ITIL Dictionary of Terms

A - Z Dictionary of terms for ITIL. This is the official Dictionary of terms for ITIL, which is a set of practices for IT Service Management. ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited. View the Agile Dictionary. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Dictionary. Project Office Dictionary (P30). Full PRINCE2 glossary of terms. See also Risk Management Dictionary.

A - acceptance to availability plan | B - back-out to business unit | C - call to customer-facing service | D - dashboard to driver | E - early life support (ELS) to external service provider | F - facilites management to functional escalation | G - H - gap analysis to hot standby | I - identity to ITIL | J - K - job description to known error record | L - lifecycle to live environment | M - maintainability to monitoring | N - near-shore to notional charging | O - objective to overhead | P - pain value analysis to PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) | Q - qualification to quick win | R - RACI to running costs | S - Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to system management | T - tactical to Type III service provider | U - underpinning contract (UC) to utility | V - validation to vulnerability | W - warm standby to workload

I - identity to ITIL


(ITIL Service Operation) A unique name that is used to identify a user, person or role. The identity is used to grant rights to that user, person or role. Example identities might be the username SmithJ or the role 'change manager'.

immediate recovery

(ITIL Service Design) A recovery option that is also known as hot standby. Provision is made to recover the IT service with no significant loss of service to the customer. Immediate recovery typically uses mirroring, load balancing and split-site technologies.


(ITIL Service Operation) (ITIL Service Transition) A measure of the effect of an incident, problem or change on business processes. Impact is often based on how service levels will be affected. Impact and urgency are used to assign priority.


(ITIL Service Operation) An unplanned interruption to an IT service or reduction in the quality of an IT service. Failure of a configuration item that has not yet affected service is also an incident – for example, failure of one disk from a mirror set.

incident management

(ITIL Service Operation) The process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all incidents. Incident management ensures that normal service operation is restored as quickly as possible and the business impact is minimized.

incident record

(ITIL Service Operation) A record containing the details of an incident. Each incident record documents the lifecycle of a single incident.

indirect cost

(ITIL Service Strategy) The cost of providing an IT service which cannot be allocated in full to a specific customer – for example, the cost of providing shared servers or software licences. Also known as overhead. See also direct cost.

information security management (ISM)

(ITIL Service Design) The process responsible for ensuring that the confidentiality, integrity and availability of an organization's assets, information, data and IT services match the agreed needs of the business. Information security management supports business security and has a wider scope than that of the IT service provider, and includes handling of paper, building access, phone calls etc. for the entire organization. See also security management information system.

information security management system (ISMS)

(ITIL Service Design) The framework of policy, processes, functions, standards, guidelines and tools that ensures an organization can achieve its information security management objectives. See also security management information system.

information security policy

(ITIL Service Design) The policy that governs the organization's approach to information security management.

information system

information technology (IT)

The use of technology for the storage, communication or processing of information. The technology typically includes computers, telecommunications, applications and other software. The information may include business data, voice, images, video etc. Information technology is often used to support business processes through IT services.

infrastructure service

A type of supporting service that provides hardware, network or other data centre components. The term is also used as a synonym for supporting service.


(ITIL Service Strategy) Using an internal service provider to manage IT services. The term insourcing is also used to describe the act of transferring the provision of an IT service from an external service provider to an internal service provider. See also service sourcing.


(ITIL Service Design) A security principle that ensures data and configuration items are modified only by authorized personnel and activities. Integrity considers all possible causes of modification, including software and hardware failure, environmental events, and human intervention.

interactive voice response (IVR)

(ITIL Service Operation) A form of automatic call distribution that accepts user input, such as key presses and spoken commands, to identify the correct destination for incoming calls.

intermediate recovery

(ITIL Service Design) A recovery option that is also known as warm standby. Intermediate recovery usually uses a shared portable or fixed facility that has computer systems and network components. The hardware and software will need to be configured, and data will need to be restored, as part of the IT service continuity plan. Typical recovery times for intermediate recovery are one to three days.

internal customer

A customer who works for the same business as the IT service provider. See also external customer; internal service provider.

internal metric

A metric that is used within the IT service provider to monitor the efficiency, effectiveness or cost effectiveness of the IT service provider's internal processes. Internal metrics are not normally reported to the customer of the IT service. See also external metric.

internal rate of return (IRR)

(ITIL Service Strategy) A technique used to help make decisions about capital expenditure. It calculates a figure that allows two or more alternative investments to be compared. A larger internal rate of return indicates a better investment. See also net present value; return on investment.

internal service provider

(ITIL Service Strategy) An IT service provider that is part of the same organization as its customer. An IT service provider may have both internal and external customers. See also insourcing; Type I service provider; Type II service provider.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world's largest developer of standards. ISO is a non-governmental organization that is a network of the national standards institutes of 156 countries. See for further information about ISO.

