Software and tools are in place. Practice sessions are run. Protocols are set. And then it happens—despite your IT team’s best efforts, there is a security incident in your organization. While your IT team assures you they can bring the outbreak under control, the impact of repeated incidents – high costs, legal actions, reputational damage – is longer lasting. Even just finding out what happened and why, takes time and consistent effort.
IT incident, or alert, management may not be a part of core discussions in an organization, but it is certainly practiced every day in several ways, not all of which may be successful. When done right, incident management can catapult the IT team from a reactive, fire-fighting role to one with clinical focus on improving the security posture and getting the expected ROI from IT security investment.
But what happens when things go awry? IT teams and the organization they support become stressed due to poor incident management.
Based on our experience, we have listed down the most common issues faced by enterprises with deficient incident management tools and practices. Understanding these issues can provide insights and improve management of incidents before they become larger, or chronic, security concerns.
Lack of customization
Several enterprises make the mistake of slapping on standardized incident management tools that are not specific to their requirements or context. Ready-made incident management tools can be ineffective if they’re not tailored to the organization and its type of business, exposure, and threat levels. If it is not possible to create an incident management tool from scratch, it makes sense to find a tool that is adaptable to a variety of variables.
No incident prioritization
Critical incidents can slip under the carpet unless prioritization parameters have been set. In most organizations IT teams are stretched thin making it hard for them to handle the deluge of alerts. With a lack of prioritization critical incidents get missed, resulting in a tsunami of issues impacting business and operations. Several IT incident management tools are unable to recognize alert severity, and thus fail at alert prioritization.
Poor flow of communication
Lack of a communication strategy and means of communication, and dissemination, is another factor that affects IT incident management. Some organizations still use emails or spreadsheets. Combined with multiple messages related to different alerts is not effective and does not support collaboration as it often tends to leave out key players along the chain.
No focus on insider threats
An incident management program is incomplete without insider threat mitigation. IT leaders forget that critical data, personal information, and other valuable assets can be attacked from within the organization as much as externally. They set up a strong external perimeter, but pay less attention, relatively, to stopping internal attacks.
Lack of automation
Automating incident management is the best way to monitor and manage IT alerts in the organization. Without automated alert detection, IT finds it harder to resolve issues or prevent them. Automation allows IT teams to respond to alerts at scale quickly. However, on the flip side, a huge challenge with automation is not setting it up properly. Hiring an external partner to help with automating incident management is a better option.
No alert de-duplication
Why must IT teams work the same alert repeatedly? Not only do repetitive alerts desensitize IT professionals, but also add to IT’s workload by increasing the number of alerts encountered. Deduplication of alerts makes IT’s job easier and more effective by helping them refine their alert resolution methods.
Alerts are non-actionable
Knowing what’s wrong is important, but so is being certain of what remedial steps can be taken. If your alerts aren’t actionable, the time taken to run diagnostics can be very long an erroneous.
Stressful incident management is counter-productive and impacts the organization as a whole. Your alert management processes and tools must be able to slice through the noise and zero in on the specific alerts that need attention, successfully eliminating duplicates, false positives and other ambient noise. Moreover, any IT incident management tool that you pick must be properly leveraged as part of the larger people, process, and technology picture.
Eliminate incident or alert management stress by designing a strategy that lets you prioritize smartly and clearly lays out a response plan in the event of an alert. Your IT team should be able to detect, analyse, and responding quickly with the correct actions to minimize impact and stay in control of the situation. And they should be able to do this smoothly and without straining the system.
IT threats may be coming faster and in higher numbers. But with a stress-free incident management program by your side, you can prevent attacks from wreaking havoc on your operations, people and systems.