5 Best Practices of Incident Management

Incident management is the process that goes from an incident happening, to a ticket being created, identifying the issue and cause, remediating the service, and lastly reporting for post-mortems.

Scott Lasica
January 12, 2022

What is Incident Management?

Incident management is the process that goes from an incident happening, to a ticket being created, identifying the issue and cause, remediating the service, and lastly reporting for post-mortems. 

The 5 best practices:

  1. Create Optimized Processes
  2. Multi-channel Communication
  3. Automation
  4. Prioritization
  5. Collaboration & Reporting

Create Optimized Processes

Establish processes that minimize MTTR. They should include identification of incidents, communicating to impacted stakeholders, assigning to the correct on-call team, and allow users to follow and document the lifecycle of the incident.


Multi-Channel communication

The platform used needs to be able to allow stakeholders to communicate in many different channels (email, phone, slack/teams/etc, Zoom/Teams/etc), and potentially even within the platform itself. In today’s world of most if not all employees working remotely, it’s imperative to not only provide many channels of communication, but to also spin them up automatically and include the correct people. These channels need to be available on both web and mobile. Communication should also immediately go out to the affected end users so they are aware that an incident exists and is being addressed.


Automation

Automation should be used throughout the entire lifecycle of incident management. It starts with automating ticket assignment, spinning up a zoom room and slack channel, consolidating multiple alerts into one incident and then beginning remediation. Once a critical decision point is made (such as destroying an instance or failing over traffic) the process (runbook) should pause, but present all relevant information to the SRE to make the correct decision.


Prioritization

No organization wants simple issues distracting top talent, nor do they want major issues bumbled by those ill equipped to handle them. Tickets should be assigned priority status (critical issues handled first), and automatically escalate beyond the level 1 support desk as required.


Collaboration & Reporting

The incident response team needs to be able to collaborate together within the incident management platform. All data and executions should be visible and able to be analyzed as needed in easily accessible dashboards. Post mortem reporting should be easy and data rich to allow teams to continuously improve on the processes and explain to leadership the cause and status.

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