By Emily Byrne, Marketing Manager at Track24
As featured in Security Journal UK’s February Special Report
In the modern era, organisations are commonly taking a proactive approach to critical event management, as Track24’s below guide illustrates:
The advantages of taking a proactive, rather than reactive approach to critical event management are plentiful. Post Covid-19 pandemic, as a hybrid model of working matures, organisations are increasingly taking a more nuanced, holistic approach to the understanding and management of critical events.
In the modern era, a critical event is increasingly considered to be as much about high-risk; natural disasters, incidents of war and terror as it is supply chain disruptions, poor connectivity when homeworking, strikes and travel disruptions, increased threats to cyber security as many employees work from home on remote servers and managing employee wellbeing. In short, a critical event could be anything which might impact the operations of an organisation.
Furthemore, the development of technology and AI, providing data feeds and intelligence, further enables organisations to take a proactive stance to managing critical events which threaten not only lives, but the continuity of business.
The traditional perception of critical event management
Historically, pre-pandemic, it was commonplace for organisations to view critical events in a traditional sense. For example, critical events were often previously perceived as scenarios which occurred most often in high-risk countries and working environments, such as; war and conflict, explosions, natural disasters and threats to human rights abuse. Before 2020, an organisation’s understanding of a critical event on UK soil might have been limited to an office fire, terror attack, violent incident or travel accident.
Pre-prandemic, organisations typically took a reactive, rather than proactive approach to critical event management. Many organisations were previously trying to combat critical events using manual processes and out-of-date systems. As a result, they were unable to effectively manage critical events. According to a report conducted by Aberdeen Strategy and Research and Blackberry, ‘The hourly costs of downtime caused by a critical event can range from an average of $300,000 to seven figures.’ Source.
Organisations which remain unprepared and unequipped to respond swiftly and efficiently to critical events leave themselves vulnerable to financial losses, damage to reputation, regulatory penalties and most importantly, in extreme cases, the loss of life of employees. A regular incident can quite quickly become a critical incident, should there be no organisational response in the ‘golden hour’ in which it takes place.
The Covid19 pandemic accelerated a hybrid mode of working, which saw the sudden growth of dispersed workforces and an increase in lone workers to between 6 and 8 million, causing a major shift in not only the way businesses function, but the way they comprehend critical events. Source.
Track24 asked a Security and Risk Manager, working for a leading broadcasting giant what kept him up at night. It wasn’t protecting journalists and teams on the field in war zones, but “protecting the everyday worker in London from unexpected events which might compromise their safety.”
The changing nature of critical event management
The events of recent years, such as the Covid19 pandemic and ongoing conflict in Ukraine, have proved to organisations, despite best forecast and planning efforts, they must be prepared to manage any critical event which might threaten their business objectives, operations and the continuity of their goods and services.
As summarised by Continuity Insights: “Whatever their nature, in the simplest terms, events are considered critical when they impact one or more of the assets that matter to an organisation.” Source.
Critical events now include commonplace incidents causing operational disruption. Smoothing out inconveniences is something which has to be done every day. The relationship between the impact of danger and urgency on organisations becomes ever-closely aligned.
Such critical events, requiring proactive management include, but are in no way limited to:
Supply chain disruptions
Outlined by Alejandra Salgado, Associate Editor at Supply Chain Drive, “Geopolitical conflicts, strike threats and weather-related disasters tested supply chains in 2022, adding a new headache for businesses still grappling with the fallout from the pandemic.” Source. Transport delays, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Shanghai’s lockdown, rail strikes and shipping and port shut-downs stopped the global supply chain in its tracks.
Poor connectivity when homeworking
Poor connectivity in 2020 saw “home workers lose half an hour of work everyday”, says Computer Weekly. Source. Four fifths of home workers were affected by IT issues in 2020, causing a significant impact on the functioning of businesses in the ‘new normal’. A 2016 report conducted by the Ponemon Institute stated the “cost of IT downtime averaged[d] at $8,900/minute”, a figure which of course dramatically increased during the pandemic.
Strikes and travel disruptions
Rail strikes became a regular occurrence in 2022 and 2023, with “around half of the rail network shut down on strike days, with only about 20% of normal services running.” Source. Strikes have disrupted staff being able to get into their offices, albeit whilst hybrid working, contributing to the general disruption of business operations. Flight delays and disruptions dominated media coverage in 2022. ‘At the height of the disruption, cancellations peaked at approximately 4.7% of all flights’ said the UK Civil Aviation Authorities’ quarterly report. Source. Further strikes took place in December 2022 over the Christmas period. For many organisations this had a severe impact on international travel and therefore business operations.
Increased threat to cyber security as employees work from home on remote servers
Notably, cyber security hacks have always been a great risk to businesses. A cyber hack or data breach is undeniably a critical event, potentially causing phenomenal down-time and impact on operations, brand damage to reputation and financial implications if data is leaked.
The Georgia Tech breach in 2018 which saw the leaking of personal information of 8,000 students, followed by a further breach in 2019 are examples of critical events which were poorly managed. Georgia Tech failed to learn from the 2018 data breach, therefore financial implications involved ‘lawsuits and fees for failing to comply with data privacy regulations’ but also severe damage to brand reputation, says Brian Johnson, CEO & co-founder of DivvyCloud. Source.
According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, in 2016 global businesses lost $535 billion due to critical events. $400 billion of this was down to cyber attacks, whilst a lesser $85 billion of losses were as a result of global catastrophes. Solid evidence as to why a critical event can no longer be defined as solely a global catastrophe, such as war or natural disaster.
