Seven Deadly Sins of Emergency Notification Part Two

Unfortunately, crisis happens. Recently, all too often.  Many companies are not fully prepared to communicate rapidly and effectively in a crisis. This second of a 2-part blog series covers the common mistakes all business continuity and disaster recovery professionals should avoid to avert disaster and foster resiliency.

SINS 5-7

FIVE:  Failing to consider digital security.

It goes without saying that in today’s data-centric world one of the most important considerations for choosing a notification provider should be data security.  Never choose a provider that cannot explain, in detail, the measures they take to ensure that your account is secured against attacks, system failures and loss.  Involve the digital security experts in your organization when reviewing vendors to help determine that the platform is secure, reliable and resilient.  They may be best qualified to evaluate the certifications and features of systems in order to ensure that you’re data will never be compromised. 

SIX: Assuming everything goes as planned.

As Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.  In no context is that truer than in business continuity.  A critical component of any good plan is communication and that includes a reliable notification system.    Notification systems are not only important during a crisis, they are also invaluable afterwards for:

  • Communicating alternative work sites
  • Confirming who is available to work, who needs an alternate work site (requires a notification service with two-way communication)
  • Providing frequent updates
  • Having a common repository for important documents that employees can access and share even if your network is down. Make sure your notification tool provides this lock-box feature where these documents can be stored and retrieved.

SEVEN:  Using complex communications processes.

There are a lot of potential pitfalls in crisis communication.  Here are a couple that we see most frequently.

The first is having a complex accountability structure for employees and temporary staff.  This often includes communicating with phone chains or trees that can break down easily.  Every organization can benefit from a simplified plan to contact the masses as soon as possible using simple, reliable notification technology.

Those organizations that do have a notification system in place often make the mistake of only having one or two employees authorized and trained to send alerts.  Communication can be significantly delayed or break down altogether if those individuals are not available, or are not well-informed of the situation and able to provide direction.  It’s important to give rights to activate messages to multiple individuals, ideally from different areas of the company.

While crisis may sometimes be unavoidable, business disruptions and loss don’t have to be.  Avoid these Seven Deadly Sins and lead your organization through dark times to come out as a stronger, wiser force for good.