Using Incident Management Tools

If you visit any helpdesk, big or small, they’re will always be lots of calls logged in their help desk system. Whether it’s specialist software or simply a large spreadsheet, it’s amazing how quickly these fill up even in a relatively small network. The problem is handling these incidents effectively can be quite a time consuming job but if it isn’t done then lots of time can be wasted. Often help desk staff don’t have either the time or skills to be able to manage incidents properly and important issues can be missed or delayed due to these constraints.

Incident management tools (similarly known as defect management tools) are among the most extensively used kinds of test tool. At a fundamental level incident management tools are actually used to perform two crucial activities: creation of an incident report; and maintenance of details regarding the event as it progresses through the incident life cycle. The degree of detail to become recorded about the incident might be varied depending upon the characteristics of the tool on its own and the way in which the incident management tool is configured and utilized by the test establishment.

For instance, the incident management tool could be configured so that lots of obligatory info is needed so as to conform with industry or generic standards such as IEEE I044. In addition, workflow regulations may also be applied to ensure that the agreed incident life cycle is stringently applied, with events only able to get designated to particular groups or users. . the tool might be configured to require very limited mandatory information. with most fields being free format.

It’s important especially in larger organisations that any incident management system is extremely secure. There will always be important, confidential information often with details of problems and vulnerabilities of internal systems stored in these databases. It’s advisable to only allow direct connections to the system and to restrict access from remote connections. If it is required, it’s best to restrict remote access and secure the communication channels they use. Use a VPN or other secure communication method to encrypt the connection and you could assign access to specific IP addresses. There are companies who can provide commercial connection methods such as VPNs or proxies, this company is a residential IP provider which supplies numerous IP address solutions.

Incident management resources also use a database to store and manage details of incidents. This allows the incident to be categorized based upon the values stored in suitable fields. Such values will evolve during the incident life cycle since the incident is analysed, debugged, fixed and re-tested.

It is commonly possible to see the history of modifications made to the incident. The database structure also allows incidents to be searched and analysed (using either filters or more complicated SQL-type queries). This provides the foundation for management information about incidents. Keep in mind that as the values held against each incident update, the management information may also change. For that reason users need to be aware of the threat when using outdated reports. This information can also be used together with data held in test management tools when planning and estimating for future projects.

It can also be analysed to provide input to test procedure improvement projects. Fields in the database framework normally include: O Priority (e.g. high, medium, low). O Severity (e.g. high, medium, low). 0 Assignee (the person to whom the incident is currently delegated, e.; a developer for debugging, a tester to perform re-testing). o Status in the incident life cycle (e.g. New, Open, Fixed, Reopen, close. This would certainly enable management information to be produced from the incident management database concerning the number of high-priority events wk a status of Open or Reopen that are assigned to, say, Peter Morgan, compared with the number assigned to Brian Hambling. Some test management tools feature totally integrated incident management tools as part of their primary product, while other incident management tools can be integrated with test management, requirements management ”

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