International Standards Organization

internet service provider (ISP)

An external service provider that provides access to the internet. Most ISPs also provide other IT services such as web hosting.


(ITIL Service Design) Initiation of the steps defined in a plan – for example, initiating the IT service continuity plan for one or more IT services.

Ishikawa diagram

(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) (ITIL Service Operation) A technique that helps a team to identify all the possible causes of a problem. Originally devised by Kaoru Ishikawa, the output of this technique is a diagram that looks like a fishbone.

ISO 9000

A generic term that refers to a number of international standards and guidelines for quality management systems. See for more information. See also International Organization for Standardization.

ISO 9001

An international standard for quality management systems. See also ISO 9000; standard.

ISO/IEC 20000

An international standard for IT service management.

ISO/IEC 27001

(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) (ITIL Service Design) An international specification for information security management. The corresponding code of practice is ISO/IEC 27002. See also standard.

ISO/IEC 27002

(ITIL Continual Service Improvement) An international code of practice for information security management. The corresponding specification is ISO/IEC 27001. See also standard.

IT accounting

See accounting.

IT infrastructure

All of the hardware, software, networks, facilities etc. that are required to develop, test, deliver, monitor, control or support applications and IT services. The term includes all of the information technology but not the associated people, processes and documentation.

IT operations

(ITIL Service Operation) Activities carried out by IT operations control, including console management/operations bridge, job scheduling, backup and restore, and print and output management. IT operations is also used as a synonym for service operation.

IT operations control

(ITIL Service Operation) The function responsible for monitoring and control of the IT services and IT infrastructure. See also operations bridge.

IT operations management

(ITIL Service Operation) The function within an IT service provider that performs the daily activities needed to manage IT services and the supporting IT infrastructure. IT operations management includes IT operations control and facilities management.

IT service continuity management (ITSCM)

(ITIL Service Design) The process responsible for managing risks that could seriously affect IT services. IT service continuity management ensures that the IT service provider can always provide minimum agreed service levels, by reducing the risk to an acceptable level and planning for the recovery of IT services. IT service continuity management supports business continuity management.

IT service continuity plan

(ITIL Service Design) A plan defining the steps required to recover one or more IT services. The plan also identifies the triggers for invocation, people to be involved, communications etc. The IT service continuity plan should be part of a business continuity plan.

IT service management (ITSM)

The implementation and management of quality IT services that meet the needs of the business. IT service management is performed by IT service providers through an appropriate mix of people, process and information technology. See also service management.

IT Service Management Forum (itSMF)

The IT Service Management Forum is an independent organization dedicated to promoting a professional approach to IT service management. The itSMF is a not-for-profit membership organization with representation in many countries around the world (itSMF chapters). The itSMF and its membership contribute to the development of ITIL and associated IT service management standards. See for more information.

IT service provider

(ITIL Service Strategy) A service provider that provides IT services to internal or external customers.

IT steering group (ISG)

(ITIL Service Design) (ITIL Service Strategy) A formal group that is responsible for ensuring that business and IT service provider strategies and plans are closely aligned. An IT steering group includes senior representatives from the business and the IT service provider. Also known as IT strategy group or IT steering committee.


A set of best-practice publications for IT service management. Owned by the Cabinet Office (part of HM Government), ITIL gives guidance on the provision of quality IT services and the processes, functions and other capabilities needed to support them. The ITIL framework is based on a service lifecycle and consists of five lifecycle stages (service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and continual service improvement), each of which has its own supporting publication. There is also a set of complementary ITIL publications providing guidance specific to industry sectors, organization types, operating models and technology architectures. See for more information.

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