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Emergency Management Jun 22, 2021

How AlertMedia Customers Utilize Real-Time Intelligence to Protect Their People and Business

This post covers why real-time threat intelligence is critical to employee safety and how AlertMedia customers turn critical information into action.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic awakened many business leaders to the possibility that new, emerging events can upend business operations and dramatically impact the health and safety of their people. A recent study by Priorities for Business Leaders found that workplace safety is the top priority for business leaders in 2021, further illustrating the extent to which employees’ well-being is now being discussed as a strategic initiative. And it’s not just the pandemic that is influencing these discussions.

2020 gave us a record-breaking hurricane season when 12 Named Storms reached landfall. Scientists believe that global climate change contributed to the severity of this last season and that seasons like 2020 will become a more common occurrence. AlertMedia’s in-house meteorologist Jason Moreland recently summarized these concerns stating, “In 2020 alone, the U.S. suffered 22 different weather and climate-related billion-dollar disasters. That is by far the highest on record. A third of such disasters involved landfalling tropical cyclones. The two previous record-setting years were all within the last decade. Frankly, this is a pattern that can no longer be ignored.”

If climate change and disease were not enough, 2020 also saw a dramatic rise in civil unrest throughout the United States. According to Verisk Property Claim Services (PCS), cumulative insured losses from civil unrest in the United States during 2020 are estimated at more than $2 billion, making it the costliest year for these kinds of losses since PCS began keeping records.

This steep increase in unpredictable security incidents and the severity of natural disasters are forcing business leaders to find an efficient and effective method of monitoring the world around their people.

Hundreds of organizations have turned to AlertMedia’s Global Threat Intelligence solution to identify these critical events quickly, assess their organization’s potential impact, and activate a response to protect their people and business.

Cutting Through the Noise to Deliver Actionable Intelligence

Much like monitoring happenings worldwide for a newsroom, monitoring threats for a business is a 24/7, 365 days a year job. However, the stakes are arguably much higher with personal safety on the line.

Executing an effective threat monitoring strategy starts with having the right mix of sources and, more importantly, the headcount and skillset to quickly identify relevant threats, gather context, and weed out misinformation that could lead valuable resources down a distracting rabbit hole. Unfortunately, most organizations simply don’t have the resources to employ robust 24/7 security operation centers to monitor hundreds of independent information sources like local news, social channels, and the National Weather Service.

A natural conclusion is to deploy an entirely AI-powered solution that automatically combs the web for emerging threats, but this can result in a separate set of problems. For example, some AI-driven intelligence solutions aggregate large data sets and open source signals, but this still requires the infrastructure and expertise needed to turn this into actionable intelligence. In addition, organizations still need to distill what is important to their business and contextualize it geographically to understand how it will impact their people and operations.

That is why it is necessary to have a team of people with the skills to effectively comb through the mountain of information available then verify that it is a threat to your people and/or business. And once you verify that it is a threat that will affect your people and business, you still have to alert the relevant parties. This can be an incredibly slow process, and when a critical situation arises, time is of the essence. The faster that you can respond to a critical event, the less likely it is to impact the safety of your people and assets.

That is why thousands of organizations worldwide partner with AlertMedia to help them monitor, identify, and respond to threats.

AlertMedia Global Threat Intelligence acts as a workforce multiplier to improve your internal team’s ability to monitor for major global events or localized incidents that could impact your employees, locations, and assets. Our team of in-house analysts works around the clock to monitor thousands of data sources, filter out the noise, and deliver only the most relevant view of events that may impact your people and business. Coupled with robust emergency communication capabilities, AlertMedia allows your safety and security teams to monitor for threats, automate real-time warnings, and communicate with impacted individuals seamlessly from one platform.

Here are just a few of the countless examples of how this type of real-time, verified intelligence can help your organization make informed decisions.

AlertMedia Helps FCC Protect Its Employees and Operations

In 2020, the manufacturing industry was hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, including COVID-19 mitigation restrictions, global supply chain disruptions, and rising consumer demand. As a result, many manufacturing companies have innovated, finding ways to limit the impact of these challenges and prevent even more significant economic consequences.

