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Volume 31, Issue 4

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018 14:34

The ‘why’ and ‘how’ of writing incident management objectives

Writing incident management objectives is an art that needs to be taught and practised and should be included as an aspect of business continuity exercises. In this article Charlie Maclean Bristol shares some advice on the subject.

During an incident, it is seemingly obvious that your objective is to solve the problem and return the organization back to normal as quickly as possible. This is possible in some incidents, but in many circumstances the organization may be changed by the incident and when the incident has been resolved, the organization may not be the same as it was before the incident began. Some incidents may be so catastrophic that the objective may just be for the organization to survive! 

If we look at the ongoing high-profile TSB incident, where the bank locked a large number of their customers out of their accounts during a botched upgrade, they have lost customers and their reputation has suffered greatly. When the incident is finally over, they will be a different organization with less customers, so the objective to return to where they were prior to the incident is not achievable for them. Success for them and their incident’s objective could be, for example to retain 70 percent of their customers and to minimise the regulatory fine after the event

For each incident, once the organization is able to understand the extent of the issue, top management or the strategic team should write an overall objective for what the organization is trying to achieve during their response. Another way to look at this is to try and determine ‘what success looks like’.