5 Reasons to Implement Incident Management Software
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent an incident from happening. But there are ways to help mitigate their impacts with efficient management and centralized incident management software.
Efficient incident reporting has the potential to impact every aspect of your business, from customer service to information technology to product development. And it’s not something that only high-tech companies should focus on—it applies across all business sectors.
According to research, the formation of an incident response team lowered the total cost of a data breach by an average of $360,000 from the mean cost of $3.92 million. Similar logic can be applied to managing other business continuity threats and risks.
Defining Incidents and Incident Reporting
Whether you’re speaking in terms of workplace accidents or disruption to services utilized by your company, an incident is an unexpected event that disrupts normal business processes. The goal of incident reporting is to manage these disruptions as efficiently and effectively as possible so that productivity can return to normal levels.
To accomplish maximum efficiency in managing incidents, your business needs to be proactive. A business needs the ability to plan ahead for the incidents that are inevitably going to occur in your organization. This planning ahead is essential for company operations, and it allows a business continuity manager to define how and who gets notified in the event of an incident. Besides, it identifies areas where future incidents can be mitigated or avoided altogether.
The Structure of an Incident Reporting System
That said, the idea of trying to prepare for and mitigate incidents within your company probably seems daunting. And with good reason: Incidents occur at any and every level of business. It’s impossible to define an incident as something that happens within a single team or department. A proactive and inclusive incident management system can have several different pieces.
Internal incident teams
Responding efficiently to incidents that arise sometimes requires a dedicated internal team to take an incident and run with it. Using a solid incident management system, this team can respond to incidents and get the entire thing moving towards resolutions much more effectively than typical processes can offer.
Just as hospitals and tech companies need on-call employees to address emergencies, enterprise organizations need to have people available to address incidents as soon as they arise. It’s probably a good idea if the on-call employees are part of the internal incident team.
In some incident management scenarios, there may be a need for reassignment. It could be to a more senior team, a different department, or a team that’s outside the organization.
Virtual incident rooms
With a comprehensive incident management system, organizations can employ virtual incident rooms responsible for setting up the necessary structure for responding to an incident. Part of the process can include:
- Inviting the essential team members.
- Sharing the relevant information about the incident.
- Providing clear communication.
- Tracking the actions and tasks necessary to resolve the incident.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and different organizations will have different needs when selecting an incident management system. But as you can see, this kind of structure can go a long way in helping your business coordinate on incidents when they occur so that they can be solved effectively and efficiently.
The Incident Management Process
Now that we’re aware of the teams and professionals required to make an incident management system work, we can look at the process needed. As with most things in business, it all starts with documentation.
The documentation process of an incident management process happens with the collaboration and input of all other departments. This documentation should include clearly defined paths for incidents and their resolutions, departmental priorities and responsibilities, escalation processes, and how incidents should be managed.
In the event of an incident, your organization needs an efficient way of determining the nature of the incident and logging it. This can be a documentation process or a ticketing system that gets updated as the incident moves towards resolution.
Organization of your incidents is just as important as tracking them. Creating templates for all the possible incidents that can occur will help in keeping your incidents organized and maximize efficiency for future similar incidents.
Once your organization begins addressing incidents, you’ll see that there are far more than what you might have imagined. At this juncture, it’s important to have some level of prioritization of incidents so that incidents with a high level of financial impact should be addressed before those with lower priority.
At this stage, the teams you’ve put in place will investigate the incident and, using the documentation mentioned above, determine the best path forward in resolving the issue.
Frequently, incidents will require escalation to another team or outside resource, so it’s critical to have a process to determine when this is necessary and what the steps are when it is.
Once an incident resolves, it’s been thoroughly documented. The impacted business has returned to expected levels of productivity. It can be closed via the processes used to manage it.
The review stage is always a critical process, most especially in incident management. By bringing this into the process, you can help define and refine all other processes so that future incidents can be mitigated and sometimes even prevented.
Each one of these steps is critical in managing your organization’s incidents. Avoiding or skipping a process can lead to a breakdown in the entire purpose, so these must be followed closely.
The Benefits of an Incident Management System
We’ve examined the organizational structure as well as the processes needed to implement an incident management system. And while it can seem overwhelming, it’s essential to realize that even small business suffers from their fair share of daily threats. Security threats, fraud, injuries, and harassment are all very real incidents that can cripple a business’s productivity.
Neglecting to manage and prepare for incidents that will inevitably occur can be costly, but then again, implementing an incident management system. That said, there are endless business benefits to be had by using one. Let’s look at just five of them.
1. Smoother Teamwork Across Your Company
Dealing with an incident effectively means you need to work fast. You might need information from another department, help from another investigator, or input from an outside expert. Collaborating is often slow and frustrating.
An incident management system lets you work as a team efficiently and securely. All information, evidence, and notes about the incident are stored within the case, so everyone working on it can contribute to the central file. Real-time updates keep team members in the loop, perfect for when you’re collaborating remotely or with an external party.
2. Remaining Compliant
Compliance can be a headache for every organization, big and small. And that’s before you add an incident to the mix.
Using an effective incident management system will make compliance far less painful. A good system will have your organization’s compliance requirements built in so that nothing is skipped or forgotten during a stressful incident.
3. Your Company’s Liability is Mitigated
Practicing sound company compliance is all well and good, but it doesn’t cover all the bases. Not having thorough documentation can spell disaster for your organization. An organization will need documented proof that it followed a comprehensive process and investigation and resolve it efficiently.
An effective incident management system will provide this documented proof and then some. Many solutions can provide a very specific and detailed timeline of events that occurred, actions that were taken, and the incident’s eventual resolution.
4. Incidents Get Resolved Quickly
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the longer it takes for an incident to be resolved, the more expensive it becomes. With an incident management system, your organization can resolve incidents quickly and efficiently and forego the stressful process of handling a problem that’s snowballed into a much worse one.
5. Incident Management is Incident Prevention
There’s no escaping it—incidents are inevitable. But prevention is a top priority for any organization. An incident management system can do just that by allowing your company to track, investigate and learn from each incident that does occur. Doing so leads to more efficient processes, which, in turn, leads to ways that future incidents of a similar nature can be mitigated or eliminated entirely.
Does Your Organization Need Incident Reporting and Management?
If you’re even thinking about whether or not your organization needs incident management, the answer is most likely a resounding “yes.” As more companies become more technology-oriented and grow more complex, the need for proper tracking, organization, and mitigation of problems that arise becomes increasingly necessary.
While incidents are inevitable, they don’t have to shut down operations and interrupt business. By implementing a dependable incident management system, you give your organization the necessary tools to prepare for problems as they arise and deal with them quickly and effectively so that your company can get back to business as usual.