International Justice Mission Enhances Staff Safety and Security With AlertMedia
Keeps international and traveling employees aware of and connected during critical events, ensuring employee safety and duty of care.
Streamlines the organization’s Global Security Operations Center (GSOC) processes, improving efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Allows the organization to maintain vital operations and continue to advance its mission even in the wake of disruptive events.
Ensures message deliverability so employees around the world receive the critical messages they need, when they need them.
Founded in 1997, International Justice Mission (IJM) is now the largest international anti-slavery organization. Headquartered in Washington, D.C. with more than 29 program offices in 19 countries across the developing world, the organization seeks to combat slavery, trafficking, and other forms of violence against people living in poverty.
By partnering with local authorities to rescue victims, hold perpetrators accountable, restore survivors, and help transform broken public justice systems, the organization and its partners have rescued more than 49,000 people from violence and oppression and are helping to protect 150 million more worldwide.
As a globally dispersed organization with more than 1,000 staff members—many of whom live, work, and travel within high-risk regions—staff safety and security are chief concerns. With the powerful location tracking and multi-channel communication capabilities of AlertMedia’s emergency communication system, IJM can instantly identify, locate, and communicate with impacted staff members when local threats emerge. As a result, IJM can protect its people, fulfill its duty of care, and give staff members the safety and security confidence they need to continue to advance the organization’s life-saving mission throughout the world.
Upgrading IJM’s emergency communication strategy to keep staff members safe abroad
As told to AlertMedia by Mark Ellgass, Global Security Analyst at International Justice Mission
With a diverse and distributed global workforce, IJM’s staff members work in 19 countries around the world to prevent and combat modern-day slavery. Its international staff members—comprised primarily of local nationals—are regularly in the field, training and collaborating with local law enforcement and government officials to help put an end to impunity of those who perpetrate violent crimes. Additionally, many employees based out of IJM’s Washington D.C. headquarters frequently travel overseas to visit and provide support to the organization’s global network of offices. Given the highly mobile, dispersed nature of its staff members—and that many operate in high-risk regions—staff safety and security are a high priority for IJM.
Prior to AlertMedia, IJM relied on email and a pay-as-you-go SMS text messaging service to notify its international and traveling employees about critical safety threats that may impact them, such as civil disturbances, acts of violence, disease outbreaks, and natural disasters. But as an organization dedicated to the continuous improvement of its health, safety, and security standards, IJM wanted to improve and streamline its emergency communication strategy.
Mark Ellgass, a Global Security Analyst in IJM’s Global Security Operations Center (GSOC) notes, “As a security-conscious organization, we wanted to optimize our emergency communication strategy—and the technology behind it—to maximize employee safety and security abroad.” To accomplish this, IJM sought to replace its existing text messaging system with a single platform that could offer robust multi-channel communication capabilities—along with real-time location tracking—to rapidly locate and connect with any employee in the event of an emergency, anywhere in the world.
“As a security-conscious organization, we wanted to optimize our emergency communication strategy—and the technology behind it—to maximize employee safety and security abroad.”
Multi-channel communication and location tracking ensure the delivery of timely, relevant threat information
After evaluating a variety of emergency communication vendors, IJM selected AlertMedia for its emergency communication and local threat monitoring solutions. “AlertMedia allowed us to replace and upgrade our current communication system and combine it with the critical location tracking and threat intelligence capabilities we had been missing, all within a single platform,” says Ellgass.
From severe weather events to active shooter incidents, AlertMedia’s multi-channel communication capabilities allow Ellgass and his team to quickly deploy notifications across any number of channels—including email, text, voice, and mobile app—when emergencies strike. With staff members spread across the world, often in developing or unstable regions where connectivity is not as reliable, having the ability to communicate across multiple channels helps safeguard message deliverability. “AlertMedia allows us to rapidly and reliably notify staff members of critical threats and any actions they should take, such as evacuating the building or sheltering in place. Having international staff as a large part of our workforce, multi-channel communication is critical to ensuring time-sensitive notifications quickly reach their intended recipients,” adds Ellgass.
“AlertMedia allows us to rapidly and reliably notify staff members of critical threats and any actions they should take, such as evacuating the building or sheltering in place. Having international staff as a large part of our workforce, multi-channel communication is critical to ensuring time-sensitive notifications quickly reach their intended recipients.”
