An Incident Report is a crucial record that maintains track of occurrences and aids in the improvement of the customer experience. It is often used in software development, customer service, and other sectors.

It is generally the first step in resolving a problem or issue that a customer, team, or organization encounters. A written record of a problem or occurrence that has been recognized, investigated, and resolved is called an incident report.

You should fill out an incident report regardless of how minor the problem or occurrence is.

Incident reports are crucial because they aid in the analysis of problems, the identification of solutions, and the improvement of service delivery.

An incident report provides all of the data of an incident, such as what happened, when it happened, the nature of the occurrence, the business impact, and so on.

The incident report also documents the time taken to resolve the incident, the specific person involved in the resolution, the team of people who handled the incident, troubleshooting steps taken to fix the issue, customer updates, etc.

When it comes to dealing with incidents, the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) framework, namely incident and problem management, is crucial. Incident management aims to get the service back up and operating as quickly as possible. Incident reporting is one of the most important phases in Incident management.

Other sections of ITIL are change management, service asset and configuration management, and service level management are closely related to incidents.

The known error database (KEDB), which is maintained by problem management, is a powerful instrument in incident diagnosis. The KEDB database contains a list of all known faults or defects that have caused incidents in the past and methods for fixing or overcoming them.

Types of incidents

Many distinct types of incidents occur in IT infrastructure, and they are classified as major incidents, repeated incidents, and complex incidents.

  • Major incidents: Large-scale accidents don’t happen very often, but when they do, they cause disruptions in businesses, which have a significant impact on the business. Incidents such as server reboots, application failures, and so on. Businesses must be ready to deal with them swiftly and effectively.
  • Repetitive Incidents: Misconfiguration of IT devices or applications can lead to a recurrence of incidents. Escalating the problem to a higher technical team is the best way to deal with it. Such incidents may or may not have a significant impact, but they will accumulate in your toolbox, and your support team will devote time to resolving them.
  • Complex Incidents: The majority of the incidents that occur are of a level 3 or 4 nature, which the support help desk would be able to resolve. However, every now and again, a difficult incident would arise that would necessitate the assistance of a level 1 or level 2 engineer or subject matter expert (SME).

In some cases, incidents are categorized based on severity, such as L1 (high impact), L2, L3 to L4 (least impact).

As per the ITIL framework, the process of incident management starts from identification, logging, categorization, prioritization, diagnosis, escalation to the next support level (if required), resolution, and closure.

Use cases

In all businesses, incident reporting and management is a critical step. Incident management is the well-organized approach across businesses of all sizes to respond to failures, incidents, accidents, cyber-attacks, outages, and breaches, among other things.

Here are a few examples of incident use cases:

  • Incident reports are critical in the event of a fire or any other type of accident in a business, whether for insurance claims or legal processes. Incident reports explain all aspects of the incident that occurred in the business.
  • Employees who have observed any type of violent incident in the workplace should fill out Workplace Violent Incident Report Forms.
  • When an injury happens at work, a workplace incident report is used. These reports may be useful in preventing similar incidents in the future.
  • The failure of a significant server, networking device, or any other service in an IT firm is recorded and notified using appropriate incident management.

Essential elements that should be part of an incident report

The person experiencing the problem or the team supporting related operations usually creates an incident report with input from others involved in resolving it.

Incident reports are a vital part of any infrastructure’s health and safety routine, and depending on the nature of the incident, an incident report might be concise or thorough.

A brief report is appropriate if the occurrence is minor and has little impact. However, if the incident is serious, all information must be recorded while preparing a complete major incident report.

The person experiencing the problem or the team supporting related operations usually creates an incident report with input from others involved in resolving it.

