Innovation

IBM's new Watson-powered AI assistant helps corporate IT better manage endpoints

At the 2017 IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas, IBM announced the MaaS360 Advisor, a new cognitive assistant for IT analysts.

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Image: iStockphoto/anyaberkut

On Monday, at the 2017 IBM InterConnect conference in Las Vegas, IBM unveiled a new, cloud-based cognitive assistant that it said will better help IT professionals secure endpoints like smartphones, laptops, and IoT products.

The assistant, which is powered by IBM Watson, is formally known as the MaaS360 Advisor and is part of IBM's MaaS360 unified endpoint management (UEM) platform offered through the IBM Cloud. According to an IBM press release, "The MaaS360 Advisor will use machine learning to analyze devices on the network and recommend policies, patches and customized best practices to better manage and protect them."

Over 80% of companies are already using AI and cognitive solutions to more effectively insight the data collected from their endpoints, according to the IBM Mobile Vision 2020 Study, so it makes sense that they could be using similar tools to protect those same endpoints.

SEE: IBM Watson: The smart person's guide

In its release, IBM said that nearly half of employees are using three devices or more to get work done every week. IBM's release referred to this as "device sprawl," and said it is the reason why IT is struggling to manage and secure such devices.

To better prepare Watson to power the MaaS360 Advisor, IBM is training Watson on "device enrollment, identity management, and regulatory compliance." IBM will also leverage X-Force Exchange data on current cybersecurity threats and common malware to better protect the devices as well. The new Mobile Metrics benchmarking tool will also play a role, the release said.

In addition to helping IT better manage common endpoints like laptops, tablets, and smartphones, the new MaaS360 Advisor could help them better handle IoT deployments as well. Not only will it work to secure IoT devices, the release said, but the cognitive assistant will also manage IoT device gateways, and allow managers to more easily set and enforce policies regarding IoT data.

"There is enormous potential in unified endpoint management when you incorporate cognitive technology like Watson into MaaS360," Brian Jacome, senior product manager of enterprise mobility at Royal Bank of Canada, said in the release. "With this capability, we are able to get an in-depth feel of our device landscape instantly helping us make decisions faster as to where we need to evolve the platform."

Other announcements made at IBM InterConnect 2017 include:

  • New object storage options called IBM Cloud Object Storage Flex and IBM Cloud Object Storage Cold Vault to be available on Bluemix.
  • IBM Blockchain, an enterprise-focused blockchain service based on the Hyperledger Fabric version 1.0.
  • A blockchain-based green asset management platform, the result of a partnership between IBM and Energy-Blockchain Labs.
  • IBM Cloud for Financial Services, offering cloud, big data, and blockchain tools.
  • A new container service on Bluemix, IBM's cloud platform.
  • A partnership with PlayFab to power backend systems for video games.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new Watson-based cognitive assistant called the MaaS360 Advisor will help IT manage and secure IoT devices, tablets, smartphones, and more.
  2. The new assistant is part of the MaaS360 unified endpoint management (UEM) platform, available on the IBM Cloud.
  3. X-Force Exchange data will also be used by IBM to train Watson on current and emerging cyberthreats.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is News Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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