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Navigating the Incident Management Timeline with BlackBerry AtHoc

BLACKBERRY ATHOC / 11.09.20 / Gary Ng

During any kind of crisis that affects your business operations, the ability to reach out to your staff and essential stakeholders during an unfolding incident can help to minimize further business impacts and disruptions. Whether it’s a business disruption or health crisis, communicating critical information can inform your staff and valued stakeholders on the required actions to adopt, create trust, and mitigate potential loss.

In the recent 2020 BCI annual horizon scanning report[1], resilience practitioners across the world identified the following as the top 10 potential risks to businesses (in ranking order):

1)      Cyberattack and data breach
2)      IT and telecom outage
3)      Extreme weather events
4)      Critical infrastructure failure
5)      Lack of talent/ key skills
6)      Regulatory changes
7)      Natural disasters
8)      Interruption to utility supply
9)      Introduction of new technology (IoT, Big Data, AI)
10)   Political change

Business leaders should note that critical event management is not confined to the domains of natural disasters or threats to physical security and safety. It includes any significant event that threatens to disrupt business operations, cause reputational damage, and erode stakeholder confidence in the delivery of products and services.

The below illustration shows the timeline of a critical event and the management process, including response initiatives and recovery and restoration initiatives:

Understanding the Incident Response Timeline

Most major incidents can be considered to have four stages:

  • The initial response;
  • The consolidation phase;
  • The recovery phase; and
  • The restoration of normality.

Within the full spectrum of critical event management, communications is the core activity and function which organizations can never underestimate. From ensuring stakeholders are familiar with prepared plans and procedures, to disseminating critical information to facilitate threat analysis and directing specific functional team response, right through to coordinating continuity of operations and ensuring concerned stakeholders are adequately well informed, organizations need to dedicate sufficient consideration in critical communications as part of their overall organizational resilience.

Observations from most organizations throughout an incident management timeframe have been summarized as follows:

Initial Response: Immediate Intervention

1) A common operating communications platform should already be in place, allowing stakeholders within the affected community to seamlessly collaborate with one another.

2) At the onset of an incident, initial alerts and warnings should be broadcast through these common communication channels. Communicating early, accurately (based on available information), and clearly to stakeholders via a robust communications platform is essential in critical event management throughout the process of intervention.

Consolidation Phase: Business Continuity Plan Activated

3) Next, acknowledgement of received information by external stakeholders (such as emergency support services) may then be recorded in various formats. Following post-recovery, where an after-action review (AAR) needs to be performed, that data will need to be collated and validated.

4) Cybersecurity risks should be minimized and/or mitigated, by ensuring that the adopted communications platform is secure, compliant, and stable. For organizations vested with the safeguarding of personal identifiable information (PII), this will probably be the greatest concern during a critical event or incident. 

Recovery in Progress: Recovery and Restoration Initiatives

5) Accuracy of information initially communicated should be continuously verified, particularly where it may have been relayed through multiple parties, and stakeholders should be updated if necessary.

6) Communicators should adhere to regular and timely situation updates as the incident progresses, both at the frontlines and to stakeholders and official media outlets.

Resuming Normalcy

7) Once the crisis is contained and normalcy is resumed, be aware of the potential for misinformation in today’s connected environment, where information can be relayed from multiple sources and the general public may not know which the official source is to refer to.

8) In a competitive environment, business leaders need to consider the productivity and security benefits that can be realized by dedicating an internal staff/team to recovery, or complementing with a critical communications provider.

9) In addition, implementing a secured and trusted communications platform in consultation with crisis response specialists can help the organization focus on their core business, while ensuring the management of critical events in the new operating environment.

When Securing the Critical Advantage is Crucial

Trusted by many organizations globally to unify their crisis communications, BlackBerry® AtHoc® meets various stringent standards including FedRAMP, ISO 22301: 2019/ 27001:2013, FEMA and many others.

Organizations need to focus on their business. Let BlackBerry AtHoc experts help keep your people safe and operations running.

For more information on how BlackBerry AtHoc can assist your organization in managing critical events in the new normal, download our new whitepaper today.

[1]BCI Horizon Scan Report 2020 (Pub Feb 2020). Retrieved from https://www.bsigroup.com/localfiles/en-gb/iso-22301/resources/bci-horizon-scan-report-2020.pdf

Gary Ng

About Gary Ng

Product Marketing Manager, BlackBerry