Troy McAlpin, CEO, xMatters, inc.

(x)mattersAre major incidents keeping you up at night? According to a recent survey conducted by Dimensional Research and commission by xMatters, inc., major incidents definitely should be keeping you up?

Larger companies are better prepared than smaller ones. They are – sort of.

Why Larger Companies Are More Prepared

Troy-1Two-thirds of companies with more than 5,000 employees have a major incident team that responds when necessary. By contrast, fewer than half of companies with fewer than 5,000 employees have such a team.

Even the companies that have a major incident response team often do not have dedicated personnel. In other words, employees have to stop doing their regular jobs to go put out fires.

According to the survey, 60 percent of companies with at least 10,000 employees have at least two dedicated employees for major incident management. Companies with fewer than 1,000 employees almost universally (88 percent) have no one dedicated solely to major incidents.

These are some of the advantages that money and resources provide to larger companies. However, bigger companies also make bigger targets.

Why Larger Companies Should Still Be Worried

Larger companies need greater defenses because of the volume of incidents.

According to the survey findings, 39 percent of companies with fewer than 5,000 employees say they experience a major incident once a year or less. Meanwhile, an astounding 92 percent of larger companies experience a major incident at least several times a year. This is what I meant when I said in the beginning that larger companies are “sort of” more prepared.

What All This Data Really Means

It seems like a no-brainer that your defenses should rise to meet your level of risk. This is why banks have layers of firewalls on their websites and armed guards in their lobbies.

So the question is, are companies employing defenses commensurate with their risk of major incidents?

Well, 82 percent of survey respondents agree that major incidents have an impact on their bottom line, so it’s an important question.

According to Dimensional Research, 76 percent say they miss target resolution times most or some of the time. So what can companies do better?

Formalize a major incident process. No matter the exact nature of the event, the first few minutes after a major incident are crucial. An earlier survey revealed that companies need at least 15 minutes just to identify the right person to engage. By that time, the incident has already begun to affect the business negatively.

Practice regularly. If you play sports, you know you play like you practice. Major incidents are high-intensity events, and every minute counts. Running drills will help ensure successful resolution.

Automate communications. About half of companies still rely on manual processes during major incidents. We’re talking contact information on spreadsheets or even paper. Is it any wonder they breach SLAs so often? Use intelligent technology solutions to make your communications faster and more accurate.

Keep executives informed. Business leaders understand that major incidents occur. While they may find an event frustrating, they are more frustrated by being surprised. In fact, 87 percent are absolutely not OK with being in the dark during a major incident.

As enterprises continue to digitize their businesses, Major Incidents are more likely to be system outages, data breaches and malware attacks that only increase in frequency and business impact every year. Application failure, hardware failure and power outages account for service downtime as well. If you’re not prepared, you’re vulnerable. Now is a great time to start protecting your business against these threats.

Troy McAlpin, CEO, xMatters, inc.

Troy McAlpin brings more than 20 years of experience to his leadership role at xMatters, with expertise in process automation, strategic initiatives and corporate strategy. His domain experience includes IT strategy and vertical market expertise including technology, banking, consumer and retail industries.  Prior to founding xMatters, he managed marketing, sales, development, M&A and financial aspects at two successful start-up companies and also worked at AT&T Solutions and Andersen.