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Internal issues can occur in every organization. It is inevitable for devices to break, for software to require maintenance, and for things to go missing.
Adopting an incident management procedure that can prioritize problems, offer transparency, and help your team handle any problem promptly can help you effectively address these concerns and many more.
You must employ an automated incident management system to do this on a large scale.
In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at automated incident management, discuss its goals and significance, examine the procedure for managing cybersecurity incidents, and much more.
First, we will start understanding incident management and move further to automated incident management.
Response to an unanticipated occurrence or service disruption and return of the service to its operating condition is handled through incident management. The most crucial aspect of every event is its prompt resolution, which is why it’s crucial to codify and follow a process.
In the incident management process, there are typically four steps:
- Incident prioritization
- Incident response
- Incident categorization
- Incident identification and logging
Automated Incident Management
Automated incident management is the practice of automating incident response to make sure that key occurrences are identified and dealt with in the most effective and reliable way possible.
Time is of importance when it comes to incident management. Hence speed is the main advantage of automated incident management. Time-consuming jobs can be finished considerably more quickly with automation.
As a result, the incident response time is shortened and the team is free to concentrate on tasks that call for their expertise.
Automated Incident Response
When you hear the word “Incident Response,” it refers to an organization’s capacity to detect, investigate, and mitigate assaults and breaches.
Human components have frequently been used in the past to monitor traffic, investigate suspected activities, write protocols when new dangers emerge, and so on.
However, as the name implies, automated incident response removes the human element from the equation.
It automates tedious operations, accelerates threat detection and response, and provides a round-the-clock defense, giving your SOC team time and space to expand and enhance your security posture in other ways.
More about cybersecurity incident management will be covered further down in the article.
Importance of Automated Incident Management
Agents can now concentrate more on handling accidents.
When handling events manually, agents are more likely to enter data more than once and are more likely to make mistakes (such as failing to change the status of an issue in a system).
Your agents won’t have to switch between apps or complete manual operations if they use an automated issue management solution.
As an alternative, they can redirect that time to promptly address more issues, which would greatly raise client and staff satisfaction.
Decreased false positives
Alerts are both helpful and problematic in incident management. False-positive notifications are frequently included among actual and actionable alerts, which can cause alert fatigue in workers by making them numb to the constant barrage of alerts.
Automated tools assess warnings and route them to the appropriate team members, saving time and resources.
Employees can use it to conveniently follow the status of their tickets.
Most of your staff members want to be kept informed about each concern they present. Automated incident management will enable you to provide them with the transparency they require. How?
At each point of the ticket’s lifetime, from when it is assigned to an agent to when it is resolved, an employee can be alerted through chat after submitting a ticket.
The employee won’t have to ask agents for a status update and will always be informed without having to visit a specific application.
Key Capabilities of Automated Incident Management
- Clustering and pattern matching algorithms can be used to reduce noise, such as erroneous alarms.
- Recognize patterns before they have an impact that makes outages likely.
- Take note of multivariate abnormalities that go beyond static thresholds or numerical outliers in order to proactively identify anomalous circumstances and behavior and connect them to business consequences.
- Define causality, identify the likely source of events using topology and ML, and tie these problems to a customer journey using decision trees, random forests, and graph analysis.
- Promote the automation of routine, low- to moderate-risk tasks. Without needing to create connections to other systems, a workflow engine allows you to address the issues that are urgent and under your control.
- Determine the priority of issues and suggest possible solutions, either directly or through integration based on earlier experiences. In order to avoid problems reoccurring, keep track of who was contacted during the whole sequence of events for remediation in a repository.
- Chatbots and virtual support assistants (VSAs) can be used to increase user efficiency and automate repetitive chores while democratizing access to information.
The two categories of situations that benefit from automation in incident management the most are those that are time-critical and simple. Technical problems that directly affect customers are an example of a time-critical occurrence.
You want to put an end to the problem as soon as possible if your customer is affected. Conversely, a straightforward occurrence like a printer connectivity problem can also be automated.
The procedure is simple, and a resolution is possible without the involvement of a person.
How to automate your incident management process?
1. Establish an incident management workflow.
In order to automate your incident management procedure, you must first design an incident management workflow.
The incident workflow, sometimes referred to as the event lifecycle, details the sequential steps that take place after an occurrence. An incident workflow’s primary steps are as follows:
The incident management lifecycle is distinct for each business and is tailored in line with that.
The secret to creating an effective incident management workflow is to get input from all parties involved, document all the actions they take, and gather all the information required.
There will probably be a lot of disagreement on how to carry out tasks and collect data, but the process has to put everything into perspective. The workflow should thus be mapped out on board before being automated for this reason.
