Access and Feeds

DevOps: Eliminating Configuration Drift is Essential for Strong CyberSecurity

By Dick Weisinger

Configuration drift is incremental network setting changes made by administrative users that over time diverge from baseline or defined configuration settings. The changes made might be made as a result of troubleshooting a problem and forgetting to reset parameters or making changes during software patches, hotfixes, and hardware upgrades. Permission changes can sometimes cause unintended problems too. Drift is a problem that is common both in on-premise and cloud data centers.

When a system begins to drift from the intended configuration, inconsistencies happen and things can go wrong. One of the most serious problems that could happen is the network becomes insecure and vulnerable to breaches and other security threats. If system settings aren’t properly monitored, configuration changes can result in falling out of compliance with standards like ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, and HIPAA. Particularly, in a cloud environment, poor configuration can cause inefficient use of resources and higher costs.

The best way to avoid or minimize configuration drift is to frequently monitor changes and compare settings with the known desired baseline, where the baseline is a known and trusted state. Monitoring can be done either manually, or more commonly, via automated tools. Scanning for proper settings should be a standard step that occurs whenever network changes are performed. And once a deviation in settings from the baseline is identified, it’s necessary to have a plan for remediation.

Constant vigilance is required to make sure that configuration settings do not stray from the intended baseline settings. Otherwise, it is simply too easy to make changes that are intended to be temporary but which are then quickly forgotten about and never correctly reset.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *