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ServiceNow Discovery: Optimising your ITOM Strategy

Two years ago, Gartner made a couple of predictions; by 2020 some 30% of cyber breaches would be off the back of Shadow IT, while more than 25% of enterprise attacks would involve IoT – although IoT would only account for 10% of IT security budgets.

The conclusion was that organisations would allow Shadow IT to spiral out of control, while budgets to combat breaches would remain small or even be cut back – just as the breaches themselves would continue to increase.

You can’t protect what you don’t know exists and many organisations are finding that out the hard way as they suffer outages, downtime, security breaches and the like. And this is not lost on employees and customers who are becoming increasingly vocal about the security of their data.

But the solution is simple. All organisations need to have visibility into their enterprise infrastructure and achieving this visibility requires reliable configuration data. Once an organisation has that it will be able to track and identify problems with assets before they occur.

Discovery – providing resources visibility

The key solution is intelligent, automated, real-time visibility into enterprise infrastructure and services. By using ServiceNow® Discovery tool to provide true resources visibility across a customer’s organisation, this ensures that what the IT team is doing is aligned to the organisation’s security and business goals.

Discovery gives customers the visibility into their IT infrastructure and monitors any changes that occur. The tool uses agentless, automated and intelligent technology to track (and discover) an organisation’s physical and virtual devices such as mobile phones, laptops, desktops, servers, applications etc as well as the relationships between them both on-premise and in the cloud.

Ultimately, Discovery helps to maintain the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) to ensure it remains relevant and up to date. Moreover, it provides mechanisms for change management, giving change requestors the ability to validate modification to Configuration Items (CIs), so updating the CMDB. Discovery operates on-demand or on a scheduled basis to ensure the accuracy of the CIs underpinning the CMDB.

The tool uses identifiers to search the CMDB for CIs that match assets discovered in the infrastructure. These identifiers can be configured to instruct Discovery to take action when asset matches are made, or not made, to maintain data integrity. When AWS or Azure, for example, make changes to their cloud environments, these events trigger Discovery to detect the changes that have taken place and then update the CIs and appropriate relationships. This ensures up-to-date accuracy of the CMDB and real-time visibility into virtual and cloud environments.

Elsewhere, Discovery is integrated with Service Mapping to form a unified architecture for discovering enterprise hybrid environments and serverless infrastructure services. All this data is kept in sync with the CMDB. The value of all this to the organisation is a more effective analysis of the CIs and CMDB and proactive problem resolution.

The benefits of the ITOM Discovery application

An organisation without an ITOM strategy is like a world without social media or the Internet. Simply unthinkable. ITOM applications such as Discovery provide organisations with the visibility of their IT operations, oversee the health of their infrastructure, optimise service delivery and help to cut costs and wastage.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced outages and downtimes – everyone knows outages and downtimes cost money. When paired with Service Mapping application, Discovery introduces proactive measures instead of break-fix methodologies.
  • Accurate data – Discovery keeps the CMDB up to date and reduces inaccurate data caused by human error.
  • Reduced risk - resulting from inaccurate data such as paying unnecessary hardware maintenance fees, incurring software compliance penalties, an inability to pinpoint disruptions.
  • Accelerated time to value – with the ability to rapidly configure and launch a secure, agentless discovery of on-premise and cloud resources and their relationships.
  • Improved efficiency – change management, a standard feature of the discovery application, helps ensure that CI changes are accurate and up-to-date on the CMDB.

This article was inspired by our video ‘ITOM Discovery - Best Practices for Populating your CMDB’ recorded by Phil Davies, FlyForm CEO and Adam Haylock, Senior Solutions Consultant at ServiceNow.

By Phil Davies
6th Jun 2019