A report by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration called into question the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) ability to protect the masses of taxpayer data. One of the major setbacks determined by the report was “configuration management compliance for Windows and Linux servers is not effective.” This means the data could be vulnerable beyond remediation where undetected use, modification, or disclosure cannot be effectively documented and tracked.
Configuration management is a process whereby agencies can organize their infrastructure, including systems and software, consistently. One of the main priorities for management is for all infrastructure to be tracked at all times and to know when there are any changes. It creates a single source of truth within an agency with a coordinated, updated inventory of all systems and software.
Knowing whether someone has made unauthorized changes is crucial in managing data. The management helps track movements in a system and ensures resources are correctly configured, secured, and up to compliance standards.
Innovative solutions help alert and report on configuration changes, comparing configuration over time and leveraging compliance templates or policy engines to automate management. These features allow agencies to create a baseline to compare in the future as well as a way to standardize compliance for configurations.
Other benefits to configuration management are real-time change notifications, so workers can see who is making configuration changes on the servers or applications. This oversight allows the management system to prevent unauthorized changes. Real-time detection and tracking leverage monitoring abilities.
Configuration management establishes consistency throughout the infrastructure and increases security by tracking changes in the environment. This addresses the issues that arise when agencies don’t have the resources or bandwidth to properly track changes in their infrastructure. By operating a single pane of glass with configuration management, agencies have the ability to manage their systems from one source management structure. The unified source helps assure the servers and applications are easily seen and monitored.
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