Bots are coming to the cloud. You may have heard of bots — software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet and basically automate human processes with lightning speed.

Bots have historically been used for more malicious purposes such as coordinated and automated attacks on networked computers that lead to a denial of service, or spam bots that send spam messages to thousands of people with the click of a mouse.

If you’ve ever tried to buy concert tickets online only to find them sold out within the first few minutes, chances are bots were involved in grabbing a lion’s share of them to be resold elsewhere for a higher price.

While some bots still present a threat to the Internet, they can also be used for good purposes too. Companies like Microsoft and Facebook are leading the way for this new era of bots. Earlier this year, Microsoft introduced its Bot Framework that allows developers to create a bot that they and their customers can use to chat.

Last month, Facebook launched its Messenger platform with ChatBots that allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content and an interactive experience. It also announced a slew of chatbot partnerships with developers who got early access to the chatbots, like 1-800-Flowers.

Cloud Bots

A recent Economist article touches on how bots are becoming the new apps and states that “many in the technology industry hope that Facebook’s event will mark the beginning of another fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar software economy.”

Cloud Bots are also growing in popularity in the cloud computing market. As more and more enterprises move their applications to the cloud, these bots are enabling them to manage their cloud infrastructure more efficiently and cost effectively.

For example, General Electric Co. (GE) has deployed an army of bots throughout its cloud infrastructure that can quickly determine if its cloud apps meet security and compliance standards.  This Wall Street Journal article provides a good explanation of how GE’s bot army works: “When GE developers deploy to its cloud systems an application containing vulnerabilities or unauthorized data, a Reaper Bot is there to halt or destroy the app before it begins running.”

The ability to automate bots makes it easy for customers to configure automation for security, cost and policy. Divvy Cloud launched its BotFactory today which provides a framework and interface for creating special purpose cloud automation “bots” that can autonomously ensure compliance and policy across an organization’s public and private cloud infrastructure. Customers can then surface these components in the BotFactory to share across business units, or with the broader technical community.

As more enterprises expand their cloud footprint, automated bots will take on a bigger role in ensuring compliance in the dynamic world of cloud infrastructure. And while bots continue to be used for these types of purposes, let’s hope in the future the good bots continue to outweigh the bad ones.

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