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Sponsored: Why Software Intelligence is a Matter of National Security

Systems continuity and performance have never played a more significant role in our national security.

By Willie Hicks, Dynatrace Federal CTO

Somewhere in the Middle East, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). After taking video images from 50,000 feet high, the UAV transmits them to an Army command center 100 miles away.

The command center then shares the images with a Navy carrier in the Persian Gulf, with U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) officers and intelligence operatives on land and at sea—as well as in the Pentagon—collaborating via a tactical chat application about what the images mean, to better inform the mission at hand and facilitate command and control (C2).

In this, and countless other real-life scenarios, systems continuity and performance have never played a more significant role in our national security. If just one of the advanced systems for our UAVs, aircraft, warfighters on the ground, Navy crews at sea or intelligence operatives fails, then the mission is jeopardized. As a result, “always on” and fully optimized technology literally translates to life or death stakes.

Maintaining this state of continuity and performance, however, has grown much more challenging due to the ongoing impact of digital transformation. A basic “mainframe and server” IT structure no longer suffices for agencies. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of machines, systems, applications and supportive infrastructure—with so much of them running in dynamic cloud and container environments—and they are all dependent on each other to function.

The cyber universe is immense in scale and astonishingly intricate as an architecture, and the “DOD’s weapons are more computerized and networked than ever before,” according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Thus, a modern and highly innovative approach is required for all of the parts to work together, all the time. That’s why software intelligence is emerging as an indispensable tool for defense, intelligence and global security agencies.

With continuous automation and AI, teams can establish 24/7/365 awareness and control over their entire on-premise and multi-cloud environments. Because the volume, velocity and variety of data has surpassed the ability of humans to manage on their own, continuous automation is essential to eliminate mundane, manual-intensive tasks, and give teams time back to focus on innovation. AI-powered insights simplify cloud complexity to give a clear and comprehensive view of infrastructure, applications, systems performance and the quality of user experiences, while also enabling agencies to transform faster.

These solutions empower teams to see every app and user—everywhere—so that any issue that could potentially diminish performance or even shut down operations is immediately identified and resolved. To reach this state of impact, agencies must ensure their software intelligence capabilities include the following three critical components:

Automatic and intelligent observability. To get precise answers about the performance of every app and user no matter where they are, teams need to continuously observe and capture all data from logs, metrics and end-to-end transactions generated from tools that support aircraft refueling, battlefield communications, shipboard operations, etc. From there, software intelligence solutions create baselines to distinguish “normal” activity from that which can disrupt systems and diminish performance. Like the private sector, the U.S. government struggles to obtain this level of vision: Only 11 percent of organizational decision-makers are satisfied with their current infrastructure and application monitoring platforms, and 83 percent are seeking to improve this.

Continuous automation. Even the most fundamental IT environments now move at speeds beyond manual control, with tens of thousands or perhaps millions of dependencies. Therefore, organizations need continuous automation to collect and analyze metrics and data for end-to-end traceability. This is how agencies prevent the “surprises” that their teams can’t keep up with, so they can fix problems faster.

Artificial intelligence (AI). It’s not enough to automatically observe data. Teams need to make positive, actionable decisions from it, and AI enables them to automatically processes billions of dependencies in real-time, continuously monitor their environment for system degradation and performance anomalies and gain precise answers with root-cause determination, prioritized by business impact. Fortunately, federal agencies are ahead of their private sector counterparts in embracing AI, with 91 percent of them either piloting or adopting these technologies (compared to just 73 percent of global organizations which are doing this).

Military, intelligence and global security communities have always sought superior situational awareness—of environments, adversaries and events—to achieve mission success. This awareness must now extend to the technologies which serve them.

Through software intelligence solutions that maximize the ability to automatically observe the entire ecosystem and deploy AI to make informed, actionable decisions, these community members stand ready with total confidence in the ceaseless continuity and optimal execution of their cyber support. They are not conducting today’s missions with yesterday’s weapons, after all. So, they should no longer suffer the consequences of yesterday’s tech performance limitations.

To learn more how Dynatrace supports the U.S. federal government with automatic and intelligent observability visit: https://www.dynatrace.com/solutions/government/us-government/