Asset and configuration management is a vital part of network operations. With ever-changing and complex network environments, ensuring consistent hardware, software and device configurations can greatly minimise variability and reduce risks related to security and availability. Automation can be a game-changer in this context, simplifying asset and configuration management tasks in a Network Operations Centre (NOC).
To start with, a comprehensive view of device inventory configuration is essential. Ensuring all devices run compliant software versions and hardware versions can significantly reduce configuration variability. Tools like FirstWave’s Open-Audit Baselines or the more comprehensive opConfig compliance engine can automate these checks, providing a clear view of asset configuration management.
Next comes the challenge of managing device configurations consistently. This can be achieved by documenting and importing the organisation’s configuration standards into a configuration tool such as opConfig. With these templates loaded, automated tasks can be set up to regularly back up device configurations, detect and compare configuration changes, and alert when changes are detected. This proactive approach can ensure that configuration changes are not made without correlating with relevant events.
Scheduled compliancy checks can be run to ensure that device configurations adhere to the company’s defined policies and standards. Any non-compliance found can be automatically remediated. While this approach has the potential to greatly enhance efficiency, caution must be exercised. Due to the potential for issues related to uncontrolled changes (remember that 80% incident statistic?), it’s important to track these remediations via the change management process.
Finally, automation can be leveraged to push out new or changed configurations to devices, particularly when this has to be done in bulk or to new devices being added to the network. This not only saves manpower but also reduces the risk of errors associated with manual configuration changes. Even these standard configuration changes should be recorded and tracked using the change management process to maintain an accurate record of all changes made.
In summary, automation can greatly enhance asset and configuration management in a NOC. From ensuring compliance with configuration standards to detecting and rectifying non-compliance, automation can reduce the risk of issues arising from inconsistent configurations. By ensuring consistency across the network, automation can help to improve network performance and reliability, reduce security and availability risks, and ultimately deliver a better service to both internal and external customers. Thus, embracing automation in asset and configuration management can be a significant step towards a more efficient, effective and resilient NOC.
Want to learn more about how IT process automation can help your organization with configuration and compliance? Download our free white paper, or book an obligation-free consultation with our team to see how we can help you and your team.
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