Overview of the Configuration Management Policy
The Configuration Management Policy is designed to establish a structured approach to managing the various components of information technology systems within an organization. It ensures that all system configurations are known, documented, and maintained in a consistent state. The policy is critical for minimizing the risk of system outages, security breaches, and data loss, which can result from improper management of system configurations.
Key Points of the Configuration Management Policy
The policy is comprehensive and covers a range of topics that are essential for effective configuration management. Below is a summary of the key points outlined in the policy's table of contents:
Configuration Management Plan
A plan must be developed to guide the management of system configurations.
Policies, Standards, and Processes
The policy should define the purpose, scope, roles, responsibilities, and compliance requirements for configuration management.
Configuration Management Plan Contents
The plan should include mandatory configuration settings and procedures for managing exceptions and changes.
Configuration Control Program
A program must be in place to control and maintain the integrity of system configurations and documentation.
Configuration and Operational Baseline
Baselines must be established to provide a reference point for current and future configurations.
Current Baseline Configurations
Systems must be maintained according to the established baselines to ensure security and functionality.
Procedures must be implemented to ensure configurations meet security standards.
Automation should be used to manage, apply, and verify configuration settings.
Operating System Controls
Operating systems must have specific technical controls in place as part of their baseline configuration.
Overall Change Management
Changes to systems must be controlled to prevent corruption of critical systems.
Change Control and Archival
All changes must be documented and archived for future reference.
Proposed System Changes
Proposed changes must be reviewed to ensure they do not compromise system security.
Equipment, Software, and Procedural Changes
Changes to equipment, software, and procedures must be managed consistently.
Systems must be tested for security and impact before production implementation.
Testing in Production
Testing in production environments should be minimized to avoid disruptions.
Test plans must be developed for configuration changes and include procedures for reversal.
A strategy must be in place for reverting changes if necessary.
Procedures for recovering from unsuccessful changes must be defined.
Changes must be approved based on business requirements and security implications.
Automated updates for critical systems should be avoided to maintain control.
Only approved programs should be present on operational systems.
Security change controls must be included in contracts for outsourced development.
A migration plan must be in place for systems no longer supported by vendors.
Mobile Device Changes
Changes to mobile devices must follow a formal change management process.
Virtual Machine Image Integrity
The integrity of virtual machine images must be maintained and validated.
Access to source code must be controlled to prevent unauthorized changes.
Access to source libraries must be controlled to protect program integrity.
Separation of Environments
Separation must be maintained between operational, test, and development environments.
Tools must be used to detect unauthorized configuration changes.
Continuous Monitoring Strategy
A strategy for continuous monitoring of compliance must be developed.
Automated Compliance Tools
Automated tools should be used for compliance monitoring when possible.
Technical Compliance Checks
Technical checks must be performed to ensure interoperability and compliance.
Security Control Monitoring
Ongoing monitoring of security controls is required.
Annual Compliance Reviews
Reviews must be conducted annually to ensure compliance and address issues.
Results and Recommendations
Findings from compliance reviews must be documented and approved by management.
Risk assessments must be conducted to support configuration management efforts.
Security Configuration Checks
Annual security checks must be performed on critical systems.
Access by suppliers must be controlled and monitored.
Unauthorized software must be identified and blocked on critical systems.
Unauthorized Software Blocking
A blacklist of unauthorized software must be enforced to prevent execution.
The Configuration Management Policy is a critical document that provides a framework for managing the complex configurations of IT systems. It addresses the need for consistency, security, and control in the face of constant changes and updates to technology. By adhering to the policy, organizations can mitigate risks associated with misconfigurations and ensure that their systems operate effectively and securely.
For those interested in implementing a Configuration Management Policy, we have a template available for purchase. This template can serve as a starting point for developing a comprehensive policy tailored to your organization's specific needs.