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6 Best Practices for Effective Incident Management

In every digital industry, there are people that look to exploit vulnerabilities. In 2021, there was an increase in hacked and breached data and more companies handling vast amounts of data too. 

That means the possibility of experiencing incidents and errors increases. As a result, now might be the time to find the best practices for effective incident management.

Companies need to ward off incidents like cyberattacks, phishing schemes, and data breaches. These threats can be costly if they’re not handled properly. An average data breach costs a company US$3.9 million. 

Some breaches involve company staff sharing data. Others are the result of malware attacks. So what should you do to handle different incidents? For starters, you can configure monitoring software to identify the risks your service faces. 

However, there’s more you can do to improve your incident handling. This post outlines incident management. It also highlights six of the best practices for getting it right.

What Is Incident Management?

Incident management is an aspect of service management. During an incident, digital services may deteriorate or underperform. Incident management focuses on addressing problems. It looks to return service performance in the shortest amount of time. This process works in response to downtime, latency, and interruptions on a service.

Effective Incident Management

A company may run a function as a service that handles the hardware, operating systems, and software of a company. If ever the service is down, the impact on its clients could be problematic. Incident management looks to mitigate the negative impact of irregular service. It follows several strategies to return the service to normalcy.

Incident Management Best Practices

A telecommunications company may have a popular feature like VoIP or IVR built into its service. If either feature went down, it would impact several companies’ communications channels. This is only one example, but it shows the issues this sort of incident can catalyze. 

Luckily, there are numerous ways to improve your company’s incident management processes. Try these tips to prepare for different challenges. 

1. Define and Flag Incidents

Before creating a strategy to address different incidents, a company’s security team will want to know what they’re likely to face. It’s beneficial to define the types of incidents your company may encounter. By defining and flagging incidents, your team can determine their next steps.

Effective Incident Management

Focus on categorizing and assessing how severe the incidents are. You can add labels and tags to different types of problems. Some may be data breaches, malware attacks, denial of service attacks, or DNS tunneling. You must label these different incidents. By defining the varying types of attacks, your company can quickly find the causes and snuff them out.

Tagging incidents by severity is a vital practice for incident management. You need to know the scale of any issue hampering your company’s service. Some cyberattacks are minor. You can address them quickly. Others can be extreme and completely hinder your service. Recognize threat levels and label them. This will save your service management team time.

2. Outline Responsibilities

In every crisis, there are roles and responsibilities for different actors. Companies have health and safety officers to address on-site health concerns. Similarly, a company delegates people and teams to address different problems. It’s common to have incident response teams that can handle any threats faced.

Within the incident response team, it’s important to outline who does what. During an incident, you want to avoid confusion and misspent time. For example, a company could appoint its cloud engineer as the incident lead and primary contact in the event of a problem. It may also outline roles for other technicians and legal and communications outreach teams.

As each responsible member recognizes their tasks, an incident response team can move to address challenges quickly. With the team members on the same page, managing business continuity is easy as everyone has an idea of what can go wrong and knows how to fix different problems.

3. Outline Incident Handling Strategies

Incident handling strategies are as important as the outlined responsibilities. It can be valuable to highlight the difference between process and procedure when handling incidents. Depending on the problem faced, a company may highlight official strategies. 

Incidents have several stages. Firstly, the team needs to identify the problem. Using the definitions and labels created, a company can quickly recognize issues that impact service. 

The labels will point the response team in the right direction. This will speed up their analysis of the issue. For example, some clients may experience latency with omnichannel inventory management software.

After analyzing the issue, the team can focus on containing and addressing it. This is where they will look at the server, hardware, and software impacting service. Lastly, they will recover service and debrief. That way they can learn from the problem. This will improve incident management steps in the future.

4. Create Incident Communication Plans

Incident communication is essential when something goes awry. During crises, your outward-facing department must consider client engagement. A company that provides services to customers and B2B clients needs to have an effective communications plan for incidents. Your PR or communications team needs to avoid making things up as they go. It’s easy to say the wrong things when problems arise. 

During an incident, your company should determine how best it communicates with employees. Depending on the severity of an incident, they may need information. The company should outline which communication channels it will use. It should also outline which departments are tasked with clients with the help of an engagement platform.

5. Invest in Incident Communication Software

Incident communication software can be a valuable tool when facing a problem, especially in hybrid working environments. It helps a company execute its incident communication plan. After outlining the appropriate communication channels, you should select suitable software. 

Employees check emails 15 times a day or roughly every 37 minutes. This is not reliable when an incident occurs in the midst of managing your business.

Effective Incident Management

Companies invest in big data HR management tools that enable them to contact employees and simplify their processes. Similarly, the right incident communication software will inform employees of pertinent information during an emergency. It can contact them on mobile devices, computers, or other channels. That way employees stay informed and can act on the information provided.

6. Create Incident Tracking Systems

An incident response team needs to know the progress of any incidents that occur. With more information, it becomes easier to address incidents in the future. It’s vital your company documents and reports any incidents that arise. 

During incident handling procedures, you need to track an incident’s progress. With agile project management, your internal engineers can create a suitable solution.

If not, you can invest in incident tracking systems. This way, your company will be able to automatically create incidents. This can document and track any incidents that occur. It can also simplify the reporting stage. 

An incident management program can help your company effectively address different threats to ensure better service. 

Effective Incident Management

To create an effective incident management process, try out the six best practices mentioned above. Define your incidents and people’s responsibilities. Outline incident handling strategies. Create a communications plan and find incident communications software that will help you execute it. Build or invest in incident tracking software to simplify or automate the process.

Effective incident management is crucial to any company providing digital services. Service can be impacted by a number of issues. Those range from internal hardware or software malfunctions to external cyberattacks. 

Create a clear incident management strategy using these ideas. Your clients and customers will appreciate stable service and reward you with their long-term loyalty and patronage. 

Author: Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Grace Lau

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better remote team management. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.

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