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7 Common Failures in the Management of Critical Incidents


Common failures in the management of critical incidents can be attributed to a range of issues. They begin with inadequate preparation and spread throughout the response and post incident analysis phase. All of which can negatively impact your organisations ability to recover from an incident, resulting in long term damage to your reputation and revenue.

In this post we shine a light on the most common management failures during a critical incident, so you can better review your response plans and procedures. By identifying and addressing these areas proactively, you can significantly enhance your organisation's ability to manage and mitigate critical incidents effectively.

1. Lack of Preparation and Planning

a. Inadequate Incident Response Plan
  • Missing or Outdated Plans: Organisations often lack a comprehensive incident response plan, or the plan is outdated and not reflective of current threats.
  • Unclear Roles and Responsibilities: The incident response team’s roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined, leading to confusion during an incident.
b. Insufficient Training and Drills
  • Lack of Regular Drills: Incident response plans are not regularly tested through drills and simulations.
  • Inadequate Training: Employees and response teams are not sufficiently trained on incident response procedures.

2. Poor Communication

a. Internal Communication Breakdowns
  • Delayed Notifications: Key personnel and stakeholders are not informed promptly about the incident.
  • Lack of Coordination: Different departments and teams do not communicate effectively, leading to disjointed responses.
b. External Communication Failures
  • Inconsistent Messaging: Public statements and communications with customers or stakeholders are inconsistent or unclear.
  • Regulatory Non-Compliance: Failure to notify regulatory bodies and affected parties in accordance with legal requirements.

3. Ineffective Detection and Analysis

a. Delayed Detection
  • Slow Incident Detection: Critical incidents are not detected promptly, allowing the situation to escalate.
  • Inadequate Monitoring: Insufficient monitoring and logging capabilities to detect anomalies and breaches.
b. Poor Analysis
  • Lack of Expertise: Incident analysis is hampered by a lack of skilled personnel.
  • Insufficient Data: Incomplete or missing data makes it difficult to understand the scope and impact of the incident.

4. Slow or Ineffective Response

a. Delayed Response
  • Procrastination: Response actions are delayed due to indecision or bureaucratic processes.
  • Lack of Resources: Insufficient resources (e.g., personnel, tools, technology) to respond effectively.
b. Ineffective Containment
  • Failure to Isolate: Inability to quickly isolate affected systems or networks, leading to the spread of the incident.
  • Improper Eradication: Incomplete removal of malicious elements, leading to recurrent issues.

5. Inadequate Recovery and Continuity

a. Slow Recovery
  • Lack of Backups: Absence of recent, clean backups slows down the recovery process.
  • Incomplete Recovery Plans: Recovery plans are not detailed enough, leading to prolonged downtime.
b. Business Continuity Failures
  • Insufficient Continuity Planning: Business continuity plans are not integrated with incident response plans.
  • Lack of Alternative Solutions: No established alternative processes or systems to maintain critical operations during the incident.

6. Post-Incident Failures

a. Inadequate Post-Incident Review
  • Failure to Conduct Reviews: No formal post-incident review to analyze what went wrong and why.
  • Superficial Analysis: Post-incident reviews are conducted, but the analysis is superficial and does not identify root causes.
b. Failure to Implement Lessons Learned
  • No Follow-Up Actions: Identified improvements are not implemented.
  • Recurrent Issues: Similar incidents occur repeatedly due to failure to address underlying problems.
7. Compliance and Legal Failures
a. Non-Compliance with Regulations
  • Failure to Report: Not reporting the incident to relevant regulatory bodies in a timely manner.
  • Legal Penalties: Facing legal penalties and fines due to non-compliance.
b. Poor Documentation
  • Lack of Documentation: Incomplete or missing documentation of the incident and response actions.
  • Inaccurate Records: Inaccurate or inconsistent records that hinder understanding and accountability.

The team at Sentinel have decades of experience focussed on helping organisations counter or prevent failures in critical incident management. We have built an award-winning cloud-based platform that to address these issues.

Find out how Sentinel helps in a Crisis

Richard Stephenson
Written by Richard Stephenson
04 Jul 2024
Richard is the CEO of crisis management software provider YUDU Sentinel. Richard has run public listed companies, mid-market private equity investments and tech start-ups. His professional skills include digital strategy, crisis management, risk and digital document publishing.