IT Security News & Blog

What is a ServiceNow Closed-Loop Change Management Process?

Posted: 21 August 2018

If you or your organisation uses the very popular ServiceNow solution for change management, how do you accurately ensure that intended changes were delivered as requested and approved? Do you assume changes have been made successfully and correctly, if there was no post-change feedback, whether it be negative or not?

This is the reality for a significant number of well meaning organisations, who implement change control processes which follow the traditional request, approve and execute, yet fail to close the loop by verifying that change was correct as per the original request.

Also factor in that up to 80% of unplanned outages are due to the lack of closed-loop change management process and follow-up controls. With the average detection of an unplanned or incorrect change being 190 days or more.

One way to plug the gap in your change management process is to .implement a closed-loop system, by adding a feedback element as a final step.

Have you heard of the CIS benchmarks? Take a look at our blog entitled "Six Essential Things to Know About CIS Benchmarks" to learn more.

 

Closed-Loop Change Management

Change management systems such as ServiceNow provide an API for integration with complimentary systems. NNT Change Tracker is just one such complimentary system which has become the first to be awarded as an approved ServiceNow integration partner.

The Change Tracker solution uses an agent deployed onto operating systems, applications and network devices to monitor for any occurance of change. Usually alerting a IT team or support staff where there is an unplanned change, however in this case informing the ServiceNow Solution as a feedback loop.

The two solutions effectively function as a closed-loop change management ecosystem, as can be seen in the six step diagram below.

closed-loop-change-control-nnt-servicenow

  1. A change request is submitted to service now and follows the usual change management process for review and approval.

  2. Once approved, ServiceNow will record the changes to be made; when the changes are to be made; and will inform the NNT Change Tracker solution.

  3. NNT Change Tracker will create a new planned change schedule, reflecting those expected changes.

  4. When the changes are made, the NNT Change Tracker will assess and record any detected changes.

  5. The changes are reconciled against the planned change schedule.

  6. Changes which are expected are ignored; any changes which are outside of the planned change schedule are reported back to the ServiceNow change request for investigation.

 

Benefits to a Closed-Loop Process

There are a number of major benefits to implementing a closed-loop change management process, some of which we have listed here:

  • Changes which have been approved can be confirmed as executed.
  • Deviations in changes from those that were approved are recorded and can be investigated as a follow up action. 
  • Reduce the industry average of 190 days to detect an unplanned change to minutes.
  • Correct those unplanned changes quickly, to avoid unnecessary service outages which could result.
  • Automate the entire change management and verification process, saving you time, resources and ultimately costs.
  • Especially in the case of NNT Change Tracker and ServiceNow, an approved integration is supported by the two vendors and thoroughly tested for success.

In reality, in a well-run secure IT environment, most unplanned changes will be emergency changes or unexpected changes such as automatic software updates. They may not be dangerous changes or malicious activity, but as non-approved changes, they must be reviewed.

The beauty of this approach is that it ensures that any suspicious and potentially dangerous unexpected changes are clearly highlighted and categorized as critical.

If you would like to speak to one of our consultants about NNT Change Tracker and ServiceNow integration, you can book an online meeting with us today.

 

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Topics: Change Control, NNT, ServiceNow, Closed-Loop, Change Tracker

Chris Payne

Written by Chris Payne

Managing Director - Advanced Cyber Solutions