Infrastructure automation simplifies the monitoring and management of data center resources. But, can it maintain security when changes are becoming faster and more frequent?

If your business is subject to regulatory compliance or stringent customer SLAs, maintaining security in step with changes is critical. Non-compliance can lead to fines or loss of customer confidence with a consequent impact on the business.

The challenge for IT teams is to integrate the automation of security and compliance with other forms of automation so that they can maintain the correct security posture through any level of change. Manual processes are time-consuming and may not be able to keep up with rapid change.

Impact of change

Changes in applications, infrastructure, networks, configurations can have an impact on the security posture. The team needs to be able to identify each change and relate it to any relevant security policies and compliance requirements. That means checking the changes against any rules and, if necessary, remediating any that fail to comply.

By automating the process, the team can gather information on changes and compare the latest configurations with previous versions to identify any differences and take appropriate action to return the environment to a compliant state.

By gathering information on changes and remediation, security automation also provides input for compliance audits, reducing the time required for reporting, as well as the risk of human error.

Compliance checks

Maintaining compliance with regulations such as HIPPA, DISA or PCI can be extremely complex. Each server or application may be subject to multiple security rules. Any change requires mandatory validation and remediation.

Automated validation plays a vital role in maintaining compliance and complements other processes such as access control, vulnerability assessment, inventory management and monitoring, event monitoring and logging, and intrusion detection.

Configuration management

Even if your business is not subject to compliance, automation can improve other aspects of security management.  Configuration management is one example.

By automating monitoring and assessing snapshots, you can maintain an up-to-date picture of the whole environment. The information helps you quickly identify and remediate any changes that create a risk to security or business continuity.

The data can also be used to create a configuration and change history that forms a solid, accurate basis for an audit trail.

Patch and vulnerability management

Managing patching  and vulnerability assessment manually is another time-consuming task that will benefit from automation. Automated tools can track patch implementation and compare server status against a database of patch releases.

That makes it easier to identify any missing patches and ensure the environment is up to date. The information can also be used to prioritize updating of critical security patches.

Automating vulnerability assessment helps teams identify new or emerging vulnerabilities across the infrastructure. Access to up-to-date vulnerability reports makes it quicker and easier for teams to respond to threats and protect the business.

Automating security management gives IT teams greater visibility into the security posture across the complete environment, strengthening security and ensuring compliance.

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