How to Respond to an Incident: A Post-Mortem
A post-mortem security incident is a chance to improve. A good post-mortem will show what went wrong and what went well. Learning from past mistakes is the greatest benefit. It’s also a chance to avoid future mistakes.
An incident postmortem is a discussion that brings together people to discuss details of an incident, such as the reasons it occurred, its impact, the actions taken to mitigate or resolve it, and what can be done to prevent it happening again. If the right people are involved, it is possible to create processes and procedures to avoid issues that have not yet occurred.
Avoiding Incident Post-Mortem
Many factors can be used to prevent or minimize the need for a post-mortem. They are inevitable because of an incident that has occurred and requires teams to work together to resolve it in a longer term manner.
To avoid them, you need the right atmosphere. Employees should be open and honest. However, the workplace must set the right tone. Employees should not suffer for their mistakes unless they are repeated or negligent. People will try to hide their mistakes and create a culture of doing so by punishing them. These mistakes can lead incidents.
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Start training. Version control and change management are closely linked from a technical perspective. This allows you to quickly reverse an incident that was caused by a change. You can easily review and rollback configuration changes and code by storing them in version control. However, Change management can help to identify issues before they become production. It helps to plan rollbacks, as every change must have a rollback plan. Sometimes, rollback plans are not intended to be used. It is much easier to plan ahead than to be in need of them.
Automated deployments can also be used to avoid making mistakes when trying to avoid app or code related incidents. Automated deployments make it easier for organizations to roll back their automated deployments once they have achieved this status.
Using feature flags in your code can allow you to enable and disable new functionality without having to redeploy any code. Although this is not always possible, it allows for a much quicker rollback as it can be done on-the-fly.
Benefits of an Incident Postmortem Analysis
Every organization will eventually have a post-mortem analysis. This does not necessarily mean that the organization has failed. This does not mean that the organization failed to follow a process or procedure, or in some cases, that teams of people are not functioning effectively. A post-mortem must be performed.
These are great opportunities for organizations to learn from their mistakes. You can plan how to avoid similar issues that may not have occurred yet, and you can also create a move forward plan.
Maybe the issue wasn’t a complete failure, and there were some positive points. This is a chance to share the positive points and to reaffirm the policies and procedures that were in place for this incident. Employees may lose sight of the reason they are being performed or not believe they are doing it.
Customers can build trust by having incident post-mortems. Clients can see the results of the post-mortem. While they may be upset that the incident occurred, knowing the details and what will be done to prevent it from happening again can help them to feel better. Transparency is key to gaining and maintaining customer trust.
Best Practices for Incident Post-Mortem Analysis
A policy or procedure that identifies the triggers for such a meeting is the best way to conduct an incident post-mortem analysis. The policy or procedure should also identify the person responsible.