Undocumented IT system changes endanger companies

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23 April 2014 | 0

More than half of IT professionals make undocumented changes to corporate IT systems, leaving those organisations open to security risks, according to research.

The research, from change and configuration auditing software company Netwrix, shows just 60% of organisations have change management controls in place, leaving 40% at risk from security threats or system downtime. The company questioned almost 600 IT pros and found that 57% had made undocumented changes to their IT systems that no one else knows about.

Frequent system changes without documentation or audit processes can cause system downtime and security breaches from internal and external threats, while decreasing overall operational efficiency.

The Netwrix survey found that 65% of respondents have made changes that caused services to stop, and that 52% make changes that impact system downtime daily or weekly.

Also, 39% have made a change that was the root cause of a security breach and that 40% make changes that impact security daily or weekly.

The majority (62%) have little or no real ability to audit the changes they make, revealing serious gaps in meeting security best practice and compliance objectives, said Netwrix.

Just 23% have an auditing process or change auditing solution in place to validate changes are being entered into a change management solution.

“This data reveals that IT organisations are regularly making undocumented changes that impact system availability and security,” said Michael Fimin, CEO at Netwrix. “This is a risky practice that may jeopardise the security and performance of their business.”

He said IT managers and CIOs needed to evaluate the addition of change auditing to their change management processes. This will enable them to ensure that all changes, both documented and undocumented, are tracked so that answers can be quickly found in the event of a security breach or service outage, said Fimin.

“With roughly 90% of outages being caused by failed changes,” David Monahan, analyst, Enterprise Management Associates, “visibility into IT infrastructure changes is critical to maintaining a stable environment. Change auditing is also foundational to security and compliance requirements.”

 

 

Antony Savvas, Computerworld UK 

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