The Ad Hoc Incident Response Playbook: Helping you prepare for service emergencies

Imagine for a moment your team has built a digital service that thousands — or even millions — of people depend on. You’ve spent countless hours to ensure it runs smoothly and allows customers to seamlessly access the information they need. But one day the service unexpectedly shuts down, nobody can log in to their accounts, and help requests and frustrated messages come flooding in. What do you do?

An incident will happen — are you ready?

It’s inevitable that at some point during your digital service’s life cycle, a problem will occur that will cause it to fail in some way. It could be due to human error, a technical issue, or something else. No matter the root cause, you must have a response plan in place that will help your team know how to quickly and successfully resolve the problem and keep stakeholders informed every step of the way.

If you haven’t already created your plan or if you need some guidance, Ad Hoc’s new Incident Response Playbook is a valuable resource to help your team prepare for system emergencies. We’ve designed the playbook for government agencies and other organizations that need to develop and mature their understanding of incident response from a reactionary mindset to a more flexible, cross-functional, and blameless approach. Because when incidents happen, every minute counts, every team member is essential, and being prepared will help deliver better outcomes.

Visit the playbook and learn what strategic steps you should implement before, during, and after an incident. With our playbook as your guide, you can develop a comprehensive plan and then respond faster and more effectively when an incident hits.

How does the Playbook help?

At Ad Hoc, we believe in prevention and emergency response. System incidents can be incredibly costly and harmful to organizations and their users.Therefore, it’s crucial that your team understands your systems, plans for various types of incidents, and practices responding to them. Using our Incident Response Playbook to create a high level of preparedness will make it easier when real-world issues arise and can lessen the negative impacts on your system and all who use it.

In the playbook, we’ve included six plays that will put your team on a path to being ready to tackle anything that could damage your systems. But we don’t prescribe specific tools or solutions. No single approach to an incident response will suit everyone; a strategy that works for one organization may be wrong for another. Instead, we suggest proven methods, and you can determine which are appropriate for your situation.

We help you think about what is most important to your organization so that you can more easily prioritize what to focus on when developing your plan. For incident responses, it’s helpful to determine your organization’s values in terms of risks and potential damages that an incident can create. You’ll want to consider questions like:

  • What types of data does your application or team use?
  • How and where is it stored?
  • What risk does the data present?
  • What data or information is most likely to be targeted by outside actors?

Answering these early on will assist you in developing a much more thorough plan that’ll prepare your team to rise to the challenge of any system emergency.

Use our playbook to learn more about how to create a flexible incident response that meets your organization’s needs and helps you identify areas that could pose significant threats.

It takes all hands on deck, team trust, and a lot of practice

Incident response preparation is an essential part of maintaining a digital service, and no one person should ever shoulder that responsibility alone. Just as everyone plays a part in creating a service and sustaining its quality, each person also plays a part in responding when an incident occurs that can have negative impacts. This is why we emphasize the importance of a cross-functional response. It ensures all aspects of a system are addressed and teams collaborate closely throughout the incident.

From determining who will do what and when to conducting an honest post-mortem assessment that highlights what you got right and where you need to improve – the success of your response depends on everyone’s contributions. It also requires trust and constant communication. Remember: The goal of having a response plan in place is not to point fingers but to collaborate with humility so that the team can quickly find a resolution.

By following our playbook, you’ll be on the right track to creating a plan that outlines how to respond to potentially harmful incidents. As a result, you’ll better equip your organization with practices that will lead to calmer, more effective incident responses and more secure digital services. Visit our website to access the Ad Hoc Incident Response Playbook and begin creating your plan today.