Incident management process & tools

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Incident management is one of the most critical processes a software development team has to get right. Service outages can be costly to the business and teams need an efficient way to respond to and resolve these issues quickly. For example, many organizations report downtime costing more than 300.000 euros per hour, according to Gartner. For some web-based services, that number can be dramatically higher. In this article, we will discuss how critical it is to have a reliable method to prioritize incidents, how to get to resolution faster, and offer better service for the end users.

What is Incident management?

First of all, what is incident management exactly? It is the process used by DevOps and software development teams to respond to an unplanned event or service interruption and restore the service to its operational state.

Incident management refers to a set of practices, processes, and solutions that enable teams to detect, investigate, and respond to incidents. It is a crucial element for businesses of all sizes and a requirement for meeting most data compliance standards. 

Incident management process ensures that IT teams can quickly address vulnerabilities and issues. Faster responses help reduce the overall impact of incidents, mitigate damages, and ensure that systems and services continue to operate as planned. 

Incident management process

There are key steps to any incident resolution process. These steps ensure that no aspect of an incident is overlooked and help teams respond to incidents effectively and prevent them from happening again:  

1. Incident Identification, categorization & prioritization

Incidents are identified through user reports, solution analyses, or manual identification. Once identified, the incident is logged and investigation and categorization can begin. Categorization is important to determining how incidents should be handled and for prioritizing response resources. 

2. Incident Notification & Escalation

Incident alerting takes place in this step although the timing may vary according to how incidents are identified or categorized. The main idea is to make incident alerts automatically managed. 

3. Investigation and Diagnosis

Once incident tasks are assigned, investigation parts begins:type, cause, and possible solutions for an incident. After an incident is diagnosed, you can determine the appropriate remediation steps. This includes notifying any relevant staff, customers, or authorities about the incident and any expected disruption of services.

4. Resolution and Recovery

Resolution and recovery involve eliminating threats or root causes of issues and restoring systems to full functioning. Depending on incident type, this may require multiple stages to ensure that incidents don’t reoccur.

5. Incident Closure

Closing incidents typically involves finalizing documentation and evaluating the steps taken during response. This evaluation helps teams identify areas of improvement and proactive measures that can help prevent future incidents.Incident closure may also involve providing a report or retrospective to teams, board members, or customers. This information can help rebuild any trust that may have been lost and creates transparency. 

Incident management best practices

  • Easy accessibility to report an incident
  • Effective communication strategy 
  • Automated notifications
  • Alerts for ticket updates, replies and status updates
  • DevOps essentials 

Incident management benefits

A few of the most important benefits of implementing an incident management strategy include:

  • Prevention of incidents
  • Reduction or elimination of downtime
  • Improved mean time to resolution (MTTR)
  • Improved customer experience
  • Increased data fidelity
  • Improved productivity

Incident management tools

I would like to highlight that Incident management isn’t done just with a tool, but the right selection of tools, best practices, and DevOps team. Let’s discuss our favorite Incident management tools that we believe make a difference in the Incident management process: 

There are some other great tools that help with incident tracking, that every incident could be tracked and documented so you can identify trends and make comparisons over time. There are some chat rooms that allow real-time text communication for diagnosing and resolving the incident as a team and provide a rich set of data for response analysis later on. Also, video chat complements text chat for many incidents, team video chat can help discuss the findings and map out a response strategy. Alerting system, which is extremely important integrates with your monitoring system and manages on-call rotations and escalations. Documentation tools,  such as Confluence can capture incident state documents and postmortems. 

Statuspage communicating status with both internal stakeholders and customers through Statuspage helps keep everyone in the loop. There are many of them, the one is better for your project depending on how big your project is and how many users you have. 

We hope you found this article useful and if you need help with DevOps, let us know, we can definitely help you with this part! 

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