Incident Handling & Resolution

Incident Handling & Resolution

Incident handling & resolution, more commonly known as incident management, refers to a set of practices, processes, and solutions that enable teams to detect, investigate, and respond to incidents. It is a critical element for businesses of all sizes and a requirement for meeting most data compliance standards.

Incident management processes ensure that IT teams can quickly address vulnerabilities and issues. Faster responses help reduce the overall impact of incidents, mitigate damages, and ensure that systems and services continue to operate as planned.

Without incident management, you may lose valuable data, experience reduced productivity and revenues due to downtime, or be held liable for breach of service level agreements (SLAs). Even when incidents are minor with no lasting harm, IT teams must devote valuable time to investigating and correcting issues.

The Five Steps of Incident Resolution

There are five standard steps to any incident resolution process. These steps ensure that no aspect of an incident is overlooked and help teams respond to incidents effectively.

Incident Identification, Logging, and Categorization

Incidents are identified through user reports, solution analyses, or manual identification. Once identified, the incident is logged and investigation and categorization can begin. Categorization is important to determining how incidents should be handled and for prioritizing response resources.

Incident Notification & Escalation

Incident alerting takes place in this step although the timing may vary according to how incidents are identified or categorized. Additionally, if incidents are minor, details may be logged or notifications sent without an official alert. Escalation is based on the categorization assigned to an incident and who is responsible for response procedures. If incidents can be automatically managed, escalation can occur transparently.

Investigation and Diagnosis

Once incident tasks are assigned, staff can begin investigating the type, cause, and possible solutions for an incident. After an incident is diagnosed, you can determine the appropriate remediation steps. This includes notifying any relevant staff, customers, or authorities about the incident and any expected disruption of services.

Resolution and Recovery

Resolution and recovery involve eliminating threats or root causes of issues and restoring systems to full functioning. Depending on incident type or severity, this may require multiple stages to ensure that incidents don’t reoccur. For example, if the incident involves a malware infection, you often cannot simply delete the malicious files and continue operations. Instead, you need to create a clean copy of your infected systems, isolate the infected components, and fully replace systems to ensure that the infection doesn’t spread.

Incident Closure

Closing incidents typically involves finalizing documentation and evaluating the steps taken during response. This evaluation helps teams identify areas of improvement and proactive measures that can help prevent future incidents.
Incident closure may also involve providing a report or retrospective to administrative teams, board members, or customers. This information can help rebuild any trust that may have been lost and creates transparency regarding your operations.

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