You build it, you run it. Insights on cybersecurity and vendor risk management. Configuration management is a foundational component in this objective. First, it is important because it is the center of the ITIL® information universe. Why is configuration management and change control so important to the project manager? By now, you’re probably thinking that declarative style sounds interesting. Learn why cybersecurity is important. If our configuration management tools include the setup we need on our assets, our provisioning tools are how we get those assets. Configuration management encompasses the technical and administrative activities concerned with the creation, maintenance, controlled change and quality control of the scope of work.. A configuration is the functional and physical characteristics of a product as defined in its specification and achieved through the deployment of project management plans. That should clear up some of your lingering questions about how configuration management fits with some practices or ideas that you might be using or are familiar with. Configuration management is intended to realize the following goals for IT projects, regardless of your ITSM framework: Defining, identifying, and understanding configuration dependencies between assets. It will all be worth it in the end, though. Centralize bookings, resolve conflicts, and track system dependencies. Identify and automate the boring stuff and get more productive! Here are some of the most popular tools you could consider, or at least be aware of: These tools have many commonalities and overlapping features that provide advantages over managing configuration management by hand, including infrastructure-as-code approaches that make it easy to rollout updates and change infrastructure.Â, In addition, these configuration management tools help you keep a record of your assets and understand the exact state across all your servers and other networked assets.Â, The areas of configuration management, data management and control are fraught with risks, from the possibility of disruptions to application availability, as well as data loss or corruption.Â. Configuration Management stage can be considered as the backbone of DevOps. Unexpected outages from incorrectly modifying system components, because you couldn't accurately determine which components were impacted by a change. The number of devices/nodes monitored by a configuration management system. The first time an item is to be placed under configuration management,identification starts with a need defined in the plans. It attempts to build a process to gather, manage, and link inf… If your business isn't concerned about cybersecurity, it's only a matter of time before you're an attack victim. Other than some red faces at the NYSE, the damage was minimized. This potentially leads to many downstream negative impacts affecting the maintainability and stability of a portal environment. Not many organizations have successfully implemented this central process discipline. The Importance of Software Configuration Management for Portal Projects. Good leaders in the tech space will want to know what it takes to implement it. Any configuration change has the potential to affect the service performance and security. A new software installation caused the problem. Configuration management can tell us these answers. The second cost of configuration management is people, including staff (often contractors, if your internal capability is immature) with the skills to set up configuration management processes and tools. Learn about the dangers of typosquatting and what your business can do to protect itself from this malicious threat. Configuration Management Definition Definition: Configuration Management is a set of interrelated processes, management techniques, and supporting tools that assure: 1. our work products (what a company is managing) are as they should be and conform to requirements; 2. changes to the above are properly evaluated, authorized, and implemented; The discipline of configuration management has been practiced for years. This helps with project management, asset management and audit processes, as well as software development and debugging. The same applies to rollbacks. A developer implementing a feature will commonly install a few bits of software and deploy code. Because ITIL does not define implementation, some of the aspects do not address network specifics but this is acceptable. Configuration management is the discipline and set of methodologies used to control the documentation of a product through its life. When it comes to software, having a declarative style means telling your software the end result you want and then letting the software do the work in figuring out the way to get there. Before we explore different tools for configuration management, we need to know what end results we’ll receive for our efforts. Book a free, personalized onboarding call with a cybersecurity expert. Configuration management (CM) is a systems engineering process for establishing and maintaining consistency of a product's performance, functional, and physical attributes with its requirements, design, and operational information throughout its life. If the worst does happen, configuration management ensures that our assets are easily recoverable. This is an alternate ISBN. However, achieving this outcome requires cultural change. Configuration management (CM) is a systems engineering process for establishing and maintaining consistency of a product's performance, functional, and physical attributes with its requirements, design, and operational information throughout its life. As a result of a proper Configuration Management process, NYSE recovered from that situation in 90 minutes which was pretty fast. But there are some other ones, too. Simplify security and compliance for your IT infrastructure and the cloud. Ultimately, the reason why IT organizations exist is to deliver or enable the delivery of high quality, cost effective business services. Had the problem continued longer, the consequences would have been more severe. Eliminate error-prone manual configuration management and change control processes. There are many ways to implement configuration management, and there are lots of different tools and processes. It first was developed and used by the defens… Open source systems have come a long way, so despite paying for a vendor's logo and sales team, it is not always value for money to go with a big vendor. Configuration management is a systems engineering process for establishing consistency of a product’s attributes throughout its life. Configuration management might choose