Here are a few key elements to include in your incident report:

  • Incident raised: The name of the individual who made the incident report/ticket
  • Time of acknowledgment: It is critical to capture the correct date and time since it aids in measuring the effects of SLA (service level agreement).
  • Services are being hampered: Identifying which services are unavailable will allow the appropriate team to participate in the troubleshooting process.
  • Whether or not the SLA was breached: Breaching the SLA would result in a penalty and escalation.
  • Description of the incident: Rather than writing excessive information, the description should be concise and relevant, covering the actual occurrence details.
  • Business impact: Severe incident causes outages or major breakdown leading to business impact. Senior management and stakeholders are involved in such incident calls.
  • Action taken: After the situation has been resolved and services have returned to normal, action taken actions are written, including all stages and troubleshooting methods in the KEDB (Known Error Database) database for future reference.

Do’s and Don’ts in incident report preparation.

While drafting an incident report, keep the following Dos and Don’ts in mind:

Do’s

  • Describe your issues in detail
  • Focus on the facts.
  • Assume that the report will be made public
  • Make a sound professional decision
  • Consider mitigating circumstances.
  • Determine if a security breach has occurred and developed a feasible implementation strategy
  • Understand your facility’s incident reporting policy and procedure.
  • Use professional terms and write legibly.
  • Include the names and addresses of any employees or visitors who are aware of the situation

Don’ts

  • Speculate and assume without knowing the facts
  • Discuss previous similar occurrences.
  • Talk about money, costs, and spending decisions.
  • Discuss failures or delays in acting.
  • Predict what will happen if nothing is done.
  • In the report, include insignificant facts that implicate or blame anyone for the occurrence.

Precautions to take when an incident occurs

  • Avoid Knee-Jerk Reactions such as shutting down systems, restarting highly critical services, logging into production servers without the owner’s knowledge, stopping databases, etc.
  • Don’t assume that incident would erase complete data and take a dramatic step like running full backup and slowing the infrastructure.
  • When debugging an issue, don’t use non-forensic or unapproved software because it may overwrite important information that will be needed later.
  • Don’t panic every time something happens. Respond and open the bridge call based on severity to begin working on significant situations.
  • Secrecy of outages or major breakdowns: Major outages or major breakdowns in organizations that have a business impact should not be disclosed outside of the company because such news could become public and promote negative publicity about the company.

Incident report templates

An incident report template is carefully described and written by industry specialists so that the incident raiser may quickly capture the details rather than wasting time drafting the incident report outline.

The incident template gives a comprehensive and precise account of the situation, allowing management to make swift and informed decisions. It also aids in the recording of any incidences that are necessary during corporate audit processes and even customer meetings.

The information in the incident report template will be valuable for raising management awareness and improving the efficacy and efficiency of the incident management activities.

Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known and widely utilized incident report templates:

Smartsheet

Smartsheet is an award-winning company that offers a variety of incident templates for a variety of business sectors.

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It is a cloud-based platform that provides incident templates and enables teams and organizations to launch major projects and day-to-day operations while maintaining the management, compliance, and security that top-level IT demands.

According to its website, 90 percent of Fortune 100 corporations utilize its templates.

In addition to incident templates, the site offers the ITIL post-mortem template and checklist, a security incident post-mortem template, a root cause analysis report template, and many more.

The incident report templates make it easy to record and remember important details from an accident, injury, workplace incident, security breach, or any other unexpected event. The form can include a summary of the incident, personal information for any individuals whose privacy has been breached, the consequences of data loss, and any physical or technical security breaches.

The data breach incident report template can assist your IT staff in logging the severity of security breaches and creating a strategy to avoid them in the future. It also helps keep track of anything from data breaches to privacy violations to viruses and denial-of-service assaults.

Smartsheet platform also has a post-mortem incident template, making it easy to capture key incident details for clear documentation and review. The template includes sections for post-mortem date, incident overview, root cause information, follow-up, etc.

Monday Incident template

Monday is a cloud-based platform that allows businesses to design their own specialized tools to help them manage their businesses more efficiently. Companies can use these technologies to better align teamwork, increase efficiency, and boost output.

