Incident Management

What is Incident Management?

Incident Management is a critical process within IT Service Management (ITSM) aimed at restoring normal service operation as quickly as possible following an incident while minimizing the impact on business operations and ensuring quality and availability are maintained. An "incident" can be defined as any event that disrupts or could disrupt a service. This process is essential for maintaining the reliability, availability, and performance of IT services.

Key Phases of Incident Management

  • Incident Identification: Detecting and reporting incidents through monitoring tools, help desk calls, or user notifications.
  • Incident Logging: Recording details about the incident, including the time of occurrence, description of the problem, and the affected systems or services.
  • Incident Categorization: Classifying the incident according to its nature and severity to facilitate effective handling and resolution.
  • Incident Prioritization: Assigning a priority level based on the impact and urgency of the incident to ensure that high-impact incidents are addressed promptly.
  • Initial Diagnosis: Attempting to determine the cause of the incident, often involving basic troubleshooting steps.
  • Incident Escalation: Escalating the incident to higher-level technical teams when it cannot be resolved within the agreed time frames or with available resources.
  • Investigation and Diagnosis: Conducting a detailed analysis to identify the root cause of the incident.
  • Resolution and Recovery: Implementing a fix to resolve the incident and restoring the affected service to its normal operating condition.
  • Incident Closure: Formally closing the incident once it is confirmed that the affected service is restored and the user is satisfied with the resolution.
  • Review and Continuous Improvement: Analyzing incident data to identify trends, prevent future incidents, and improve the incident management process.

Tools and Technologies in Incident Management

  • Incident Management Software: Tools that help automate many aspects of the incident management process, including incident logging, categorization, prioritization, and escalation.
  • Knowledge Bases: Databases containing solutions to known problems and documentation that can aid in the quick resolution of incidents.
  • Monitoring Tools: Software that continuously monitors IT services and infrastructure for issues that could lead to incidents, providing early detection and notification.

Benefits of Effective Incident Management

  • Minimized Downtime: Quickly resolving incidents reduces downtime, ensuring that critical business operations continue smoothly.
  • Improved Productivity: Reducing the impact of incidents on end-users enhances overall productivity and satisfaction.
  • Enhanced Service Quality: Systematic incident management processes lead to more reliable IT services.
  • Informed Decision-Making: Data collected through incident management can provide insights for strategic IT planning and decision-making.
  • Compliance: Adherence to agreed service levels and regulatory requirements.

Best Practices for Incident Management

  • Establish Clear Procedures: Develop and document standard operating procedures for managing incidents, including roles and responsibilities.
  • Train the Team: Ensure that all team members understand the incident management process and are trained in using relevant tools and technologies.
  • Implement Proactive Monitoring: Use monitoring tools to detect and address issues before they impact users.
  • Foster Communication: Keep stakeholders informed throughout the incident lifecycle, especially during major incidents.
  • Learn from Incidents: Conduct post-incident reviews to learn from incidents, prevent recurrence, and continuously improve the incident management process.


Incident Management is a cornerstone of IT service delivery, ensuring that service disruptions are addressed swiftly and effectively. By adhering to best practices and leveraging the right tools, organizations can enhance their IT service quality, minimize the impact of incidents, and improve overall user satisfaction.

See Also

Incident Management is a critical IT Service Management (ITSM) process outlined in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. Its primary goal is to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible following an incident, while minimizing impact on business operations and ensuring quality and availability are maintained. An incident is defined as any event that is not part of the standard operation of a service and that causes, or may cause, an interruption to, or a reduction in, the quality of that service.

  • IT Service Management (ITSM): Discussing the entire discipline that Incident Management is a part of, focusing on delivering and supporting IT services.
  • Problem Management: Covering the process aimed at identifying and managing the root causes of incidents over the long term.
  • Change Management: Discussing the procedures for implementing changes in the IT infrastructure to fix known problems and improve the system.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA): Explaining the formal agreement between a service provider and the end user that outlines the level of service expected.
  • Configuration Management Database (CMDB): Covering the database used to store information about hardware and software assets and their relationships, which is vital for incident analysis and resolution.
  • ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library): Discussing the comprehensive set of best practices and guidelines for IT service management, including incident management.
  • Service Desk: Explaining the central point of contact between service providers and users for day-to-day activities.
  • Continuous Improvement: Covering the ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes, which includes learning from incidents to prevent future recurrences.
  • Knowledge Management: Discussing the process of creating, sharing, using, and managing the knowledge and information of an organization to enhance learning and innovation within Incident Management.
  • IT Operations Management (ITOM): Covering the function responsible for the daily operational activities required to manage IT services and the supporting IT infrastructure.