Automation has become a key competency for modern IT teams. The proliferation of platforms, tools, and contexts for developing, testing, and running applications creates a near-infinite number of toolset combinations. Each tool requires expertise to use well and that knowledge needs to be preserved, evaluated, and learned from over time. This process can be difficult if all the processes are manual. While teams have become comfortable with the automation of certain steps in their workflows (like building software or performing some testing), teams are often slow to apply much automation to the operational part of the software delivery lifecycle.

Manual processes combined with complex operational environments have a number of negative potential consequences for technical teams:

  • Fast-moving Agile development practices outpace documentation
  • Mistakes are easy to make in manual processes
  • Manual toil contributes to burnout and employee disengagement

Automating manual processes helps teams avoid these drawbacks, helping mitigate the risk, cost, and negative team health impacts of this type of work.

The negative impacts of manual processes follow applications into production environments and make an outsized impact when something goes wrong. Incorrect documentation, copy-and-paste errors in manual processes, and repeated steps create risk when all systems are running as expected - but can have catastrophic impacts during an incident. Applying automation to incident response contributes to the overall consistency, predictability, and reliability of the response process.

If your team is not yet applying automation to your incident response processes, we hope this guide will help you think about and experiment with automating for incident response.