System Management Functional Areas The telecommunications industry has used systems engineers for a longer time than any other modern discipline.

System Management Functional Areas

They developed a set of concepts referring to system management that we can all learn from. Every system needs to be managed. There are several types of management required. These are referred to as System Management Functional Areas or (SMFA)s

Here is a concise list

Configuration Management

Configuration management ensures that all related equipment is properly configured as designed, as built, as installed and as operated. Configuration occurs during the entire life cycle of a product. Misconfiguration disables systems and endangers stakeholders.

Fault Management

Fault management prepares to respond to faults and treat them efficiently. Large systems have support staff ready to help when they fail. If only because of entropy, properly designed systems will have faults that must be treated in a timely manner before failures occur.

Performance Management

Performance management measures products against predefined goals and responds proactively. A properly tuned system will be rendered useless if it is not constantly attended as its environment changes. Imagine you own a telephone company. How do you make your phone system responsive when people and businesses are moving across town all the time. You have to operate a system that predicts bottlenecks and ensures that excess resources are redeployed.

Security Management

Security management provides a secure environment by making sure resources are only available to those who have responsibility to use them. Security management has several dimensions. Security management always begins with physical security. If access to physical systems cannot be secured then any other security measures are meaningless. For example; you can verify that everyone in an office has passwords on their computers but if you do not control who has access to the office, the passwords are meaningless. There are two basic security models. One is absolute security and the other is role based security. Absolute security is used by the military. In this model all information is classified from unclassified to top secret. For someone to access this information they need to have a clearance that allows them this access. The model also supports compartmentalization in that you may only be allowed to see information in your classification that you need to know to fulfill your responsibilities. In role based security resources are allocated to roles and individuals are granted role access. So if your security profile has access to a role then you have access to all resources allocated to them.

Accounting Management

Accounting management makes sure that the providers of resources are compensated. How to draw lines about who pays for what is not trivial. Precluding theft of resources is difficult under the best of circumstances.

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