Wishing you a Boring New Year

We wish you a boring new year! We really do. At least at the office. After all there is nothing too exciting about Stability, Support and Security – but we want that for you.

The Goal: Drama-Free IT

You probably prefer excitement in your favorite sporting and entertainment events and drama at the movies. And if you are like most people, you prefer progress and growth over drama at the office and in your IT environments. But if you are in a complex, heterogeneous environment with a history of performance hiccups, security vulnerabilities and outages, history will continue to repeat itself. The particular details will change but unfortunately you can anticipate more fire-fighting.

Investing in staff training is great. So are better processes. But nothing beats a robust IT automation system that is purpose-built to drive out drama.

 

Here are a few keys to Drama-free IT:

  1. Blackout Periods and Maintenance Windows: Make sure your automation tools know you’re in a blackout period or that they are making a change at an authorized time. Whether you use homegrown tools, commercial automation tools, or a combination, users should not be allowed start automated jobs against Production systems during blackouts or outside of maintenance windows without approval.
  2. Role Based Access and Restrict Direct Access: Now is the time to double check that the role based permissions in each tool are set up correctly and adhere to your organization’s guidelines. Well intentioned engineers can accidentally select Production as a target environment for an automated job, and if they have permission to do so, it can cause an accidental catastrophe during a business critical time. A sure recipe for drama.  Most organizations have an initiative to lock down all their Production servers from direct access. An engineer logging directly into a server to make a seemingly innocuous configuration change to one application can easily bring down related applications in the process. Now not only do you have an outage, you have no way of knowing why the outage occurred or who caused it. Hope you did not have plans tonight!
  3. Workflow Automation: Automating your routine configuration changes will save IT staff from “fire-fighting” and using automated drift remediation will eliminate reliance on error-prone manual processes.
  4. Monitor Changes, Not Just Performance: Don’t just monitor the performance of your Production systems, monitor everything you possibly can including configuration changes. Especially if your engineers still have direct access to Production systems, it is imperative you have the tools and processes in place to monitor and correct out of compliance configuration changes to the environment.
  5. Experiment: Make good use of your time now by comparing and evaluating the right IT automation solutions for your complex environment.

Learn more about Drama-free IT by contacting us and requesting a demo. Until then check out our video explainers which overview how Orca handles blackout periods, RBAC, Workflow Automation and Centralized, Secure Change Control.