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What Is Incident Management in ITSM? Understanding the Steps and Best Practices

What Is Incident Management in ITSM? Understanding the Steps and Best Practices

Have you experienced a temporary downtime in your IT operations? Well, these challenges are inevitable and require us to step over directly. A halt or disruption can affect your productivity & sometimes can get alarming. In simple terms, these unplanned events resulting in service interruptions to business are called incidents. Software outages, data issues, technical glitches in your software, etc, are a few common examples. Businesses often face those situations, but when managed well, it helps organizations to fix issues effectively and be more prepared for the next incident. The process used by development and IT operations to quickly respond to business roadblocks to recover and restore things to normal is termed incident management in ITSM*. Incident management also facilitates the ITIL* framework to expedite the resolution process.  

Thus, an effective incident management system tackles incidents, efficiently resumes business operations, and ensures the smooth functioning of the organization.  

In this article, we dive deep into understanding incident management, processes, and best practices. We also learn how business operations can use incident management to traverse the root cause of incidents and implement successful strategies. Stay with us till the end. 

Did You Know?

The Cloud based cyber-attacks rose to 630% between January and April 2020 according to webinarcare.                                                 

Incident Management in ITSM – A detailed overview  

Incidents are inevitable, and they can happen advertently or inadvertently. Managing incidents in the full spectrum requires expertise to avoid pitfalls and complex issues that span your business.  

Incident management helps IT teams investigate incidents, define, and produce best practices that are good for business productivity.  

Incident management in ITSM is a comprehensive approach. It involves a predefined process to facilitate quick and systematic responses to incidents. The objective is to minimize downtime, reduce associated risks, and restore normal operations. By following the framework, organizations can manage incidents and achieve operational stability.  

Importance of Incident Management in ITSM   

Responding to incidents is critical and should go right. This is because service interruptions can get costly to businesses when not taken care of. Also, teams should have an efficient platform to resolve and respond to issues immediately. Addressing issues on a timely basis reduces business downturn, restores stakeholders’ trust, and provides a better user experience.  

When an incident occurs, teams should chalk out a plan that helps them to:  

  • Quickly respond to issues   
  • Communicate clearly to all stakeholders involved.  
  • Team collaboration to solve issues faster.  
  • Learn from the experience and apply best practices to prevent such future occurrences.  

IT Incident Management Process in ITSM  

Examining the intricacies caused by incidents without a proper process gets complicated and takes more time. A standardized process defines the corrective action the teams should take to mitigate the negative effect on business.  

IT incident management contains a set of processes that break down silos and restore business functionality.  

Let us have a closer look at the IT Incident Management Process  

  1. Incident Logging  
  2. Incident Categorization  
  3. Incident Prioritization  
  4. Incident Assignment  
  5. Task Creation  
  6. SLA (Service Level Agreements) management and escalation  
  7. Incident resolution  
  8. Incident Closure  

The ITIL incident management fosters meaningful processes and reduces the impact on employee productivity. It is designed to manage incidents, diagnose issues, and resolve incidents quickly. But why does ITIL incident management come into the picture? How is incident management related to ITIL? Incident management plays a crucial role in the ITIL framework. ITIL consists of best practices designed to stabilize IT Service Management. The ITIL incident management goal is to restore normal operations and ensure improved service quality.  

Levels in Incident Management   

Different types of teams approach incident management uniquely. They apply their unique perspectives, take corrective action, and build strategies. Let us understand a brief troubleshooting steps teams’ approach before we get to know the Incident Management levels in detail:  

ITSM: After an incident happens, ITSM teams work hard to resume service back to normal. They follow an established process such as incident identification, logging, categorization, prioritization, investigation, resolution, and closure. This proactive approach helps to escalate incidents and resolve issues faster.  

Site reliability engineering (SRE): SRE teams align to a different approach in managing incidents. While they actively respond to incidents, they reinforce steps to prevent incidents in the first place. These include designing systems to be robust and continuously measuring & improving system reliability. SRE teams maintain SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and adhere to maintain system reliability.  

