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IT automation can help in the battle against some of the most frustrating, time-consuming, and manual tasks that take up so much of your team’s time. You’re fighting against inefficiency and security risks, all while trying to manage larger initiatives and goals. Automating formerly manual IT tasks like provisioning servers, deploying software, and patching systems can make a massive difference and streamline your IT operations — the only question is, where do you begin?
We’ll explore the definition of IT automation, its many benefits, and some specific use cases for IT automation across different industries. We’ll also provide you with some helpful tips for deploying IT automation at scale along with tactics for staying secure and compliant.
IT automation describes the automation of a formerly manual IT process using tools and technology to create a repeatable deployment.
It’s a short definition: IT tasks that take manual effort can become transformed into an automated process. This can include compliance configurations, patches for apps being used by the organization, and even the standardized login message on a sign in screen. With such a broad definition, let’s dig in a little bit further.
From keeping your infrastructure compliant at scale to provisioning resources, the scope of IT automation software can cover a broad range of use cases. How do you know if your organization is ready for IT automation? How do you start taking stock of current manual processes that can be replaced by automation? It’s important to understand and clearly lay out realistic goals for IT automation, which is where a deeper understanding of capabilities comes in handy.
Read on for the full scope of what IT automation software can do >>
As you better understand what automation can do, it’s easy to become overwhelmed — from our view, starting out with automating simple tasks will give you the best return on your investment. The larger or more complex the project, the more time you will need to spend building, testing, and troubleshooting.
Get practical how-to steps for automating your first task >>
One of the best ways to put automation to work is through configuration management, allowing you to enforce system rules across your infrastructure. Using a platform like Puppet, you can also receive an automatic report about configuration changes that take place, assisting with compliance efforts (which we will explore in later sections).
Explore how automated configuration management works >>
Reduced cost, improved security, and overall efficiency are just a few of the reasons that organizations turn to IT automation to tackle some of their most common IT tasks and challenges.
Your team has enough to do — why not reduce some of the time that they spend on repetitive tasks? Reclaim some of the time that your team could be spending on larger goals and initiatives with automation.
IT departments cover a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. From server maintenance, incident response, user management, to compliance, the IT department is responsible for working with other departments to make sure IT needs are met. Automation can help make a functional IT team that much more efficient, responsive, and helpful to the larger org.
Read why automation is such a powerful tool for IT Operations >>
Struggle with unplanned outages and downtime? Constantly battling the endless cycle of testing and validation in your development process? Consistency and speed are both ways that automation can help with common operational challenges — and it all starts with first finding the places that you struggle:
See which specific operational challenges automation can help address >>
We’ve talked about the benefits of IT automation, and described some of the ways that it can be used to address common operational concerns. Now let’s go further to talk about specific use cases and examples that can help you envision what’s possible with a strong IT automation strategy.
Event-driven automation is an action triggered within a system (think: cloud events, ticketing, incidents, git events, etc.) that causes a custom reaction. If there is a security breach for example, an instance could be shut down automatically while waiting for analysis from someone on IT. This kind of proactive response is great for supporting compliance and security initiatives, all without the need of human intervention the moment something goes wrong.
Dive further into the benefits of event-driven automation >>
Another way that automation can be used to streamline and improve accuracy is within software deployment. Infrastructure as Code (Iac), Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) Pipelines, and service orchestrations are places within deployment that can benefit from automation.
Check out a cheat sheet to deployment automation >>
Government agencies are required to adhere to some of the strictest compliance standards across all industries — which makes them a great candidate for automation to save time and enforce compliance across their infrastructure. Even if you’re not working within government, seeing a strong use case in action can benefit other regulated industries like healthcare and finance.
Read more about the use case of automation technology in government >>
There’s one place where IT automation truly excels, providing organizations with responsive support when things go wrong — and that is in security and compliance. This is a use-case that Puppet was built to support, automating compliance configurations to help your organization stay secure. But how does it work, and what kind of compliance requirements can IT automation assist with? We have a few key resources that can help:
Managing your compliance and security configurations is critical — but managing against changing industry requirements, constant threat of cyberattack, and across different environments makes this job difficult. Automation can help in this use case, automatically applying configurations in line with common regulatory standards from places like The Center for Internet Security (CIS).
Watch a webinar to learn how to automate compliance configurations >>
Aside from configuration, automation can also help you take a proactive approach to the security-related tasks are that are known as “putting out fires.” These urgent and time-sensitive tasks can include breach detection, response, testing, compliance enforcement, and more. Since it’s not possible for your IT to be on call 24/7, why not automate some of these security responses?
Learn how to make your security program proactive with automation >>
You know what IT automation is capable of, you know where it can potentially solve problems within your organization — now what? We have a few tips for scaling your automation experience, as well as exploring the functionality of agentless automation for your next project.
Did you know some of the largest Puppet customers run more than 100,000 nodes? Scaling critical automation functions like compliance enforcement generally means you’ll need to separate your database into its own server or HA cluster. A platform like Puppet makes scaling automation easy, since it already works within these considerations — no matter if you’re running 2,500 nodes or 100,000.
Learn more about scaling automation >>
One solution to simplify complex installation + configuration on a server is to work with agentless automation. Agentless automation allows you to control your commands from a centralized, single location. This can make it easy to execute automation tasks as needed and is great for small to midsize organizations who want to keep their code base smaller.
Explore the benefits of agentless automation >>
It doesn’t matter if your infrastructure is on-premises, in the cloud, or in the hybrid cloud — Puppet can help you automate the critical IT tasks that can reduce manual work, increase efficiency, and save your team time.
Get your infrastructure in a consistent, compliant, and reliable place with IT automation — it’s what Puppet is built to handle and support.
Just starting out with IT automation, or want to see what Puppet can do without committing to a full instance of Puppet Enterprise? You can try Puppet Enterprise for free, with no commitment or time limit.
Try Puppet Enterprise for IT Automation