With software development—just like any business endeavor—there are a number of possible risks that need to be managed and mitigated. These risks can range from security vulnerabilities to poor-quality software. Infrastructure automation can help businesses manage or even eliminate many of these risks, protecting the business and producing a more reliable product.
This post reveals three ways Infrastructure Automation can help decease risks brought on by accelerated software delivery practices.
3 Risks Mitigated by Infrastructure Automation
Inconsistencies between environments for development, testing, and production can increase risk for your company’s software development efforts. Inconsistencies can arise for a number of reasons: a short timeline to delivery forcing mistakes in environment configurations, a lack of centralized internal processes governing environment provisioning, or too many stakeholders working independently to configure environments. Whatever the cause, it can result in a significant amount of technical debt requiring lengthy periods of troubleshooting and bug fixes if not addressed.
The problem of infrastructure inconsistencies can be addressed by creating blueprints for environments. This allows IT teams to code purpose-built environments properly configured with the necessary elements. That way, the environments developers access will meet the requirements set out by ITOps, and they can be assured that they are configured the same way for every stage of the software development lifecycle.
Security & Compliance
An added benefit of automating your infrastructure is increased governance over security protocols and compliance standards using pre-determined guardrails. Cloud environments typically contain information that is subject to various data protection requirements such as GDPR for the EU region; PCI compliance for organizations that accept, transmit, or store cardholder data; HIPAA standards to protect patient healthcare data; and internal compliance standards. Failure to meet whichever compliance regulation(s) your business is subject to can be exceedingly costly—both to your reputation and your bottom line—in the event of a security breach.
If ITOps can maintain control over cloud environments, they can better manage security risks worsened by things like infrastructure sprawl and shadow IT. In addition to the ability to configure and blueprint environments, IT teams can further govern the usage of environment blueprints by providing self-service access for developers using additional features like role-based access controls (RBAC) and single sign-on (SSO) to ensure the developers are accessing only the cloud environments that they need for a specific task.
Automated environments can then be set for automatic decommissioning once the environment is no longer needed. The ability to set a tear-down time prevents infrastructure sprawl, so IT can save time and better manage active environments.
Time & Knowledge
Often the risks associated with cloud environments are quite obvious, but sometimes business risks are less apparent. In many cases, risk comes from a lack of time and knowledge which can have a significant impact on the software development process.
Developers typically aren’t as knowledgeable about all the complexities of cloud infrastructure. Yet due to the limited number of people with the necessary expertise to provision and manage cloud environments, developers are often forced to learn how to do it themselves, so they can do their job without long delays waiting for ITOps to provision the environments they need. This isn’t the best use of a developer’s time and involves a pretty massive learning curve, potentially leading to poor environment configurations, as well as security vulnerabilities and compliance issues.
On the other hand, if developers are forced to wait days or weeks for ITOps to provision the environments they need, it often can put developers in a time crunch to meet deadlines for delivery causing them to rush to avoid delaying the release. This can result in poor-quality code, introducing bugs, additional technical debt, and the proliferation of cloud environments that IT teams may not have visibility into or control over.
Eliminating long lead times for environment provisioning with infrastructure automation helps ensure that environment configurations can be coded according to the proper requirements by IT professionals who have the knowledge to do so and allows them to better monitor their usage once those environments are active.
An infrastructure automation platform that combines environment blueprints and self-service access helps companies get a handle on the complexity of cloud environments for software development and delivery, so they can mitigate many of the business risks inherent in the process. To learn more about this and the other benefits of infrastructure automation, watch the webinar “How to Tame Chaos in Enterprise DevOps”.