Our job at TAL Global is to help organizations avoid risks and keep their business doors open, while keeping their staff, facilities, and data safe. But as any respected corporate security and risk management organization must admit, we can only help our clients reduce risks and, if something should occur, help them lessen their losses as much as possible.
But, what if something does happen? What if a disaster, such as a weather occurrence, a break-in, an incidence of workplace violence, or a data or facility breach occurs?
What steps can organizations and managers take to avoid risks and, should a disaster occur, help recover as quickly as possible?
According to TAL Global Team Member Kim Nguyen, among those steps managers can take to avoid risks include the following:
- Make sure all staff members have an emergency contact number they can call. Often, after a calamity, internet systems and electricity are not operational. Phone service is more likely to remain functioning.
- Managers should have emergency phone numbers to contact the police and fire departments; property managers; and city, state, and federal government personnel. These should not be public phone numbers. It is best to have a direct phone line to emergency personnel who can be reached 24/7.
- Create procedures and checklists for what to do in the event of inevitable catastrophes such as flooding, fire, a break-in, a data breach, or worse, an incident of workplace violence such as a shooting. “I’ve seen many organizations that haven’t the slightest idea what steps to take directly after an emergency. This slows the entire recovery process down.”
- A special checklist should be created just for cybersecurity-related issues: Who will handle these? How will data transfers to remote or safe servers be implemented? Who will handle cloud-based backups and how quickly can these be retrieved?
- Related to this, it is prudent to have data warehouses at a certain point in an organization’s growth. “Very simply, this means not having all data stored in one location. The more data stored in one location, the more vulnerable it is to hacking, and the greater the disaster should a cyberattack occur. Data warehouses can be set up that store just certain types of data.”
- Partner with a risk management organization. A risk management organization should be called in before any type of disaster occurs to evaluate the facility and help identify any vulnerabilities that should be corrected beforehand to help protect people, property, and data. “This is the best way to avoid risks. They will know the facility or the organization well, should a disaster occur. This will provide them with a much clearer picture of what steps need to be taken and in what order to ensure recovery.”
- Look into business interruption insurance. This type of insurance kicks in, at least financially, to cover losses should a disaster occur until the organization can operate normally. “Read the fine details on this type of insurance, however. Some will cover, for instance, acts of terrorism or a cyberattack, but may not cover losses due to a pandemic or a health-related issue impacting an organization.”
- Invest in educating top managers on how to deal with a variety of emergencies. “I mentioned earlier how frequently organizations do not know what to do after a disaster occurs. To prevent this, we need to educate top managers. I call this type of training ‘resilience training.’ We have little time for panic or grief. Managers need to take action to get the organization up and running, and resilience training teaches them precisely what to do.”
Nguyen adds that “here is the bottom line of all these steps. We can’t prevent every type of calamity from occurring. But what we can do is be aware of what steps to take as quickly as possible to mitigate damages and maximize the chances of long-term viability.”
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