Enable Guardrails sync to ServiceNow

Prerequisites

Before you get started, if you have not already completed, follow the Importing a ServiceNow instance into Guardrails integration guide to associate your ServiceNow instance to Turbot Guardrails.

Install Turbot Guardrails ServiceNow Cloud Mods

Beyond the @turbot/servicenow mod already installed as part of the ServiceNow instance import above, there are other ServiceNow mods which need to be installed in your Guardrails workspace. These mods enable the policies and controls for the applicable cloud resources you would like to sync into your ServiceNow CMDB.

Example of related cloud mods:

  • @turbot/servicenow-aws
    • @turbot/servicenow-aws-ec2
    • @turbot/servicenow-aws-iam
    • ...
  • @turbot/servicenow-azure
    • @turbot/servicenow-azure-compute
    • @turbot/servicenow-azure-sql
    • ...
  • @turbot/servicenow-gcp
    • @turbot/servicenow-gcp-compute
    • @turbot/servicenow-gcp-storage
    • ...

Note: Each mod will have dependencies to other mods. For example, the @turbot/servicenow-aws-s3 mod depends on the other Turbot Guardrails mod related to aws-s3, @turbot/aws-s3.

Install the mods that align to the cloud resources Turbot Guardrails is already managing, that you would like to sync to ServiceNow.

Setup Guardrails Watches for deletions and archiving

No action is needed as the default policy is Enforce: Enabled on the Watches controls.

In rare use cases you may need to adjust along with your Customer Success SME. For background about the policy and control:

The ServiceNow > Turbot > Watches control is essential for managing the deletion or archiving of records in ServiceNow when resources are deleted. Upon deletion, depending on the Configuration Item policy settings below, Guardrails will remove or archive resources directly in ServiceNow if they are no longer active in the cloud provider.

Policies that are already set are:

  • ServiceNow > Turbot > Watches > AWS
  • ServiceNow > Turbot > Watches > Azure
  • ServiceNow > Turbot > Watches > GCP

Tables and Configuration Items

Guardrails can directly manage tables and records in your ServiceNow instance to sync cloud resource data.

Table and Configuration Item sync policies

Once you have the applicable mods installed, new policies and controls will be added to the associated cloud resource type in Turbot Guardrails, AWS > S3 > Bucket.

The primary function of the sync control is to ensure that cloud resources discovered and continously updated from AWS, Azure, and GCP in the Guardrail's CMDB is also extended to the ServiceNow system and CMDB tables. This synchronization is automatic and occurs whenever the data in the Guardrail CMDB is updated.

Table management

The sync depends on defining a ServiceNow table to sync the records to. Each cloud resource type (AWS S3 Buckets, Azure Compute Instances, etc) are associated to their own table in the ServiceNow CMDB. Syncing can occur on:

  • New tables managed by Guardrails, e.g. cmdb_ci_guardrails
  • Extension tables managed by Guardrails, e.g. cmdb_ci_aws_s3_bucket extends global table cmdb_ci_cloud_storage_account.
  • Existing tables in SNOW, managed by Guardrails, e.g. cloud_ci

Creating or modifying tables

The Table management policy types follow a similar policy construct to the Configuration Item policies below:

  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Table
  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Table > Definition

To either create a new table or modify an existing one (such as adding new columns), you can use the following table policies per cloud resource type like for AWS > S3 > Buckets.

  • AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Table
    • Defines if the table is enabled for the cloud resource type
    • Defaults to Skip, set to Enforce: Configured to create or associate the table
  • AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Table > Definition
    • Defines the details of the table that will be created / associated.
    • Defaults to common metadata from each cloud resource type in AWS, Azure and GCP.
    • Can adjust table columns that are associated to the sync, or create your own.

