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The value of business continuity as part of your end-to-end critical event management strategy

In today’s volatile business environment, organizations face a mountain of unpredictable challenges—from natural disasters to cyber-attacks, supply chain disruptions to IT outages—that can impact the safety of employees, operational uptime, or customer satisfaction and loyalty. The ability to navigate these critical events hinges on one key factor: resilience. Here, we explore why business continuity is essential to your end-to-end critical event management strategy and how comprehensive planning and preparedness can redefine organizational resilience.

Why business continuity is vital today

Effective business continuity solutions are no longer optional; they are critical. The landscape we operate in is fraught with unpredictability. The frequency and severity of disruptions have escalated, making robust preparation and rapid response mechanisms a necessity. Furthermore, regulatory compliance demands have tightened, with many industries now subject to stringent regulations that require detailed continuity and disaster recovery plans.

Customer trust and loyalty also hinge on the reliability of an organization’s continuity plans. During crises, the ability to maintain service delivery can make the difference between retaining and losing valuable customers. From a financial perspective, minimizing downtime and ensuring that operations continue smoothly during disruptions can stave off significant financial losses, preserving your organization’s stability and reputation.

The comprehensive approach of an end-to-end solution

Organizational resilience requires a robust end-to-end critical event management strategy that incorporates business continuity. The lifecycle of managing a critical event is built on five foundational pillars: Plan, Monitor, Alert, Respond, and Improve. These pillars ensure that organizations are not only prepared for any event but can also respond effectively, recover swiftly, and continuously enhance their resilience strategies.

The Everbridge platform

Everbridge One Platform For Cem 1000px Wide

The key capabilities of an effective business continuity solution include the ability to develop detailed, tailored plans that address specific organizational needs. Conducting thorough business impact analyses is crucial for identifying and prioritizing critical business processes and resources. Equally important is fostering enterprise-wide collaboration, enabling teams to work together seamlessly across the organization.

Regular testing and refinement of continuity plans are essential to ensure their effectiveness. Meeting industry-specific compliance requirements effortlessly is another critical capability, allowing organizations to navigate regulatory landscapes with confidence.

The value of a comprehensive solution

An all-in-one end-to-end platform is designed to ensure that organizations can anticipate, mitigate, respond to, and recover from critical events. Such a platform integrates business continuity planning with critical event management, creating a cohesive and unified approach. Enhanced communication capabilities accelerate the dissemination of critical information and facilitate collaboration across the enterprise, significantly reducing response times during crises.

Streamlined onboarding processes enable new users to quickly and fully leverage the platform’s capabilities, ensuring that the organization can benefit from the solution’s full potential from the outset. Minimizing communication errors during crises enhances the accuracy and reliability of information, which is crucial for effective incident management.

Continuous improvement is a fundamental aspect of a comprehensive solution. By using real-time data and feedback, organizations can refine and enhance their response strategies, ensuring that they are always prepared for the next challenge

Conclusion

In the face of today’s complex threat landscape, having business continuity as part of your end-to-end enterprise resilience strategy is not just beneficial—it’s essential. A comprehensive end-to-end solution provides the resilience organizations need to stay prepared and responsive. By effectively planning, anticipating, and responding to critical events, organizations can not only survive disruptions but emerge stronger.

Achieve total enterprise resilience with a robust business continuity solution—keeping your people safe and your operations running, no matter what challenges arise.

To learn more or to request a demo of how Everbridge 360 – now with Infinite Blue – can help you achieve total enterprise resilience…..

Weather events can have a significant impact on both employees and businesses, with 2023 marking a historic year for billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in the US. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), “There were 28 weather and climate disasters in 2023, surpassing the previous record of 22 in 2020, tallying a price tag of at least $92.9 billion,” including winter and sever weather storms. With the frequency and severity of inclement weather events on the rise, it’s essential for organizations to have a robust inclement weather policy in place to protect employees and ensure business continuity. 

Understanding inclement weather

Inclement weather encompasses a wide range of adverse weather conditions, including hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, heavy rain, tornados, snowstorms, hailstorms, heat waves, and ice storms. Each of these weather events poses unique challenges and risks to employee safety and business operations. 

Importance of having an inclement weather policy

Given the increasing frequency and severity of inclement weather events, having a comprehensive inclement weather policy is crucial for organizations. While OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) “does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, employers have a responsibility to provide workers with employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards, including winter weather-related hazards.” Such a policy addresses the main concerns of employees, ensures maintaining OSHA standards, promotes organizational resilience, and safeguards both safety and productivity. 

What to include in an inclement weather policy

Incorporating safety procedures, communication guidelines, and employee rights into an inclement weather policy is essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of employees while maintaining business continuity. 

  • Safety procedures: Clearly outline safety protocols for various weather events. This includes designated evacuation routes, assembly points, and procedures for securing the premises in anticipation of extreme weather conditions. 
  • Communication templates and guidelines: Establish clear communication channels and provide templates for communicating with employees before, during, and after inclement weather events. Communication channels should be established in advance, such as email, text messaging, phone calls, or digital signage, to ensure that information reaches all employees in a timely and effective manner. 
  • Employee rights: Define employee rights regarding pay, flexible working arrangements, and time off during inclement weather events. This includes outlining policies for compensating employees for missed work due to office closures or transportation disruptions caused by severe weather. Additionally, organizations should establish guidelines for flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting or adjusted work hours, to accommodate employees who may be impacted by inclement weather conditions. 