to leverage aspects of IaC in order to achieve the full understanding of all the technology assets a company owns. The Guide to Managing Configuration Drift. That way, when we want to increase the number of servers that we run, it’s simply a case of clicking a button or running a script. Strict control of your processes by defining and enforcing formal policies and procedures that govern asset identification, status monitoring, and auditing. The CM establishes which design plans and drawings are to be used to produce a product, which tools are required for assembly or repair, and which third-party products are required from a specific supplier. Subscribe to Plutora Blog to learn about the latest trends in software delivery and get a FREE copy of “Mastering Software Delivery with Value Stream Management” by Jeff Keyes. How you can get started with configuration management. A configuration management policy will guide the planning process and direct which version of a product will be the baseline. These are just some of the benefits of configuration management. No Comments on Configuration Management – What is it and why is it important? To combat this, there is a nifty group of solutions called configuration management tools which take periodic backups of configuration files from network devices. But why is it important? Stay up to date with security research and global news about data breaches. It’s quite likely they aren’t even going to touch the configuration of the server. Recently, I read an article from Segue Technologies that caused me to think back on the times I have been asked why configuration management (CM) is important to the success of my projects. Configuration management is an increasingly important foundation for a successful tech platform. Request a free cybersecurity report to discover key risks on your website, email, network, and brand. In the technology world, configuration management is an IT management process that tracks individual configuration items of an IT system. Hopefully by now you’re starting to get the hang of what configuration management is and what it aims to do. Where you start with anything always depends on where you currently are. Lou is a JavaScript full stack engineer with a passion for culture, approach, and delivery. Configuration management was traditionally a purely manual task, completed by a systems administrator. Failed implementations because your project's requirements changed, and you didn’t communicate the changes to all parties. It often relates to different ideas, like creating “software pipelines” to build and test our software artifacts. To make things clearer, let’s divide up the common tools that might fall under or relate to configuration management: These are the tools you see typically associated with configuration management. You can avoid the costs associated with configuration management by not employing it at all, however you will likely pay in: Configuration management is included as a key systems engineering practice because it works! We don’t want to be left in the dark as a result of developers setting up software without proper documentation/traceability. Honestly, one of the major focuses for any IT organization should be on configuration management. The goal of this subsystem is to manage fundamental project constraints of scope, time, cost and quality. Configuration management helps record all the changes made in the system. Where to start? It’s hard to replay steps when you’re in a bad state (i.e., lost!). How configuration management fits with concepts like. Subsidiaries: Monitor your entire organization. There are many popular configuration management tools, which makes it hard to find a tool or stack of tools that meet the system configuration needs of your organization.Â, The essential features and tradeoffs you need to consider include performance, always key for scaling a data center, compatibility with existing systems, ease of use, enterprise support and cybersecurity.Â. Configuration is what makes your systems (servers, networks, operating systems, data centers, configuration files, IT assets and all other configuration items) work.Â, Open the settings menu in any software and you are dealing with configuration management.Â, You need to manage it carefully and keep track of configuration changes to ensure traceability, or your business and end users could suffer from systems outages, data breaches and data leaks.Â, To reduce cybersecurity risk and improve operations, many businesses employ a configuration management database (CMDB), configuration management plan and a configuration manager to ensure successful configuration management.Â. That’s instead of trying to work out when instructions were run and dealing with the complexities that may arise if certain instructions have failed. Configuration management interacts with quality assurance, as illustrated bythe item approval process that accompanies a configuration item from productionto storage. Tools like Chef, Ansible, and Puppet provide ways to codify steps that we require in order to bring an asset in line with a current definition of how that asset should look. Configuration management is important because it enables the ability to scale infrastructure and software systems without having to correspondingly scale administrative staff to manage those systems. What Is Configuration Management and Why Is It Important? Let’s take a look. The above situation is precisely what configuration management helps you avoid. A software pipeline therefore is a form of configuration management. The term “site reliability” refers to how often your service is up. Sometimes it’s easier to grasp a concept by understanding its antithesis. Pipelines usually involve steps such as linting code, unit testing code, integration testing code, and creating artifacts. It's sometimes referred to as IT automation.