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Information Technology Digest:
Establishing
Stable Computer Environments
by Wolfgang Blauen, CISSP 
2. Change Control

In my last article I talked about some basic principals to help avoid computer outages and minimize their impact. To summarize:

  • Buy and maintain standard hardware and have spare computers of the same type.

  • Standardize on a software suite for your company that is the basis for all machines.

  • Limit user privileges to avoid user induced deviations from the standard package.

This time, Iíd like to talk a little about change control. Imagine a car you want to take on a 2000 mile trip on the highway. Would you opt to have a cutting edge, untested engine installed in your car while youíre on the road with 1500 miles to go?  Probably not!

Thatís exactly what change control is supposed to avoid. The principal is simple:  Thoroughly test prior to production installation.  Because you have a standardized hardware and software environment, you now have the opportunity to test new software and configurations thoroughly before you install them on the production computers.

You want to introduce a lifecycle process that, in simple steps, manages the installation of new components in your environment. What you want to look for are things like:

  • Does it break any of the existing features?

  • Does it work as expected after it is installed?

  • What is the correct procedure for the installation and configuration in your environment?

  • How can the installation be simplified?

  • How can it be protected?

 

(read on ...) 

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