Incident Management 101: Essential Strategies for Effective Security Operations

March 31, 2023 · READ

When someone asks, “What is incident management,” the answer may vary based on where in the world of handling incidents your role sits. This could include a positive incident, or opportunity, which could present the potential for a positive outcome for your organization; a negative incident that presents potential harm or loss to your organization; or a neutral incident that, despite not having positive or negative impacts on your organization, still requires attention from a risk management perspective.

Regardless, those responsible for incidents — be it a security guard at the door or someone managing compliance for a large financial institution — generally want to avoid negative incidents.

Preventing, managing, investigating, and mitigating incidents is critical for the safety of your organization and the people, places, and assets it supports and serves. In this article, we’ll explain concepts related to incident management in physical and corporate security settings.

What is incident management in physical and corporate security?

“Incident management in corporate security is the process of detecting and responding to incidents and documenting and investigating reported incidents across the organization,” explains Resolver’s VP of Corporate Security Products, Ryan Thiessen. “Strong incident management programs provide insight into trends occurring so the organization can improve policies, procedures, and protocols to prevent incidents or minimize their impact on the organization.”

Incident management encapsulates the activities taken to identify, analyze, and correct hazards to prevent future re-occurrence of unwanted events. In physical security, it refers to the process of preparing for, responding to, and resolving security incidents that occur within a physical environment or premises. This may include incidents such as theft, property damage, assault, or other criminal activities.


Effectively managing incidents in physical security involves having a comprehensive plan in place to address different types of incidents, as well as having trained personnel who can respond quickly and efficiently when an incident occurs. The plan should outline clear procedures for reporting incidents, assessing the situation, containing the incident, and notifying relevant authorities as necessary.

The benefits of effective management of incidents in physical and corporate security seem obvious, as they can sometimes be life-or-death events, as we’ll discuss further on. But to summarize, incident management done well ensures corporate security teams can help reduce risk, mitigate costly losses, protect brand reputation, and ensure the safety and security of their personnel, locations, and assets.

T-Mobile Netherlands achieved six incident-free months using Resolver Read the Case Study

Why incident management is important

If not managed, an incident can escalate into an emergency, crisis, or disaster. Incident management is, therefore, the process of limiting the potential disruption caused by such an event, followed by a return to business as usual. If not effectively managed,  an event can disrupt business operations, information security, IT systems, employees, customers, or other vital business functions. Key benefits of effective incident management include:

Mitigating potential risks: Effective incident management helps security teams to identify and respond to potential security incidents before they can escalate into significant security breaches. This can help to mitigate potential risks, minimize the impact of any incidents that occur, and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Minimizing damage and loss: If an incident does occur, effective incident management helps to minimize the damage and loss resulting from the incident. For example, if there is a break-in at a facility, quick and effective incident management can prevent further loss or damage to property or information.

Ensuring safety: Incident management is critical for ensuring the safety of employees, visitors, and other stakeholders. By quickly identifying and responding to incidents, security teams can take steps to protect people from harm and prevent injuries.

Maintaining business continuity: By quickly identifying and responding to incidents, incident management is key in helping security teams take steps to minimize disruption to business operations and ensure that critical business functions continue to operate.

Im investigations dashboard -business intelligence reporting

Incident Management Investigations Dashboard Example

How incident management works

Visualization of resolver's incident management workflow

Visualization of Resolver’s Incident Management Workflow

Every organization has a different vision and approach to its incident management program. They may have different systems and processes for collecting incident reports. However, the basic tenets of an effective physical security program make sense regardless of the size of your business. Key elements of an incident management process in physical security may include:

Incident prevention: Implementing security measures and controls to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring in the first place, such as access control, video surveillance, and alarm systems.

Incident detection: Monitoring for potential incidents through surveillance systems, security patrols, and other means of detection.

Incident response: Having a clear plan and trained personnel who can respond quickly and effectively when an incident occurs, including notifying appropriate authorities and implementing incident-specific procedures.

Investigation: Conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to identify the cause, assess any damage or losses, and gather evidence for potential legal action.

Data collection and analysis: Analyzing data collected from incident reports to look for commonalities like persons of interest (POIs) or vulnerable locations. An incident management software solution can simplify and centralize incident data collection, tracking, investigations, reporting, and more, so you can connect the dots on your risks.

What’s an effective incident management process?

Visualization of incident submission methods

Visualization of incident submission methods

A solid incident management process in physical security provides a structured approach to managing and responding to security incidents that may occur in a physical environment, such as a workplace or facility. The goal is to minimize the impact of the incident on people, property, and the organization’s operations. Elements of an effective  process include:

Intake: Also referred to as incident data collection, the intake stage is about collecting robust incident reports and other observations from stakeholders to ensure the information needed to prevent and respond to incidents is available.

