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How Automation Can Prevent IT Outages Caused by Human Error

According to a recent report from the Uptime Institute, nearly 40% of all major IT outages are caused by human error. This can result from a misconfiguration of systems, failure to follow standard operating procedures, and lack of training on new technologies. And whilst human error is inevitable, automation can help prevent IT outages caused by these errors.


Benefits of automation

1) Eliminate human error

Automation can help to eliminate the potential for human error by taking on repetitive tasks, reducing the need for manual intervention and increasing the accuracy and consistency of IT operations. The nature of building out automated systems requires the definition and enforcement of standardised processes and procedures, making it easier for IT teams to follow best practices and avoid costly mistakes by removing the need for human intervention.


2) Improve reliability

In addition to these benefits, automation can also help to improve the continuous reliability of IT operations. Automated systems can be programmed to detect and respond to incidents, helping to reduce the risk of an incident cascading into a major outage, otherwise known as auto-remediation. With auto-remediation, IT teams can ensure that their systems are highly reliable and quick to recover when incidents inevitably occur.


3) Maintain consistency

Another advantage of automation is that it can help to maintain consistency and accuracy across IT operations. Automated systems can be programmed to perform tasks in a consistent and repeatable manner, ensuring that all tasks are completed in the same way every time. This helps to reduce the risk of errors caused by variations in human performance, and ensures that IT operations are reliable and predictable.


4) Reduce toil / effort to keep the lights on

One of the key benefits of automation is that it can help to reduce the time required to complete routine tasks. This means that IT staff can focus on more complex tasks that require human intervention, such as troubleshooting and problem-solving. By automating routine tasks, IT teams can reduce the risk of human error and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.

Automation challenges in complex organisations.

Realising these benefits can be challenging, especially when implementing automation in enterprise IT operations.


1) Complexity creates dependencies and unknowns

Complex enterprises often have a large number of interdependent systems and processes across a range of legacy and next-gen technologies. Without a clear view of the full environment, automating or making changes to one process can have a ripple effect on other processes, with potentially disastrous (if unintended) consequences.

Organisations therefore need a way to capture and codify both design-time and run-time state. Cloudsoft AMP enables you to create rich design-time blueprints, capturing architecture, policies, runbooks and more. And at run-time, AMP enables runtime state to be visualised in a single, contextualised view, because it maintains a consistent model across regions, platforms and environments.

2) Integrating and triangulating data

Complex enterprises often have data stored in multiple locations, in different formats, and with varying levels of quality. This can make it difficult to develop automation solutions that can integrate all of the data and enable more agile operations.

Cloudsoft AMP can triangulate and integrate data from multiple sources, for example:

  • templates and resources in Terraform, Kubernetes, VMWare and public cloud
  • metrics from AppDynamics, New Relic and more
  • ITSM and SCM systems, such as GitHub, ServiceNow, Jira and more

In combination with AMP's rich models, this data can then be used to automate any operation, invoking advanced automation workflows in response to runtime events such as component failures, incident creation or resource creation.


3) Enabling collaboration and composability

Automation is not just a technical challenge, it's a very human challenge too. Complex enterprises often have a large number of stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, and regulatory bodies. Each has different needs and requirements, which can make it hard to develop cohesive automation solutions that tick everyone's boxes.

By capturing and modelling critical team knowledge, which can be shared across the organisation, AMP reduces the risk of staff becoming a single-point of failure, speeds up onboarding and breaks down operational silos.


Final thoughts

To sum up human error may be a major cause of IT outages, but automation can help to introduce consistency to prevent these incidents and improve reliability. However, implementing automation in enterprise IT operations can be challenging due to complexity, integrating and triangulating data, and enabling collaboration and composability.

Fortunately, Cloudsoft AMP provides a solution to these challenges by enabling the capture and codification of design-time models and run-time state, triangulating and integrating data from multiple sources, and enabling collaboration and composability. With the help of automation, IT teams can improve the reliability and efficiency of their operations, reduce the risk of human error, and focus on more complex, interesting, tasks that require human intervention.

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