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Incident Response Platform: What Is It & Do You Need One?

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Myra Nizami
Myra Nizami
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Looking into incident response platforms? We discuss what an incident response platform is, what tasks it handles, and the benefits of having one.

What is an incident response platform?

An incident response platform is a software solution that provides needed tools before, during, and after the incident and automates many of the tasks involved in the incident response process. 

An incident response platform is crucial because it enables teams to work faster and better –  not just during an incident but before and after too. As a result, incident response platforms are an incredibly valuable tool for teams looking for solutions that automate parts of incident response while also providing oversight into different functionalities. 

While other tools may provide more logistical support and other features for incident response, they tend to fall short when it comes to streamlining the incident management process itself. They aren’t able to connect the incident response with systemic change through retrospectives and followup tasks. That’s where an incident response platform adds value. 

An incident response platform streamlines many different tasks related to incident management and resolution into one place. The consolidation means that teams don’t have to rely on as many tools to accomplish the same outcomes and have all their information stored in one place to facilitate faster incident management and resolution processes. Each time engineers switch between tools, there’s a time and focus cost. Keeping every stage in one tool allows for more efficient work.

What does an incident response platform do?

Top incident response tools include the following categories of features to support teams:

  • Supporting workflows: Essentially, the best incident response platforms are the ones that work with the team’s incident resolution workflows. Top incident response tools ensure that teams collaborate seamlessly, document information, and provide ways for teams to add more context and knowledge during the incident resolution process. 
  • Oversight: Using intelligence and analytics, incident response tools proactively monitor for potential incidents, alert teams based on workflows, and provide teams with detailed information and oversight into incident resolution before, during, and after an incident.
  • Automation: One of the reasons why teams can fall behind on proactive incident management and resolution is because of the sheer amount of manual work involved. Incident response tools are used to automate parts of the incident management and resolution workflow, giving teams more time to work on other pressing tasks.

Do I need to use an incident response platform?

For teams that want to scale yet still ensure the best customer experience possible, an incident response platform is one of the best investments to make. Teams cannot grow if they are bogged down fighting fires or constantly having to undertake manual processes to ensure reliability. As products and solutions grow, it becomes unsustainable and ultimately more expensive for teams to do all this work manually.

Top incident response tools use a combination of best practices to create comprehensive solutions that support and improve the incident management process. For example, active monitoring becomes a consistent part of the workflow rather than a sporadic thing that teams do when they have time. 

Proactive monitoring ensures that incidents are caught before they get any bigger and that teams have the time to deploy the resources necessary to get things back on track. And that’s another area where incident response platforms can help. Teams can create and automate runbooks for specific types of incidents and create new processes that speed up the incident management process.

If teams are being overworked and constantly squashing incidents, it means that an incident response platform is needed. Not only will it make real-time incident management easier, but it also stores and provides information to help with long-term incident resolution and incident management. This can happen through looking at individual incidents in retrospectives, or looking at patterns of multiple incidents with reliability insights.

By centralizing data and adding context, for example, teams have deeper insight into what happened and why, which helps understand what improvements need to be prioritized. Therefore, incident response platforms must be a top priority if you’re focusing on developing and improving your site reliability engineering practice.  

How do I select the right incident response platform?

When evaluating incident response tools, some attributes are useful to consider to make sure it’s the right fit. Going through a checklist can help organize your priorities.

While each of the top incident response tools offers a lot of value, it’s essential to also look at the design and what the platform enables your team to do. Some attributes you should be looking for include:

  • Adaptability: No two teams are the same, and no workday is the same either. You want an adaptable incident response platform that works with what your team needs – even as those needs evolve. Think about how the tool adapts if workflows need to change, how integrations are handled, and other features that your team is currently using and may use a lot more in the future. Look for integrations with your existing tool stack.
  • Reliability: Incident response tools are meant to be your strongest defense…so why have something unreliable? Make sure to ask lots of questions about reliability and what happens when the platform itself experiences an incident. You want to ensure that your team is covered and that you can rely on the tool as much as possible.
  • Collaboration: Incident response management is a collaborative effort, and the incident response platform must support that. This includes features such as information sharing, real-time data sharing, communication, and more for teams and stakeholders. It should be able to work into your existing communication workflows, like Slack and Jira.

How can Blameless help?

The Blameless SRE platform empowers teams through incidents, retrospectives, insights, and more to create the best customer experience possible. Using Blameless, teams can confidently address incidents through features such as initiating task assignments, centralizing context, and capturing real-time event data. In addition, Blameless manages checklists, runbooks, and other configurations based on workflows for every new incident, helping teams focus on the task at hand rather than manual processes. 

After the incident, teams can use Blameless's retrospective feature to detect patterns, build a deeper understanding of the incident, and give teams the information needed to improve moving forward. 

Learn more about how Blameless enables teams to work faster and better by scheduling a demo today.

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