As 2015 draws to a close, and we reflect on the recent media headlines, we can appreciate the level of uncertainty that is affecting our society, along with the unpredictability of the threats we are facing, from weather hazards to terrorist attacks.
Terrorist organisations are determined to exploit our weaknesses, either physically or virtually, to create chaos and terror, which are usually accompanied by a significant impact on our national economies. This is their ‘raison d’être’, and in order to remain relevant and to attract more followers, they will continue their attacks.
This in turn has resulted in an asymmetric conflict, where simple and minimal resources on the part of the terrorists are inflicting major damages, whereas the means to prevent and protect against those attacks are both complex and costly. So the question is- how far do we want to go and how much do we want to spend to reduce the risk of such attacks?
During the recent turmoil of events in Europe and Africa, some of our leaders were courageous enough to explain that even with the best of security plans, there is no such thing as 100% security or 100% protection. All risks cannot be eliminated. Case in point: even with the increased level of security since 2001, terrorists are still able to penetrate our layers of physical and IT security.
I, for one, believe that it’s in our capacity to show our determination to respond to terrorist attacks, by effectively and efficiently utilising the resources at our disposal. As part of this response, we have to become more resilient, to limit and restrain the impact of those hazards, and to resume our activities, as quickly as possible.
The strength of our response to weather hazards, terrorist attacks and other unforeseen events lie in our ability to collaborate across boundaries, agencies and companies. We must find innovative ways to share and communicate information, to optimise our response and the allocation of limited resources.
So to become more resilient, we must become more collaborative. This can be accomplished partly by providing stakeholders with a common communication and information sharing platform. Ideally this platform must also facilitate the monitoring of our actions by the leaders of the various organisations involved in the emergency, contingency or business continuity plan. So it’s all about accurate and secure information being communicated and shared in real time, between everyone involved at different levels in our governance model.
As these unforeseen events increase in numbers and frequency, our performance will be assessed by the effectiveness and the efficiency of our response, how rapidly we engage our plans, how we dispatch resources and how we resume operations, once the threat has been eliminated. To become more resilient, we must also learn from these events, what we did well, where we could do better, what we would do in the future and how we will train and test ourselves, to ascertain and validate our new capacity.
Thankfully, a number of companies have recently developed innovative tools that enable professional security and safety specialists to manage a crisis, by building those bridges between agencies and corporations, by providing a common platform where every stakeholder can be provided with accurate and current information.
World leading provider of advanced crisis management solutions, Cobalt, offers a number of award-winning solutions ranging from its mobile application, Cobalt Docs, to its user-centric Incident Management platform.
Operating on any device, Cobalt Docs gives business managers the ability to update plans and share vital information in real-time, ensuring that every employee has the most accurate information and advice at their fingertips in the event of an incident. Through Cobalt Docs, staff can be provided with both general and role specific emergency procedures and crucial contact information, even when their device is offline.
Cobalt’s Incident Management platform provides users with a Command Centre interactive dashboard that facilitates the allocation of tasks, filtered according to user preference, and monitors their completion. The easy to use Incident Automated Workflow module of the platform creates comprehensive strategies in the form of task trees to ensure every eventuality is planned for. Using the Incident Management Mass Notification system, alerts can be sent to pertinent stakeholders immediately and plans can be updated in accordance with the responses received. Cobalt’s Incident Management solution brings together the key elements of preparation and communication to enable you to manage and monitor real-time incidents calmly and quickly.
Cyber-attacks are on the increase along with the fiscal costs of IT downtime, so it is crucial to keep IT support groups and business teams connected with interactive action plans and communication features. Cobalt’s IT Incident & Disaster Recovery Manager is a super-dynamic interactive platform that helps your organisation to minimise the effects of downtime. The platform manages interruption or disruption of data centres, servers, systems, applications and/or networks. Cobalt accelerates recovery times, improves tasks and checklists’ visibility, increases response team collaboration and keeps impacted groups up to date in real-time.
Having plans and strategies in place along with the means to communicate with response teams and stakeholders is a very important part of increasing an organisation’s resilience, but how do you analyse risk, monitor events and calculate their potential impact on your business? Cobalt’s Threat and Risk Management (TRM) is a market-leading solution that allows you to create complex risk analysis, using real-time and historical data based on the locations of your organisation’s assets. With Cobalt’s Threat and Risk Management module, you will know the impact of any given situation and be notified instantly of any threat against your supply chain, critical infrastructures, clients, offices, data centres and employees. By linking TRM to other solutions, you are effectively adding another member to your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Team. A team member unaffected by human error, tiredness or stress; who will continuously analyse data from a plethora of sources, alert you in a timely fashion, and guide you in making the right decisions when planning for, or dealing with, an incident.
Cobalt has recently been recognised by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and is one of only four companies in the world to achieve entry into its prestigious Hall of Fame. For further details of the products mentioned above and of Cobalt’s other innovative solutions please contact us.
Yves Duguay, Cobalt Advisory Board