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Top 10 reasons why organizations need to have critical communications

Is your business resilient? It leaves us puzzled with no correct answer to reply to it. The impact of COVID-19 has us struggling to cope with the evolving situations, whereas we already have some familiar critical events like severe weather, supply chain disruptions, workplace violence, and lots more to cause business disruption while exposing our people and assets to potential threats. Business crisis communication plans are the key to prevent future threats. But, without a robust business-critical communication tool, organizations cannot activate this strategy.

What are critical communications? What is their importance before, during, and after critical events?

Critical communications are the ability to communicate appropriately with your people when you need it most before, during, and after critical events like a pandemic, supply chain disruptions, bad weather, flood, cyber-attacks, or any other industrial events.

During these evolving times, a legacy system falls short of delivering reliable, consistent, secure, and easy-to-use critical communication flexibility.

Critical communications that easily allow businesses to leverage the advanced level of mission-critical communication flexibilities along with data visualization can help emergency response teams communicate with people in the field or onsite in a much better way. However, not only the emergency response team, chief security officers, chief information security officers need critical communication in IT departments, no matter what the verticals are.

Hence, your critical communications can become faster and your recovery process can deliver expected results.

A critical communication tool must have lots of solutions and features to solve problems arising from critical events on the ground, office, or anywhere.

Zsuite, a comprehensive CEM or Critical Management platform is designed to process threats, analyze their nature, and foster ways to handle your business crisis communication plans to mitigate threats on time.

As a leading CEM tool, Zsuite takes an initiative to advocate for the importance of critical communications for businesses and encourages why businesses should not overlook this critical matter. Here are 10 reasons why organizations need to have critical communications.

Data intelligence

Today, critical events are fast evolving, frequently occurring, and complicated too. Different types of critical events can be coincidental, creating challenges to review data using legacy systems. In most organizations, emergency response teams still follow the manual process of data gathering. This process is rigid and making assessment and validation of information is tough. As a result, organizations cannot visualize threats and add context to emergency communications. There is a high chance that key intelligence would go haywire.

Zsuite CEM platform is a critical communication enabler with a granular level of focus on data intelligence, making your critical communications much more efficient and reliable at times of emergency.

Scalable decision-making

Most organizations still rely on siloed systems to handle crisis communications. Although security teams or emergency response teams are available 24×7, they do not have an integrated communication tool to enable crisis communications and keep everyone informed about changing situations. This is in fact leading to more gruesome challenges as organizations fail to identify exact business threats and take measures for risk handling. Lack of coordination between teams gives rise to confusion, impedes situational awareness, and delays appropriate decision-making.

Many crisis communication tools like Zsuite help you make efficient emergency plans and tackle immediate pressure with scalable decision-making.

Message fatigue

A crisis communication plan must include an integrated and unified communication system. This kind of orchestration not only improves communication and collaboration but provides visibility into who has been reached out, when they have been connected, how has been that person contacted, and what feedback has it received. Also, it provides the capability of leveraging pre-built message templates which are consistent and do not cause message fatigue.

As with fragmented communication channels that are omnipresent in many organizations, they can be subject to message fatigue.

Administrative overhead

Critical events can never be limited to a certain region. The reason is the advancement of digitalization. The information erupts as fast as wildfire through social media, personal messages, emails, news, and different entities among others. Messages can be voluminous, repetitive, and incessant resulting in wrong interpretation of certain messages and add to panic buying. Organizations need to coordinate with their people to give them real-time and fact-filled critical information to keep them informed so as to avoid unintended consequences.

Zsuite CEM enables two-way communication via multiple channels and improves organizational response.

Direct communication

Critical communication is always direct, consistent, and contextual. But, when your legacy system does not allow you to nurture the advantage to edit and approve of messages to be used as pre-built critical messages, you tend to impede human intelligence to take charge and act more responsibly. Using a Zsuite CEM platform, you can build your emergency response to help avoid ambiguity while also keeping everyone informed. This can be the most effective means of critical communication that enables a faster recovery process.

