Three Ways IT Alerting Speeds Incident Response
Whether through security breaches, infrastructure failure, human error, software bugs or just bad luck, IT outages are a fact of life in modern business. When a tech disaster hits your enterprise, and the odds are that it will, IT alerts will be an essential tool to corral your team, streamline troubleshooting and keep your users in the loop.
Technology breakdowns, shutdowns and takedowns come from all quarters and, due to increasingly interdependent technology, they frequently impact critical systems. Downtime is very expensive and gets more costly as a company’s outage count ticks up. Here are three key ways IT alerts can help:
1. Muster the right people during IT outages
Incident response is highly process-driven. When an IT outage hits your business, you need to find people with the right level of access and skills to solve the problem as soon as possible. Use alerts to quickly form a major incident team comprising your best troubleshooting staff. Make sure you’re pulling in the right people by using an alert system that you can trust to have up-to-date contact information.
Alerts are key to speeding resolution as the major incident team goes through troubleshooting steps, including information gathering, alerting the impacted business units, making a plan and fixing the problem. Alerts can also help you keep end users updated and reduce the burden on your support staff. When notified promptly of a disruption, users will be less likely to call the help desk when they encounter problems.
Integrating your alert platform with your other systems can help streamline this process. For example, AlertFind can automatically pull in alerts from ticketing software, including ServiceNow and Zendesk.
2. Activate incident response workflows and escalation paths
If your major incident plan is solid, it will set out what role or person is responsible for what in a crisis and codify the workflow for each type of outage. But what is decided on paper in happier times is often quickly forgotten in an emergency, which is why it’s important to have alerting tools with built-in workflow management. It ensures the right people will be working on the problem at the right level, without the need for someone to make a decision to bring them in. The decisions have already been made.
Well-functioning IT teams have two types of escalations – functional and hierarchical. Functional escalations are usually lateral, to someone with expertise in the particular problem or system involved. Hierarchical escalations go up the chain through management or a higher authority.
IT professional services company HDI recommends escalation in the following circumstances:
- You have exhausted your skills and available resources
- The impact to the business is high and critical
- The customer is abusive or the customers demand it
- The Service Level Agreement dictates the escalation
Incident response plans that prioritize communications create consistent, methodical response frameworks so every part of troubleshooting, response and recovery is done with rigor and consideration. Pre-defining groups, workflows and messages enforces a consistent response process and reduces the risk of mistakes that delay recovery.
Using a tool with a notification hierarchy and enterprise-level security means you can rest assured that only the right people have access to your sensitive data.
3. Manage user expectations and update status
Empower teams outside the IT department by providing simple workarounds like alternative networks, tools or modes of working during disruptions. Give them guidance on the fastest way they can get back to doing their jobs. Use IT alerts to provide status updates throughout the process so all parts of the business are working efficiently and ready to get back to their normal work as soon as the IT outage is resolved.
Alerts are a quick and easy way to relay important information to users, such as where to download software updates and install security patches. Sharing information such as updates before users ask for them helps to build goodwill and can head off potentially angry users. It shows that you care about their work and are taking the issue seriously.Opening the lines of communication can also daylight potentially important information from users. For example, once the alert goes out that a CRM has crashed, the database administrator may call in to let the IT team know that they set an update to run overnight, which might be related to the outage.
Opening the lines of communication can also daylight potentially important information from users. For example, once the alert goes out that a CRM has crashed, the database administrator may call in to let the IT team know that they set an update to run overnight, which might be related to the outage.
Make IT Alerts Part Of Your IT Service Continuity Plan
IT alerts are the lynchpin of any good IT service continuity plan. A good alerting strategy will help you pull together a team of experts and coordinate your incident response while keeping users informed and productive. Make sure your alerting tools and workflows are up to the job. Let our experts show you how. Book your free demo now.
You are well on your way toward protecting your staff and organization.
Take the next step toward protecting your organization by learning more about emergency notification systems and the vital role they play in your emergency preparedness plan.