5 Top Risks Your Organization Will Face in 2021

If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, 2021 can be the year of resilience. But first, organizations need to understand what big challenges they’re likely to face this year and how to avoid common pitfalls.

Let's look at five risks likely to impact your organization this year and what you can do to prepare.

1. Vaccine distribution

Experts agree the biggest obstacle to ending the pandemic is vaccinating enough people to achieve herd immunity. This makes vaccine distribution the most important topic for 2021.

At OnSolve, we think successful vaccine rollouts will share three characteristics: proactive communication, two-way communication and early warning of other risks.  

Proactive communication means keeping citizens updated through each step of the vaccine process. This is only possible if governments have current contact information for members of their community. Building a database and collecting this data will enable officials to keep people informed.

Two-way communication is essential because two doses of the vaccine are required. Having a critical communications system in place will help you engage residents and ensure they’ll return for their second dose. This system must also deliver follow-up information, such as protocols for returning to the office.

Finally, early warning of other risks, like severe weather and civil unrest, is essential. We’ve already seen the impact of local protests and storms on daily life in various states across the country. Outcomes such as road closures and police activity affect your people’s ability to get where they need to go. Tracking these events early and accurately is required to maintain the accessibility of the vaccine.

A critical event management platform provides the capabilities organizations need to conduct each of these activities easily. For instance, more than 200 communities so far have used OnSolve CodeRED to deliver more than 640,000 messages related to vaccine deployment.

2. Mental health

It’s widely acknowledged the pandemic may have long-term effects on our mental health. As isolation takes its toll, businesses will need to prioritize their employees’ mental health with the same commitment as their physical health and safety. Among the factors to consider are location, performance, fatigue and productivity.

In addition to regular duties, managers make it a point to reach out to employees and ask how they’re doing. These welfare checks are vitally important, because they let employees know you're thinking of them, which can reduce their anxiety and stress. It's also important to ensure that employees have easy access to confidential mental health services.

A critical communications product will allow you to both systematically address these factors and engage with employees on a personal level. Organizations that extend their duty of care beyond the workplace will be more resilient in 2021.

3. Post-pandemic recovery

Recovery will entail much more than successful vaccination. It involves planning for a steady combination of employees working remotely, in the office and in a hybrid model. Civil unrest is likely to continue as underlying issues like economic inequality, food insecurity and racial injustice have been exacerbated by the pandemic. It requires flexibility and agility to manage the impact of these factors on the demand for goods and consumer behavior.

Resilience means having a strong, cohesive plan for safely bringing employees back to work and customers back into the community. Businesses must embrace technology-led transformation. This can be an impetus to accelerate digitalization. Between 2020 and 2023, direct investments into digital transformation are projected to reach a total of $6.8 trillion. Resilient organizations will spend those dollars wisely.

You need timely and accurate risk intelligence to tell you what is happening. You also need easy-to-use collaborative incident management to get everyone on the same page. And you need robust critical communications to keep everyone updated on progress.

4. Infodemic and misinformation

Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an infodemic. There has been a proliferation of fake or even dangerous cures, incorrect information on vaccine availability and side effects, and the politicization of public health. Organizations need trusted sources of information to separate fact from fiction and quickly respond to employees, media and shareholders.

Risk intelligence starts with valid sources of reliable information in real time. Today, we can rapidly obtain a combination of crowd-sourced intelligence, satellite imagery, social media and direct feedback from first responders and subject matter experts on the ground. This influx of data must be accurately collected, analyzed and validated. This is where artificial intelligence outpaces human capability. Not only do you know that reported events actually happened, you have a force multiplier at your disposal. With AI-powered risk intelligence, you can confidently focus on responding to the crisis, mitigating risk and protecting your people, places and property.  

5. Cybersecurity

Critical event management can help organizations protect against and respond to cyberthreats. Recent reports of hacking into US government computer systems show that no organization is immune. With the global workforce increasingly dispersed, cybersecurity has never been more relevant.

With AI-powered risk intelligence, you can make decisions based on how the threat impacts the entire company, rather than on one or two teams or units. Actionable intelligence is delivered quickly, so the risk can be mitigated efficiently by your crisis management team. Although some amount of risk is inevitable, chaos doesn’t have to be.


OnSolve® proactively mitigates physical threats, allowing organizations to remain agile when a crisis strikes. Using trusted expertise and reliable AI-powered risk intelligence, critical communications and incident management technology, the OnSolve Platform allows organizations to detect, anticipate and mitigate physical threats that impact their people and operations.