Automating your Incident Response Processes

If you are an MSP or organization that manages a service desk, you know how important prompt incident response is. It’s absolutely essential to make sure you both respond to customers in a timely fashion and also gather as much information as possible about the incident. These two goals are often at odds with each other!

Receiving the all important “red flag” notifications about incidents can be challenging. For decades, incident reporting has been traditionally done simply via call centers: pick up the phone, transcribe the issue into a ticket, work the ticket. This has improved somewhat with email ticket automation in some service desk software. However, as communication has evolved and the communication methods broadened, it’s important to be able to adapt to what’s convenient to customers. They might now be using any of these additional communication methods:

Each of these methods has its own strengths and weaknesses. Software systems tend to be good at collecting more information, but they may not be the first choice of communication when a customer wants to report a problem. Conversely text messages and Twitter are very convenient for a quick message, but typically don’t capture all the information you need to fix something.

Automating your incident response process can address both the information-gathering aspects of the incident and also drive customer satisfaction through timely communication.

Timely communication of an incident is crucial. How can you be informed there’s a problem to address? By lowering the communication barrier for your customers! You do that by making it easy for customers to reach you using ANY communication method they find convenient.

Another common incident-reporting problem is with information accuracy. In a manual process, service desk agents receive incident information from one source and then key it in your service desk software again. Transcription errors and omissions are common when people have to do the same task day in and day out. Business automation software doesn’t get bored, sleepy, or wear out. It consistently records the information according to the rules you design.

How can software automation address these issues? Most modern service desk software (e.g. Samange, Autotask, HelpScout etc.) has an API, which is nothing more than an automated way to create and update tickets/incidents.

⚠️ If you’re using service desk software that does NOT have an API, that’s a sign that it is not meant to be interoperable. You may find your hands tied-consider switching!

Additionally, all of the aforementioned communication methods have APIs that can “trigger” something to happen (i.e. when a text message is received at a phone number, or a Slack message is created, or a Jira issue is created, trigger a process). Software automation takes advantage of both APIs and applies your business rules to the data between these two endpoints to create or update incident tickets. The result is tickets that can be automatically created or updated with new information in a timely, consistent manner.

Reach out to us if you are interested in discussing more about how to automate your incident response processes to become both more responsive and efficient in your incident response!