The 7 Insidious Risks of Custom Scripting
Uncover the serious business risks that intensify over time when you rely on custom scripting.
Today’s IT environments are growing ever more complex and intertwined. To keep pace, IT departments frequently rely on homegrown, custom automation scripts that have been built over time by different people using different tools. The challenge is that this hodge-podge of commands, scripts, and tools often put mission-critical operations at risk.
To mitigate this risk and help scale the benefits of automation, leading organizations are turning to modern-day automation and orchestration software. According to Gartner, by the end of 2024, 80% of organizations will have embraced a very different model for the delivery of workload automation to support the needs of the business for years to come.
The top seven business risks of custom scripting
Here are the top seven business risks that custom scripting aggravates for many organizations:
- Poor interoperability: Homegrown scripts often face interoperability hurdles. Because they are typically written by different coders, on different systems, and over long periods of time, custom scripts don’t typically communicate well with each other. This can cause a host of issues from inefficient processes to redundant workflows to (potentially) catastrophic errors. As environments become more complex, a single point of control is best.
- Inadequate reporting and compliance: Homegrown scripts rarely have adequate auditing and reporting capabilities, making it difficult to track what files are being transferred in and out with timestamps and log details that are required for compliance.
Without an efficient and reliable way to continuously monitor all processes, automatically record history and audit logs, and provide advanced reporting upon request to auditors and regulators, it’s much more difficult and time consuming to maintain compliance with regulations.
- Brain drain: Another downside with homegrown scripts is that they are often created by a single coder. This increases the risk of institutional knowledge loss when IT staff leave the company, a reality that has accelerated recently with the Great Resignation and ongoing tech talent shortage. Given that script structures vary significantly from one developer to the next, the knowledge walks out the door when the developer of a script departs. This leaves the remaining staff with the unenviable task of trying to read, understand, and support the scripts.
- Errors create security concerns: When compared with leading workload automation solutions, homegrown scripts are far less reliable and highly prone to human errors and security issues. Because custom scripts are built ad hoc over time—often by different users with their own personal tools of choice—errors within the code and potential security vulnerabilities often go unnoticed. That is, until a task is executed, and the entire workflow fails, or the security vulnerability is exploited—impacting customers and potentially putting the company at greater financial risk.
Once an issue occurs, diagnosing and fixing it is also more difficult with homegrown scripts, given they are built independently over time by different people using different tools. Due to the complexity this creates, diagnosing the root cause of an issue can be nearly impossible and very time consuming, further prolonging the negative impact on customers.
- More human effort required: While homegrown scripting doesn’t carry a hard cost like a commercially available workload automation solution, it demands the allocation of dedicated internal resources to create, test, and update scripts over time.
An InformationWeek study found that 45% of the participating organizations' IT teams spend more than 5 hours per week writing scripts to handle workflows and automation. That equates to roughly six and a half weeks each year devoted solely to writing new automation scripts. Add to that the staff time required to effectively test and verify that scripts work properly, and ongoing editing to ensure they remain up to date as IT environments evolve, and the direct costs of homegrown scripts balloon significantly.
Once you factor in the opportunity cost of pulling IT staff away from core day-to-day operations and strategic initiatives that add more value to the business, the true expense of homegrown scripts can easily exceed the price of a more powerful and scalable workload automation solution.
- No one to call: Custom automation scripts fail, and when they do, it can wreak havoc on operations. Unfortunately, homegrown scripts that are created by a single person are reliant on that specific person’s knowledge. And if that individual is no longer available, there is no support hotline to call to fix the issue. The result? An increased chance of errors, downtime, and lost revenue, not to mention potential direct customer impacts.
- Managing inevitable change: IT environments are in constant flux with continuous updates, new releases, and integrations to new vendors and solutions. Ideally, automation solutions can keep up with these changes and should be flexible enough to absorb the inevitable and continuous evolution of your operations. Homegrown scripts, by their nature, are fragile rather than agile and typically will break before adjusting to evolving business needs.
It's time to flip the script
Custom scripts can leave a business vulnerable to many risks that modern-day workload automation and orchestration solutions eliminate.
Workload automation software provides a single point of control across today’s complex IT environments, while offering unlimited scalability to meet the increasing workloads of growing organizations, enabling them to accelerate their digital transformation to keep pace with evolving customer expectations.
Leading workload automation tools have built-in error handling that can correct failures automatically or provide an alert, so the issue can be addressed proactively. In addition, these solutions are supported by automation and industry-specific experts who are deeply familiar with the tool and can quickly assess and fix issues, minimizing the impact on customers.
Through a modern workload automation and orchestration platform, organizations can virtually eliminate human error, reducing operational downtime and empowering IT staff to spend their time focused on other important tasks.