| John Spacey, February 20, 2016 updated on January 13, 2023
An incident is a negative event or failure that occurs at a point in time. A problem is an ongoing vulnerability, challenge or error that has potential to cause incidents.
Incident vs Problem In many cases, an incident can be resolved without fixing the underlying problem. For example, a security incident may resolved within hours or days. However, the underlying problems that caused a particular security incident such as security vulnerabilities, poor practices and lack of infrastructure may take months or years for an organization to fix.
It is common for incident management processes to first address an incident with the most direct fix available such as a workaround. A process of root cause analysis follows that documents underlying problems. Problem management is often considered a separate practice that involves investigating, tracking, prioritizing and fixing problems.
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