BMC TrueSight Server Automation Review

Takes away a lot of manual effort from IT, allowing them to remediate quickly and reduce risk

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is vulnerability management. We have the IT space scanned by vulnerability detection tools. The output of this then feeds into the TrueSight Server Automation. This allows the customer to essentially get quick visibility of the vulnerabilities across IT along with the potential risk across IT. Then, through server automation, it provides the ability to remediate these vulnerabilities quickly and efficiently.

It improves the security management and security operations within the business. It is just the case of taking the output from our scanning tools and presenting it to the people that need to see it, allowing them to remediate very quickly. It has the ability to link back very nicely to the ITSM side of things as well. Through linking with other orchestration run books, it allows them to raise changes, go through the change control process, and then close the loop once the vulnerability has been fixed.

It is also used for configuration management and compliance. However, the main use case is around vulnerability management with the SecOps teams and build & IT support teams utilizing the tool.

As a strategic partner (supplier), we are essentially responsible for much the OSS tooling within the UK organization. That doesn't just include Server Automation. We use a whole roster of BMC products, IBM tooling, Micro Focus tooling, and some other Telco native management platforms.

We are using version 8.8 and in the process of moving up to version 8.9.

How has it helped my organization?

It takes away a lot of manual effort. The reason that the business bought the tool in the first place was to allow them to work in a more efficient way. This tool allows them to manage the IT estate and reach across it, but then using the solution, it allows them to remediate quickly. It's essentially bringing the risk down within IT.

We have a number of different BMC tools that are installed and running, as part of the TrueSight family. We are not just using TrueSight Server Automation. We're using other TrueSight management tools, as well. We find that it links very nicely to the whole ecosystem. Our IT estate is scanned by vulnerability management tools, which then feeds into TrueSight Server Automation and TrueSight Vulnerability Management. This allows teams to essentially do their job in a more efficient manner.

It is bringing in efficiencies in a way that we can monitor compliance across IT. It is all about provisioning, configuration management, compliance, patch activities, reducing risk, and leveraging automation to do things more efficiently.

We use TrueSight Vulnerability Management. This sits above Server Automation, providing the SecOps teams with real time visibility of the vulnerabilities across IT. This allows them to prioritize what they need to do to remediate and fix. The reporting aspects are very good.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is its ability to remediate quickly and efficiently across a number of IT assets at the same time. It takes away manual efforts from the team to go out and fix those vulnerabilities through patching, conflict updates, etc.

While it's not my team which looks at the dashboards, SecOps users can manage vulnerabilities across the estate from a single pane of glass (from a single console). This allows the SecOps teams to then prioritize what is a more significant vulnerability than others.

What needs improvement?

The number of APIs available within the tool needs improvement. At the moment, we have a couple of different scanning tools used within the organization, but only one of those is integrated back into Server Automation. There is another tool that they use in another part of the business where it doesn't have an out-of-the-box adaptor for it. We would have to go and create or develop something bespoke to be able to integrate it with that scanning tool. Whereas, with the other scanning tool, there was an API available. To make it easier, I would like to have more APIs available for different scanning tools within that line of business.

For how long have I used the solution?

My customer brought in Server Automation around mid-June to July 2017.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been stable for us. It is not something which has caused us any issues. We will be doing an upgrade soon. That will be interesting, because that would probably be the first time we've actually done a major version uplift of the tool. It will be interesting to see how that pans out and see if it goes swimmingly, or will we have any issues with it? To date, we haven't had any problems, though.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's not something that we've come across yet. At the moment, the solution is integrated into probably 70 to 80 percent of the estate. We haven't had a need to scale up, although we probably will have a need in the future. For instance, we're just introducing the solution to services in private cloud. It will be interesting to see how that works. Apart from that, we haven't had a need to scale up. Though, there are plans to scale up going forward.

There is a different supplier to the supplier who I work running the tool day-to-day. It's for configuration management, compliance, and vulnerability management. The ability to patch and remediate through automation.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have had no issues nor problems with BMC's technical support. With TrueSight Server Automation, we haven't really had any need to speak to the support. The times that we have had to speak to support, we have had a quick turnaround. We have had no issues at this time with TrueSight Server Automation support from BMC.

How was the initial setup?

When you are installing any sort of new tool or application into the enterprise, not all enterprises are the same. We did have a few teething issues when we first stood it up, but that was fine. We got around those teething issues. The platform is there today working. We haven't really had any problems with the application. It has been running happily.

When we had our requirements integrate into a different scanning tool, we found that it isn't plug and play. There is bespoke development that needs to happen to be able to integrate it with those tools. This is something I would like them to improve.

What about the implementation team?

For deployment and maintenance, there is a team of about two or three people who have to do that. We have the solution incorporated as part of the standard build. If a new server gets rolled out into the network, it already has the prerequisites and agents there able to connect back into Server Automation to be managed by Server Automation. We have an efficient process of rolling out to new assets as we go forward.

I'm responsible for the evolution of the tool within our organization along with providing governance over how we take the solution forward and integrate it. The team of people who maintain TrueSight Server Automation, in terms of keeping the lights, are the SMEs. They are hands-on and do the development activity within the solution today.

Within the business, there is a standard process which has to be followed when making any sort of change or bringing in a new application:

  1. The relevant design document has to be created. 
  2. An interface spec has to be created. 
  3. All that needs to be approved. 
  4. It has to be set up in a test bed first. 
  5. There needs to be a period of QA testing. 
  6. User acceptance needs to happen before it can go live. 

This is a pretty standard process. When you look at the process and governance that needs to happen, six to eight months is about the right time.

What was our ROI?

The business case is there for ROI. It is definitely providing our customers value.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I don't know why TrueSight Server Automation was chosen. I wasn't involved in our customer's decision-making process. 

What other advice do I have?

Take a look at your scanning tools to see if you have adapters and APIs for TrueSight Server Automation or whether you would need to develop something bespoke. Do your due diligence around that.

Have an idea of the sort of use cases you want to use with the tool. Vulnerability management is just one aspect. Do you want to use the solution for things like server build, server provisioning, and application provisioning?

Who will be using the solution going forward? What services will be wrapped around the tool? Who will need the right level of permissions to do certain things? These are really important to know because Server Automation, whilst it's a very powerful tool, in the wrong hands with the wrong level of access, it could potentially become very problematic. It could be quite dangerous in the wrong hands. It's understanding who needs to have access to it and their level of permission. That needs to be governed and controlled!

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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