IBM just keeps finding more uses for IBM Watson. As with Salesforce Einstein, you can now think of IBM Watson more as an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) layer baked into different applications.
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IBM has applied IBM Watson's deep learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics to everything from business intelligence (BI) to cancer research. The company revealed another new enterprise IT job for IBM Watson at the IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas today, announcing MaaS360 Advisor, a new IBM Watson-powered cognitive assistant within its mobile device management (MDM) platform.
Vendors in the MDM space seem to label the tech with a newer and broader acronym with each passing year. It's been called various names, including MDM, mobile application management (MAM), enterprise mobility management (EMM), and unified endpoint management (UEM). But the core idea is that it helps IT manage all of the business-connected devices and endpoints within an organization, along with segmenting and protecting all of the apps and data on those devices and endpoints. The MaaS360 Advisor will use ML to analyze devices on the network and recommend policies, patches, and best practices to better manage and protect them within the IBM MaaS360 platform.
"The cognitive insights being provided by IBM MaaS360 Advisor are revolutionary from an IT perspective," said Wes Gyure, IBM MaaS360 Strategy and Portfolio Offering Manager at IBM. "The insights range from fundamentals, like advising the IT team on emerging threats and how they impact the user environment, to providing proactive planning and implementing configuration changes that, until now, were never possible."
Gyure gave virtual private networks (VPNs) as an example. MaaS360 Advisor automates VPN certificate deployment with more predictive data, such as weather information that will lead to employees working from home to avoid inclement weather. According to Gyure, IBM is also training IBM Watson on concepts such as device enrollment, identity management, and regulatory compliance to further refine its abilities to parse through thousands of documents for relevant insights. The MaaS360 Advisor will also pull in endpoint security data on active malware threats and zero-day vulnerabilities, and contextualize device recommendations from the MaaS360 Mobile Metrics framework.
"First, our team has annotated hundreds of documents to build a taxonomy for endpoint management," Gyure told PCMag. "This guides Watson as it ingests documents to look for information like device enrollment, identity management, and regulatory compliance as examples of data that it's inspecting. By analyzing and detecting patterns across these data sets, IBM MaaS360 Advisor will be able to detect instances of where particular app configuration policies, like deploying a single sign-on configuration, can improve application usage dramatically with end users. Additionally, IBM MaaS360 Advisor will be able to detect and make recommendations on active configurations that violate or are non-conformant with data privacy regulations, like GDPR."
The straightforward value of the IBM Watson-powered advisor is its ability to aggregate and analyze all of these data sources, and then factor them into a more proactive IT management strategy. Beyond that, Gyure said IBM is experimenting with how IBM Watson's natural language processing in MaaS360 could bring more conversational AI to the enterprise. For example, imagine a voice command from an IT administrator such as, "Show devices eligible for Windows 10 upgrade."
"With this release, we're laying the groundwork for more natural language interactions for operators," said Gyure. "Our research team is now looking at how you could engage with MaaS360 in a conversational tone. For example, asking the system, 'Show me all the iPhones that are currently out of policy.' In the future, we see adding voice capabilities where the analysts could literally vocalize that request and get the answer. We've already piloted this technology in our own Security Operations Centers through Project Havyn.'"
MaaS360 Advisor is rolling out for free for all existing IBM MaaS360 customers. It will also be included in the Essentials bundle for all new customers.