Â, Most configuration management involves a high degree of automation to achieve these goals. The problem with instructions is that they’re dependent on the starting state. The goal is really to make provisioning a non-event. When it comes to market share, tools like Ansible, Puppet and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager have sizable communities but there are only great alternatives in the CM space. Learn about the latest issues in cybersecurity and how they affect you. In an outage, you'll be able to recover quickly as your configuration is documented and automated. Why configuration management is important for networks Configuration management is essential to keep accurate network configuration records and to help organizations avoid potential challenges or problems within their networks. By using tools to codify our build process, we make it easy for other developers to understand how our artifacts are modified and created, which is a form of configuration management. Every software service or component on a server requires configurations. Configuration management ensures that we know what a good state of our service is. What seems clear, however, is that containerization platforms and their associated configuration management tools will continue to grab market share from virtual machine based deployments due to their numerous advantages. Below are three different places you can begin your journey to effective configuration management: And that’s all! View Answer What is the difference between configuration management and change management? A frequent cause of downtime is bad deployments, which can be caused by differences in running production servers to test servers. how to identify configurable items. It is designated … If that’s you, you’re in luck! However, it turns out that there are reasons for the confusion. And why is declarative style so important for configuration management? IT systems are composed of IT assets that vary in granularity. Insights on cybersecurity and vendor risk. Continuous integration tools, which are typically servers that run automation-testing suites, act as a form of configuration management by providing visibility into the steps required to set up and configure a given software artifact. Rather, we want to know the answers to questions like. And they're caused by misconfigurations, not hackers. Good luck—and from now on, audit, track, and write everything-as-code! With our configuration managed properly, our test environments can mimic production, so there’s less chance of a nasty surprise. Auditing your existing servers? Leave your email to get our weekly newsletter. Agile software, by definition, reflects the desire to make changes to our software faster so that we can respond to market demands. CM streamlines the delivery of software and applications by automating the build out of systems quickly and efficiently. When I first started learning about configuration management, I found the concept super confusing. Improved experience for your customers and internal staff  by rapidly detecting and correcting improper configurations that could negatively impact performance. The metric is cost avoidance in areas such as: The benefits of configuration management flow into all these activities. These activities take time, and time is money. Get your configuration management right and your teams will be safer, more productive, and faster to make changes! But companies that embrace DevOps want both stability of their deployed assets and frequency of change. Eek! If you already have Docker containers to deploy, Kubernetes makes it easier and faster to get your applications up and running, but migrating virtual machine-based applications to Kubernetes is still a much more challenging process. To learn more about configuration management, visit our Configuration Management summary page, where you'll find a selection of … Baseline: A baseline is a formally accepted version of a software configuration item. Nginx is lightweight, fast, powerful—but like all server software, is prone to security flaws that could lead to data breaches. Software pipelines are the steps (or “value stream,” which we can create with tools like Plutora) that we usually automate, taking code from commit to production. What does trouble look like for configuration management, and what are we trying to avoid? Let’s break it all down so that you can start your journey into configuration management. Although the problem didn’t arise until right before the opening of trading, the NYSE had robust configuration management processes and tools, which identified and recovered from the problem quickly. That developer is now left to pick up the pieces, trying to understand what happened. You will also need to factor in training of your existing staff to integrate ongoing configuration management processes into your business. What is Typosquatting (and how to prevent it). Most configuration management tools aim at the same targets, but they employ a variety of techniques to reach those targets. Configuration management (CM) focuses on establishing and maintaining consistency of a product's performance, and its functional and physical attributes with its requirements, design, and operational information throughout its life. At some companies, the development department seeks change while the operations department seeks stability. What is configuration management and why is it important? Configuration Management, or Software Configuration Management, is the tracking and controlling of software changes in a system. Control third-party vendor risk and improve your cyber security posture. DevOps is the extension of agile practices across both the development and operations departments. At UpGuard, we can protect your business from data breaches and help you continuously monitor the security posture of all your vendors. You’ll hear about this terminology a lot if you go out and start looking into different configuration management tools. And many consider it an anti-pattern to use configuration management tools for provisioning. We took those ideas and retrofitted them into a software context. Project management is important to a business because it provides leadership and a detailed plan for every project. Better release management and clear status accounting. Many enterprise organizations treat large scale portal projects like regular application development projects. So when we use configuration management tools, it’s desirable to use a declarative style and specify the end result that we want, not the steps to get there. Kubernetes, on the other hand, focuses configuration at the level of your app and its dependencies, instead of focusing on configuring monolithic servers. While we need to codify our automation in scripts, if we don’t appropriately track the history of our changes, then we aren’t really achieving configuration management. Declarative style is important because configuration management is all about knowing the current state of your applications. Our security ratings engine monitors millions of companies every day. He believes the best products emerge from high performing teams and practices. It is an environment needed to apply change management processes to admin all changes related to the organization (project). It’s this blurred line that explains why we need to bring these tools into our discussion of configuration management. 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