Response automation: friend or foe?

clock • 3 min read
Response automation: friend or foe?
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Response automation: friend or foe?

Stressed employees are leaving in droves. Automation can slow or stop the exodus - but how will it help or hurt in the long run?

It seems as if everyone these days has less time to do their jobs. Not only that, but there are fewer people available to do those jobs than there were just a couple years ago - which has led to a drain in skills and a rise in strain and toil.

A vicious cycle then ensues: the more you interrupt someone to do extra work, the more unhappy they get. Imagine a very skilled worker - a developer for example - constantly being asked to fix problems that aren't their responsibility. These workers become unhappy and frustrated, causing them to leave and widening the skills gap.

Leaning into automation can slow or eliminate this cycle. Redundant or repetitive work can be offloaded to machines, and incident escalations can be reduced or, where possible, handled without any human intervention. Automation can have a huge impact and return, taking limited resources and stretching them further.

Automation is the answer, not the enemy

For many organisations, automation isn't just about efficiency - it's about survival. Automation can make organisations more agile, resilient and capable. And it can make response workflows more consistent, benefiting the organisation as well as the customer.

Automation reduces the total number of escalations more than 50% of the time, according to PagerDuty data - which means problems are getting solved a lot faster. Being able to diagnose a problem, and then use machine learning to remediate it before a human must get involved, is extremely powerful. But this isn't something to fear - the 'robots' aren't coming for your job. Automation instead solves problems and improves the work environment, reducing stress and stemming the tide of attrition.

Consider these common trouble areas within a typical response process, and how automation addresses them:

  • Siloed expertise: First-line responders can't possibly know the inner workings of every application within an organisation's digital environment. Automation can deploy the appropriate response procedures that otherwise would require a specialist to review first.
  • Consistent interruptions: Responders escalate a ticket to the engineer they think is the specialist for that application or service, causing response delays. Automation can instead handle common requests and operations, so teams can spend more time fixing the issue instead of finding where to escalate.
  • Repetitive and manual diagnostics: The first steps when an incident occurs are almost always the same, and must be implemented before the incident can be resolved. Automation can invoke routine diagnostics before responders are even notified.

Automation is cyber threat insurance

When time is literally the difference between safety and being subject to a potentially devastating cyber-attack, automation is often your last and best line of defence.

It is impossible to overemphasise the benefits of automating the processes involved in responding to cyber threats. From alert notification to investigation, tickets, and report generation, automation frees security teams from wasting time on manual response tasks. Instead, they are free to focus on more serious security events.

Other security benefits include:

  • Limiting damage - faster response can mean stopping or significantly restricting damage from cyber-attacks.
  • Improving coordination - automated actions can help internal teams, external partners and customers share information faster, helping to manage risk and reduce any potential damage to an organisation's reputation.
  • Accelerating detection and response times - automation speeds up identifying and discerning real threats from false positives, resulting in faster MTTD (Mean Time to Detect) and MTTR (Mean Time to Respond.)

Automation in service of the customer

The benefits of automation to the internal workings of an organisation are obvious.

But ultimately, all business is centred on the customer - this means the 'back office' is now also the 'front office', both coming together to service customer needs and ensure satisfaction. They are more in sync and dependent on each other than ever before.

Automation allows organisations to expand their impact on customers, while also creating a more focused, dedicated and motivated workforce. Automation saves time for everyone - and in the end, that translates to saving money.

Manual processes come at a high price. But automation, when deployed properly to reduce toil, improve employee morale and create new opportunities, is priceless.

This article was sponsored by PagerDuty

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