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Want to improve your MTTR? Try a different incentive.

Want to improve your MTTR? Try a different incentive.Are your IT personnel currently being rewarded for accelerated incident resolutions? If not, this could be a way to significantly improve your mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), by including rewards that incentivize your Level 1and 2 technicians to quickly response and resolve issues. Once MTTR becomes established as a benchmark metric for your team, additional improvements can be achieved via IT process automation.

Why is MTTR so important? Consider for a moment that 86% of companies suffer some type of system outage each year. Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by Acronis and the Ponemon Institute revealed that such an outage can cost a business an average of over $366k annually. Managing such an outage and bringing critical systems back up as quickly as possible is fundamental in how it will impact the future success of the business.

In order to improve MTTR, IT managers must find a way to drive home the importance of quick response and timely incident resolution to front line employees. What’s the best way to do this? Incentivize. Here are a few of the ways you can motivate your team:

  • Set key performance indicators (KPIs) at both the team level and the individual level that are clear, specific and measurable.
  • Offer varying rewards that include a mixture of cash incentives as well gifts and other non-monetary perks. Different people are driven by different things, so add some variety.
  • Don’t discount the value of flexibility itself as a reward. The ability to work from home or on flexible schedules can often be enough incentive to improve performance.
  • Keep the entire process transparent and conduct regular performance reviews. The IT industry in and of itself is defined by specific causes and effects, and those who work within tend to be analytical and results-driven.
  • Make incentives clear and attainable and measure progress regularly for optimum results.

These are some of the ways you can make an incentive program successful. Now, let’s take it a step further and look at what specific metrics should be included in that incentive plan.

  • Response Time – Amount of time it takes for a caller or live chatter to actually connect with a support agent
  • Average Handle Time (AHT) – The average amount of time support spends handling calls or chat sessions
  • First Call Resolution Rate (FCR) – The number of incidents that are resolved on the first call or session
  • Escalation Rate – The number of incidents that are escalated to upper tier levels
  • Service Level Agreement (SLR) – Whether specific service levels, such as promised resolution timeframes, are being successfully and consistently met

Of course, each IT group may have additional metrics, based on the specific roles and needs of that particular organization, but these are the basics that relate directly to MTTR. When these five KPIs are tracked, management can get a much clearer picture of how critical incidents and outages are being handled and where improvements can and should be made for future success.

So, where does IT process automation come into play? Simple. ITPA allows technology to do much of the heavy lifting in terms of managing incidents, ensuring that notifications are sent to the right people at the right time and making it easy to track progress at any point within the process. To take it one step further, automation can even provide the opportunity to proactively handle incidents so that they can be resolved before they become a serious problem. All of this leads to improved MTTR and allows IT personnel to successfully meet their goals and achieve their incentives.

Want to learn how you can leverage ITPA to not only incentivize your IT personnel, but also get your critical systems back online in minutes? Download our free white paper below!

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

Top 10 Cyber Security Trends for 2015

Top 10 Cyber Security Trends for 2015The topic of cyber security is a hot one these days, and poised to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

With online security threats becoming much more sophisticated, businesses of every shape, size and industry are finding themselves in a position to spend time, money and resources to keep sensitive data safe. One of the most effective ways to do so is to remain abreast of what’s happening within the cyber security sphere so you can stay ahead of the game. That said, let’s take a look at the top 10 trends expected to affect this area over the coming months.

1. Shift to More Holistic and Flexible Strategies – With the level, intensity and type of threats changing on an almost daily basis, IT professionals will need to adapt to address these changes. A robust, automated system for monitoring and managing incidents will be required.

2. Integration vs. Single Solutions – There will be no one-size-fits-all approach to handling cyber-attacks. To the contrary, various technologies and systems will need to seamlessly work together to achieve the greatest level of protection. The key will be to find solutions that offer comprehensive integration while also providing out-of-the-box, user-friendly features.

3. Surge in Regulatory and Compliance Requirements – With the increase in security threats, we will also see a rise in the regulations surrounding compliance, particularly within the Government, Retail, Banking and Commodities sectors. These regulations will differ by country and will be based on industry best practices.

4. Rise of Mobile Malware – Cyber-attacks will no longer be confined solely to traditional servers and other equipment. Malware is now being aimed at mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. This remains a significant concern, both for consumers and for businesses, which will need to develop strategies to address this growing problem. This will be particularly high on the list of priorities for the banking and retail industries as well as those organizations who’ve adopted a BYOD policy.

