tech space. Additionally, not all operating systems are available worldwide. Some countries may have a limited selection of cloud vendors. To operate there, organisations need to know how to use and scale these systems to platforms they are concurrently using. 

Hybrid-Multi-Cloud Security

A secure hybrid-multi-cloud network is maintained on 2 levels. The first level is on building secure environments through layers of protection such as firewalls and passcodes. The second level is on developing secure software. The highest degree of security compromise comes from internal, not external threats. Internal threats could be unintentional or intentional. Unintentional internal threats stem from user error – someone forgetting to patch or configure. In the code development process, it is crucial to ensure the code developed is the same as that placed into testing and in production. Automating these steps removes room for error. 

Tech software often suggests recommendations for automating configurations. Identifying and adopting the best automation settings depends on IT teams’ capabilities. The desired skills for professionals going into this field would be traditional security architecture and in addition, automation skills. 

Myth: Open Source Projects Have Minimal Support Structures

Open source platforms have more support resources in place than commonly believed. Firstly, codes on open source projects are visible to all, in contrast to locked codes on proprietary software. The community engages in peer checking. The more views it obtains, the higher the chance of errors being spotted and timely rectified. 

Secondly, there’s no need to code from scratch. Something has surely been written on a usage combination of platform X and platform Y. In the age of the content economy, chances are this piece of code is posted online. IT teams can copy paste it (while exercising relevant discretion) for immediate use. 

Open source software isn’t locked behind a paywall. Before working with organisations who deploy these tools, individuals may already be users. This affords them to be a step ahead. Concerns on hiring skilled IT workers are also lessened with universities adopting a common curriculum covering modules on the most commonly used operating systems. Graduates and operating systems are now scalable. 

The CIO Outlook

In 2019, digital transformation was on the cards. CIOs recognise monolithic systems takes at least a handful of years to change. Transformation was embraced with the knowledge that it’ll be slow and nothing much can be done about it. 

Come 2021, the situation flipped. Leaders were given a timeline of less than half a year. The question became, how can we do this in the shortest time possible? Business digitalisation was at high stakes. Transforming operations to make do with insufficient manpower for manual tasks, was the only way to stay afloat. In the course of finding solutions, leaders became more aware of the tech available for every need.

In the last quarter of 2022 (and the first quarter of 2023), business volume is expected to ramp up. Crowds are back, air traffic resumes. The previously developed tech framework, can it handle the increased workload? Does a more ideal framework exist? Customers, users, workers – are used to businesses and applications operating speed. Can it still function smoothly at this pace now without needing more manpower? These are central questions to CIOs’ new focus.