Because it’s never too soon to think about improving IT
It’s December, which means you and your team are probably already starting to worry about what 2019 will bring to your IT management and improvement efforts. Whatever the specifics of those efforts, there are five things you should resolve to make happen as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so.
- Know your environment.
- Build a configuration management database (CMDB).
- Automate everything.
- Build a service catalog.
- Communicate greatly.
Get these done, and they will help enable and support all of your IT management efforts, through and beyond 2019. Whether you’re pursuing your first IT service management (ITSM) solution deployment or your next step toward digital transformation.
This post will address the first two items on the above list. A follow-up post will address the remaining three items.
IT Management Resolution #1: Know Your Environment
It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do with, for, or about your IT estate. You cannot achieve complete success without accurate, comprehensive, timely knowledge about your environment. This includes all relevant relationships and interconnections that link your IT estate elements to each other, your most critical business services, and your users. That information will help you avoid pursuing initiatives that have unanticipated effects on your environment.
IT Discovery: A Movie, Not a Snapshot
Make sure to treat discovery of your environment as “always on” and not “one and done.” This means you need to be able to discover everything in your environment, and every attempt to join or connect to it. Undetected new connections represent potentially crippling threats to the security of your IT environment and your business. This is especially true given the growth and constant threat of “rogue” or “shadow” IT access requests, whether from legitimate users or malefactors.
If your IT team doesn’t know about a device or connection, your team cannot secure it. And the growing business use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, from smart video cameras, speakers, and connected displays to break room appliances, multiplies the possible threats considerably. Many IoT devices have limited or no “business-class” cyber security, something many legitimate users fail to notice or check before attempting to connect those devices to the corporate network. Ensure that your discovery technologies and processes are intelligently automated and constantly vigilant, so nothing dangerous or disruptive finds its way into your environment.
IT Management Resolution #2: Build a Configuration Management Database (CMDB)
If you’re going to collect information about your environment comprehensively, you need a place to store that information, and the ability to report on it. If you want to maximize the value of that information, where you should keep it is in a configuration management data base, or CMDB.
Your CMDB is designed to capture, store, and help you make use of the information unearthed by your discovery tools and processes. Eventually, the CMDB is where your business can and should store everything it knows about every IT resource it uses. And as with your discovery efforts, your CMDB should also store information about the relationships that connect your hardware and software with your services and their users.
Your CMDB solutions and processes should be well integrated with those devoted to your discovery efforts. And like your discovery efforts, your CMDB implementation should be as intelligently automated as possible. Your goal should be regular, automated scans of your environment, automated updates to your CMDB, and automated notifications of the appropriate people in response to unexpected changes or other events.
Your CMDB: A Foundation for the Future
The right CMDB is sufficiently flexible and easy to use to enable changes to your information store as your environment changes. Your business may start by simply capturing basic information about your core IT resources. But as your business grows and its needs and goals change, you need to be able to extend your CMDB accordingly. Some IT decision makers store so much important information in their CMDBs, they say privately the acronym should actually stand for “control my da_n business.”
A sufficiently flexible CMDB will be invaluable as your business increases its pursuit of digital transformation. Your CMDB contains information that can and should inform your chosen IT management solutions and processes. Your CMDB can and should also share relevant information with the tools and processes your business uses to develop, deliver, and manage business services, and those focused on cyber security. Further, those links connecting your CMDB to other resources should be automated, governed by business processes, and easily changed as business conditions warrant.
From Resolutions to Reality with Virima
Virima’s solutions for IT asset discovery, IT asset management (ITAM), and IT service management (ITSM) can help with some or all of the resolutions described above. Virima solutions can automatically discover and map your critical IT resources and the interconnections that link them to one another, your applications and services, and your users. In addition, they’re built to be easy to use and configure, and to produce useful, actionable reports about your IT environment, for IT managers and business decision makers. These features can help you and your team improve IT and business services and support, today and tomorrow.