For example, FCC North America uses AlertMedia to identify and assess the impact of relevant threats to their business and communicate critical information to their people across the world. FCC manufactures clutch assembly products for the automotive industry and operates five facilities across North America. Like many other manufacturing companies, FCC is constantly monitoring threats that might impact their people and operations across multiple locations as well as its international supply chain, where any disruptions are extremely costly.

AlertMedia’s threat intelligence solution enables FCC to keep a pulse on any threats that may disrupt business logistics. “Some of the parts we need for manufacturing assembly are sourced from Asia. A severe weather event impacting Vietnam or Thailand could potentially delay shipments and impact our operations. AlertMedia’s threat intelligence gives our leadership team visibility into unfolding events around the world that could potentially disrupt business operations so that they can take proactive steps to mitigate the risk,” says Michael Hunt, FCC’s ERP Systems and IT Manager.

“AlertMedia’s global threat intelligence greatly enhances our ability to protect our employees and operations. It enables us to not only identify emerging threats but also quantify their impact on our business. Automating the impact assessment and real-time communication around emerging events allows us to operate with unprecedented safety, visibility, and efficiency.”

Once FCC identifies a threat and assesses its impact, they then use AlertMedia’s multichannel communication tool to send targeted notifications to those affected—helping to improve employee safety and business continuity initiatives.

Warby Parker Uses AlertMedia to Scale Its Safety Initiatives Across Hundreds of Locations

In addition to helping FCC protect their highly dispersed business assets and employees, AlertMedia’s threat intelligence team also helps Warby Parker, the wildly successful glasses retailer, safeguard their employees and store locations during critical events (including the 2020 Nashville bombing).

Traditionally, the primary motivation of the retail industry’s asset protection plan has been to reduce theft. However, in a recent interview on The Employee Safety Podcast, Chris Hinger, Warby Parker’s Director of Loss Prevention, touches on a shift in loss prevention priorities, “We’re no longer just focused on shrink or theft. The loss prevention industry has shifted from being reactive and transactional to having proactive plans across different channels of the business. For us, employee safety is absolutely one of those channels. I think the main reason for this shift has been the increased amount of risk our frontline workers face, whether in stores or corporate offices.”

Today, in addition to theft, retailers must also monitor events like acts of violence, severe weather, and political demonstrations that can impact the health and safety of thousands of employees and customers across multiple locations.

For example, on Christmas Day in 2020, a bomb exploded inside an RV in downtown Nashville. The damage from the bomb was widespread. Many businesses in the area were impacted, including the AT&T building. Damage to the AT&T building led to widespread service outages throughout the area.

Warby Parker has two retail stores and a corporate office in the downtown area. The company used AlertMedia to locate their employees near the event and send a survey to ask whether or not they required medical attention. The ability to get instant feedback allowed Warby Parker to quickly identify what actions they needed to take to ensure the safety of their people in the area.

Once Warby Parker was able to confirm the safety of their people, they shifted from an emergency response to a business continuity plan. Because of the widespread internet outages in the area, Warby Parker sent out a survey over multiple channels like text and voice message to determine if their employees scheduled to work at their two Nashville store locations would be able to work their shifts. This real-time feedback helped Warby Parker decide whether they needed to shift resources and how best to assist their employees impacted by the outages.

Given the number and diversity of threats facing retail businesses, organizations must develop robust asset protection and business continuity plans that can effectively scale across hundreds of locations. With a plan in place, retail companies can proactively and efficiently respond to threats and help increase the organization’s profitability. From aiding in loss prevention strategies to helping them keep their people and business safe during critical events, AlertMedia has proven to be a valuable asset for Warby Parker and their employees.

Parting Thought

Given the increasing frequency and severity of threats, having a comprehensive threat intelligence and emergency communication solution is now a critical requirement for any organization looking to enhance employee safety and business continuity. AlertMedia helps thousands of organizations tackle the growing complexity of keeping a remote workforce safe with access to fast, location-aware intelligence and a more reliable way to communicate when every second counts.

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