Monday incident template is a thorough form for recording the entire incident process, including appointing CIRT members (computer incident response team), recording resolution estimates, and analyzing previous issues, among other things. To reach this goal, you do not need to remove any of your existing apps or software. After just a few minutes of installation, you are ready to use this incident reporting template.

One of the most appealing features of this design is that it is customizable, allowing users to quickly incorporate various CRM and support platforms such as Jira, GitLab, BugHerd, Salesforce, Slack, and over 1500 more.

The platform allows you to quickly import data from an existing excel sheet into the incident template and export data to other applications. The incident data can be filtered to understand better the situation based on severity, root cause analysis, and other factors.

Safety Culture

Safety Culture offers a variety of incident report templates for a variety of industries, including construction, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, information technology, transportation, logistics, etc.

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On the site, you can find accident, fire, employee, car, and workplace incident reports, among other things.

It contains an iAuditor module, a mobile app that allows you to digitize all aspects of your operations by capturing faults and taking corrective action.

This module collects consistent data, identifies areas for improvement, shares reports, and allows working groups to collaborate. The information gathered will be stored in a secure cloud and can be accessed anytime and from any location.

Template lab

Templatelab offers a variety of incident report templates for 60+ different types of incidents, all of which have been produced by designers, business, and legal professionals.

These incident templates are applicable to various industries, including finance, real estate, education, art and media, and legal proceedings.

Simple incident reports are available on the site, as well as reports for insurance claims and legal situations such as court cases.

These are simple incident templates that must be downloaded and filled with incident facts. They are neither digitalized nor cloud-based.

Incident Report

The Incident report site is a complete incident management platform hosted in the cloud. The site assists with creating simple incident reports as well as workflows, notification alerts, and escalation.

This site provides a large collection of incident report templates that may be used in various sectors. The site allows users to select a simple incident report and customize it to meet their individual needs.

One of the site’s unique features is that it includes a form builder that can be used to create a custom incident report template from scratch.

This site provides online functionality to develop workflows based on follow-up forms or notification procedures that can be maintained via mobile devices at any moment during the incident management process.

Sampleforms

By providing simple and customized incident templates designed by professionals, Sample forms eliminate the time-consuming burden of creating incident reports.

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Individuals and organizations can use these incident templates to meet their own business needs, and they can be edited with a few simple clicks.

Incident report templates supporting various sections are available on the site, such as accident incidents, emergency incidents, environmental incident report templates, security incidents, workplace violence/injury incident report forms, etc.

These incident templates are available in PDF, Word, and Excel formats for download. These are simple incident report templates that may be downloaded and used in a variety of sectors.

Benefits of filling out and using incident reports

Incident reporting and incident management are critical parts of a successful organization, irrespective of sector. Let’s see a few benefits:

  • Incident reports assist investigators in preventing a repeat of the incident, potentially saving lives or money.
  • Organizations can use trend studies of frequent occurrences of incidents to take preemptive measures to avoid big disasters.
  • Develops a positive and enthusiastic attitude toward safety.
  • It also aids businesses in keeping proper documents and revoking them if needed for evidence.
  • Keeping track of incidents comply with legal requirements relating to compensation, judicial actions, and so on.
  • Increases employee ownership of safety and boosts their self-esteem.
  • Incident reports also enable stakeholders to identify trends in SLA breaches and outages, which they can use to take appropriate action and present to senior management.
  • Reports also aid in discussing essential facts that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Conclusion

To minimize more troubles or serious consequences, the most crucial step is to have a proper framework or system in place to respond to an incident.

A well-written, meticulously researched report can help prevent such occurrences, establish good faith, encourage job satisfaction and inclusion, and protect a company from legal liability.

Initial incident facts, detailed incident information, Incident description, business impact, corrective action performed, and so on make up a reliable incident report.

The incident report templates listed above can be used to document incident details in a professional manner.

You may also be interested in security incident response tools.