In addition, the location tracking capabilities of AlertMedia’s local threat monitoring solution allow the organization’s GSOC team to instantly pinpoint and visualize on a map the whereabouts of any employee in the event of a local emergency. The solution can also help automate monitoring and notification of potential threats—such as civil disturbances and political unrest—to get information to impacted staff members faster. Since location is often a primary factor in determining who is at risk during an emergency, being able to leverage staff members’ location data is invaluable in informing and guiding the organization’s emergency response plans. This tool is seen as so critical to employee safety that the use of background location tracking is now mandatory for all staff members in countries that the organization deems high risk.
Initially testing AlertMedia with 250 staff members, IJM soon expanded the use of the platform across the entire organization. “With so many user licenses at a great price point, AlertMedia was very affordable for us—even as a nonprofit—allowing us to give all our staff members access to the emergency communication software that can increase their safety,” adds Ellgass.
“With so many user licenses at a great price point, AlertMedia was very affordable for us—even as a nonprofit—allowing us to give all our staff members access to the emergency communication software that can increase their safety.”
Strengthening safety protocols to protect staff members and fulfill IJM’s duty of care
AlertMedia’s multi-channel message delivery and live map tracking functionality give IJM the capabilities they need to effectively safeguard and communicate with its dispersed global workforce. With a robust, reliable emergency communication system—along with a dedicated customer success manager (CSM) and access to a 24/7 hotline for immediate support—AlertMedia offers the technology and expertise needed to streamline security operations, enhance safety, ensure business continuity, and provide peace of mind. Ellgass adds, “Not only does AlertMedia offer a powerful, easy-to-use emergency communication solution, but the technology is also backed by a smart, responsive customer success team.”
AlertMedia helps IJM facilitate timely, accurate, and relevant communications to keep its people safe and informed when critical threats emerge. The ability to create location-based dynamic groups, for example, allows IJM to easily reach every staff member in harm’s way with targeted messaging. When a staff member’s assignment and associated location changes in the organization’s HR data system, it automatically updates and assigns that individual to the appropriate group within AlertMedia.
With an on-the-go workforce, AlertMedia’s full-featured mobile app and multi-channel communication capabilities also allow IJM to ensure message deliverability. And since AlertMedia provisions local phone numbers to send and receive text messages, IJM can feel confident all of its staff members around the world get the critical messages they need without delay.
With AlertMedia, IJM can fulfill its duty of care and provide its staff members with the tools and support they need to feel safe and secure as they work to accomplish the organization’s mission. “AlertMedia has allowed us to improve our security processes and procedures, ensuring we can protect our people and our business during any critical event that may arise,” says Ellgass.
“Not only does AlertMedia offer a powerful, easy-to-use emergency communication solution, but the technology is also backed by a smart, responsive customer success team.”
Leveraging the full potential of the AlertMedia platform to further enhance safety, efficiency, and ROI
With the emergency communication and location tracking capabilities now successfully in use across the organization, IJM’s security team hopes to expand their use of AlertMedia by taking greater advantage of the full functionality of the local threat monitoring solution.
By analyzing comprehensive threat data from trusted sources around the world—and performing over 100 million calculations daily to cross-reference the location of each global threat against employee location—AlertMedia’s 24/7 event monitoring service allows organizations to keep a pulse on all relevant, emergent local threats that could impact its people. With this real-time threat intelligence, IJM would no longer have to manually monitor and analyze local and global news outlets. “Integrating AlertMedia’s threat intelligence and location tracking to automatically identify impacted employees and notify them of relevant threats is something we are very interested in implementing to even further streamline security operations,” reveals Ellgass.
Through regular check-ins and formal quarterly meetings with IJM’s dedicated CSM, Ellgass also appreciates the opportunity to share his team’s product feedback and feature requests—and to see those suggestions taken into account as part of the product roadmap. He adds, “One thing we particularly value in AlertMedia is its heavy ongoing product investment and innovation. By continually expanding, updating, and investing in its emergency communication and local threat monitoring solutions, we know this is a platform that will grow with us, even as the size and complexity of our organization increases.”
“By continually expanding, updating, and investing in its emergency communication and local threat monitoring solutions, we know this is a platform that will grow with us, even as the size and complexity of our organization increases.”