5. Automated Incident Detection – Online security is a 24/7/365 job. In lieu of hiring round-the-clock staff or requiring your IT personnel to remain constantly on-call, automation will become even more widely adopted across the globe. Incidents can be immediately detected, analyzed and prioritized, and the appropriate staff can be notified accordingly for a much more efficient and effective process.

6. Automated Incident Response – Along with the automation of incoming alerts, the response process will also be an area that IT Process Automation can be more effectively leveraged. By integrating a sophisticated ITPA product with the incident management strategy and creating a closed-loop process, the impact of any successful cyber-attacks can be significantly minimized while mean time to resolution (MTTR) can be dramatically improved.

7. Focus on Protecting Embedded Platforms – Platforms such as telecom infrastructure, hand-held devices and POS terminals have been exposed as targets for cyber criminals, as evidenced in the recent attacks in the retail and oil/gas sectors. Stronger security strategies will need to be developed and implemented to account for this added risk.

8. Increased Automation of Security Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) – Not only will enterprises need to continue to adhere to various regulatory and compliance standards, but there will also be a pressing need to maintain a level of flexibility and sustainability in doing so. In order to effectively manage audit requirements, more and more organizations will begin to adopt automated solutions.

9. Shift from Awareness to Best Practices – The previous strategy of simply raising employee awareness of information security will no longer be sufficient. Instead, organizations must focus their efforts on employee training and implementation of “best practices” to ensure proper risk-based behavior.

10. Proactive vs. Reactive Approach – With the trend toward automation leading the way for incident management and response, there will be a natural shift toward a more proactive approach to cyber security. Whether the adopted model is internal, outsourced or a hybrid of both will vary by organization based on industry, location, cost, level of risk and a number of other unique factors, but all will need to adapt accordingly.

While each of these trends comes with its own set of circumstances, the one common thread that ties most of them together is the growing importance of IT process automation in keeping critical information safe from cyber-attacks.

Is your business protected? If not, the time is now. Download your free trial today and help your organization stay ahead of the game over the coming months and years.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Minimizing Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) with IT Process Automation

Any seasoned IT professional will tell you that one of the biggest challenges they face in their day to day job is reducing mean time to resolution (MTTR), or the amount of time it takes to get key systems back up and running after an incident. Down time in any industry can have a significant impact on both internal operations and external service levels. And the longer it takes to get things resolved, the worse the problems can become. IT process automation can make minimizing MTTR even easier and more effective.

Managing mean time to resolution involves 4 main steps:

  • Identifying the problem
  • Uncovering the root cause of the problem
  • Correcting the problem
  • Testing to verify that the problem as successfully been resolved

How quickly you can achieve the first step will ultimately depend on the quality of the monitoring system you have in place. Having a basic system can only get you so far, but leaves a lot of room for costly error. Depending on how many incoming alerts your organization fields, staying on top of them can be too much for a small IT department. That means serious issues could slip through the cracks and cause major problems down the road. Enhancing your system with IT Process Automation can create a highly effective, closed-loop solution, ensuring that all critical incidents requiring attention are received and prioritized accordingly.

Once an incident is identified, the next step is determining its root cause. This is the costliest part of the MTTR equation because it takes time, resources and manpower. Obviously, the more serious the issue, the more quickly it needs to be addressed. This may require “all hands on deck” to help uncover the cause so it can be corrected. It’s also important that there is visibility and accountability at all times throughout the process. Who is handling the problem? What steps have been taken so far to get to the bottom of it? Has anything been missed? Again, automation can offer this by providing real-time status of incidents, ownership, severity and priority in one central dashboard.

As soon as the problem has been properly diagnosed, the third step is taking the necessary actions to resolve it as quickly and effectively as possible. With most incidents, time is of the essence, so developing a solution is critical. One of the biggest benefits of integrating automation into your incident management process is that it can actually predict Mean Time to Resolution based on historic events. This can provide a guideline for the resolution process and alleviate some of the stress that naturally arises during a downtime. The IT team will be able to work quickly and efficiently to implement a solution that will get systems back up and running fast, limiting the negative effects on the company.

The final step in the MTTR process is testing to ensure that the problem is, indeed, resolved. It’s also important to assess each process to identify areas that can be improved. Being proactive can help to understand the best way to deal with similar incidents and can even help to avoid them completely.

In conclusion, managing the mean time to resolution process involves careful monitoring and the right tools, specifically IT process automation. This can provide the most timely and effective response and a faster overall turnaround, thereby reducing or even eliminating impact on the business. If your current incident response system isn’t producing these results or you’d like to learn more about how ITPA can dramatically reduce your MTTR, call us today at 1-800-652-5601 or download a free 30 day trial.




How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes