SREday 2023

14 - 15 Sep London, UK
Site Reliability Engineering Conference

Automation Best Practices for SRE and Security: Insights from Building a Workflow Automation Product

Sarjeel Yusuf

When building a workflow automation product, I noted different types of teams and organizations faced different issues with the automation they envisioned. Hence In this talk, I aim to outline best practices that can be distilled from all the ways seen that different teams were building automation.

SRE and Security teams face challenges in managing complex systems. Automation is an effective mechanism for response to disruptions and threats. However, when building a workflow automation product, I observed enterprise organizations set up unnecessary roadblocks, and smaller teams cutting corners to get immediate results. Hence in this session, I want to share my experience and interactions with customers across industries and growth stages and outline the best practices of automation that can be distilled from all these interactions. The best practices covered will include real-life examples of what some organizations are trying to do and how following the best practice helped their automation goal. Best practices covered: *Understand your processes (Inspired by an American E-medical startup) * Does it require human decisions * Does the process touch critical parts of the application * What context is needed to confidently automate. * Enable smart automation and not more automation. (Inspired by the processes set up by a multi-national Brewery) * Break down processes into reusable automation modules * Distribute automation templates across teams * Leverage context from applications as much as possible * Automate directly from where you want to kick off automation (Inspired by an English kitchen hardware retailer) * Integrate automation with your monitoring and alerting * Perform decisions where the team works * Leverage automation to gather more context than the average responder is aware of at the time of kicking off the automation. * Secure your automation (Inspired by an American airline company) * Perform strict access controls * Audit the actions taken by your workflow * Review permission escalations and leaks of sensitive information. * Manage your automation as you would any other service (Inspired by a large Canadian consultancy group): * Track the performance of all your automated workflows * Make changes in an automated workflow configuration go through a review process * Perform tests of each segment of the automation. * 5 example workflows illustrating the 5 best practices listed.

An engineer turned product manager and AWS Community Builder, exploring the next-gen DevOps Cloud Computing solutions to help facilitate advancements in how we build software. Sarjeel is passionate about all things Serverless and DevOps and often writes and speaks about how we can solve some of the crucial problems around increasing velocity and maintaining resiliency in cloud-based systems. Can be often found in cafes talking about the comedies of life while torturing his non-tech friends by relentlessly talking about the Cloud.

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