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Crisis management for GSOCs: Human and technology factors

Lewin’s Equation says that human behavior is a function of both the individual and the environment they presently reside in. When thinking about a Global Security Operations Center (GSOC), both the human factor and the technological factor have to be working at peak performance 24/7, especially under times where many variables and peak stress are present at once.   Elevated stress can cause a number of issues among GSOC teams. It degrades multi-tasking abilities, can impair memory information retrieval, and decision-making skills; all of which are crucial skills for a GSOC employee to possess. Interestingly, a new study came out that can predict with 85% accuracy how you leverage stress levels by looking at two hormones in a blood test. One suppresses negative effects of stress while the other promotes the positive effects of stress. It’s something a person does or doesn’t have.   Steven M. Crimando, MA, BCETS, CHS-V, and Imad Mouline, CTO Everbridge, recently sat down with Security Management Magazine to discuss how human and technology factors affect work life in a GSOC. You can listen to the full webinar on-demand and view the slide deck here. Below is the robust Q&A that we entertained following the webinar.  


What do technologies do to help reduce human error during a crisis?  

  • A big part of it is giving that single pane of glass and making sure that all of these data feeds are coming in about risk events, whether it’s terrorist attacks, public safety, weather, to one place so that you don’t have to go and look in multiple places. Then it’s ensuring that you actually have a process that can be activated easily without putting stress on the operator trying to make a determination. – Imad Mouline 

In terms of technology and addressing high stress situations, how well are organizations in the field adopting technology? 

  • To me it seems like they’re adopting it very well. My concern is the user interface piece of this. “Shaky Finger Syndrome” is inevitable in high-stress situations, and can hinder the most sophisticated technology. While it’s important to adopt the technologies, understand them, and use them, the people piece shouldn’t lag behind. I think organizations implement these best when they implement the human factors and the technological factors simultaneously. I’m seeing pretty good adoption from my perspective. – Steve Crimando 

How can you incorporate stress management awareness into tabletop and simulation exercises? 

  • Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. You have to be rehearsing things with an element of behavioral accuracy for them to have any value. Under crisis conditions we don’t rise to the occasion. We fall to our training. – Steve Crimando 
  • Templatizing your notifications is an essential part of reducing “shaky finger syndrome.” Figure out the absolutely necessary pieces of information needed to create notifications, and align dropdown field to fill them out. The system can then be deployed to rally the right people at the right time. – Imad Mouline 

How does a GSOC operator maintain accuracy of data and communication under stressful situations since GSOC actions have life safety implications? 

  • Try to break down silos. Are you seeing all the information coming into one place?  In this case, data can mean the risk event feeds. It’s ultimately making sure that you have in one place all the data about your people, your assets.  That can mean automatically pulling data from physical access control systems, like a badge swipe of travel itinerary to know the location. – Imad Mouline  
  • From the human factor standpoint, logging the record keeping and really keeping good track of all that, is important because working memory degrades. On a good day, we can hold about seven different data points in working memory, and that starts to go downhill pretty quickly when a crisis unfolds. – Steve Crimando 

Everbridge provides a critical event management platform that organizations can utilize during all types of crisis. To learn more about how Everbridge can help bring your GSOC to the next level, request a demo now.

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