Supervision and changes, crossed destinies

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Change management is very complex, with potentially very significant impacts in terms of availability, costs and data loss.
Supervision can validate a posteriori the correct application of a change, and identify the time stamps of the changes.

What's a change?

The information system is constantly changing, with new projects, corrective actions and configuration changes. The change management process is one of the most complex IT management processes to master, and potentially has the greatest impact on the availability and performance of IT services, as well as the speed of operations when it is out of control.

As an example, changing a firewall rule can lead to the inaccessibility of a web application: it can easily be identified by IT Support, as users realize it relatively quickly. But what about a change in a data exchange, occurring at the beginning of the month, whose impact is revealed at the end of the month, during an accounting closing? Beyond the correction, the data from the consuming application must be taken back, within a limited time frame. It is therefore not uncommon for another change to be made in a hurry, leading to other incidents ...

Many players are making changes, so their volume is very high, access to the systems remains relatively open despite the security policies in place, action often precedes reflection, it is sometimes difficult to identify a change and the process to be applied: all this contributes to a lack of change management.

ITIL is of a precious help, and proposes a method based on registration, prioritization, evaluation on business and technical axes, planning, implementation in a differentiated way according to the previous steps.

Key tools for driving changes include the change logging database, the Configuration Management Database (CMDB), the schedule of changes.

The organization emphasizes sharing, collegiality, and at the same time establishes specific roles: change manager, functional or technical experts, user representatives or business services, Change Control Board (CWB).

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What about supervision?

Supervision is very useful to check a posteriori the negative impacts of a change, whether a change management process is in place or not. Correlating the timestamp of an alert with that of a change greatly reduces the time required for diagnosis, and thus contributes to increasing the availability of services.

However, the monitoring perimeter must be relatively thin and adapted to the monitored environments: monitoring ports from the Internet, Windows services, Linux processes, monitoring system or application logs, presence, size and/or age of files.

Depending on the technology, the supervision can also alert of an access to a system and thus identify the time stamp of a potential change. It thus fully participates in security management processes.

Finally, supervision must be up to date: a change by its very nature modifies the information system.

It is therefore mandatory to carry out the following actions at the end of the change:

#1 - to inform the actors of the potential impacts on the use of the service: the users, the Service Centre.

#2 - update the repository, i.e. the CMDB

#3 - update supervision

Would you like to know more about ServiceNav supervision? Contact us !

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