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Have You Standardized Your Incident Response Process?

August 13, 2018

An incident response process is a business process and should be treated accordingly. Because if your enterprise puts its incident response process on the backburner, the consequences could be severe.

For example, consider what could happen if an enterprise that lacks a standard incident response process suffers an outage.

In the aforementioned scenario, an enterprise incident management team will identify, investigate and respond to the outage. Team members likely will keep in touch with one another and work as a unit to resolve the outage as quickly as possible.

Without a standard incident response process, however, some incident management team members may work independently. This could lead to miscommunications that delay incident response and resolution.

And what happens if incident management team members fail to update customers, C-suite executives and other key stakeholders about the outage?

Without the proper incident response process in place, enterprise stakeholders won’t know why various networks and services are unavailable. This ultimately will disrupt the business and create headaches for customers and employees alike.

For customers, they may contact an enterprise’s client services team for support. Yet if this team is not updated about the outage, it won’t be able to fulfill customer requests.

Let’s not forget about the brand reputation damage and revenue losses the enterprise may suffer due to the outage, either.

Even a minor outage and its associated network and service disruptions may lead customers to consider the enterprise’s rivals. Meanwhile, the loss of customers likely will cause the enterprise to suffer short- and long-term revenue losses as well.

Furthermore, the outage may result in a service-level agreement (SLA) violation. Failure to comply with an SLA could lead to penalties, along with additional brand reputation damage and revenue losses.

Tips to Standardize Your Incident Response Process

Incident response process standardization is key. If your business develops and deploys a standard incident response process, it should have no trouble keeping key stakeholders up to date until an incident is resolved.

Now, let’s take a look at five tips to help you standardize your incident response process.

  1. Perform an Asset Analysis

If you understand your enterprise assets, you can determine exactly what you need to do to protect your assets against downtime, outages and other incidents. You then can implement a standard incident response process to safeguard your critical assets.

Create a list of applications, users, databases and other assets that are critical to your business’ day-to-day operations. Next, establish priorities based on the value that each asset provides to your company.

  1. Foster Collaboration and Communication

An incident monitoring system enables an incident management team to keep in touch with key stakeholders via Slack, HipChat and other communication platforms. Incident management team members can use the system to provide real-time status incident response status updates to stakeholders via SMS, email and other communication methods.

Additionally, an incident tracking system can be quickly integrated into an enterprise’s existing monitoring tools. This ensures an incident management team can use the system to standardize its alert notification flows and response.

  1. Create Message Templates

Alert management software with custom message templates enables an incident management team to deliver the right message to the right audience. It helps an incident management team streamline its incident response notifications, too.

An incident management team can use alert tracking software with custom message templates to define template fields that map to external systems like JIRA. Plus, it can leverage the system to store data from external systems in custom fields and write custom fields from the software itself.

Incident management team members also can leverage alert tracking software with custom message templates to establish workflows that automatically create JIRA issues from incidents. They can even use the software to create workflows that evaluate custom fields. 

  1. Automate Message Delivery

An incident tracking system that offers automated workflows delivers incident response updates at the right time, every time. That way, key stakeholders are kept in the loop at all stages of an incident.

Incident management team members can use an incident tracking system with automated workflows to streamline systems integrations as well. By doing so, team members can automate call-backs to ticketing software or forward flows to open and close tickets and notify key stakeholders based on events.

  1. Track Incident Response Data

An alert monitoring system with reporting capabilities is a must-have, particularly for an enterprise incident management team that wants to standardize its incident response process. This system allows an incident management team to track all aspects of an incident.

Data can be collected throughout the course of an incident. It then can be used to report on the incident, explore ways to improve future incident response efforts and ensure the same issue does not happen once again.

Moreover, an incident management team can use alert tracking system reports to monitor issues weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. And if an incident management team performs regular data analysis, it could discover innovative ways to drive meaningful business improvements.

Bottom Line on Standardizing Your Incident Response Process

Developing a standard incident response process may seem complex at first, but doing so may actually be easier than you think.

Thanks to the aforementioned tips, an enterprise incident management team can create a standard incident response process. As a result, this team can implement a standard process to speed up and improve its incident response efforts both now and in the future.

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