Better coordination

The right crisis communication plan can focus on coordination strategy. Having the right tool that allows you to enhance your critical communication can help you collaborate easily with all your stakeholders internally and externally and your people. Zsuite enables you to collaborate and communicate effectively so as to allocate resources better and act as necessary. This can add to better organizational resiliency.

Multimodal communication channels

Before, during, and after critical events, stakeholders must ensure their assets should not be in harm’s way. To ensure your people are safe, you must reach them at an incident site at the right time. No matter what device your people use, the idea is to reach them, so they never miss critical information. However, connecting does not always mean it is over. People receiving the message have to understand it and make a reply. Critical communication tools that integrate multiple languages allow communicating at ease while two-way communication brings feedback at a lightning speed, ensuring plans are being strategized as designed.

Contextual and location-awareness

Not all CEM is built to derive location intelligence to help reach people in harm’s way and save them. Zsuite CEM enhances its critical communication ability by leveraging the power of location intelligence and contextual awareness.

Zsuite relies upon location data it fetches from its contact centers, which helps provide visualization and analysis of geographical data. Also, by drawing spaces in the smart map in the dashboard and integrating it with demographic, traffic, and weather data, you can gain location awareness and add context to your critical communication so that you can predict the potential of threats, take appropriate action, and help save your people.

Accurate analysis

Powerful crisis communication can provide visibility into the incident’s nature, its causes, and its effects. Which part of your organization was badly damaged? How is it impacting spaces and life outside of your organization? Using Zsuite, your crisis management or incident management team can gain a better understanding of loopholes and prepare a better version of internal and external recovery plans with necessary inputs from stakeholders. It improves your monitoring of the factors impeding your recovery strategy and lessens the impact of disasters.

Plan and test your recovery plan

Critical communications enabled by a CEM platform such as Zsuite can help you run drills and evaluate the scope of your plans and their efficacy before a disaster happens. As you practice with simulations of critical events such as earthquakes, IT Incidents, terrorist attacks, or hurricanes, your emergency response teams can enhance their crisis communication plans, be prepared for the next disaster, and be more proactive to mitigate its threats.

Critical communications are the backbone of business resiliency. In the event of a crisis, crisis communication tools scale and give robust communication flexibility that can narrow the gap between life and death.

Are you prepared to handle critical events? Schedule a demo today.

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How CSO or CISO need to prepare for physical and digital security threats

How CSO or CISO need to prepare for physical and digital security threats

Cyberattacks, once an underrated topic to discuss, suddenly evolved into a huge concern for organizations after the COVID-19 pandemics forced businesses to stop their operations. With so many uncertainties still doing rounds, especially the ongoing second wave of the pandemic and the probability of the third wave, cybersecurity is capturing high attention to meeting agendas across the board for CSOs/CISOs. The continuous challenge to meet the safety and security standards that could ensure network wellbeing, employee mental and physical health, and business resiliency is becoming more exacerbated. Adjusting to the new normal of hybrid work culture needs to pay more attention to protecting high confidential corporate data while encouraging safer work from home environment. Meeting these high expectations can help CSOs and CISOs keep up with employee productivity, business continuity, and revenue generation.

Cyber threats- an evolving challenge for CSOs and CISOs

Home workspaces were the only devices made available to most workforces as soon as the lockdowns began. Organizations with little to no adequate resources at hand quickly nodded to these norms without measuring their effects. But, the saddest part, many organizations, especially small-scale organizations failed to provide a cyber-safe telecommuting ecosystem. The sudden scenario exposed the organization’s security at risk and led to cybercrime inadvertently.

As per reports from National Cyber Security Center, there was an increase in cyberattacks during the pandemic. WFH was the leading cause of this concern because of the lack of inherent protective home devices.

