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What’s Incident Response?

Incident response relates to an incident response (IR) team’s ability to address and resolve urgent, time-sensitive issues (e.g., outages). An IR team has to be well-prepared to effectively respond to IT issues in a way that avoids duplication, delay and error.

IR teams need to think of event response as a process. If thought of as just one step, then incident response will be bound to fail. Communication is the key underlying theme required for effective incident response. However, teams should also focus on these steps:

  1. Establishing teams
  2. Prioritizing and planning
  3. Monitoring
  4. Alerting
  5. Establishing escalations
  6. Enhancing collaboration and communication
Incident Response

Incident Response

1 – Establishing Teams

Effective response begins long before there is any knowledge of a problem. The first step of effective incident response is establishing teams that include members from the various groups within the company such as security, infrastructure and development. Together, these individuals from the various teams need to develop a shared framework for responding to incidents and leverage their individual skills to improve response.

2 – Prioritizing and Planning

Teams need to establish and agree to a common framework for setting incident response priorities based on business impacts by aligning response priorities to business objectives. Teams also need to determine resources that will be used and which resources can be shared. By determining metrics, teams will automatically have a sense if this is a high-priority issue and what coordination is required from the beginning.

Incident Response

Incident Response

3 – Monitoring 

There are multiple ways that teams can monitor their technologies. They can monitor through the use of logs or end-user reports. This information should be collected and filtered. Additionally, teams can learn of incidents through their network operations center (NOC) or security operations center (SOC).

4 – Alerting

With proper preparation, teams know which incidents are priorities and require rapid resolution. In order to quickly learn about these incidents, teams need incident management platforms. Incident management platforms like those provided by OnPage are ideal in this instance. They enable teams to quickly learn when technologies have failed and subsequently jump on conference bridges to discuss resolutions.

5 – Establishing Escalations

An important part of effective incident response and alerting is ensuring that there are escalation scenarios for when incidents occur and the designated team is unavailable to respond. If the initial team is unable to respond to the issue, escalations must be in place so the issue does not linger.

6 – Enhancing Collaboration and Communication

Strong collaboration platforms that enable communications once alerts are received are best. Ideally, the alerting and communication platforms are unified so that once alerted, teams do not need to switch devices to exchange messages with colleagues. The more robust the communications platform, the better.

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