In any business, preparation must be the first concern to avoid IT incidents. Failing to prepare in advance can lead to considerable issues, which in turn can result in delays and heavy losses.

Making sure all procedures, programs and work methodologies are running in the optimal condition is crucial. However, although we strive to optimize the work and what comes with it, no individual, team or business is immune to incidents. In the event of a problem that can menace the health of your operation, knowing how to manage an unforeseen issue is vital. This in turn will prevent significant delays and allow you to implement a faster and more effective solution focused on responsiveness. So, what should you do?

Diagnostics

This one is a no brainer. When it comes to IT incidents, running diagnostics is the first step. Way before any strategy is developed and put to use, a detailed diagnosis is needed. This translates into numerous tests. After running all tests, a clear image of the problem will start to appear, providing a detailed picture of the glitch and its resulting consequences. Having access to this valuable information means you’ll be able to categorize, prioritize and respond accordingly. Thus, the following steps should be taken:

  • Initial diagnosis
  • Problem escalation
  • Examination and diagnosis
  • Resolve and recover

Communication platform

Communication is essential in any business, especially when we’re talking about IT incidents. Using collaborative software tools for teams, such as Slack, as a communication platform can make all the difference, particularly software tools that can be integrated with your communications platform. Why is this important? When dealing with any issue that can impact the business and its stability, in this case, IT incidents, having a communication channel will allow your devs and ops to develop, organize and screen deployments. By using software such as Slack, you can count on easy to read and accessible communications with message records and development plans that can be shared with your teams while providing full transparency and accessibility. This generates instant feedback and updates concerning the problem at hand and its resolution.

Monitoring

Monitoring is as important as diagnostics and the reason is simple. Monitoring software that focuses on examining systems and detecting breaches, enables your team to search for incidents in the system, while at the same time, monitor the condition and performance. It’s critical to use monitoring software that focuses on metrics, alerts, escalation points, and overall updates.

Define roles and responsibilities

A well-oiled engine runs smoothly because every piece was designed to play a specific role and in order for an IT team to run the same way, roles must be attributed. Otherwise, you risk damaging your valuable engine. Keep in mind that many companies have a team dedicated to incident response or rely on a service that consists of experts on security analysis and threat research, among other skills.

Prevention

Gaining insights makes all the difference and that’s what the problem and solution reports offer. This crucial information provides an image of your system at the time of the hindrance. This window allows your team to analyze such information that can be used as a defense and a way to set up an effective solution that is all about preventing any future IT incidents, delivering at the same time, a learning and training opportunity for your IT team.

Prevention doesn’t focus solely on reports, the way code is deployed is also important. The canary deployment approach, for example, reduces deployment risks, improving recovery time and helps to contain failures more quickly since the idea of canary deployment is to first deploy  the change to a small subset of users, test it, and then roll the change out to the rest.

Did you know that Canaries were once used in coal mining as an early prevention system? Toxic gases in the mine would affect the birds before affecting the miners. The birds behaviour made clear to the miners that conditions were unsafe.

Incident Management Systems

You may have the best coding team in the industry. A meticulous group of dedicated people with a background that would make NASA envious. However, mistakes happen and such moments are normal and inevitable. Of course, no business likes to deal with coding incidents or an incident of any kind. On the other hand, for a business, IT incidents deliver an opportunity to learn and improve procedures, security, communications, and protocols. If not, a “perfect” team could easily be taken by surprise in the worst way when experiencing an issue. A way to help deal with issues is trough incident management systems that can help automate a significant portion of processes. An IMS will ensure more control, clear metrics and data that will diagnose potential bugs which in turn acts as a prevention technique. Plus, it enables teams to seek patterns and detect the source of the complication.

Knowing how to deal with IT incidents is crucial since the right methodology, support and team will make all the difference. Having in place a plan on how to deal with incidents and specially how to prevent them, shortens the time spend on solving the source of trouble and delivers teams with best practices to deal with future occurrences.