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Uptime Blog

How Well Does Your Infrastructure Support Major Incident Management?

Effective major incident management depends on many things, including planning, precise execution, effective communication, and applying learnings from previous incidents to update those plans. Traditional major incident management wisdom addresses the importance of the remediation process, but it doesn’t speak on the issue of configuring your IT infrastructure.

However, if you take the time to prepare your infrastructure, you’ll be able to reduce the (sometimes debilitating) impact of major incidents.

How To Prepare For Managing Major Incidents

Before you can configure your infrastructure to support major incident management, you must define what a major incident is in your organization. The IT industry hasn’t developed a standard definition for a major incident, but most agree that a major incident is a failure that impacts customers and their ability to complete their work.

Considering that definition, it’s clear to see why resolving major incidents gets so much attention. The cost of downtime, according to the Ponemon Institute’s latest publication on the topic, is $8,851 (USD) per minute. That cost, along with related expenses like damage to an organization’s reputation or customer remediation, should put resolving a major incident at the top of every organization’s priority list.

Make sure that your organization’s definition is clear. It will help you to determine how to structure an effective MIM process.

How to Manage Your Infrastructure to Support Major Incident Management

The way you set up your infrastructure will have a big impact on your ability to manage major incidents effectively. You can optimize your infrastructure to support MIM in several ways.

  • Apply filters to your monitoring alerts. Alerts, notifications, and updates come in at an overwhelming rate. Sifting through them is impossible for even the most efficient service desk or NOC. Filtering alerts and suppressing redundant notifications through signal intelligence is one of the best ways to cut through the noise, and ensure that timely, relevant notifications are sent out to resolvers and other stakeholders.
  • Collect the right data. Collect data from your systems and applications that will allow your technicians to diagnose a problem and start to resolve it. From group performance to incident severity, utilizing the right analytics provides insights to drive continuous improvement to the operations behind your digital services.
  • Act when performance is degraded. The procedure in many organizations calls for the major incident process to start when a service becomes unavailable. You can reduce the number of major incidents that occur by taking management actions earlier, when the performance is degraded. By “shifting left,” you may be able to avoid an incident entirely by reacting to a loss of performance. Learn more about shifting left and DevSecOps here.
  • Track issues centrally. Communication is critical during a major incident. Even more important is communicating accurate information. You can use a central issue tracking service to allow all stakeholders to share information, and to ensure that everyone is working with the most accurate information.

How To Automate Your Process To Improve Outcomes

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to managing major incidents is that so much of the process is performed in static environments, on spreadsheets or whiteboards. Static information encourages human error and leads to duplicate and/or conflicting data. Automated systems are available to make that obstacle a thing of the past. There are ways to fix these issues, however, and much of that can be done via automation.

  • Automate applying filters to alerts. Use a system that can apply filters to monitoring alerts. Then, the service desk technician can use the click of a mouse to reduce alert lists to only those that relate to a major incident.
  • Automate root cause analysis. Use an APM solution that can crawl applications and systems to identify the type of data required to identify the root cause of your problems.
  • Automate sharing information. The best way to ensure that there is one central source containing accurate information is to integrate your monitoring, service desk, collaboration, and chat solutions. When all those applications are working together, the possibility of wasting time due to people working on the wrong issues, or making assumptions based on the wrong information, is reduced significantly.
  • Automate a link between sharing tools and incident tracking. Once you establish a central source for sharing information, you can go to the next step of integrating those sharing tools with your incident tracking solution. That integration will further reduce errors and the time required to address a major incident.

Final thoughts

No one can eliminate major incidents. But, smart organizations work hard to prepare themselves to manage those incidents as quickly as possible. xMatters can help you configure your infrastructure and improve collaboration with automated systems. The elimination of manual processes is key to reducing the impact of service disruptions.

Ready to try out xMatters? Let us show you how it can transform your operations — request your demo today.

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