What is IT Foundation Management?
IT Foundation Management is a relatively new category of software that solves a pressing, and heretofore chaotically addressed, gap in the traditional approach to IT Infrastructure Management. I’ll be drilling more into the benefits later, but suffice it to say for now that the benefits are primarily financial (reduction in man-hours, recovery of lost service time, shutting down primary large scale data breach vulnerabilities) and they roll into very large numbers quickly.
Now, before we can really talk about IT Foundation Management we have to place the IT Foundation into perspective. For starters, the IT Foundation is all of the hardware (servers, routers, switches, firewalls, storage arrays, appliances, etc.) in our IT Infrastructure (but not endpoint devices, like PCs, mobile devices, etc.). It also includes a lot of software, like operating systems, firmware, server software, and databases.
That’s a big footprint that can easily get crossed-up with other software categories so let me define it further by actors and interfaces – what are in this case privileged actors and privileged interfaces.
Let’s start with privileged actors. Who are they? Systems managers, system administrators, network administrators, database administrators, VM administrators, engineers, technicians, and so on. They are privileged actors because they perform their daily work (break/fix, configuration, patching, provisioning, maintenance, etc.) through highly privileged interfaces that exist in the IT Infrastructure.
Privileged interfaces are just like they sound. They are interfaces to the hardware and software that have extremely high privileges associated with them. An administrator with root access to an operating system has access to thousands of commands with root-level privileges. A database administrator can change data, copy it, report on it, change business rules, and manually adjust transactions across records, recordsets and entire database tables. A network administrator with access to the console port of a router can open ports, assign new routing rules, close ports, and reroute traffic. An administrator with Console access can change BIOS, hardware configuration, force a shutdown, etc. The list goes on and on.
IT Foundation Management is a software approach that imposes itself between privileged actors and privileged interfaces with the express purpose of simplifying the work of privileged actors, reducing the chance of mistakes occurring, automating the capture and creation of comprehensive compliance records (change management), and securing the environment under a solid role-based access and control model.
Is this a big deal? I should say so. When you move from many point-solution tools with many process variations, limited integration, and ineffective processes to a highly refined unified operational model it’s the difference between night and day. That is why IT Foundation Management has arisen as a new product category. The need is critical. The problem is not being solved by traditional means. Business suffers, and it’s just getting worse. It’s a foundation problem. An IT Foundation problem.