Did you know, only 40% of companies with 100 employees or less have an Incident Response plan in place? Does that include you too? Even if it doesn't, this blog post is for you. Explore the Incident Management processes, best practices and steps so you can compare how your current IR process looks like and if you need to revamp it.
Incident Management is a core component of Information Technology (IT) service management that focuses on efficiently handling and resolving disruptions to IT services. These disruptions, known as incidents, can include a wide range of issues, such as system failures, software glitches, hardware malfunctions, or any other event that hinders the otherwise normal operation of IT services.
Pretty direct. Isn’t it?
The average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.24 million, according to IBM Security. 37% of servers had at least one unexpected outage in 2023, according to Veeam. Incidents can have a wide range of negative impacts on an organization, categorized into operational impacts, financial impacts, reputational impacts, employee impacts and loss of customer trust. A 1% decrease in customer satisfaction can lead to a 5-10% decrease in revenue, according to Bain & Company. The fact is, downtimes are bound to happen. Both planned and unplanned. So, it’s better to be ready with an Incident Response plan in place with the best Incident Management procedure.
All steps involved in the procedure of managing incidents that arise within the tech environment and infrastructure create the Incident Management process.
Except for the fact that every organization has a different Incident Management process. There are various factors influencing these differences in their Incident Management processes like the industry size, risk tolerance, resource & budget, compliance requirements, and organizational structure (ITIL-based Incident Management or an informal approach relying on key individuals).
While the foundation of Incident Management procedure remains the same as defined by ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), which is in broad sense the identification, resolution and documentation, differences are bound to arise in
A tailored process better addresses specific needs, leading to faster resolution times and less disruption. This helps your Incident Response Team handle incidents effectively and with confidence.
Incident Management Processes designed on the basis of incident severity and complexity helps utilize resources optimally. Hence, it easily adapts to the changing needs and circumstances.
There's no "one-size-fits-all" approach. The best Incident Management process is the one that aligns with an organization's unique context and objectives.
Every organization faces disruptions, from minor glitches to full-blown crisis. How you handle these incidents determines the impact on your operations, reputation, and bottom line.
Here's a breakdown of the key stages involved:
The first step is detecting the incident. This might involve monitoring systems, user reports, media mentions and even automated alerts to pinpoint the incident's origin and timeline. Think of it as triggering an alarm upon identifying an anomaly.
Read more: How Squadcast Helps With Flapping Alerts
2. Triage and Prioritization
Not all incidents are created equal. So, this stage involves assessing the severity and impact, classifying them as critical, high, medium, or low. Compare it to sorting incoming tickets based on their potential damage levels. Classifying incident severity levels for your organization helps you prioritize them based on potential impact. The prioritization typically follows this structure:
a. Low-Priority Incidents:
b. Medium-Priority Incidents:
c. High-Priority Incidents:
3. Containment and Response
It's the time to take action. This stage focuses on stopping the immediate spread of the problem. It might involve isolating affected systems, disabling features, or even taking entire services offline.
4. Resolution and Recovery
Now, to the root cause! This stage involves diagnosing the problem, fixing it, and restoring affected systems and data. For instance, gradually rolling out the fix while manually processing affected orders to ensure no customer purchases were lost in an eCommerce store during peak traffic hours.
5. Closure and Review
Don't fix and forget! This final stage captures lessons learned, reviews response procedures, postmortems and identifies ways to prevent future incidents. More like analyzing an incident report and updating response playbooks with the acquired knowledge. It involves a thorough documentation of any pertinent information that can be utilized to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Based on each stage of Incident Management Workflow, we can set aside a few key best practices. Staging Incident Management best practices ensures every disruption, from initial alarm to final review, is navigated with predefined steps, optimized resource allocation, and a focus on continuous improvement, ultimately minimizing chaos and building a resilient response system.
What is a decision tree?
A decision tree walks you through a questionnaire, auto-filling parts of a new incident request based on your responses. Crafted by your company's manager or administrator, each node offers options, streamlining incident record completion.
Some more actionable tips for better Incident Response are:
Why does Squadcast work as a best Incident Management platform for your business’s reliability needs?
Atlassian’s State of Incident Management Report highlights a few major pain points in Incident Management, like:
A dedicated Incident Management solution like Squadcast covers all points in the Incident Management workflow. It facilitates tasks that integrate On-Call Management, Incident Response, SRE workflows, alerting, enhances team collaboration through chatops tools, workflow automation, SLO tracking, status pages, incident analytics, and conducts incident postmortems. It specially promotes the SRE culture for Enterprise Incident Management and a preferred alternative to PagerDuty.
From incident detection to documentation, Squadcast gets you the best of an automated Incident Response platform with easy implementation and integration capabilities. Check here for full features and pricing details.
Read about real world customers: Squadcast Case studies on Modern Incident Management, SRE and DevOps
In today's Incident Management, change is constant, leading to diverse stresses on systems. Teams acknowledge that it's a matter of when, not if, systems will fail. Preparing for these failures is a vital element of ongoing success, seamlessly integrated into engineering teams' DNA.
Keeping the momentum going with more: Leading Incident Management Best Practices
Remember, calm heads and clear communication are key during an incident. Stay focused, delegate tasks effectively, and keep information flowing to maintain control and minimize disruption.
Squadcast is a Reliability Workflow platform that integrates On-Call alerting and Incident Management along with SRE workflows in one offering. Designed for a zero-friction setup, ease of use and clean UI, it helps developers, SREs and On-Call teams proactively respond to outages and create a culture of learning and continuous improvement.