Automation For The Better Good - Security

Chris Gardner

Automation gets a bad rep these days, what with public fear that robots will take over jobs (an invalid assumption – we will be working side by side with them).

However, if you asked the most diehard Luddites if they were ready willing to give up the following:

  • Depositing a check using a mobile app
  • Ordering products on Amazon to receive the next day
  • Accepting a jury duty request online

...they would probably hesitate.

What these tasks have in common (in addition to relying on automation): a critical dependence on security. When you deposit that check, you trust that the image is encrypted. When you accept that jury duty request, you have faith that your PII (personally identifiable information) is being protected.

In a world where infrastructure-as-code scales quickly and massively scales, it is crucial to bake in security at every level of the stack. This means leveraging automation tools such as configuration management and application release automation, as well as applying Zero Trust principles all the way down to the bare metal.

In a new report, Joseph Blankenship and I dig into the particulars of this endeavor, as well as the organizational implications. In the end, you want I&O professionals to be policy enablers, not policy executors – automation helps get us there.

Sysadmins: You're All Developers Now

Chris Gardner
In a past life I was a system administrator, or "sysadmin". I enjoyed it, but even in those halcyon days of remoting into servers and driving to the office at 2 AM (hoping the server room wasn't on fire), I knew I had a limited shelf life. It wasn't until years later that I fully understood why:
 
Administrators are babysitters. The era of tech babysitters is over.
 
In the age of the customer, admins need to be just as dynamic as their developer brethren. That means a hard shift to software-defined infrastructure. It also means using the same tools and processes that accelerate business technology.
 
In other words, you need to become a developer.
 
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