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Know What Changed to Stop Outages (Part 5)

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Know What Changed to Stop Outages (Part 5)


 

This article is part of a 5 part series covering how unauthorized changes still remain the bane of today's IT operations, regardless of advances in technology, and how automated change detection is critical for addressing this.

 

  • Unauthorized Changes Still Undermine Modern Environments
  • Apply Change- Centric Causal Analysis to Quickly Fix Problems
  • Detect Unauthorized Changes Automatically
  • Empower the Service Desk to Prevent Incidents
  • Know What Changed to Stop Outages

Part 5 of a 5 part series

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Change happens. Unfortunately, despite how much planning and preparation is made for change, the dreaded unauthorized change still occurs. Unauthorized changes greatly impact the applications that support the business. Since it is very difficult to identify these unknown changes, incidents usually last a lot longer, causing more outage time and adding more cost to the business.

So proactively knowing about these unauthorized changes can help prevent outages and avoid any breaks in regulatory compliance.

Improving Processes

Improving processes means taking a look at policies or known stakes or maintaining a state of environmental consistency. The key is that many times changing certain configuration items can result in the associated application no longer working.

Protecting the Target State of Environment

To address this issue, more details are required about the targeted environments in order to be better prepared to know when a file policy or security parameter is changed.

For example, a WAS server has a connection pool. The WAS servers should never go below fifty connections. This way a hard parameter is set for the connection pool, otherwise compliance issues will be immediately detected. This is how Evolven provides immediate data for taking action to necessitate a correction.

Automating Audits

Many organizations get audited because they do not have this correlated data and are unable to audit themselves. They need to have accurate answers to the most challenging questions:

  • What was actually changed in your environment?
  • What is the actual state of your environment right now?
  • Are all environments consistent?
  • Were all approved changes actually implemented?
  • Are there any unauthorized changes that do not correlate to any approved change request?

A lot of policies and external auditing comes about due to how organizations said they could control these changes.

With Evolven, the operator can immediately get compliance insight, or realize if they are out of out of compliance with a policy. Are there any unauthorized changes? The operator can click to see the results and only ask those specified detailed questions.

This is an example of the Evolven auditor’s dashboard.

Accelerating Root Cause Analysis

Ultimately organizations want to accelerate root cause by detecting the actual changes: what is authorized versus unauthorized, what's the probable root cause and what is not, Evolven can identify any configurations that are out of policy to help rapidly resolve Issues.

Closing the Process Loop

Unauthorized changes are simply an unknown factor that can impact the business. So the best thing to do is build processes around this task and automate operations as much as possible.

However, the reality is that unauthorized changes will never be brought down to zero. So by applying automated change detection analysis, the process loop can be closed, coming close to having zero unauthorized changes.

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About the Author
Michael Sanders

Michael Sanders is a Director of Technical Sales at Evolven. Mike has over 30 years of experience in the IT field. From building servers and networks to managing large IT departments, Mike has provided direction and leadership for delivering product solutions to help IT Ops teams proactively resolve performance and availability issues.

Prior to joining Evolven, Mike worked for 14 years at Compuware Corporation (Dynatrace), where he consulted and sold on application monitoring (APM) software and triage practices.

While at Compuware, Mike was responsible for product direction, field technical practices and solution selling for the company's APM division. Mike was instrumental in developing the services division at Compuware to help lead the new APM solution growth.

Mike's expertise extends to many aspects of production support and DevOps, bringing an understanding of both technical and operational practices for assuring customer success.