Working with tables from Guardrails or in ServiceNow:

  • When a table name is changed:
    • If the table name is modified in the Turbot Guardrails policy, a new ServiceNow table with the necessary columns is created. However, the original table remains, leading to two tables - the existing one and the newly created one with the changed name.
    • If the table name is modified in ServiceNow, an update to the Guardrails policy is required to reflect the new name of the table.
    • ServiceNow imposes restrictions on changing the Extends Table once the table is created.
  • When a column is added:
    • If a new column is added in the Turbot Guardrails policy, it results in the creation of that column in the corresponding ServiceNow table.
    • If a new column is added in ServiceNow, the Turbot Guardrail policy will need to be updated to relate to the new field
  • When a column is altered:
    • Data type: Once a column is created in ServiceNow, its data type cannot be changed. If a change in data type is attempted via the Guardrails policy, the control will indicate an invalid state.
    • Size: ServiceNow permits increasing the size of a column, but reducing it below the size of the largest existing data entry is not allowed. The Guardrails policy only supports increasing the column size and does not allow for a size reduction.
    • Name: Changing a column's name in the Guardrails policy configuration leads to adding a new column with the new name in the ServiceNow table. The original column remains unchanged. If the column name is changed in ServiceNow, it is treated as a new column and needs to be remapped in the Guardrails policy.

Configuration Items syncing

Once the table in ServiceNow is set up, the next step is to configure the Configuration Item (CI) sync control. The purpose of this control is to handle the actual process of synchronizing data from Guardrail's CMDB to the ServiceNow table per the cloud resource type in scope.

The CI sync control is managed through a specific policy format in Guardrails. This policy directs how data from various cloud resource types is synced to ServiceNow. The following is the structure for the CI sync policies:

  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Configuration Item
  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Configuration Item > Record
  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Configuration Item > Table Definition

Examples include AWS S3 buckets, Azure Compute instances, GCP SQL instance, etc, each with their respective paths in the policy hierarchy.

  • AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item
    • Sets whether the CI will be synced.
    • By default the policy is set to Skip, can be set to Enforce: Sync (other options below).
  • AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item > Record
    • Defines how records are identified, e.g tags column data comes from $.bucket.tags data in the Guardrails CMDB.
    • Defaults to common data inputs and matches the column definition defaulted in AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Table > Definition. Further details on adjusting the inputs for different source data, and alignment to new or changed columns from the Table Definition.
  • AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item > Table Definition
    • Defines where the table definition configurations are located. Can be updated for advanced use cases to adjust application scope, tables to sync to, etc.
    • Defaults are set for most use cases and would not be required to adjust at least for when getting started. Although it defaults to the name defined in AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Table > Definition, you have the option to direct the data to an existing table of your choice.

Further details about the CI sync controls

To illustrate the setup process of sync control, let's use the example of synchronizing an AWS S3 Bucket:

  1. Policy Configuration:
  • Set the policy path AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item to Enforce: Sync. This setting enforces the synchronization process between Guardrails and ServiceNow.
    • "Check: Archived": Confirms if the data has been archived. If it has not been archived, the control status is set to alarm.
    • "Check: Deleted": Verifies whether the data has been deleted from the ServiceNow table. If not deleted, the control status changes to alarm.
    • "Check: Sync": Checks if the data in the Guardrails CMDB is synchronized with the ServiceNow table.
    • "Enforce: Archived": This action archives the record in the ServiceNow table.
    • "Enforce: Deleted": This action deletes the record in the ServiceNow table.
    • "Enforce: Sync": Ensures data synchronization. Data will be removed from the ServiceNow table once it is deleted from the Guardrails CMDB.
    • "Enforce: Sync, archive on Delete": This policy enforces data synchronization and dictates that data should be archived in ServiceNow when it is deleted from the Guardrails CMDB.
  1. Data Mapping:

Configure the mapping in AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item > Record. This involves defining how each piece of data in the Guardrails CMDB corresponds to a column in ServiceNow. To populate the added columns dynamically, the Configuration Item policy can define where the data comes from. In this example, the bucket_name, account_id, and tags in the Guardrails CMDB are mapped to their respective columns in ServiceNow. Any changes in these data points in the Guardrails will automatically update the corresponding columns in ServiceNow.

bucket_name: {{ $.resource.data.Name }}
account_id: {{ $.resource.metadata.aws.accountId }}
region: {{ $.resource.metadata.aws.regionName }}
tags: {{ $.resource.turbot.tags }}
bucket_name: "notify-bucket",
account_id: "123456789012",
region: "us-east-1",
tags: {"foo": "bar"}
  1. Table Definition:

In AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item > Table Definition, you can define the specific table name in ServiceNow where the data will be synchronized. Although it defaults to the name defined in AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Table > Definition, you have the option to direct the data to an existing table of your choice.

table:
name: cmdb_aws_s3_bucket
label: AWS > S3 > Bucket
extendsTable: cmdb_ci_cloud_storage_account

Mappings of which columns to create are simple to define in the Table Definition policy:

columns:
- name: bucket_name
label: Bucket Name
- name: account_id
label: Account ID
- name: region
label: Region
- name: tags
size: 1000
type: string
label: Cloud Tags
  1. Archiving records in ServiceNow Archiving is a strategic process to retain records that are not actively used but are still valuable for historical or compliance purposes.

When AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item is set to Enforce: Sync, data will be removed from the ServiceNow table once it is deleted from the Guardrails CMDB (when the cloud resource is deleted).

When AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item is set to Enforce: Enforce: Sync, archive on Delete, data will NOT be removed from the ServiceNow table, it will be archived. Archival is a specific attribute or column, such as status which is updated to indicate archival.

For instance, in a table like aws_s3_bucket, if the record bucket1 is to be archived, its status would be updated as follows:

Before Archiving:

bucket_name region status
bucket1 us-east-1
bucket2 us-east-1

After Archiving:

bucket_name region status
bucket1 us-east-1
bucket2 us-east-1 archived

The status column archived value can be defined as any name:value in the AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Table Definition policy:

tableName: "x_1138485_guardr_0_guardrails_aws_s3_bucket"
archiveColumns:
status: "archived"

Note: the status column should be defined in the AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Configuration Item > Table Definition as well.

Import sets

Guardrails can also sync cloud resource data by creating and sending import sets to import set tables, which then transform and map the data into other tables.

While Guardrails does send import sets with resource data, it does not:

  • Create import set tables
  • Set coalesce fields
  • Manage data sources
  • Create transform maps
  • Cleanup processed import sets

All of the items above need to be configured in your ServiceNow instance outside of Guardrails.

Import set policies

The following policy structure manages how import sets are sent:

  • ServiceNow > Import Set > Table Name [Default]
    • Default staging table name for all resource types.
    • This policy has no no default value.
  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Import Set
    • Sets whether import sets will be sent with the resource's data.
    • Defaults to Skip, can be set to Enforce: Sync or Enforce: Sync, archive on delete.
  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Import Set > Table Name
    • Staging table name to send data to.
    • Defaults to ServiceNow > Import Set > Table Name [Default] policy value (which is empty by default).
  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Import Set > Record
    • Defines how records are identified, e.g., tags column data comes from $.bucket.tags data in the Guardrails CMDB.
    • Defaults to common metadata from each cloud resource type in AWS, Azure and GCP.
    • Can adjust data based on your requirements.
  • {Cloud Provider} > {Service} > {Resource Type} > ServiceNow > Import Set > Archive Columns
    • Defines which record data is sent in an import set if the primary policy is set to Enforce: Sync, archive on delete.

Archiving records

After resources are deleted from Guardrails CMDB, the import set controls cannot delete records directly in ServiceNow tables. However, you can use the controls to archive records in ServiceNow. Archiving is a strategic process to retain records that are not actively used but are still valuable for historical or compliance purposes.

For instance, if the AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Import Set policy is set to Enforce: Sync, archive on delete, you can then set archive column mappings to the AWS > S3 > Bucket > ServiceNow > Import Set > Archive Columns policy:

{
bucket_name: {{ $.resource.data.Name }}
resource_type_uri: "tmod:@turbot/aws-s3#/resource/types/bucket"
status: "archived"
}

An import set will be then be created that contains the data above so the status column can be updated. Any coalesce fields for that record type should be included in the policy value to ensure the correct record is updated.

Next Steps

  1. Additional context and a demo about the feature is in the announcement post Continuous Cloud CMDB Sync with ServiceNow & Turbot Guardrails.
  2. Consider integrating ServiceNow to Guardrails. Follow the Enable ServiceNow sync to Guardrails integration guide to configure real-time syncing of ServiceNow resource to Turbot Guardrails.

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