DevOps: The DevOps team addresses incident management as an opportunity to improve further. They react to resolving the immediate problem and fine-tune the development and deployment processes to prevent such future occurrences. These involve making changes to the code, updating automated tests, or improving the monitoring and alerting capabilities.  

The incident severity levels define the impact an incident has on the business. The lower the severity number, the more effective the incident is.  

At Atlassian, SEV 1 is defined as a “Critical incident with a very high impact”, while SEV 2 is a “Major incident with significant impact” and SEV 3 is a “Minor incident with low impact”.  

Let us examine the examples of severity levels in detail:  

  1. Severity Level 1: Breach of Privacy, customer-facing issues like Jira Cloud, Customer Data Loss  
  2. Severity Level 2: Customer-facing service is unavailable or a core functionality like git push is impacted.  
  3. Severity Level 3: A minor inconvenience to customers or performance degradation.  

These severity levels are essential to set priorities for IT and DevOps teams. A well-defined SEV level ensures keeping your teams on the same page, identifying the loopholes, and applying incident response best practices.  

ITSM Incident Management – Best Practices  

Tackling incidents is never a cakewalk. Teams must take necessary measures to diagnose and investigate issues on time. The Incident Management best practices provide the troubleshooting steps to restore the business functionality.   

  1. Log the issues in a single tool: Whatever the level of the incident is, always log in to a single tool to keep track of incidents. These ensure timely response and reconciliation of logs.  
  2. Fill in all the details: Ensure to fill in all the incident details for further investigation, gathering information, or generating reports.  
  3. Keep your categorization neat: Try to avoid any unnecessary categories or subcategories as it leads to confusion. Also, avoid options like “other” as much as possible.  
  4. Make sure to keep track of your team: Streamline your process to ensure that every member follows the same procedure and the correct response for every incident. Keep your quality consistent.  
  5. Use standard solutions: If your solution is effective, utilize them consistently to move forward.  
  6. Train your employees: By training professionals of both IT and non-IT, it is beneficial to the organization to respond to higher-level incidents quickly. Well-trained teams can respond to incidents, become efficient, and communicate effectively with each other.  
  7. Set alerts: The most important aspect is to avoid unnecessary overload. Cautiously plan how events are categorized and what those mean to prevent incidents from getting missed. Define the service level indicators to determine the hierarchy of prioritizations, for example, giving importance to root cause analysis over surface-level symptoms.  
  8. Set up communication guidelines:  Creating guidelines is substantial for effective communication, collaboration, and team effectiveness. These guidelines must focus on which channels staff must use and define how to document communication.  
  9. Streamline the process change of incidents:  Establishing the changes or levels is essential to define from whom the individuals can get approval. Depending on this, they may appropriately seek approval or additional confirmation on the changes.  
  10. Apply the best practices: Review the incident, analyze the reason, and prescribe preventive measures for encountering such challenges to minimize future occurrences.  

Choosing the Right Incident Management Software – Atlassian Jira Service Management  

With unavoidable incidents around the corner for businesses, an appropriate incident management tool like Atlassian JSM provides a headroom to manage incidents effectively.  

Why JSM?  

Jira Service Management makes it simple to capture user and system-reported incidents. The broad-based management tool is sophisticated enough to handle escalation rules within one interface, and your team knows who is on call and accountable during incidents.  

The configurable solution analyzes process deviations and ensures reliable measures for handling incidents.  

This tool is a mettle to solve complex incidents and gives a much-needed push to your workhorse teams. Contact us today to learn more about integrating JSM into your organization.  


*Incident Management in ITSM – Incident management in ITSM is a process that focuses on restoring normal IT service operations.  

*ITIL – The Information Technology Infrastructure Library is a set of best practices and is a framework for ITSM and IT Asset Management that aligns IT services with the needs of the business.  







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