What is Network Configuration Management?
Network configuration management is a set of processes and procedures that help organizations ensure their networks are operating as designed and without interruption. Some steps of the network configuration management process include:
- Creation and maintenance of a network device inventory.
- Scheduled backups of device configurations.
- Regular software upgrades to network devices.
- Provisioning and management of cloud services.
Moving to the cloud had added significant complexity to most networks, making the management of configuration and the enforcement of compliance standards increasingly complicated. The new hybrid cloud world requires a new, modern approach to drive configuration compliance.
What is Network Compliance?
Network compliance is defined as the adherence to a set of standards that an organization sets for its network. Those standards generally fall into 3 categories:
Security of the Network
Rules that define access to network devices, applications, and services are configured correctly so security standards are uniformly applied.
Reliability of the Network
Rules that define how network devices are configured correctly to ensure proper resiliency and failover so users are connected at all times.
Performance of the Network
Rules that ensure features for network performance are correctly configured so it is operating at peak performance.
If a network device or cloud service’s current configuration is analyzed and fails to meet the criteria of the currently defined standard by an organization, it would be considered out of compliance. This would require remediation to update the current configuration to bring it back into network compliance.
How the Cloud has Added Complexity of Network Configuration Management
To add further complexity to ensuring standardization of your network configurations, moving applications and infrastructure to the cloud has made enforcement of these standards nearly impossible. Typical organizational structures, in which network and cloud teams are working in siloes has only exacerbated the problem. In fact, 73% of enterprises have experienced security and compliance issues because of poor collaboration between the two groups.
Every network device and cloud service has a configuration of some sort that must be enforced, and each device and service is not accessed or managed the same way, yet they all must be configured to meet an organization’s standards. This hybrid cloud world requires a new, modern solution to drive configuration compliance and manage it in a unified manner.
Why Automate Network Configuration & Compliance Management?
Network automation is the automation of network processes such as configuration and change management, device inventory, device backup, device and cloud service provisioning, device upgrades, etc. These functions are predominately managed via manual processes and CLI-based tools, which are time consuming and prone to human error. Automating network configuration and compliance ensures changes made to the network and cloud are consistent and in alignment to a standard, saving time and money and ultimately ensuring a reliable network.
Without a solution that can automate the entire network configuration and compliance process, the network faces numerous risks:
- Extended network outages due to time it takes to restore a failed device.
- Compromised network devices due to insecure software.
- Unstable areas of the network due to software defects.
- Insecure areas of the network due to lack of consistent policy application.
- Future outages due to misconfigured features.
- Immediate outages due to human error.
What are Network Configuration & Compliance Automation Use Cases?
While every organization’s journey may look slightly different, there is a natural progression to achieve your ultimate automated state that starts small and builds to full on automation of network configuration and compliance management. Below you will find helpful links to assist you on your automation journey and evaluation of the right solution and approach.
Itential’s Modern Approach to Network & Cloud Compliance
With Itential’s Configuration Manager application, organizations can ensure that their entire network remains in compliance which provides the foundation needed to have the trust and confidence for end-to-end network automation.
Networking Field Day 24:
Network & Cloud Configuration & Compliance with Itential’s Configuration Manager
- Full Network Visibility With One Application – A single application to efficiently manage device backups, inventory, and changes to CLI-based physical devices along with API-based cloud networking services.
- Golden Configuration Templates – Clearly define the network configuration policy for features and security in sections and assign devices to any section.
- Automated Remediation – Rapidly detect configuration drift and remediate automatically.
- Integrated Validation – Ensure the network remains compliant by validating proposed changes are compliant before they are applied to a device.
- IT System Integration– Out of the box integrations with ticketing and change management systems.
- Security & Governance – Centralized RBAC and governance over dispersed infrastructure.