What should my incident communications plan look like?

Abbie-Lee Hollister
January 31, 2019 4:29 PM

Every environment is different, but there are best practices to adopt across every industry. 

As every environment is different, this certainly isn’t the ultimate guide to incident communications. But we can offer some good advice based on our experiences, that is relevant for all industries and organisations. 


1. Get a purpose-built incident communication tool

What happens when your systems experience an outage? If your Outlook is your main method for communicating and it experiences downtime, it can cause major problems for your business.  

Old communication methods (yes, we mean the 'send to all' emails) get ignored the majority of the time.


Plus, emails get ignored a lot of the time, you need to be able to get attention with a simple, quick notification - that haven’t learned to ignore. → Click to Tweet. Whether we like it or not, sending a well-crafted email doesn’t guarantee anyone will click on it.


2. Decide who can drive the communication

Old sign-off methods are frustrating. By the time you’ve got a green light to send a notification, the problem’s run riot. Or, on a lucky day, already been fixed.

Authorise a set group of people to send messages, and make sure they understand what does — and doesn’t — need to be communicated. → Click to Tweet. No lengthy sign-off process, just well-informed users.


3. Keep the overrides for real critical incidents and disaster recovery

Giving your users control over the notifications they receive really helps to boost engagement from them. It makes sure they’re engaged with the message at hand, and offers some give and take.

Sometimes your ship hits an iceberg, everyone needs to know about it. Whether they like it or not.


If you need to use override features for critical incidents, and ignore your audience’s alert preferences, use it wisely. Otherwise it could get ignored, just like too many other methods do.


4. Make incident communication a big part of your business continuity plan

Imagine if your global email service goes down, or your corporate network becomes toxic due to a ransomware attack - you need contingency systems that are immune from these issues. → Click to Tweet

For communications, this means a centralised system to issue advice, instructions, and common sense to your colleagues. 



A dedicated cloud-based solution for your incident communications could be the answer. A good incident communications tool can limit damage, stress and help preserve your reputation. If you’ve built a solid incident communications plan, your odds are better than most.



Want to learn more? Check out this collection of incident planning articles.