Sysadmin 101: Automation
With all of the automation that’s already built in to servers these days, it’s easy to take for granted just how many mundane tasks sysadmin have had to perform in the past. The thing about performing the same task over and over by hand is that it is easy to make mistakes, and if it’s something you do every day, eventually you even may stop paying attention to whether your task succeeded. 4) Automation reduces documentation workload. Often instead of automating a task, a sysadmin team will spend time documenting a process. Following are a few different types of tasks that make good candidates for automation. In general, tasks that you perform frequently are good candidates for automation.
If you could document a process as a series of commands, and then copy and paste them one by one in a terminal and the task would be complete, that’s a repeatable task that may be a good candidate for automation. If a task has multiple steps, in particular steps that require you to take the output from one step and use it as input for another, or steps that use commands with a complex string of arguments are all great candidates for automation. The longer the tasks take to complete, the better a candidate it is for automation. My coworkers know that I enjoy automating myself out of my job, and sometimes in the past they have been surprised to learn that I haven’t automated a task that by all measures is a prime candidate for automation. Having automation in place to make package updates easy means administrators save time on a task they have to perform frequently.
As you write your automation, be careful to check that your tasks succeeded, and if not, alert the sysadmin to the problem. In general, approach automation as a way to free up your brain, time and expertise toward tasks that actually need them.
Video Content and Marketing Automation
With the intense focus on guiding buyers through the purchase process with valuable content and targeted nurture streams, as well as the development of video-based technology, marketing with video is a whole new ball game. That’s why, over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a phenomenal shift in the way marketers are using video. Video is one of your strongest marketing and demand gen assets. Not only can video help you generate leads directly with the help of email gates, pop-out CTA, and in-video forms, it can also be used to measure buyer interest and tailor content journeys accordingly. You’re not using video in your marketing automation platform to help you better understand your leads.
In a recent Demand Metric study, nearly 70% of respondents agreed that video engagement data is effective as a lead quality or business opportunity indicator, but only 9% of companies have actually integrated video viewing data with their CRM or marketing automation systems and are actively exploiting that data. According to Unruly, the enjoyment of a video increases purchase intent by 97%! And due to video’s linear nature, it’s actually easier to measure viewers’ engagement with these assets than many text-based content assets. If Jackson only watched 10% of the Product A feature video but 95% of the Product B feature video, you better bet you’d be sending him more information on Product B! How to Make the Most of Video in Your Marketing Automation Platform.
Vidyard and Marketo partnered to produce an ebook on making the most of video in marketing automation. Why video is an important component of your marketing programs. Why video and your marketing automation platform are a powerful combination. What video marketing metrics you must track to align with video goals and measure success.
Security Content Automation Protocol
Security Content Automation Protocol is a suite of open standards that enumerates software flaws, security related configuration issues, and product names; measures systems to determine the presence of vulnerabilities; and provides mechanisms to rank the results of these measurements in order to evaluate the impact of the discovered security issues. SCAP defines how these standards are used in unison to accomplish these capabilities. SCAP validation focuses on evaluating specific versions of vendor products, based on the platforms they support. Validation certificates will be awarded on a platform-by-platform basis for the version of the product that was validated. Currently, official SCAP content is primarily focused on Windows operating systems.
Thus, vendors seeking validation will be evaluated based on the ability of the product to operate on the Windows target platform. The SCAP Validation Program tests a product’s ability to use the features and functionality available through one or more of the capabilities. Under the SCAP Validation Program, independent laboratories are accredited by the NIST National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program. Accreditation requirements are defined in NIST Handbook 150, and NIST Handbook 150-17. Independent laboratories conduct the tests contained in this document on information technology security products and deliver the results to NIST.
Based on the independent laboratory test report, the SCAP Validation Program then validates the product under test based on the independent laboratory test report. The validation certificates awarded to vendor products will be publicly posted on the NIST SCAP Validated Tools web page. Vendors of validated products will be provided with a logo that can be used to indicate a product’s validation status.