While most businesses have an emergency preparedness plan in place, organizations have to wonder if their current plans are enough to defend against the growing list of major incidents and critical events affecting business. According to the 2020-21 Major Incident Management Annual report, an emergency preparedness plan isn’t enough to combat the growing threat landscape. To combat the rise in critical events, organizations must maximize operational resilience.
Operational resilience can best be described as a set of initiatives and techniques an organization adopts to provide business continuity in the face of disruption. The more operational resilience an organization has, the less disruption they face, ultimately resulting in a mature enterprise. However, creating and maintaining a mature enterprise is no easy task, and requires a multi-prong approach that begins with understanding and evaluating operational resilience.
The Value of Operational Resilience: Protecting Employees and Essential Business Functions
Operational resilience is an invaluable way for organizations to combat disruption. Disruption can take many forms, such as internet connectivity issues, pressing natural disasters, cyberattacks, and mass shootings. Some forms of disruption can be resolved quickly, with a call to IT, while others can cost a company much more.
Operational Resilience: Employee Safety
Every organization has a duty of care to its employees. As such, organizations must have the operational resilience needed to ensure employee safety – especially when critical events can put lives at risk. For example, in 2019, a Virginia Beach mass shooting left 12 dead after a disgruntled Virginia Beach employee of 15 years went on a rampage at work.
Operational Resilience: Protecting Essential Business Functions
While operational resilience can inarguably help ensure the continued safety of employees in and outside the workplace, operational resilience is also needed to help protect business assets, processes, and data from disruption – and disruption can cost millions of dollars. Consider Amazon: In 2018, a 63-minute Prime Day outage cost the company a total of $72 million.
Despite the importance of operational resilience to employees and assets, it can be difficult for organizations to pinpoint where they need to improve their resilience strategy. To identify problem areas, businesses should measure their organizational resiliency regularly.
How to Measure Organizational Resiliency for Critical Events
safety, reputation, and operations. Through measuring organizational resilience, business continuity leaders can best optimize their response strategies to critical events, such as:
Businesses can examine their organizational resilience for critical events by evaluating and identifying their ability to:
- Assess risks to operations
- Locate people and assets in harm’s way
- Act or execute standard operating procedures and protocols
- Analyze performance before, during, and after critical events
While these evaluations can be done internally, organizations can better examine their organizational resilience to critical events through an Organizational Resilience Maturity Assessment, which rates businesses against 20 elements while providing benchmark comparisons based on responses from more than 600 public and private organizations.
Once the areas of improvement have been identified, businesses can take the first step in improving organizational resilience with critical event management.
The First Step to Effective Critical Event Management: Mass Notification Systems
When facing any number of critical events, speed and responsiveness are key. A mass notification system allows organizations to easily send emergency communications with ease, reliability, and consistency – all of which are vital in times of crisis. For example, Everbridge Mass Notification with Incident Communications prioritizes ease of use while maximizing speed and reliability, allowing organizations and government bodies to reach their audience before, during, and after a critical event.
While mass notification systems are often a first-choice for enterprises looking to improve their critical event management strategy, a stand-alone emergency solution, such as mass notification, is no longer enough to combat the growing threat landscape. In fact, many believe a critical event management (CEM) system is needed to create long-term operational resilience.
What is a Critical Event Management System?
Critical event management (CEM) systems use technology to automate manual processes and digitally transform critical event management. For example, Everbridge’s CEM solution allows organizations to speed up responses to critical events and improve outcomes by mitigating or eliminating the impact of a threat. Critical event management systems amplify ad hoc data to provide richer intelligence on threats while providing insight into the locations of people and company assets, generating rapid and comprehensive incident assessment and remediation.
The Benefits of a Critical Event Management System
A CEM system can help organizations ensure operational resilience, business continuity, emergency management and disaster recovery. For example, The Total Economic Impact™ of The Everbridge Critical Event Management Platform study revealed that Everbridge’s platform helped provide safer workplaces, reductions in property damage, decreases in IT downtime, increased productivity, and other benefits to those who used it. However, to better understand how a critical event management system can help organizations ensure resiliency, it’s best to examine how CEM can benefit the five main facets of an organization during a critical event.
- People – In 2019, 820 natural disasters causing insured losses were recorded– a number that has tripled in the last 30 years. With a CEM system, organizations can detect events like hurricanes, triggering an automated response like sending storm preparation instructions to those in its path.
- Buildings – Several cities experienced civil unrest this past year, with many businesses feeling the impact. CEM systems help notify organizations of civil unrest before it happens, illustrating possible risks to operations and infrastructure, and allowing for the proactive protection of facilities and assets.
- Digital Operations and Infrastructure – The COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to keep business operations running, resulting in 200,000 additional business closures in 2020.13 With the digital transformation capabilities of a CEM system, businesses can set themselves up for scalability during a crisis – allowing organizations to act quickly and effectively in the face of disruption.
- Supply Chains – With an overarching CEM system, the proper management and optimization of supply chains and routes can be accomplished. CEM introduces automation, allowing organizations to identify risks to suppliers and stops with ease, speed, and accuracy.
- IT Department and Cybersecurity – Cyberattacks are on the rise, with over a quarter of those targeted experiencing five attacks or more.14 Implementing a CEM system can help streamline processes when IT incidents occur, expediting the time it takes to validate system failures while identifying those who can help provide actionable solutions.
Creating a Mature Enterprise: Operational Resilience and Critical Event Management
Ensuring the operational resilience of any organization is a difficult task, one that requires constant commitment, monitoring, and evolution. However, securing operational resiliency can be accomplished effectively through the appropriate assessments, planning, and technology.
To learn more about creating an operationally resilient enterprise, download our Evolution of Mass Notification into Critical Event Management whitepaper. Inside, uncover how to create and maintain a mature enterprise through a holistic approach to critical event management, and glean insight into the technologies combating today’s complex threat landscape.