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Incident Management

The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework defines an incident as "any event which is not part of the standard operation of a service and which causes, or may cause, an interruption to, or a reduction in, the quality of that service". Find guidance on information technology (IT) management on the ITIL website - Opens in a new window.

The definition may vary between organisations but is generally an event that threatens business assets, or a breach of regulatory requirements or company policy.

Common events that lead to an incident include:

  • malicious attacks on your IT systems eg computer viruses or hacking
  • fire
  • floods
  • theft

Without effective Incident Management, an incident can rapidly affect the rest of your business. It can cause damage to your:

  • business operations
  • information security
  • IT systems
  • employees or customers
  • other vital business functions

What can my business do to respond?

Your organisation should have clear guidelines in the form of an Incident Management policy. This is a set of procedures designed to help you identify the cause of the incident and restore operations as quickly as possible.

The first step is always to qualify the event and determine how it fits within the procedures of your Incident Management policy. If the event is large then it may qualify as a crisis and will require additional resources and external involvement.

Subjects covered in this guide

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IT & e-commerce

IT security and risks


Incident Management





Who needs an Incident Management policy?

Current section

What qualifies as an 'incident'?


Preparing your business for an incident


Responding to an incident


What to do after an incident has been resolved