Sam Bocetta is a retired defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, a defense analyst, and a freelance journalist, and is not employed by Red Hat.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many IT leaders to focus on short-term, tactical goals.
While there are plenty of open source tools available to help with these processes, many sysadmins will have concerns about the security, reliability, and integrity of the code that comes with them.
In other words, responding to short-term changes in their work environments has made many IT leaders realize that they need a more strategic way to manage their open source components. This is where the Red Hat subscription comes in.
In this article, I’ll take a look at the key benefits of a Red Hat subscription, whether this is in managing long-term business transformations or short-term adaptations to global health crises.
Flexibility and sustainability
There are many critical benefits behind a Red Hat subscription, but perhaps the most important one can be put simply: it provides you with flexible access to a huge range of open source software while also ensuring that all the components you choose are well-supported.
In comparison to other open source management tools, this means that IT leaders are able to quickly adapt their software infrastructure to short-term business needs without having to worry about introducing vulnerabilities into their systems, or about technical support for them being removed.
The increased flexibility and sustainability that the subscription model provides is useful even outside times of crisis, however. According to a recent Red Hat report, 69% of IT leaders said that open source software plays a strategic role in their enterprise, but many also reported concerns about the security of unmanaged open source code found across the web or brought in through dependencies. The Red Hat subscription model has been developed to address those concerns.
Accordingly, a Red Hat subscription includes a set of assurances regarding the ongoing sustainability of your software architecture. This includes product upgrades throughout the lifecycle of software components, quality testing and assurance of all components available through Red Hat, and protection from legal and financial harm caused by these came components.
One of the primary dangers of short-term crisis adaptation is that in rushing to implement new software, even the most experienced IT leader can introduce security vulnerabilities into their codebase.
Historically, this has been a particular problem for companies that rely on open source software, because much of this software comes packaged with dependent libraries that can be difficult to audit for security vulnerabilities. A Red Hat subscription ensures IT leaders, that, whatever tools are needed to respond to a crisis have been rigorously tested and verified to be secure.
Let’s take a specific example. During the current crisis, and the huge rise in remote working that it has precipitated, many IT leaders are rushing to implement online backups for their Linux systems, and to improve cloud security so that cloud systems can be used by offsite workers.
Though there are many open source tools available to accomplish both of these outcomes, many teams will simply not have the time and resources to audit their cybersecurity before implementation. By using a Red Hat subscription, these teams can be assured that whatever components they reach for in a crisis will be secure.
A final, critical component in crisis management is the ability to learn from your peers. Because of the unique position that Red Hat occupies within the open source community, a Red Hat subscription allows IT leaders to draw on a wealth of community knowledge and tried-and-tested solutions to common issues.
This is true in at least two ways. The Red Hat Knowledgebase gives subscribers access to a huge number of articles, solutions, and product documentation relevant to their problem: everything from the basics of Linux use to strategies for streamlining compliance processes. IT leaders can browse technical case studies that have been designed and tested by their peers, and provide off-the-shelf solutions to both common and rare software implementation processes.
A Red Hat subscription also comes packaged with direct support. With a premium subscription, customers have access to technical support 24x7. Unlike many similar support networks, customers need not justify or reproduce an issue in order to seek help from our engineers, and can even contact them in advance of implementation to discuss any likely issues with their development plan.
Tactics and strategy
Although the value of open source software subscription models is often cast in terms of long-term strategic development, in reality, there is an intimate connection between strategic tools and their short-term, tactical deployment. The companies who have best responded to the COVID-19 pandemic are those who had invested in flexible, well-supported tools before the crisis.
In other words, ensuring business continuity when facing short-term challenges should not come at the cost of your long-term sustainability. While the current crisis is likely to lead to dramatic changes in the way that IT leaders conceive of their systems, the open source tools you reach for should not undermine security and should be available long into the future. That’s what a Red Hat subscription provides.
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