Network automation for configuration and change management.

By Daniel Carter

The act of automation can greatly improve the efficiency of any network team. With regards to managing network infrastructure, Gartner suggests that any manual task performed more than 4 times a year should be automated. These mandates are usually answered by the more proactive teams and remain a fancy for most teams struggling with limited resources. However, the initial cost, in time or budget, is minor compared to the ability to leverage the opportunity costs of reducing human error, improving compliance and increasing work availability of staff.

 

Process automation is becoming a requirement because humans may no longer be able to manually keep up with real-time configuration changes. The prioritization of automation technologies enables a business to become more agile and responsive to shifting market/customer requirements.

 

The fast-approaching addition of the GDPR compliance standard to existing standards, PCI or HIPAA for example, will require businesses to be less passive with risk management. Risk should be managed and not avoided, GDPR acts as an invitation to change traditional business protocols because there is no avoiding the GDPR. To mitigate the risk of the GDPR improved compliance and accurate reporting is required, both rewards to successful network automation.

 

A common misconception regarding automation is that the outcome reduces the size of a team. This can occur in a reactive business, but a proactive business will transfer the workload from one project to another. The ability to cross train or upskill staff will make your team more valuable. There is the added benefit of becoming more agile in your approach to transitioning workflow from administrative tasks towards managing infrastructure or increasing client satisfaction.

 

Configuration and Compliance Management is now easier to implement with opConfig. opConfig will continuously monitor the configuration of devices discovered by Open-AudIT Enterprise or managed by NMIS, track the changes and store a complete history of configuration information. opConfig can leverage NMIS’ business policy engine, opEvents, to provide instantaneous correlation and notification when device configurations change or stray from enterprise policies. The combination of these systems will aid in your network automation, assist in the quick resolution of problems and compliance with standards.