An introduction to Runbooks

This article describes how to configure and automate your incident response process with FireHydrant's Runbooks. Using Runbooks, you can equip your team with updated information and best practices for mitigating incidents.

What is a Runbook?

Runbooks are similar to playbooks; they define a workflow to be followed when an incident occurs. But unlike playbooks, which simply establish a standard process, Runbooks actually initiate actions that are fundamental steps to resolving an incident. Such actions might be creating a Slack channel, starting a Zoom meeting, or opening a Jira ticket. Think of a Runbook as an incident response playbook that runs (or is activated) when an incident is declared.

Creating an Incident Runbook

To create a new Incident Runbook:

  1. Go to the Runbooks page and click Create New. The next page gives you the option to create a Runbook with our starter template or create one without a template.
  2. For this example, we'll start from scratch. Click Create a blank Runbook. Let's create a Runbook for SEV3 incidents. Filling out a name, summary, and description makes this Runbook discoverable in the future.

Note: Runbooks are designed for each step to execute as quickly as possible; however, this means Runbook steps won't always execute in order (as they appear in the FireHydrant UI). To add Runbook steps that won't be executed until after another specific step, you can add that limitation by using Runbook conditions.

Assigning incident severity to Runbooks

You can configure Runbooks either manually or automatically, depending on the severity of an incident when the incident is declared. 

For example, if you have incident severities 1, 2, and 3 defined in FireHydrant, you can create three separate Runbooks—one for each severity. You can also assign a single Runbook to multiple severities.

To assign a severity:

  1. Click  Runbooks  in the left nav.
  2. Click the link for the Runbook where you want to set the severity.
    Under Configure when this Runbook will execute , select a severity (or severities) from the dropdown menu. This severity will be assigned to the Runbook.

To learn more about using Runbook conditions to automate your incident response flow, see the article on automating workflow using Runbook conditions

Last updated on 2/9/2024