Lack of Automation Undermines Network Configuration Compliance
January 25, 2022

Rich Martin
Itential

Share this

Most enterprise IT organizations struggle with network and cloud infrastructure configuration management and worry that their networks will fail configuration compliance audits. This issue is amplified as enterprise network engineers continue to take the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" approach to network infrastructure management. With that said, companies are beginning to demand more from their networks. Enterprise IT organizations are seeking out solutions that will enable them to be more agile and secure. As a result, infrastructure and operations teams are turning to network automation solutions.

Key findings from an Itential State of Network Automation survey demonstrate that any network automation initiative should include automated configuration compliance enforcement as a foundational building block. Moreover, configuration compliance should be applied to automation initiatives across any part of the network, from the data center to the cloud and out to the edge. By further analyzing the results of this report, organizations gain a better understanding on why such capabilities are necessary and how to make strides towards such solutions.

Outlining Current Setbacks

Selecting the right tools to utilize as part of the network automation management process is not always a straightforward task. Network engineers need to consider the complexity of the environment, those who will be managing it, operational processes, etc. In fact, only 34% of network management professionals are completely satisfied with the tools and processes they use for network configuration management. Network complexity also impacts the effectiveness of network configuration management, and as such, satisfaction is lowest in the largest networks. With more devices under management, changes can take longer and are more prone to error and this dissatisfaction leads to high anxiety. Three out of four IT organizations are at least somewhat concerned that their configuration management process could cause errors that lead to security issues or performance problems.

Of course, most IT organizations know their network configuration management processes need improvement. The report found that more than 60% of respondents are not confident that major parts of their networks could pass compliance audits, particularly in the data center and public cloud domains. This proves that organizations know they are at risk of fatal errors when it comes to operating their network successfully. The question remains, how can this be fixed?

Considering Next Steps

Configuration compliance is an essential starting point. Network engineers and architects generally know the intent of their network. They know how they want the network to behave and what network and security policies they want to enforce, but they aren't confident in their network's ability to comply with their intent. Reducing or eliminating manual configuration management processes can improve audit compliance and set up a technology organization for a successful network automation initiative. By enabling end-to-end automation across hybrid infrastructure, teams can ensure the consistency of network configuration compliance and accelerate processes like self-service networking.

Operational efficiency and reduced security risk must be top priorities. Automation can streamline operations by reducing time spent on repetitive tasks, allowing engineers to focus on strategic work. It can also reduce security risks by ensuring network device and service configurations adhere to strict security standards. Knowing that another 75% of organizations believe that self-service networking enabled by northbound APIs on network automation solutions will be at least somewhat helpful to IT operations, organizations can move forward knowing they will ultimately have the support they need to make such advancements.

Network automation can drive operational efficiency, reduce security risk, and improve compliance. It is crucial for IT organizations to identify their priorities for using network automation to transform operations. Then, they can let those priorities guide their network automation initiatives.

Rich Martin is Senior Technical Marketing Engineer at Itential
Share this

The Latest

September 27, 2022

Users have high expectations around applications — quick loading times, look and feel visually advanced, with feature-rich content, video streaming, and multimedia capabilities — all of these devour network bandwidth. With millions of users accessing applications and mobile apps from multiple devices, most companies today generate seemingly unmanageable volumes of data and traffic on their networks ...

September 26, 2022

In Italy, it is customary to treat wine as part of the meal ... Too often, testing is treated with the same reverence as the post-meal task of loading the dishwasher, when it should be treated like an elegant wine pairing ...

September 23, 2022

In order to properly sort through all monitoring noise and identify true problems, their causes, and to prioritize them for response by the IT team, they have created and built a revolutionary new system using a meta-cognitive model ...

September 22, 2022

As we shift further into a digital-first world, where having a reliable online experience becomes more essential, Site Reliability Engineers remain in-demand among organizations of all sizes ... This diverse set of skills and values can be difficult to interview for. In this blog, we'll get you started with some example questions and processes to find your ideal SRE ...

September 21, 2022

US government agencies are bringing more of their employees back into the office and implementing hybrid work schedules, but federal workers are worried that their agencies' IT architectures aren't built to handle the "new normal." They fear that the reactive, manual methods used by the current systems in dealing with user, IT architecture and application problems will degrade the user experience and negatively affect productivity. In fact, according to a recent survey, many federal employees are concerned that they won't work as effectively back in the office as they did at home ...

September 20, 2022

Users today expect a seamless, uninterrupted experience when interacting with their web and mobile apps. Their expectations have continued to grow in tandem with their appetite for new features and consistent updates. Mobile apps have responded by increasing their release cadence by up to 40%, releasing a new full version of their app every 4-5 days, as determined in this year's SmartBear State of Software Quality | Application Stability Index report ...

September 19, 2022

In this second part of the blog series, we look at how adopting AIOps capabilities can drive business value for an organization ...

September 16, 2022

ITOPS and DevOps is in the midst of a surge of innovation. New devices and new systems are appearing at an unprecedented rate. There are many drivers of this phenomenon, from virtualization and containerization of applications and services to the need for improved security and the proliferation of 5G and IOT devices. The interconnectedness and the interdependencies of these technologies also greatly increase systems complexity and therefore increase the sheer volume of things that need to be integrated, monitored, and maintained ...

September 15, 2022

IT talent acquisition challenges are now heavily influencing technology investment decisions, according to new research from Salesforce's MuleSoft. The 2022 IT Leaders Pulse Report reveals that almost three quarters (73%) of senior IT leaders agree that acquiring IT talent has never been harder, and nearly all (98%) respondents say attracting IT talent influences their organization's technology investment choices ...

September 14, 2022

The findings of the 2022 Observability Forecast offer a detailed view of how this practice is shaping engineering and the technologies of the future. Here are 10 key takeaways from the forecast ...