What is Incident Management?
The Incident Management process is responsible for managing incidents throughout their lifecycle. The process is primarily concerned with identifying, prioritizing, and resolving incidents.
The main objectives of the Incident Management process are to ensure that incidents are dealt with promptly and effectively and that the impact of incidents on the business is minimized.
The process is also responsible for logging and tracking incidents and maintaining incident records.
The Incident Management process is one of the critical processes in the ISO 20000 standard. The standard is designed to help organizations ensure that their IT services are delivered consistently and reliably.
The Incident Management process is just one part of the overall standard. Still, it is a crucial part of the standard and one that all organizations should implement effectively.
Scope of Incident Management
The scope of Incident Management in ISO 20000 defines the applicability of the processes and activities within the service provider’s organization for the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The procedures and activities associated with ISO 20000 Incident Management are required to be performed to detect, report, investigate, resolve, and record incidents related to the services delivered by the service provider.
ISO 20000 Incident Management processes and activities are also required to support the service provider’s organisation in restoring services delivered to the customer after an incident. The scope of Incident Management in ISO 20000 also requires the provision of information to enable trend analysis and the identification of problem areas.
The inputs to Incident Management are:
- Service Level Agreement
- Incident reports
- Problem Management records
The outputs from Incident Management are:
- Resolved incidents.
- Incident records
- Information for Problem Management
- Information for Trend Analysis
Incident management process flow
An organization’s incident management process flow should be designed to minimize the impact of incidents on business operations. It should also ensure that incidents are resolved promptly and effectively.
The incident management process flow typically includes the following steps:
1. Incident identification
The identification step of the incident management process flow is essential to determine which incidents should be escalated for further investigation and which can be resolved without further investigation. This step can be accomplished by reviewing system logs, monitoring alerts, and checking application error messages.
To log an incident, the required information must be collected. This information includes a description of the incident, the date and time, the Workstation ID of the affected user, and the name of the affected application.
Once the incident has been logged, it must be categorized.
The incident must then be prioritized to ensure that the most critical incidents are escalated and resolved first. This step is typically accomplished by assigning a priority level to the incident.
2. Incident logging
An incident is an unplanned event that causes, or could cause, an interruption to, or reduction in, the quality of an IT service. Logging an incident is the first step in the incident management process and is critical in ensuring that incidents are managed effectively.
When an incident is logged, it is assigned a unique identifier (ID), which tracks it through the incident management process. In addition, the incident ID links the incident to other information related to the incident, such as the Problem record, the Change record, and the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
In addition to the incident ID, the following information is typically captured when an incident is logged:
- Date and time the incident was logged.
- Name and contact details of the person logging the incident.
- Priority of the incident
- Description of the incident
- Service affected by the incident.
- Business impact of the incident
The incident management process is described in detail in the ISO 20000 standard and is based on the ITIL framework.
3. Incident classification
The classification of incidents is an integral part of the incident management process flow. It helps organizations to identify, record and track incidents so they can be resolved promptly and efficiently.
There are three categories of incident classification: minor, central, and critical. Minor incidents are those that can be resolved quickly and do not have a significant impact on the operation of the organization. Major incidents require more time and resources to fix and may substantially affect the organization's process. Finally, critical incidents significantly impact the organization's operation and may require the organization to shut down operations.
4. Incident prioritization
Organizations must first understand the business impact of each type of incident to prioritize incidents. Then, this information is used to create a prioritization scheme that considers the severity of the incident, the likelihood of its occurrence, and the potential business impact.
Once the prioritization scheme is in place, incidents are triaged and assigned a priority based on the information about the incident. This allows Incident Responders to identify and address the most critical incidents quickly.
While there are many ways to prioritize incidents, the most important thing is to have a system that meets the organization’s needs. With a well-designed prioritization scheme, Incident Responders can ensure that suitable incidents are addressed at the right time.
5. Incident escalation
There are three levels of escalation in the ISO 20000 standard. These are:
1. First-level escalation: This is when the Incident is escalated to a higher level of support within the same team.
2. Second level escalation: This is when the Incident is escalated to a higher level of support within a different team.
3. Third-level escalation: This is when the Incident is escalated to a higher level of support within a different organization.
6. Incident resolution
Incident resolution is identifying the root cause of an incident and taking action to prevent it from happening again. This can be done by either fixing the problem or putting safeguards to prevent it from happening again.
The first step in incident resolution is to identify the incident’s root cause. This can be done by investigating and collecting all relevant information. Once the root cause has been identified, the next step is to take corrective action. This can involve fixing the problem or putting safeguards to prevent it from happening again.
Once the corrective action has been taken, closing the incident and updating the incident management process are essential. This will ensure that future incidents are dealt with more efficiently.
7. Incident closure
Incident closure is bringing an incident to an orderly and controlled end. The closure process includes activities such as resetting or restoring regular service operations, documenting the final state of the incident and conducting a post-incident review.
Benefits of Incident management process
The benefits of incident management processes as per ISO 20000 can be divided into three broad categories:
- process benefits
- people benefit.
- Organizational benefits.
Some of the key benefits in each of these categories are listed below:
- Improved service quality and continuity
- Enhanced customer satisfaction
- Reduced downtime and improved service availability.
- Improved efficiency and productivity
- Reduced incident-related costs.
- Improved incident management team performance
- Enhanced team morale and motivation
- Greater clarity of roles and responsibilities
- Improved communication and coordination
- Enhanced organizational reputation.