Conversation with IT Business Edge: IT Incident Response and Resolution Part 2
Whether it be system downtime, a data breech or even a costly human error, an IT incident can have significant negative implications on an organization. Recently, I sat down with Don Tennant of IT Business Edge who is no stranger to the concept of IT incident resolution. According to Don, in order to resolve an IT incident as fast and efficiently as possible, the right people need to be notified. The two of us discussed IT Incident Response best practices as part of his recent piece, “Step 1 in IT Incident Resolution: Make Sure the Right People Know About the Problem,” and we broke our conversation into two parts.
Part 1, published on our site a few weeks ago, outlines IT incident types, challenges in the resolution process and the importance of notifying the right constituencies when an incident occurs. Part 2 deals with specific steps IT departments can take to minimize downtime using a critical communications platform, the future of the ITSM/help desk industry and what Everbridge is working on in the critical communications space that may have a positive impact on IT incident resolution. Part 2 of our conversation is below:
- How specifically can an IT department minimize downtime with a capable critical communications and escalation platform?
Reducing the time it takes to quickly restore a failed service is what matters. An effective critical IT communication and escalation solution, ensures that the RIGHT on-call IT Personnel are notified and that they respond to the request, wherever they might be located, whatever the device they use, whichever their schedule and shift. At the same time, it ensures proper communication to all the stakeholders so they know what’s going on in real-time. Finally, the users of the services can be notified so they know there is a problem and that someone is working on it. Many of the necessary steps that IT departments are tasked with, like dispatching the appropriate responders based on a particular business interruption, can be automated. This automated communication process provides an organization with the highest likelihood that their IT incident management plan can be executed efficiently, and effectively.
- Where do you see the ITSM/help desk industry headed in the next few years, and how can effective IT incident management and communications help?
The future is about streamlining the entire process of detecting, categorizing, fixing an issue and deploying the fix to restore a service. Since the systems for the most part cannot heal itself yet, communication is the key element that brings together the tools, processes and people. The future is all about enabling, and optimizing process. This means several things, including:
- Integration: an intelligent alerting platform should be integrated with monitoring and ITSM platforms, to ensure information flows efficiently to reduce unnecessary wasted time looking for the right people or the right information.
- Global optimization: Ensure that international communications support global delivery with local call routing, support for local caller ID, dedicated long and short codes for improved international SMS delivery, automatic text-to-speech and prompts for multiple languages, localized web user interface for individual / regional preferences, compliant and private, local data centers, and mobile app for those with limited cellular connectivity.
- After-Action Reporting and KPIs: Action reporting is the first step in analyzing incidents with the goal of reducing MTTK. These reports should be accurate and contain relevant data on an organization’s communication tactics—and KPIs should be established and adjusted accordingly to improve process.
- What is Everbridge currently working on right now in the critical communications space that excites you most?
At Everbridge, we are focused on providing IT organizations with an Alerting and communication solution that align with their IT incident management strategy so that they don’t waste unnecessary time on tedious manual tasks to find, locate, reach out and finally communicate with the specialists who will actually fix the problem.. In essence, it’s all about enabling, optimizing communication workflows and providing best-in-class collaboration tools, so you will also see us focusing on the following areas:
- Mobile: Ensuring multi-modal alerting to notify all contact paths (voice, SMS, email, push notification app, and/or pager)
- On-Call scheduling integration: We’ll continue to optimize our solution to ensure it automatically escalates to the next person or group based on the current on-call schedule.
- Integrated incident management: For various incident types, Everbridge notifications can be automatically launched from a user’s monitoring and operations systems and then connected to their ticketing and communication systems where they can be automatically escalated to the right people. Everbridge also provides communication templates to plan and customize recipients and escalation paths.
Interested in hearing more about IT Incident Response? Check out our whitepaper, “IT Incident and Disaster Alerting: Using Communication to Improve Response.”