Communication before, during, and after an extreme weather event 

Effective communication is essential during inclement weather events to ensure the safety and well-being of employees. Establish a designated communication channel and provide sample email and text message templates for notifying employees of weather-related updates and instructions. 

Communication before inclement weather events 

Draft a series of pre-configured messages for the most likely weather events that could impact your staff. For instance, if your region is prone to tornadoes or flooding, prepare clear instructions such as “Head to the underground shelter immediately!” 

Preparation is the best insurance to minimize impact. Conduct emergency preparedness training to ensure your employees know how to react and are equipped with the necessary tools to stay safe. 

Part of this plan should include defining the communication tree. Determine who is responsible for publishing content and rehearse this process to avoid any confusion when it’s needed most. 

Communication during inclement weather events 

When a weather event strikes, employees need up-to-the-minute information from a reliable source they trust. Utilize all available internal communication channels to ensure your message is widespread. Emergency communication channels help coordinate and advise staff during any crisis. 

For urgent messages, use channels that ensure immediate visibility. Tools like Alerts and panic button notifications can override other applications, appearing directly on all desktop and mobile screens, bypassing email. Emails are often not timely enough and can be easily missed. 

Provide explicit instructions and include links to more detailed information if needed. 

Sample email message 

Subject Line: Important Update: Inclement Weather Advisory  

Dear Team,  

Due to the forecasted severe weather conditions, we have decided to implement our inclement weather policy. Please review the attached document for detailed instructions on safety procedures and employee rights. Stay safe and remain indoors until further notice.  

Regards, 

[Your name, department, and contact information] 

Sample Text Message 

Inclement Weather Advisory: Due to severe weather conditions, all employees are advised to stay indoors and refrain from traveling until further notice. Updates will be provided as the situation evolves. 

Communication after inclement weather events 

After the event has passed, review your communication strategy to identify what worked well and what needs improvement. Gather feedback from staff through a survey; you may find that the frequency of communications needs adjusting or that one format is more effective than others. 

Most importantly, keep your emergency communication plan up to date. Staff will continue to join and leave the organization; remote offices may open or close; the communications coordinator themselves may move on, taking their knowledge with them. 

Urgency is essential when extreme weather events strike. A comprehensive crisis communications plan will help your organization be prepared, minimize risk, and save lives. 

How Everbridge can help 

In addition, Everbridge provides a variety of tools and solutions for effective communication before, during, and after an inclement weather event. 

  • Mass Notification: Mass Notification can be used to send alerts and warnings to employees, residents, or other stakeholders, informing them about the impending weather conditions and providing safety instructions. This tool enables organizations to send real-time updates and emergency alerts about the evolving situation, evacuation orders, shelter locations, and other critical information. 
  • SnapComms: SnapComms is an easy way to disseminate pre-event safety tips, reminders, and preparedness checklists to employees through various channels such as desktop alerts, screensavers, and mobile apps. Companies can ensure that all employees are aware of potential risks and know what steps to take to stay safe. It is also useful for post-event surveys and feedback. 
  • Travel Protector: Even when employees are traveling, Everbridge helps you keep them safe.  With Travel Protector, organizations can send immediate alerts to travelers in affected areas, advising them to take necessary precautions, change travel plans, or seek alternative routes. They can also provide updates on weather-related disruptions, such as flight cancellations, road closures, or transportation delays, to help travelers adjust their itineraries accordingly. 

Looking to the future 

As inclement weather events continue to pose significant challenges for organizations, it’s essential to weatherproof your organization and prepare for the future. By implementing a comprehensive inclement weather policy and leveraging tools like Everbridge’s solutions for mass notification and incident communications, organizations can enhance their resilience and protect their most valuable asset—their employees. 

Developing an effective inclement weather policy is vital for protecting employees and ensuring business continuity during adverse weather events. By addressing safety procedures, communication guidelines, and employee rights, organizations can better prepare for and respond to inclement weather events, ultimately safeguarding both their employees and their business operations. 

Threats and disruptions of all types are increasing, a higher frequency equates to a bigger impact on populations and businesses

This eBook looks at the challenges faced by municipalities as they strive to respond promptly and effectively to issues that impact residents’ daily lives.

The 2024 Best in Resilience Study offers a comprehensive summary of global risks and showcases how top-performing Best in Resilience certified organizations are managing and mitigating threats to keep their people safe, and operations running.

Leverage Everbridge solutions to operationalize your response to some of the points described in upcoming EU regulations including NIS2, DORA, and the Cyber Resilience Act. Enhance your compliance and strengthen your cyber defenses. 

In an increasingly interconnected world, the importance of robust cybersecurity measures cannot be overstated. The European Union (EU) has introduced several regulations aimed at enhancing cybersecurity across member states. These EU directives and regulations include the Directive on Measures for a High Common Level of Cybersecurity Across the Union (NIS2), the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), and the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA). 

