In the course of doing business, every organization experiences a dark day – a time when your regular operations are negatively impacted by all or some of your critical systems or functions going down. Traditional methods of communications are unreliable or inaccessible. You’re unsure of the status of your employees. You don’t know what else could be happening within your organization. You’re in the dark.
Making it back into the light takes proactive planning, training, flexibility and effective critical event management (CEM). During a dark day, while you may be asking why you didn’t see it coming, the reality is these incidents can’t always be prevented. What you can do, however, is significantly lessen the severity of the fallout. When it comes to mitigating risk and minimizing operational disruption, proactive planning is a must. Here’s how you make it happen.
Know Risk: Evaluate Your Areas of Impact in Advance
Let’s start with what we know: The impact of critical events can cascade across multiple departments. Therefore, until you’re clear on how the different areas of your operations affect each other, you cannot accurately forecast or prepare to mitigate dynamic risk.
Although most risk professionals believe they understand how their organization’s operations are interconnected, research has shown this is often not the case.
Only 17 percent of senior security and risk leaders report tapping into their enterprise risk management team to improve CEM, according to a recent Forrester Consulting study commissioned by OnSolve, Failing To Plan Is Planning To Fail. And a mere one percent split responsibility for event management across multiple disciplines. Needless to say, this is ineffective and creates exposure on multiple fronts. The question is, does your organization fall into this category?
Developing and improving a proactive approach requires security and business continuity professionals to take into account the impact of a critical event on all departments throughout every aspect of the organization, including:
- Operational: Interruption of products and services to customers and residents
- Physical: Safety of your people, places and property
- Digital: Security of your data, IT systems and infrastructure
- Reputational: Protection of your brand, including your media relations profile
- Legal: Compliance with regulations surrounding disclosure and reporting
- Financial: Solvency of your revenue stream and overall bottom line
We also know that outcomes are tied to sources. Relative to threat, just 46 percent of senior security and risk leaders agree that risks and business disruption can come from anywhere, including cyber attacks, natural disasters, political or individual violence, or even combinations of the above, according to the Forrester Consulting study.
This low percentage of awareness is in direct conflict with the fact that we’ve seen a marked rise in these incidents in recent years. The risk landscape is dynamic and evolving. While an organization focuses on one crisis, another is almost always lurking in the shadows. And the impact can be catastrophic, from revenue loss and reputational damage to operational disruption and even loss of life.
On top of this, organizations face threats from more sources than ever. IT architectures are expanding into the cloud, the remote workforce is growing globally and natural disasters are increasing in severity – just to name a few of the emerging and ever-evolving challenges and risks. With the potential for a dark day constantly looming, it’s more important than ever to proactively prepare. Taking this in stride is vital to staying competitive in today’s market.
Know Reward: The Agility to Mitigate Risk and Operational Disruption
Resilient organizations not only have a plan, but the modern technology to enact and optimize it. They practice utilizing their strategy in advance, under a multitude of conditions. During a real crisis, they proactively identify threats, communicate clearly and respond effectively. When a plan fails, the technology helps them adapt quickly. This gives them the power to stop an incident from snowballing into an avalanche. From inception to recovery, a modern solution helps lessen the impact of one or multiple events.
Organizations identified as having advanced critical event management capabilities, according to the Forrester Consulting survey, were:
- 112 percent more likely to credit CEM with improving employee confidence and morale
- 108 percent more likely to say their CEM program facilitates a better reputation with their customers
- 72 percent more likely to say their CEM program reduces the impact of a critical event on business operations.
When it comes down to it, the ability to leverage an AI-powered CEM platform that utilizes modern risk intelligence makes the difference between merely surviving and confidently thriving on a dark day.
Unite Strategy and Technology
Achieving organizational resilience takes a two-fold approach – strategy and technology have to work together. The first must be built on a thorough understanding of interconnected operations, threats and areas of impact. The second must deliver a CEM platform that enables your organization to communicate, respond and recover - faster and better every time. When you thoroughly know risk, you will know reward - the agility to overcome a dark day.