Employee wellbeing: Physical and mental health, childcare and flexible working hours
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Covid19 triggered a ‘25% increase in prevalence of depression and anxiety worldwide.’ Source. This unprecedented critical event sent ‘a wake up call’ to organisations to ‘set up mental health services and support’, reshaping the way in which orgnaisations perceive critical events. Source. It is now commonplace for organisations to class the physical and mental wellbeing of staff as ‘critical’ to the continuation of successful business.
Following a critical event, it is vital to ‘identify those in need of support’, say KRTS. Organisations are becoming increasingly aware of mental health crises as they take a more holistic understanding of duty of care as part of critical event management. Source.
Issues might arise for organisations when covering working hours with fall-throughs in childcare and as a result of an increased demand for flexible working hours. However, it is in the interest of organisations to support employees with such events, in order to fulfill their duty of care and maintain employee satisfaction rates. After all, employee dissatisfaction could have critical impacts to business operations.
Taking a proactive approach to critical event management
Proactive critical event management means, for organisations, expecting the unexpected. Organisations are increasingly implementing software solutions to help them manage critical events at a moment’s notice. Effective analysis of previous critical event management will only strengthen an organisation’s ability to comprehend and respond to further risk. Here are a few ways in which technology can support a proactive approach to critical event management:
An effective communications software means organisations can take a preventative approach to factors which might contribute to a critical event. Many software solutions enable the creation and enrollment of employees into location-based groups, to streamline the communication process and channel messages to different locations, when the risk profile varies amongst operations.
Data feeds are an innovative solution to anticipating and managing critical events. Data feeds enable organisations to inform employees of risks they might face when traveling in high-risk areas, instances of extreme weather and percentages and instances of conflict and violent crime in defined locations.The possibilities enabled by data intelligence are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
Critical Event Management Platforms
When risks unfortunately amount to fully-fledged critical events, a critical event management platform enables organisations to immediately understand the location and safety status of their people and establish two-way communication.
Incident Dashboards and Analysis
Incident dashboards allow organisations to analyse historic risks and critical events, in order to inform wider strategy as to how critical events are managed in the future.
The adoption of software to manage critical events becomes increasingly important in light of the changing nature of how a critical event is defined.
Track24: Saving lives in their thousands
Track24’s heritage product suite enables organisations to manage critical events and safeguarding their people:
“I had an operator captured in December 2021 and held for six months. Using Track24’s technologies, I was able to track him to the compound which he was taken to.”
A team of Track24’s customers were ambushed in a province lacking in phone signal. None of the teams’ phones were receiving any signal at all. After pressing the panic button on their Track24 hardware device, an alarm was raised and the team received the support they needed from the police and their monitoring team.
Track24’s product suite enables organisations to manage critical events and safeguard vehicles and fleets. Their technology ensures the security of drivers, fleets and teams on the ground in high-risk locations across the globe:
One of Track24’s customers’ teams’ vehicles was completely destroyed when it was attacked by a suicide bomber. Although the vehicle was demolished, the teams’ satellite unit still worked and they were able to press the panic button on their hardwear device, to also receive immediate support from their monitoring team.
Track24’s technology also supports missions from country to country, providing critical event management solutions across the globe, in high-risk locations, as well as in areas with low to medium risk profiles.
AtlasNXT: The next-generation of critical event management
Track24’s SaaS safeguarding and communications platform, AtlasNXT, brought freshly to market last year is used by industries such as security, broadcast and media, NGOs, governmental bodies and multinationals to proactively manage critical events.
AtlasNXT empowers organisations to answer the question:
“Where are the people over whom I have a duty of care responsibility, now?”
AtlasNXT enables organisations to streamline communications, business continuity, duty of care and compliance.
Fully functional to serve as a critical event management platform, AtlasNXT allows organisations to stay ahead of potential threats by delivering time sensitive, targeted information through intuitive data feeds. Users can activate location services or open channels of communication if they feel vulnerable or threatened, from wherever they are in the world.
Track24 supports their GSOC partner, Akkadian International with AtlasNXT, as they carry out vital, life-saving operations on the front line in Ukraine. Akkadian International provides security solutions for a safer world and “has supported international media organisations since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February of last year. The organisation has since continued on to provide vital support to local charities and multinational NGOs”, says Steve Tidmash, Managing Director at Akkadian International.
As 18 missiles rained down over Kiev on Monday 10th October, Akkadian International’s Operations Manager called on AtlasNXT’s critical event management feature to determine the safety status of their people. Affected personnel’s coordinates were pulled onto a live map and location-based messages were sent out via AtlasNXT’s broadcast communications feature. Within 15 minutes, all AtlasNXT users marked on the map had been established as safe.
“Technology with critical incident response capabilities is key to how we run our operations out here.”
-Steve Tidmash, Managing Director of Akkadian International
Akkadian International supports critical event management by providing turnkey security solutions, with their 24/7 manned GSOC, supported by AtlasNXT.
AtlasNXT supports NGOs and multinationals and broadcast and media organisations handle critical event management and travel risk management across the world. The team behind Track24 are exceedingly proud of the development of the AtlasNXT product suite and continue to work with customers to determine revolutionary ways to manage critical events in various operating environments.
As detailed by Track24, SJUK’s Knowledge Partners this month, an increasingly holistic approach to critical event management has come into force in the modern era, post Covid19. Organisations supporting a proactive approach to critical event management have best success when it comes to establishing business continuity in spite of external events. A proactive approach to critical event management enables organisations to resume business operations with minimal disruption. Organisations are becoming increasingly prepared to manage critical events which threaten not only life, but the continuity of business.
Unfortunately, critical events, everyday disruptions and inconveniences are inevitable, though it is an organisation’s approach to anticipating and responding to such events which matters most.
To find out how AtlasNXT, Track24’s SaaS safeguarding and communications platform supports critical event management, book a demo here: https://atlasnxt.com/#demo
Or email: email@example.com