Risks and hiccups are a part of running any organization. Equipment can break, apps can crash or need fixing, and accidents can happen. These issues and anything else that’s likely to happen can be addressed successfully if you implement a robust incident management process.
Cybersecurity incident management involves responding to an unplanned event or interruption and restoring the service back to its usual working state. Depending on how serious the incident is, it may be vital to resolve it as quickly as possible. An effective incident management process is capable of prioritizing issues as well as enabling your team to resolve them quickly.
Doing all this manually can be hard and prone to errors, so it’s best to use incident management automation to make the process more efficient. In this article, we’ll talk about what incident management automation means, why it’s important, and how to implement an automated incident management system.
What Is Incident Management Automation?
Automated incident management is the use of AI and automation to make your incident management process smoother. It involves end-to-end automation of each step of incident management, including incident identification, incident logging, incident categorization and prioritization, and incident response. If done right, this ensures that any critical incidents are detected quickly and addressed efficiently.
Why Is Automated Incident Management Important?
Knowing how incident management automation works, it’s not hard to see why it’s important in any organization, large or small. But here are some of the key reasons to automate your incident management:
1. Your Team Can Focus More on Resolving Incidents
Incident management involves a lot of paperwork. So if your team manages incidents manually, they’ll end up doing a lot of data entry and not much problem-solving. This can lead to errors (e.g., forgetting to update a specific action in a system) and also take time away from important activities such as actually implementing corrective actions.
An automated incident management system can take care of the tedious paperwork, saving your team members from performing manual tasks. They can instead focus more of their time on resolving the incidents themselves.
2. Faster Incident Response and Resolution
All the repetitive data entry involved in manual incident management is quite time-consuming. If you automate these processes, your incident response speeds up quite a bit, which is essential to minimize the damage of the incident that occurred and prevent it from causing further problems. Two important KPIs in incident management are linked to speed, and automation will improve both of them:
- Mean Time to Detect (MTTD): the average time taken to identify a potential risk or security issue
- Mean Time to Respond (MTTR): the average time taken to respond or resolve the threat after its discovery
3. Less Stress for Your Security Teams
VMWare’s Global Incident Response Threats Report (2022) found that 69% of respondents experience burnout and have even considered leaving their job. So evidently, stress and burnout are massive issues with incident response teams. They are constantly faced with threats and alerts, after all. Having to deal with every part of incident management manually only makes this worse.
Automating incident response solutions can greatly reduce the security team’s stress as automating repetitive tasks such as log analysis and incident prioritization frees up some of their time and energy to focus on more critical tasks.
4. Easier to Track Incident Response Progress
Every aspect of incident management requires communication. All stakeholders (including employees, customers, and board members) like to stay updated about the progress of an incident’s lifecycle, especially if it was a critical incident. Incident management automation would allow you to customize automatic, real-time alerts to stakeholders so that everyone stays informed of any updates.
If your incident management solution has third-party messaging integrations, special apps are not even needed as the notifications can be directly sent to standard work messaging tools such as Slack.
5. Fewer Mistakes
If you do everything manually, you’re more likely to make mistakes, especially when it comes to data entry. And incident management involves quite a lot of data entry (updating systems when an action has been taken, notifying people of changes, writing up reports, etc.). If you automate your incident management process, the software can take care of most of this (including creating automatic reports based on analytics, sending automated notifications to stakeholders, etc.) So any mistakes you might make, such as sending an alert to the wrong person, are completely avoided.
Another common issue with manual incident management is that team members may receive alerts that are irrelevant to them (called false positive notifications). If this happens, important alerts may get buried beneath irrelevant ones, and someone may miss something as crucial as an action they must take to resolve an incident. Automation can help with this as a good incident management solution such as Pulpstream can be set up to triage notifications so that only relevant alerts reach each person.
6. Reduced Costs
Although investing in an automated incident response tool can involve high upfront costs, its positive impact on your team’s efficiency, accuracy, and speed of response ultimately leads to lower costs in the long run. This is backed by IBM’s recent Cost of a Data Breach Study, which reports that companies that have adopted security automation save a whopping 65.2% on total costs!
4 Steps to Incident Management Automation
1. Create Your Workflow
Before you begin to automate your incident management, you need a step-by-step plan of what exactly needs to be automated. This is called an incident management workflow or lifecycle and must be as detailed as possible. It should include all the steps (identification, prioritization, resolution or containment, and reporting), actions, responsibilities, and forms involved in the incident response process. All of this should be detailed clearly to make automating the process simpler.
This workflow needs to be standardized, with well-defined procedures for each step of your incident management plan. Different people may have different ways of doing things (e.g., some security team members may prefer to use the “5 Whys” method for root cause analysis while others may like to use the fishbone diagram). However, automation requires a consistent approach, so it’s a good idea to talk to your security team and get a consensus on preferred approaches before moving on.
2. Automate Your Workflow
When your incident management and response workflow is ready, it can be made into a detailed playbook, which would be ready for automation. Then all that’s left to do is to automate each step of the playbook using your incident management solution (a no-code one such as Pulpstream is ideal as you don’t need coding expertise to use it).
3. Use Your Third-Party Integrations
Incident management automation platforms are there to make your job easier and often come with third-party integrations that allow for handy features like notifications on regular messaging apps and easy issue tracking. So while automating your workflow, a good step would be to use the integrations your solution provides to make the whole incident management process more efficient and effective.
4. Collect Metrics and Create a Database
Effective incident management is not just about dealing with the current incident — it should also be about preventing or mitigating similar ones that could occur in the future. So it’s important to collect data throughout the incident lifecycle.
This data can be stored in the system in the form of a centralized database to help identify patterns and loopholes in your security systems in the future. An automated incident management platform makes this data collection easy, but your team needs to ensure that they are consistently logging any information they find (in the form of pictures, forms, documents, or anything else).
Streamline Your Incident Management Automation With Pulpstream
In a nutshell, automating incident management is important for every business. It provides advantages such as quicker and more efficient incident resolution, less stress for your security teams, and a better bottom line due to reduced costs.
We have also outlined the basic steps involved in incident management automation, and one of the best tools you can use for seamless incident management is Pulpstream’s incident management platform.
With Pulpstream, you can gather, capture, and store all your data in a centralized platform, use its sophisticated tools for root cause analysis, and send automated notifications and alerts to relevant stakeholders. Pulpstream’s intuitive dashboard allows for sophisticated data analysis and reporting, which would aid in any future decision-making as well.
So what are you waiting for? Automate your incident management processes now with Pulpstream. Start off with a free demo today.