On top of it, telecommuting is a critical step towards making public health measures effective to curb the virus outbreak. Organizations encouraging this protocol have been facing novel challenges due to the more complex nature of employee health safety standards. Also, not being able to work in a centralized environment, employee communication took a hit, impacting their mental health and also decreasing productivity.

Classification of physical and digital threats organizations are facing

As businesses reopen after months of lockdowns, organizations face dual challenges-

  • Maintaining COVID-19 compliance to ensure the physical security of their people.
  • Maintaining digital security to prevent cyber threats like scams, phishing, and more.

Physical threats

Physical threats are those components that pose risks to mental health or overall wellbeing. In between reopening and reclosing of businesses, the most grueling challenges for organizations or security officers are to maintain social distancing norms at office premises, maintain a proper screening process to identify COVID-19 symptoms so as to be alert, and aid in preventing the transmission risks. The incapability to maintain the basic norms can result in so many issues-

  • Transmission of infectious disease at large
  • Mass infection of employees
  • The shutdown of business operations
  • Revenue losses

Apart from the pandemic threats, bad weather, natural disasters like floods, cyclones, or man-made disasters like terrorist attacks, or active shootouts cause the same consequences for businesses.

Digital threats

Digital threats are information shared online via websites, emails, or landing pages, or social media can deliberately cause risks to physical or information security risks.

One of the key digital threats that invited risks for CSOs or CISOs during a pandemic-

Social engineering

Social engineering scams are proliferating during the pandemic. Many novel tactics of social engineering have surfaced in the wake of COVID-19. Employees are an easy target for cyber intruders to infringe data or steal important credentials.

  • Video conferencing led to data breaches for more than half a million people.
  • A phishing scam shouldering on the key interest of people to get updates of coronavirus related news also deceived.
  • False emails containing malware caused disruptions to IT systems.
  • Phishing emails with malicious links siphoned off millions of dollars.
  • Phishing-related data breaches related to WFH are likely to cause $137,000 worth of losses.

Due to these evolving situations, organizations need to boost employee cyber-security training more than ever, which is a growing challenge for them too.

Threats to concentrate on while an employee is working from home

So, due to the changing norms of work culture in society, we have a reduced workforce, putting more pressure on the employees. Not able to comply with the new work from a home ecosystem, employees tend to compromise their mental health. Away from a supervised environment like that of an office system, mindlessness may crop up. Additionally, working from home does not offer the similar degree of cybersecurity that the office follows. Besides, there are a lot of threats to home devices-

  • Absence of regular anti-virus or anti-malware scans
  • Lack of sophisticated cyber threat prevention measures
  • Weaker Wi-Fi networks, which is susceptible to cyberattacks

All these are a great opportunity for hackers or cybercriminals to prey on personal devices to steal corporate files and data and pose threats to organization reputations.

However, be it physical or digital threats, a CEM platform provides organizations with capabilities to implement immediate critical communications, keep everyone informed of the evolving situations, and prevent the risks before it becomes a huge organizational risk.

How CEM helps CSO / CISO during uncertain times and how it improves response times during physical and digital security threats

Zsuite CEM platform is built to handle critical information in a more flexible way that helps organizations with IT incident management, disease prevention, and business continuity. Some of its sophisticated features guarantee a great level of flexibility and agility to curb major incidents or critical events quickly.

Critical Communications

To simply put, critical communications give organizations the ability to communicate before, during, after critical events. Zsuite features robust crisis communication features to help CSOs/CISOs design their recovery plan to mitigate threats that stem from physical or digital threats.

Two-way communications, multi-channel message delivery, mass notifications, critical alerts, comprehensive contact center along with powerful pre-built message templates make handling crisis communication effortless and efficient. Leveraging these tools can speed up the communication process for CSO/CISOs, keep stakeholders, partners, and employees informed, and give them much-needed resources to communicate at the right time with the right person. Hence, critical communications can improve response time, thus accelerating the recovery process.

