The Complexities of Policy as Code

We say these things quite often, “tip of the iceberg” or “on the surface…”. I love a good metaphor. And while I’m not prone to hyperbole, metaphors are the greatest linguistic invention in the history of everything ever created in the universe. Ignoring that important reality, and with all due respect to similes and analogies, my brain landed on the previously mentioned metaphors whilst recently pondering Policy as Code. On the surface, it feels that Policy-as-code solutions should be very straight forward. There are clear needs in the Enterprise’s desire to create, implement and manage policy across numerous systems, processes and personas.  

Despite the appearance of clarity, Enterprises continue to struggle with direction. Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. Complexity: Enterprise IT environments can be highly complex and diverse, making it challenging to implement policy-as-code solutions that can work across all systems and platforms.
  2. Integration: Integrating policy-as-code solutions with existing IT systems and processes can be difficult, requiring significant effort and resources.
  3. Skills and Knowledge: IT teams may lack the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively implement policy-as-code solutions, requiring additional training and support.
  4. Scalability: As the number of systems and policies increase, it can be challenging to scale policy-as-code solutions to meet the needs of the enterprise.
  5. Collaboration: Collaborating with different teams and departments can be difficult, as each may have their own policies and procedures that need to be integrated with the policy-as-code solution.
  6. Maintaining Compliance: Policy-as-code solutions need to be designed and implemented in a way that meets the regulatory and compliance requirements of the enterprise.
  7. Governance: Implementing governance and oversight mechanisms to ensure that policies are being followed and adhered to can be challenging.

As a long-time Enterprise consumer, I can tell you that each of the points above resonates strongly with my teams and me. Fortunately, organizations don’t need to address these challenges in a vacuum. Working alongside industry leaders on both the consumer and supplier side of this challenge is what ONUG is all about. Our new Policy as Code (PaC) Working Group is focusing on bridging the gap between emerging open standards in PaC with practical, real-world needs.

Please join your peers in solving tough problems like Policy as Code. Solving problems like this as a connected community is just the “tip of the iceberg” on the value of being part of the ONUG Collaborative.

Author's Bio

Mark Tierney