First response: The ability to consistently respond to an incident to minimize the immediate impact and collect the information necessary to minimize ancillary impacts.

Detailed investigation: While the immediate collection of information occurs as a part of the first response, some incidents require a more comprehensive investigation. This could include interviews, additional information, supporting documents, etc., that may span over a few months or longer.

Data analysis: The ability to analyze incident data to identify trends, patterns, and root-cause vulnerabilities.

Strategic response: The ability to leverage insights from data analysis to create and execute action plans to reduce the frequency and severity of future incidents.

Report: The ability to effectively communicate the impact of incidents to the organization and the opportunity to drive improvement through investment.

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Your incident management team: roles and responsibilities

An incident management team is made up of dedicated individuals within an organization who are responsible for managing and responding to any incidents or emergencies that may occur. They are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to quickly identify and address any issues, minimizing damage and disruption to the organization. The incident management team commits to ensuring the safety and security of all stakeholders and the business, coordinating resources, minimizing reputational or brand damage, and continuously improving your processes.

Ensure your team holds these five essential positions critical to your incident management success:

  1. Incident management team lead
  2. Investigative lead
  3. Incident reporting and documentation lead
  4. Communications/PR lead
  5. Legal Advisor
Roles and Responsibilities of Your Incident Management Team Read Now

How to choose an incident management software system

Visual on how to choose an incident management system

Visual on how to choose an Incident Management System

Choosing the right incident management system can be a critical decision for an organization, as it can impact the effectiveness of its incident response efforts and programs. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing incident management software:

Features: Look for software that includes all the features essential to your incident management needs, such as ticketing, workflow automation, communication tools, and reporting capabilities.

Customization: Ensure that the software can be customized to fit your organization’s specific requirements and processes. Look for a solution that is flexible and can adapt to your needs as they change over time.

Integration: Consider how the software will integrate with other systems and tools that you already use, such as monitoring and alerting systems, incident reporting portals, and collaboration platforms.

Ease of use: Choose software that is easy to learn, with a user-friendly interface, intuitive navigation, and mobile on-the-go options. This will help ensure that your incident response team can quickly adapt to the software and use it effectively.

Scalability: Consider whether the software can scale with your organization’s growth and evolving incident management needs. Look for software that can handle a large volume of incidents and users without compromising performance.

Security: Ensure that the software is secure and compliant with relevant industry standards and regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA. Look for features such as role-based access control and encryption to ensure that sensitive data is protected.

Support and training: Look for software vendors that provide comprehensive support and training resources to help your team get up and running quickly and effectively. This can include online training, documentation, and access to a customer support team for assistance.

Get our complete guide to choosing an incident management software system now Get the Free Download

What is important for effective incident reporting and tracking?

Effective incident reporting and tracking are critical for managing and responding to incidents in a timely and efficient manner. Monitoring and analyzing incident data can provide insights into incident trends, areas for improvement, and potential root causes. By continuously analyzing incident data and using it to improve incident reporting and tracking processes, organizations can reduce the likelihood of negative incidents recurring and improve their overall capabilities.

At Resolver, we provide a comprehensive incident management software solution designed with industry best practices in mind. However, we typically recommend getting alignment on things like nomenclature, forms, and testing your more analog processes first.

Standardization of incident reporting and tracking procedures helps ensure consistency and uniformity in how incidents are reported, tracked, and resolved. Making incident reporting super simple for employees and others helps you collect a meaningful volume of data — critical for data analysis and trend identification, as well as improving communication between incident responders.

Watch this video to learn more.

5 Key Considerations for Effective Incident Reporting and Tracking Read Now

What is the difference between activity, incident, investigation, and case management

In corporate security, activity, incident, investigation, and case management are different terms that describe distinct aspects of security management. Here’s a brief explanation of each term and their differences:

Activity Management: This refers to the process of tracking and monitoring routine security-related activities within an organization, such as patrols, inspections, and access control. Activity management helps security teams to ensure that all necessary security measures are in place and functioning as intended.

Incident Management: This involves the identification, assessment, and response to security incidents, such as thefts, intrusions, or security breaches. The goal of incident management is to contain the incident, minimize damage, and restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

Investigation Management: This involves the process of gathering and analyzing information related to security incidents to identify the cause, responsible parties, and any necessary corrective action. Investigation management is critical to preventing future incidents and ensuring the organization’s security posture.

Case Management: This refers to the management of a security-related case, which could be a legal case, an HR investigation, or an internal disciplinary action. Case management involves the documentation of evidence, tracking of actions taken, and coordination of communication with relevant parties.

Understand Differences Between Activity, Incident, Investigation, and Case Management in Corporate Security Read Now

How Resolver helps streamline and simplify your incident management program

Are you tired of juggling multiple tools to manage security incidents? Resolver’s Corporate Security Software can simplify your incident management process.


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