In 2015, organizations spent over $75 billion on cybersecurity. That’s a lot of money. But 2015 also saw a rise in successful cyber attacks, costing companies hundreds of billions of dollars in damages, loss and other related expenditures. Did all of the security software and hardware purchased with that $75B fail to do its job? Today's landscape requires more than just a collection of isolated products handling specific tasks—it needs an integrated ecosystem dedicated to overall resilience.
The Problem With Software Bloat
A common scenario in organizations today is that a reactive decision will be made to purchase a security solution, usually after some damage has already been done, and saddle existing IT resources with it, with the expectations that they will be able to extract all the value from the solution promised to them by sales, in addition to their existing workload. Not only is this unsustainable, but the end result of this practice is a brief, intense period of focus on the new solution, often at the expense of other work, until the initial interest has died down. At this point the solution is left fairly dormant, perhaps performing a series of basic tasks, but never making the leaps and bounds which fueled its purchase in the first place.
This leads to software bloat, a kind of hoarding where everything organizations have tried to throw against the wall stacks up in a haphazard manner, without documentation or best practice, just a series of intentions that failed to perform, barely kept alive by IT teams struggling under the weight of so many disparate systems.
No one piece or method of security will ever completely protect against attacks. Even multiple, complementary methods only approach closing the risk gap, which will always remain somewhat open. But to achieve the kind of total resilience organizations are looking for in 2016, tools must effectively integrate with each other and provide the kind of cascading functionality an enterprise-wide system requires. As companies shed weight to stay competitive in an increasingly agile digital marketplace, tools that fail to fit into this kind of ecosystem will be abandoned.
But if IT can’t trust technology enough to manage it manually, how can it trust technology to integrate with other technology correctly? This is where UpGuard’s integration functionality comes in. We help organizations trust their environment, so that integrations within that environment can be trusted in turn.
Examples of UpGuard Integration
Organizations purchase service desk applications to create a series of protocols to handle incidents and changes in a scalable, repeatable fashion, and to keep relevant parties in the loop about their areas of responsibility. However, these applications unavoidably fall victim to the same human-driven problems as organizations faced before implementing them: circumvention of the system entirely through the use of back channels or other connections, assumption of successful change without hard verification, and unplanned technical change not being documented.
UpGuard has built integrations with service desk software such as ServiceNow that can do the following:
Generate tickets when unplanned changes occur. Through continuous testing, UpGuard checks nodes against policy and automatically generates tickets if they fall out of compliance.
Verify scheduled changes with quick visualizations and proactive notifications to ensure nodes match expected states post-change.
The key concept to this integration is to tie the work protocols of service desk applications directly into the current state of the data center so the whole team can have the visibility and accountability necessary for maintaining a stable, secure environment.
Automation in the data center promised big time change in the way IT operations would be handled. However, the same opacity and fragility that made manual operations so difficult proved to have even more of an impact on automation, because the cycles were sped up without addressing the root causes of the problems. Likewise, human error in writing automation scripts often makes troubleshooting difficult, as automation pushes out more changes in a shorter amount of time.
UpGuard provides the following integrations with automation platforms such as Puppet, Chef and Ansible:
Automatically generate manifests, recipes and playbooks based off of an existing good configuration. Check your nodes against policy to ensure they are in the desired state, then generate an automation script for your preferred tool from that state.
Verify that automated changes worked as planned. By creating policies that match your expected state, you can quickly test any number of nodes after an automated change to verify that everything worked as planned. In the event of a problem, our visualizations and intuitive interface make troubleshooting simple, quickly leading teams to which nodes are noncompliant and in which areas the automation failed.
Again, the value we add to these already existing tools comes about by interfacing between the human and the computer, creating trust through visibility and verification.
Like ServiceNow, organizations use Jira to track assets and tickets. Anyone who has ever maintained an asset database can tell you that it can get very messy over time, with resource provisioning and deprovisioning often requiring manual steps. Jira's power is in its kanban-like interface, allowing teams to visualize work-in-process and manage workload. Getting the right data into Jira to use in the interface, however, can be a difficult and frustrating process.
UpGuard provides the following integrations into Jira and other Kanban style applications to automate asset provisioning, deprovisioning and ticket lifecycle:
Automatic creation of a ticket upon first scan of an node, ensuring that all new assets are documented inside of Jira.
Automatic creation of a ticket when an asset fails a policy. This allows teams to receive proactive alerts in their platform of choice whenever a change puts an asset out of compliance.
Creation of custom labels within Jira based on UpGuard scan data. For example, we can add the name of the asset to any ticket relating to it, allowing for quick filtering and lifecycle analysis. There are many different ways organizations can take advantage of this labeling to make their Jira experience faster and more effective.
Productivity tools can help smaller teams manage large workloads and large teams keep track of huge environments, but without integrated automation into the provisioning process, as well as an automated notification system when systems are changed against expected state, they can become just another application to maintain that requires manual input and cleanup to be useful at all.
More than the specific integrations we have already done, our spirit of integration will keep us building bridges into the future, because we know the real value for software in the modern enterprise is its ability to fit holistically within a manageable system. Our goal is to provide integrations that create trust, whether that’s between IT staff and their technology or between automated technologies themselves. We want to provide the value of our platform and bring additional value to software that companies already use. The digital transformation of business is well underway. UpGuard provides the visibility, control and trust necessary for organizations to navigate it.