Situation awareness

Zsuite unleashes the power of data intelligence to identify risks at granular levels. As this CEM platform helps capture unstructured data from different sources, CSOs can have data relevancy and therefore, enjoy the flexibility of connecting dots, and find missing links. This is probably a faster process to gain situational awareness of the evolving situations, which gives the organization a competitive advantage in identifying risks and opportunities, allocate resources, and communicate efficiently with everyone exposed to risks.

Common operating picture

In-depth visibility into how the critical events can evolve with the changing time or location is an ideal mechanism that provides a common operating picture. It is situational awareness that improves understanding of the critical events for every emergency response team or CSOs/CISOs. Based on what organizations see on the system improve their action plan. It becomes easier to predict threats to physical or digital assets, determine ways to mitigate risk, improve future plans, and help boost business resiliency.

Zsuite CEM is pioneering ways to combat the growing challenges of COVID-19 threats or familiar critical events to businesses. Whether you move to hybrid culture or still follow the traditional operating model, you need the expertise of Zsuite CEM to prevent business threats. Schedule a demo today.

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Gain situational awareness and improve business resilience

Situational awareness refers to an ability to derive, process, and analyze data related to critical events. To simply put, situational awareness tells you what is happening around you, how things change with time, and being relevant to situations as they appear. Enabling human experience or situational awareness is the most important approach in bridging the gap between life and death because it helps with logical output and more informed decision-making. As critical events are more frequent than ever, situational awareness can be the key to mitigate emergencies before they occur or impact your business.

When we fail to have a good understanding of a critical event or don’t have full situational awareness, poor decision making, inadequate communications and weak management of the crisis are likely results. It sounds straightforward in principle, but in reality, it requires defined processes, appropriate resources and practice. Often, many crisis management teams and enterprise command centers (ECC) overlook and result in last-minute scrambling to figure out the information management process and fully understand the incident and its impact.

But, the question is how capable are you to achieve situational awareness? If you don’t have insights into this, what ways can you try to seek it?

Challenges for a modern business to get hold of situational awareness

Did you ever think about what stops you from taking proactive action to mitigate the fast-evolving impacts of critical events? The answer is no. Reasons can range from information overload to the traditional approach of handling emergencies for organizations. They include,

Incessant attacks of critical events

Incidents are more frequent these days. Businesses are at stake as the synchronicity of different incidents makes it more complex to handle. With pandemics still raging through, one could never anticipate how it can complicate measures to handle critical events like natural disasters, man-made disasters, industrial threats such as IT incidents, or data breaches. Due to the evolving nature of these events, crisis response teams fail to leverage enough data from critical event endpoints, which is indispensable to build situational awareness.

Information overload

The digital world is full of DATA, DATA and DATA. Crisis Management teams often describe gathering situational awareness and managing that information during a crisis as like drinking out of a fire hose. How does one manage such a volume, velocity and variety of information?

A traditional approach to data handling

Most organizations still rely on an old infrastructure to analyze information wherein the crisis response team manually integrates data into a system. But they lack a comprehensive understanding to validate data, resulting in intelligence slipping through hands. These siloed systems add to more complexity to discern who and what are in harm’s way and delay informed decision making.

Inability to parse explosion of data

Data is generated in a massive volume. But, there is unstructured data more than ever business can draw immense value by deriving them. But, businesses using conventional systems are not capable of parsing this which can be valuable to tap into insights. In another way, it is tough for businesses to store a massive volume of unstructured data. As we gather data related to critical events, we can’t verify its accuracy because of its inconsistent nature and quality issues. However, by implementing the power of natural language processing or artificial intelligence, we can make findings more valuable for critical event management as they provide risk intelligence.

To build situational awareness, we need accurate data, not inconsistent data.

