$8,662 per minute. That is the average cost of unplanned downtime according to a new survey. The stakes and costs are high when it comes to business impact and a fast response is critical. According to the research, the average time to assemble an incident response team in 27 minutes. That means businesses can spend upwards of $233,874 on an incident before IT teams even start investigating the issue. 

Security, reputation and revenue are all at risk; how can large enterprises ensure costs are kept low and response is swift during an incident? 

Incidents happen, in fact they are unavoidable in today’s digital age of agile development, experimental digital transformation and growing IOT security threats. 91% of respondents in the research had experienced at least one major incident in the last 12 months.  

Incidents come in various forms, all of which can impact business and cause distraction across the enterprise.  

61% Network Outages 

58% Hardware Failures or Capacity Issues 

51% Internal Business Application Issue  

41% Unplanned Maintenance  

32% Release Deployment  

26% Data Center Outage  

14% Cyber Attack / DDoS Attack

Whilst the resolution for each may vary, the need to detect and instigate an incident response is always crucial. Downtime has numerous impacts that extend beyond the IT department. Bad publicity, lost business, revenue loss, reduced customer satisfaction and loss of competitiveness are all at risk when IT is hit with an incident. The longer the disruption, the higher the risk. 

63% claim IT incidents have reduced employee productivity

The need for a fast response is not new information to any incident manager; working on a resolution is naturally easier said than done. What is worrying is how much companies are losing through incidents before Root Cause Analysis has even begun. How can enterprises reduce the 27 minutes it takes to gather an incident response team?  

Stop relying on email  

$233,874 is a lot of money to spend on firing out emails and bombarding the phones. It’s not a cheap way to check a directory and only find out on your fourth attempt of communication that they’re on annual leave. 

Initial incident management communications need to cannot afford to rely on the same system we use to manage virtually every activity in business. Email is notoriously overloaded and ineffective, yet 83% relied heavily on email to gather the incident response team. 

What’s so wrong with email?

Email is arguably the most widely connected message stream within business; everyone has an email address. It’s how you contact colleagues, it’s how your enterprise platforms contact you, it’s how you contact your customers, it’s how you receive industry information; spam or not, virtually all communications in business can reach you via email and that is precisely the issue. 

Email is a one size fits all option for work-based communication. The same place you are alerted to a critical network outage that you need to react to immediately is the same place you get a 2-4-1 coffee voucher. It is no wonder that responses to important messages are slow or, even worse, missed completely.

Not only is it slow, email is static. Once formulated, the message remains in an inbox, unchanged. No updates, no new information, no reminders; to do that you need to create a new message, which joins the long list of unread inbox messages. 

Email is not urgent and does not understand the pressures and priorities of incidents. 

Reduce the manual work 

Major incident management is a fairly hands on task, but far too much of the initial response process is reliant on manual administrative tasks. Checking directories for colleague contact information. Consulting various office calendars and time sheets to see who is online and available. Even needing to navigate the login page of the enterprise software you use to manage IT incidents all add high cost minutes to the initial response. 

Automation helps to optimise the entire incident management process, but it is undeniably useful in these initial stages to get the relevant team together to begin working on a resolution. In fact, automating this critical communication can reduce the mean time to respond significantly and cut that initial 27 minutes by upwards of 80%. 

43% manually call or reach out to people.

39% of respondents check online calendars to manage the scheduling of on-call personnel.

24% still use spreadsheets and company phone books.

29% have no formal process in place to manage on-call personnel.

Get proactive with your engagement 

We need faster messaging, a modern alternative to existing one size fits all communication tools. Chat based tools and email focus on conversation, about talking around what needs doing; they don’t let you actually do it. Much like poor incident response, you can spend copious minutes discussing topics, how to do them, how to delegate etc. etc. yet in all that time, nothing is being completed. There is a fine line between considered planning and needless procrastination. 


Incident management is a crucial part of IT service management that has expensive consequences. Fast reactions are vital to ensuring an effective response that limits business impact. As highlighted by the reported figures, the initial process of gathering a team is a time-sensitive task and one that, currently, many companies are failing to optimise. In the age of digital transformation, where further incidents are expected as IOT, BYOD and AI evolve as well as developments in threats from ransomware and security breaches, businesses need to invest in smarter incident response processes. The costs of failing to do so will only increase. 

Ready to create a Digital Workspace where incident response times are seconds not minutes? Email info@heed.io

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