Manager Task #4: Building a Test Environment

Patches can break things, changes can cause downtime, and users get cranky. All of this can be avoided by thoroughly testing patches and changes in a test environment prior to rolling them out.

December 4, 2017

About This Challenge

Many clients we work with are surprised that their team needs access to a test environment. Do you and your team have access to a test environment? Either using virtualization or a physical environment? Hopefully, your IT department has access to a lab so that your staff can test changes before rolling them out. Without testing changes, chaos ensues.

Virtualization has made getting a test environment set up even easier, too! By utilizing tools such as VMWare and Microsoft’s Hyper-V, you can mimic your production network, take snapshots of systems before changes, and roll changes back by reverting to a prior snapshot. Testing, and undoing things when they go wrong, has never been easier!

Disclaimer: Ensure any activities undertaken on your work network are allowed by your corporate policy and approved by management at your organization.

Follow The Instructions To Complete Today’s Network Defender Task:

Feel free to download the PDF version of the directions for your review.

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For this challenge, you will be evaluating your team’s testing environment situation.

If you do not have a testing environment,we highly suggest acquiring one. Test environments can be low cost. Several hundred dollars can get you an older, used Dell server (like a 710, with 96GB or more of RAM). This can easily run several VMs and allow you to test changes and patches. This would be a great starting point towards a robust test environment for those without one. If that’s seems like too much to spend, consider the costs associated with your last change that caused an outage. Chances are, in the long run, a test environment will save you money.

To complete this task, complete the following tasks and answer any questions about your environment:

1. Does your organization have a test environment?

2a. If not, examine popular virtualization options, such as HyperV, VMWare, and others, price out hardware, and consider putting a department proposal together.

2b. If so, is all of your team trained on the importance of testing and the tactical process of testing?

3. Review your test environment. Or your team’s testing needs if you do not yet have an environment.

Whether or not your testing environment is built yet, consider these questions in your review)

4. How often is your test environment refreshed so that it is an exact duplicate of production?

5. Is your test environment reachable from the production network, or isolated? (There are definite security benefits to isolating it).

6. How is your test environment monitored and maintained?

7. Who has access to the testing environment and owns the responsibility of its maintenance?

8. Are policies and procedures for the test environment documented? Is the documentation up-to-date?

Once you’ve followed these directions, scroll down to mark this challenge complete.

Once You’ve Completed This Task Click This Button.

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If your company will not allow you to perform the above task. Please read this security article and click the button above.

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