Complex environments are notorious for generating a high volume of alerts. For IT teams, this deluge presents a critical, time-consuming challenge. Managing alerts and incident response keeps these busy professionals under constant pressure and risks alert fatigue. Nonstop “noise” can desensitize people and actually lead to missed or ignored alerts—risking delayed responses and downtime. These high stakes make handling alerts a key security and productivity issue.
Enter AIOps, which has revolutionized the ability for IT teams to take charge of alert volume by leveraging machine learning and other AI techniques. But while AIOps has been a step in the right direction, managing vast numbers of alerts remains problematic. And this is where IT process automation (ITPA) comes in.
Augmenting AIOps with ITPA takes incident response to a whole new level, streamlining the process, reducing alert fatigue, and speeding up incident resolution. The combination of AIOps with ITPA transforms efficiency across the system.
A Deeper Look at Alert Management
The primary risk of inefficient alert management is downtime. Alert fatigue is a consequence of exhaustion in which people get overwhelmed and lose the sharp edge needed to capture the truly important alerts and distinguish them from “white noise.”
Complex environments churn out alerts 24/7 and any one can present the potential for downtime and damage. So, it’s vital that IT teams say focused and avoid alert fatigue (also called alarm fatigue). Overlooking a critical threat or lurking incident can result in heavy, costly consequences in terms of lost time, data, and money.
Thus, rapid response is urgent: the constant pressures of service level agreements (SLAs) and other performance metrics never let up. IT teams need to stay on top of the situation to identify the cause of potential downtime, analyze it, and resolve the problem before consequences pile up.
What’s the nature of the risks facing IT? There’s a long list, but let’s start with a few:
- Human error—a common cause of unplanned downtime
- Unintentional data deletion, even an unplugged cable or failure to follow standard protocols presents a risk
- Hardware or software failure
- Outdated or improper patching
- Device misconfiguration is a major cause of unplanned downtime and can expose a system to cyberattacks
- Bugs are always around to corrupt applications and can lead to server failure
- Natural disasters can disrupt power supply and lead to extended downtime
The value of efficient alert management can’t be overestimated.
Complementing AIOps with ITPA for Security and Efficiency
ITPA is just what the doctor ordered to avoid alert fatigue and the frustration of trying to handle volumes of alerts manually. AIOps’ strength is to reduce alert noise, identify actual alerts to act on, and streamline incident response—and it’s a major relief to hard-pressed IT teams. But when combined with ITPA, AIOps works even better to improve incident response and overcome the challenges of managing a high volume of alerts.
Both AIOps and ITPA have their own specific strengths; working together, these two deliver a powerful resource for improvement. AIOps enables IT teams to identify and prioritize incidents, proactively monitor system performance, and analyze data to identify patterns and anomalies. These capabilities speed up incident resolution and improve system efficiency.
ITPA, on the other hand, has the unique ability to automate routine processes, freeing up IT staff to address more complex issues where the stakes are higher. Combined, these two applications reduce the risk of errors and ensure consistency in incident response. For example, ITPA automates routine processes such as patching, backups, and configuration changes. This ensures that a company’s operations remain reliably up and running, liberating IT professionals for issues—including security— that need specific skills and experience.
Best Practices for Combining AIOps and ITPA
So, what’s the ideal way to leverage the capabilities of AIOps and ITPA in alert management? The following best practices are a good start.
- Identify key alerts to automate: Identify the most consequential use cases based on high-volume alerts. That might mean proactive system monitoring and automating incident response—or the risks of low disk space or system/application restart. Once these key use cases are identified, teams can prioritize AIOps and ITPA to address their most critical issues.
- Use a unified workflow: ITPA platforms integrate smoothly with AIOps platforms, using a single interface to manage alerts and trigger remediation workflows. Whether it’s partial remediation (using automation only to triage and validate alerts) or full remediation to resolve the alert, your two-pronged approach reduces the need for multiple tools while improving standardization and interoperability across the incident response process.
- Focus on data quality: AIOps and ITPA are only as effective as the data they analyze. To ensure accuracy, IT teams should focus on data quality, including data cleaning, data normalization, and data enrichment.
- Prioritize change management: Implementing AIOps and ITPA demands a shift in mindset and processes. IT teams should accept and prioritize change management to ensure that staff are trained on the new tools and processes, as well as fully invested in the transition.
- Audit and validate algorithms: AIOps algorithms can be vulnerable to the bias and weaknesses of the data used to train on. To ensure accuracy and avoid potentially harmful actions, IT teams should audit and validate AIOps algorithms on an ongoing basis. Integrity in AI may be at risk if it inadvertently learns to incorporate common inaccuracies and prejudices.
The Complete Journey
Managing alerts is a critical challenge for IT teams; it can be time-consuming, inaccurate, and invite alert fatigue. By combining AIOps with ITPA, IT teams can streamline incident response, achieve faster incident resolution and improve system efficiency. Starting with the best practices outlined above, IT teams can optimize their incident response and ensure that they address critical situations in a timely and efficient manner.
Real-world examples in a variety of industry verticals prove the value of AIOps and ITPA working synergistically to optimize alert management. Automating common processes mobilizes IT staff to narrow in on complex issues. And ITPA ensures that operations stay up and running while lowering the risk of errors and delays. AIOps enables IT teams to detect and prioritize critical incidents, preemptively monitor system performance, and spot troublesome patterns and anomalies in data, leading to prompt and efficient incident resolution while improving overall system efficiency.
It’s smart to support and relieve overburdened IT teams by automating and offloading volumes of routine alerts onto this doubly efficient advance. Not only does the one-two punch of AIOps and ITPA make life easier for teams and prevent the very real risk of alert fatigue, it optimizes alert management overall and prevents potentially major financial losses of down time or breach.
Leveraging the combined power of AIOps and ITPA, you streamline incident response and gain peace of mind by reducing the toil and inaccuracy of a manual process that is easily automated. Best of all, you’re saving potentially major costs by ensuring that critical threats don’t slip past your vigilance and open the doors to damage. Your IT teams will thank you, and you’ll quickly see the benefits of superior management in statistics as you prevent costly downtime.
Learn more about how ITPA completes the AIOps journey. Request a demo.