Configuration as Code is the New Modern Cloud

Configuration as Code is the New Modern Cloud

Josh Wittman
February 23, 2022

What is Simeon Cloud?

Simeon Cloud is a configuration management solution that leverages Configuration as Code to manage Microsoft 365 environments at scale. The solution offers holistic, seamless tenant management powered by automation. Its no-code user interface allows teams to automate the management of Microsoft 365 environments using the DevOps and CI/CD approach.

What is Configuration as Code?

Configuration as Code is the method of describing, provisioning, and managing settings and policies with code. The platform captures and stores environment configurations from numerous tenant portals. The method enables you to view and remediate tenant configurations in a single pane of glass and deploy environments at scale.

Which configurations are supported?

Coverage on the platform grows daily based on customer demand. We currently support automating configurations for Office 365, Intune, Azure AD (such as Azure AD backup), and Azure Resource groups. In 2022, we plan to release Defender for Endpoint, Azure Virtual Desktop, and other Azure resources such as virtual machines.  

Our platform’s coverage of Microsoft 365 can be found here.

Why Configuration as Code for managing Microsoft 365?

Configuration as code enables you to templatize your Microsoft 365 setup and environments, bringing powerful new automation and management to the ecosystem.

Hundreds of settings with thousands of properties across numerous administration portals must be managed to ensure a good user experience and security best practices. Configuration as Code can be used to automate deployments, centrally manage multiple tenants, track changes, backup, recover, and have lifecycle management controls for dev, test, and prod environments.

Benefits of Configuration as Code management

There are many benefits to Configuration as Code management, including:

  • Maintaining the desired state configuration
  • Automated, consistent deployments
  • Multi-tenant management
  • Orchestration for dev, test, and prod lifecycles
  • Establish compliance standards
  • Ongoing drift detection and remediation
  • Backup and recover changes to configurations
  • Generate documentation for compliance
  • Automate Intune application packaging

Deploy and maintain the desired state

Simeon Cloud allows you to declare the desired state for your Microsoft 365 configurations and achieve ongoing consistency. With powerful automation and management capabilities, you can confidently deploy and maintain best-practice configurations.

Multi-tenant configuration management

Too much time gets wasted managing multiple Microsoft 365 tenants by hand and repeating the same configuration for each tenant. Simeon Cloud allows you to achieve consistency at scale by consolidating and automating the management of tenants so you can spend less time on setup and maintenance and more time on adding new value. Tenant to tenant migration has never been possible, that is until Simeon.

Simeon offers automation for keeping tenants up to date with the latest refinements to security policies and recommended configurations. Custom baselines can be established and maintained to manage multiple tenants. With centralized deployments, ongoing drift detection, remediation, and reporting, Simeon Cloud offers much-needed automation, transparency, consistency for managing multiple Microsoft 365 tenants.

Monitoring and reporting

With thousands of users and multiple administration teams, configuration drift is an inevitable, unintended consequence that leads to data breaches. Simeon Cloud leverages configuration as code to provide a much-needed single pane of glass for monitoring and reporting Microsoft 365 configurations.

Backup and restore

As the Microsoft ecosystem continues to grow and integrate, the number of potential threats and disruptions increases by the day. Retaining backups of tenant configurations provides insurance and flexibility to your business operations. Simeon Cloud allows you to troubleshoot issues quickly with clear visibility into changes made to your tenant. You can have confidence that your desired state is never lost or forgotten and can be rapidly recovered. Learn more about effortless backup and restore for Microsoft 365.

Dev, Test, and Prod Lifecycle Controls

The Microsoft 365 ecosystem is broad and complex. Making changes directly to production environments can lead to unanticipated issues, downtime, and security vulnerabilities. User experience and security can be improved by having isolated dev and test environments. With Simeon Cloud, you can quickly spin up replica non-production environments that match production configurations and keep settings in sync. Advanced lifecycle management controls orchestrate promotions between environments with staging, approvals, and documentation of tracked deployments.

Intune automation for application packaging

Packaging Intune applications can consume significant engineering resources. Once created, packages get encrypted, cannot be updated when new software versions become available, and cannot be deployed to additional tenants. To update to a new software version, you must recreate the application package from scratch for each tenant.  

Using Configuration as Code, Simeon Cloud has introduced lifecycle management for Intune application packaging. You can save your package definitions as code and update the installation file in our user interface. Our automation will re-package the app and deploy it to the tenant. Using Simeon Cloud, Intune application packages are deployable across tenants, providing rich automation and lifecycle management capabilities.

Security and compliance

Enforcing security settings helps protect employees, shareholders, and reputation from damage caused by data breaches. On Simeon Cloud, you can establish the desired state configuration for Microsoft 365 resources according to a compliance standard or your own custom best practices.  

Simeon Cloud actively monitors for drift and backs up changes in source control. When deviations are identified, you can quickly restore to the desired state before gaps get exploited.  

Main takeaways

Configuration as Code is one of the best available practices to manage Microsoft 365 resources with automation and compliance. Before Simeon Cloud, the practice had long been contributing to the evolution of software development lifecycles.

Unfortunately, developing an internal Configuration as Code solution is out of reach for many companies. Niche experience in Graph API, DevOps, and PowerShell is required to build the initial solution. Developers must also keep up with the constantly changing APIs, portal moves, setting-deprecations, and new services.  

Simeon Cloud offers an out-of-the-box implementation of Configuration as Code. Our friendly user interface makes it possible for team members of all skill levels to participate in configuration management practices. Not only does Simeon Cloud help manage and control the large and ever-changing Microsoft ecosystem, but it also helps teams to unify under one central platform for configuration management.

Do you have any questions about Configuration as Code or Simeon Cloud? Please do not hesitate to reach out and share your thoughts. We love to answer any questions you may have!