Sources of data to build situational awareness

To create situational awareness, we need to derive data from disparate sources. One thing is critical that manual data processing can ruin its approach. The comprehensiveness of relevant information related to specific locations or surroundings or assets in connection with the incident can be of immense value. So, we need to work with stakeholders and partners to gather validated information for complete visibility into situations. Demographic breakdown of data can help us make a visual representation of incidents and potential threats to people and assets and thus improve situational awareness. To add to this, data may include an existing emergency plan, a live feed from sensors, weather or traffic feed, or dynamic data like critical events. By integrating these data points into a system, organizations can build a common operating picture, simplifying the process of getting risk intelligence for ever-evolving emergencies and enhance decision-making.

Importance of visualization in critical event management

Leveraging the common operating picture is critical to resolving issues faster and preparing a more robust approach to handling future threats. Situational awareness solidifies the foundation of the common operating picture wherein emergency response teams can use technology to bring context to information and integrate it into a system. Using all datasets, we can visualize data or build an intuitive model that enhances understanding of critical events that change with time and necessitate emergency preparedness. Through comprehensive situational awareness, we can better visualize to allocate emergency help to priority areas well in advance so further damage to life or property can be avoided.

Situational Awareness is key to business resilience

Critical events undoubtedly restrict business operations. The ongoing COVID-19 has its impacts on the global economy as businesses had to pause and shift to new models of doing business. Besides, natural threats, cyberattacks, or any kind of disasters can aggravate supply chain disruptions, putting direct effects on its scalability or resilience. Having situational awareness into the evolving situations can better prepare your emergency response, which comprehensively helps in mitigating risks and encouraging business continuity.

Role of situational awareness in critical event management

As we discussed, situation awareness gives you an idea about what is going on around you, ways to predict things with time, and remain relevant to the changing environment. Critical event management gives your organization the fastest means to unify data by communicating with stakeholders or partners and make more informed decisions specific to emergencies. A CEM system eliminates the necessity of having so many tools to communicate, gather data, map risks, and mitigate risks in real-time. As the unified CEM brings you valuable data, you can easily incorporate them to create situational awareness, therefore making more informed decisions, speeding up the process of handling situations better.

Ways to achieve situational awareness

It is all about getting better ideas to respond to critical events more proactively. Situational awareness makes it easier to get insights into types of incidents and various approaches to deal with them. Since data is key, we need a more comprehensive system that collects data from even disparate sources and gives context too. Zsuite – a powerful CEM tool that enables organizations to gather the right information at the right time from the right source can provide comprehensive data to locate, assess, act, and analyze.

Zsuite features the most advanced tools that include unified communication tools with two-way communication and multichannel capabilities to help keep information consistent. Integrated with geofencing location tracking and sensors, Zsuite can scale with situations, provide contextual information to be relevant to your emergency handling workflows, and finally help react to mitigate critical events. So with the right data in hand, you can gain situational awareness by implementing the right method.

Discover

Data helps you build a common operating picture that helps you assess the threat’s nature. Assessing this data, you can have risk intelligence and know who and what can be at risk.

Locate

Zsuite’s geofencing capability makes it easier to identify people or assets in harm’s way. Location intelligence also helps you reach your employees faster and communicate with them to participate and resolve issues.

Take action

As you know the upcoming threats, you can plan your response. Zsuite gives you the ability to use predefined critical message templates. So, when in danger, auto-escalation can deliver the right message to the right persons and motivate them to act accordingly.

Analyze

Improved situational awareness can help assess bottlenecks, your performance during critical events, and also capabilities of your existing system. So if you miss anything, you can plan dynamically.

Values organizations can derive from situational awareness

Situational awareness enhances the ability to comprehend, react, and decide based on geographic context. Organizations can power up their emergency preparedness plan before any event occurring. This ability helps mitigate the crisis in a much lesser time, improves cost-savings, enhances overall productivity and efficiency while also generating revenues.

Handling critical events depends on situational awareness. And we can bring a more comprehensive approach to this dynamicity using the Zsuite CEM tool. It enhances data gathering, communication, visualization, and emergency response.