CIOs don’t want Security & Ops teams playing whack-a-mole

Have you ever played the old carnival game whack-a-mole? You’re standing with a mallet or hammer, trying to splat individual moles as they pop up from their holes. The only problem is, they’re faster than you and there are 15 of them. It’s some people's idea of fun, but it sometimes can feel like a nightmare. 

Maybe you see this problem in your IT teams, with more problems to be solved than can be humanly solved and even more popping up out of nowhere. One of the problems we hear a lot about is configuration drift: despite the fact that you whacked the mole yesterday, it’s back again today, only in a slightly different place. Or the same mole has popped back up again when you were certain it was fixed.

Misconfiguration and configuration drift is often the bane of IT teams, because while the causes can be tricky to pinpoint the lasting impacts are not. In today’s cloud connected world, server downtime is practically unforgivable.

Remember the chaos when Facebook’s routers were reconfigured in October 2021? That was due to a faulty configuration change. Or when Cloudflare’s DNS services went down in July 2020?

These are not moments that tech teams easily forget, and it’s no longer just the concern of the tech worker or IT specialist. These outages linger in the memory of the end user (i.e. customers) and leave a bad taste in the mouth. Runecast is here to help you mitigate those moments.

Managing configuration drift

Configuration drift management is the practice of beating the whack-a-mole game. Of solidifying the foundations of your infrastructure so that it’s dependable and predictable all the time. This means avoiding configuration drift.

Configuration drift is exactly what it sounds like, when you have something configured or set just right and then it isn’t any more. It feels like a shifting sand dune when you were certain it was solid concrete. And that’s why Runecast has the Configuration Vault. 

It’s some people's idea of fun, but it sometimes can feel like a nightmare. 

The Configuration Vault takes a snapshot of your system at a point in time. Ideally it would be a perfect configuration, a setup that you know is benchmarked and working to industry standards.  And because Runecast has benchmarks for Windows and Linux operating systems, as well as best practices and standards for AWS, Azure, Kubernetes and VMware, your ideal setup can be truly ideal and based on the most up to date knowledge available. Then, if and when the configuration drifts away from your ideal setup, you can see what’s changed, and easily return it to ideal.

Runecast is an enterprise platform built upon the idea that knowledge is power. Once you can see a problem, once it’s identified, you can solve it. Runecast provides you with the data you need to see what’s changed, where the configuration is drifting away from your ideal setup.

Whack all the moles with one blow

In version 6.0, released in December 2021, Runecast added support for Windows and Linux Operating Systems. With CIS benchmarks for Windows Server 2016 and Linux Red Hat 8 now added to the many existing features, such as remediation, proactive security scanning and our configuration vault. But more than that, the configuration vault can take snapshots of any windows or linux distribution you use.

Inside the configuration vault Runecast has space not just for one snapshot of one VM, but for many configuration snapshots across all of your enterprise infrastructure. Runecast can be used at all stages, configuring multiple technologies to best practices, scanning environments for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, taking advantage of the many preloaded benchmarks from CIS and others. It can also be used preventatively to hold the known good configuration of your hosts, virtual machines and containers in the Configuration Vault. 

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About the Author | Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones is the Technical Content Writer for Runecast. Daniel has 10 years experience working IT Operations and Infrastructure/Network admin before transitioning to Process Improvement and documentation. Working and writing for Runecast means he can combine his interest in tech with his love of the written word.

When Daniel is not working he can be found writing stories and songs, chasing around after his family and pining for the seaside.