This blog will explore how Everbridge solutions can help cyber security, risk, and compliance teams navigate these regulations to enhance their organization’s cybersecurity posture from an operational perspective. 

Overview: NIS2, CRA and DORA 

NIS2

The NIS2 Directive (Directive (EU) 2022/2555) aims to achieve a high common level of cybersecurity across the EU. The regulation took effect on 16 January 2023, and Member States have until 17 October 2024 to codify its measures into national law. It requires Member States to adopt national cybersecurity strategies and designate competent authorities, cyber crisis management authorities, and computer security incident response teams. It also imposes stricter security requirements, including security incident reporting and cooperation between member states. Consequently, companies operating in these sectors will have to strengthen their data protection measures and their incident response capabilities, under penalty of severe financial sanction. 

DORA

The Digital Operational Resilience Act (Regulation (EU) 2022/2554) solves an important problem in the EU financial regulation. Before DORA, financial institutions managed the main categories of operational risk mainly with the allocation of capital, but they did not manage all components of operational resilience.  With DORA, financial organizations are now mandated to ensure the resilience, continuity, and availability of their information and communication technology (ICT) systems while upholding stringent data security standards. 

CRA 

The Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) aims to safeguard consumers and businesses buying or using products or software with a digital component. It introduces mandatory cybersecurity requirements for manufacturers and retailers of such products. This regulation covers products that include digital elements enabling the transmission of data to a device or network. It also aims to promote trust in digital technologies by ensuring that they meet rigorous security standards. Manufacturers will therefore have to ensure that connected objects placed in the market comply with strict obligations such as a 24-hour notification window for any detected vulnerabilities.  

Main challenges to concrete applications  

NIS 2, CRA, and DORA regulations require significant effort in mapping dependencies, documentation, and planning. However, they do not explicitly address how to operationalize their plans to be able to withstand, respond to, and recover from business-impacting events. This represents a real challenge to companies, given the enhanced complexity and interdependency that these regulations cover.  

Common organizational challenge in digital operations and cyber security

Many organizations have very siloed teams and tech stacks, which means collaboration during a business-impacting event can be very difficult; companies need tech that provides “information bridges” between the different business units. Without a technology solution that allows automated connection between monitoring, activation, collaboration, orchestration, and response, organizations will struggle.  

Common Organization Challenges Digital Ops

How Everbridge supports companies to operationalize their compliance: automate and digitize preparedness, communications & response, and reporting 

Everbridge provides a single hub for incident preparedness, risk monitoring, crisis management, and service reliability. In other words, through the Everbridge platform, companies will be able to adequately operationalize three key aspects: Preparedness, communication & response, and reporting. The Everbridge solutions are designed to proactively identify, assess, and monitor risk, respond instantly and accurately to every incident, safeguard digital and physical assets, and keep people safe and productive. 

CEM Resilience In Action for Emergency Response

CEM resilience in action for emergency response

Preparedness The Everbridge platform allows for the integration of all applicable systems to enable clear visibility across software applications and physical locations, giving a clear outline of what is important and why, and enabling faster decision-making and automation. Crucially, this step helps to identify key stakeholders and assets, which is one of the most important elements in responding to an event. Having data sets readily available and usable can improve response time and trigger workflows automatically rather than through manual intervention.

Ai Powered Information Manage Response Xmatters

AI-powered information management with xMatters 

Communications & response – Following the identification of the event and its impact, the Everbridge platform supports the orchestration of the response. This involves identifying any automation processes that can be initiated, aligning the response with the relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and ensuring tasks are assigned to the right people at the right time through “out of band” communications that are not dependent on infrastructure.  By automating this process, Everbridge can slash response time down to minutes or seconds. Additionally, the Everbridge platform can be used to communicate with regulators as necessary, keeping relevant stakeholders updated, and visualize the status while providing estimates based on previous experience, which is particularly critical if the issue affects email. 

Incident Response - time to restore

Incident response – time to restore

Reporting The Everbridge platform allows organizations to develop self-assessment and learning capabilities for future preparation and response. During the event, all communications are captured, including but not limited to who received a communication, who responded, what the response was, and time of response. Also captured is whether there was no response at all. The same is also applicable for task allocation and completion for real-time monitoring during the event. Full audit logs are also recorded and exported for review/inclusion post-event. Within the simulation, situation reports can be generated when required and “After Action Reports” can be made available for review. All information is captured within the system to be utilized as required in After Action Reviews. 

Dedicated solutions such as the Everbridge suite of products can play a critical role in helping organizations operationalize EU directives and regulations such as NIS2, DORA, and the CRA. By leveraging the Everbridge platform, cybersecurity and incident management teams enhance their cybersecurity posture and reinforce their compliance to these regulations through operational resilience. Everbridge enables teams to digitize response plans and connect them to monitoring and communications solutions. The platform enables automation, streamlines processes, enhances visibility, and empowers organizations to concretely demonstrate compliance by strengthening digital resilience. 

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