2. Consistency in Incident Prioritization
Prioritizing incidents uniformly is the next stage. You must be aware of the gravity and underlying source of the problem in order to react correctly. An incident prioritization matrix is a common tool used by organizations.
An incident priority matrix employs a P1 to P5 numerical scale to quantify the importance of an occurrence and the appropriate action.
The P1 is seen as being of the utmost importance and demands an instant reaction. A server problem that might bring the entire system to a halt is an illustration of a P1 occurrence.
As you move down the priority scale, the episodes’ importance/urgency reduces. In order to create the standard for P1 through P5 occurrences, the organization gradually gathers risk data that can be evaluated.
Everyone must concur on the approach, and this is crucial.
3. Automated Runbooks
Runbooks, often called playbooks, are manuals that describe how to carry out certain tasks step-by-step. By laying down the steps for frequent activities in detail, playbooks are designed to reduce cognitive burden.
Runbook automation goes a step further and reduces labor by incorporating software into the process that executes the step automatically when prompted by a certain circumstance.
Runbooks not only save waiting time, but also standardize and improve the consistency of the process.
4. Data Gathering for Retrospectives
Data gathering is an important stage in incident management.
The team must make sure that real-time data is being gathered throughout the incident management process in order to create incident retrospectives and lessen the incident’s effect going forward.
Data gathering starts as soon as an occurrence is reported. Alerting processes make contact with the persons needed to start responding as soon as an event is identified or detected by monitoring technologies.
The monitoring and observability technologies are gathering data during the incident management process. Real-time access to the data should be possible, allowing you to utilize it for retrospective analyses afterward.
5. Integrate third-party software into the process and centralize it
You must act as a mediator and interface with outside systems like JIRA, and Slack, in order for the incident management process to function properly.
It takes time, and there’s a chance you can miss important information, to switch between communication and other programs.
Through background data collection and automatic updating of occurrences, an automated incident management solution will streamline the procedure. Meanwhile, the team can examine reports and activities in real-time.
Now it’s time to look at cybersecurity incident management and its best practices.
Cybersecurity Incident Management
Real-time monitoring, administration, logging, and analysis of security risks or occurrences is known as cybersecurity incident management. It aims to provide a rigorous and thorough overview of any security risks that could exist inside an IT system.
A security event might range from an active threat, an attempted incursion, a successful penetration, or a data leak.
A few instances of security issues include policy violations and illegal access to data, including records including social security numbers, financial information, health information, and personally identifiable information.
Cybersecurity Incident Management Process
Organizations are implementing policies that enable them to quickly identify, respond to, and mitigate these sorts of incidents while strengthening their resilience and safeguarding against future incidents as cybersecurity threats continue to increase in volume and sophistication.
In order to manage security incidents, a combination of hardware, software, and human-driven research and analysis is used.
The alert that an event has occurred and the activation of the incident response team is often the first steps in the security incident management procedure.
Following that, incident responders will look into and assess the situation to ascertain its breadth, gauge damages, and create a mitigation strategy.
To guarantee that the IT environment is indeed safe, a multifaceted plan for security incident management must be put into place.
Best Practices for Security Incident Management
The security incident management procedure must be planned for by organizations of all sizes and shapes. Develop a thorough security incident management plan by putting these best practices into practice:
- Create an extensive training program that addresses every task required by the security incident management processes. Consistently put your security incident management plan through test scenarios and make any necessary adjustments.
- To learn from your triumphs and mistakes after any security issue, do a post-incident study. Then, as necessary, make changes to your security program and incident management procedure.
- Create a security incident management strategy and any necessary procedures, including instructions on how issues should be found, reported, evaluated, and handled. Prepare a list of steps depending on the threat and have it available. Update security incident management policies as needed, especially in light of the lessons acquired from earlier occurrences.
- Create an incident response team with clearly defined roles and duties (also known as a CSIRT). In addition to representation from other departments like legal, communications, finance, and business management or operations, your incident response team should also include functional positions from the IT/security department.
Finally, automated incident management makes sure that urgent issues are identified, attended to, and dealt with in a prompt and effective manner.
Automation makes it possible for incident management solutions to interact with one another and promotes real-time communication across the systems.
All departments are brought together via automation, which breaks down boundaries between IT operations (ITOps) teams. Teams have complete access to incident status information to ensure that the appropriate people are handling incidents.
Teams use automation to simplify and improve the incident management process as IT problems grow more prevalent.
Incident management in the context of cybersecurity is the process of locating, controlling, documenting, and evaluating security risks and incidents connected to cybersecurity in the real world.
This is a crucial measure to take both after and before a cyber crisis hits an IT system.