Even with the best defenses, security incidents are inevitable. If said threat event occurs, your focus must be on incident response. You want to embark on mounting a planned, coordinated, and swift response in a bid to minimize the impact. This structured process for investigating, escalating, and resolving cyber incidents refers to IT incident management.
IT incident management represents the culmination of the turning of collected threat intelligence into actionable insights. The objective of IT incident management is to ensure smooth business operations with minimal to no downtime.
It is important to note that incident management is somewhat of a generic job category, especially in smaller IT organizations. As the IT organization expands, there’s a tendency to centralize incident management into an IT service management (ITSM) function. Regardless of placement, an incident manager will be seeking to understand IT incidents, resolve each and minimize any future impacts.
Why Is Incident Management Important?
Right out of the gate, incident management minimizes the impact of a security incident. The damage can therefore be quickly contained, thus reducing the risk to the organization. Incident management also prevents future reoccurrence of an incident. Once fixed, an incident will only require routine repair. Furthermore, the IT team can fine-tune alerts for similar attacks, ensuring minimum time spent on these. Moreover, incident management helps prevent a full-blown security breach. Having an incident management process in place ensures that security incidents are addressed promptly, thus mitigating risk long before it morphs into a detrimental occurrence.
Finally, incident management is an important checklist item when it comes to meeting data compliance standards. Having an incident management process and team in place helps you stay compliant and avoid fines and tickets.
Overall, incident management delivers improved efficiency and productivity when it comes to handling incidents. Besides, the organization enjoys more significant visibility and transparency when handling incidents. The consequence is higher levels of service quality as incidents are promptly and more efficiently dealt with.
Roles of an IT Incident Management Position
Before listing out the roles of an IT incident manager, it’s best to first highlight the incident management process flow. The latter includes:
The first stage in incident management is recording an identified incident. The IT personnel must capture the complete information on the incident within a template in a bid to speed up the recovery process.
After noting the incident, the IT personnel are expected to segment the different incidents with appropriate categories or sub-categories. As such, the incident form needs to be customized in a manner that sets up automated rules for ticket classification and prioritization. The idea is then to correctly classify the incident, resulting in a faster generation of reports.
An incident management process flow requires a metric for assigning the right priority to a ticket. The goal is to ensure that the business address critical issues on time.
Investigation and Diagnosis for IT Incident Management
An incident management team is required to perform an initial analysis of the incident. This analysis, indeed, yields a proposed resolution for the incident in question.
Incident Resolution and Closure
At the tail end of the incident management process flow are resolution and incident closure. All through, the IT team’s primary goal should have been to resolve the incident. This resolved ticket will then be closed, making the end of the incident management process flow.
In line with this incident management process flow, the roles and responsibilities of an incident manager include:
The incident manager’s first role is to understand the reported issues and the extent of the disruption. They also must determine the level of urgency to apply to the resolution of the incident. As the party in charge of triage, they’ll also be expected to determine ticket priority, establish the SLA expectations for resolution time, and determine the process and resources needed to resolve the issue at hand.
Each incident will vary when it comes to impact on the business. While there are incidents that will only disrupt a few activities, there are those that unfortunately have a high impact resulting in, among others, system outages or security breaches.
The incident manager must perform the initial impact assessment and determine the perceived impact of the incident.
Diagnostics and Data Collection
Information is central to the resolution of an IT incident. The incident manager must evaluate both the technical and operating environment of the system and incident with the aim of unearthing the symptoms of the issue.
This will require that the incident manager carries out several diagnostic tests. The latter should help develop a clearer and more complete picture of the issues at hand.
Troubleshooting and Remediation
Once the technical issue is identified and all pertinent data collected, the incident manager is required to explore a series of troubleshooting activities to fix the issue. The goal is to restore services as quickly as possible. As such, the incident manager should be well-versed with common remediation steps.
The five traits most sort after by incident managers include:
- Technical skills: networking, software, hardware, and an assortment of programming languages
- Customer service: Strong communication skills and an ability to be an empathetic listener
- Patterns and dependency recognition: Ability to leverage the monitoring dashboards, specialty diagnostic tools, and known-issue databases
Get Job Ready Skills and Start Your Journey in IT Incident Management
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