Qualtrics Uses AlertMedia to Build a Global Safety Program With a Personal Touch
- SafetyAllows Qualtrics’ security team to respond quickly to critical events, keeping employees safe and informed.
- MoraleEnables Qualtrics to take a holistic approach to its duty of care, so employees know their well-being is the top priority.
- VisibilityEmpowers Qualtrics to immediately identify and assess emerging threats that may impact employees around the world.
- ConfidenceGives Qualtrics access to AlertMedia’s expert analysts, ensuring they always have the context to respond confidently.
- ProductsEmergency Communication Software, Threat Intelligence, Analyst Access
- Primary UsesEmergency, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Operations, IT Outages, Inclement Weather
Putting Duty of Care at the Center of Security Operations
Qualtrics is a global enterprise with a personal touch. Founded in 2002, the cloud-native software provider swiftly became the creator and leader of the experience management (XM) category. Qualtrics enables organizations to quickly identify points of friction in the customer journey—and take action to resolve them. Ultimately, the goal is to help organizations retain their best customers and employees, protect their revenue, and drive profitability.
Co-headquartered in Provo, Utah, and Seattle, Washington, Qualtrics operates out of 28 offices globally, with many employees also working remotely. With thousands of employees working across multiple time zones and countries, it was increasingly difficult to sift through and respond to all the potential threats impacting employees. To overcome this challenge and better protect its dispersed workforce, Qualtrics’ security team—led by Richard Grue, the company’s Global Head of Physical Security & Safety—resolved to take a holistic approach to its duty of care obligations.
Developing an Employee-First Approach to Safety and Security
For a standard security program, success metrics often focus on lowering the number of incidents, implementing adequate physical and logical controls, and preventing incidents from happening in the first place. But Qualtrics’ goal was to take that one step further.
“In addition to traditional safety and security metrics, we also evaluate things from our employees’ point of view,” says Grue. “How do they feel about coming into the office every day? Do they feel safe and productive, regardless of whether they work from home or travel to one of our offices? For me, those are the real metrics of a successful safety program.”
An employee-first approach to safety and security was key to ensuring Qualtrics’ distributed workforce felt safe and supported, no matter where they work. Using AlertMedia’s integrated threat intelligence and emergency communication software, Qualtrics can now monitor and quickly respond to critical events across the globe, keeping safety and morale high.
Overcoming the Challenges of Monitoring and Analyzing Open Source Intelligence
“Any time there’s an employee safety matter, that becomes our top priority for our security operations center,” says Grue. But with such a geographically dispersed workforce, the sheer volume of alerts being kicked up by Qualtrics’ threat monitoring process made it difficult to analyze and take action on emerging threats that could impact employee safety.
The Qualtrics security team previously relied on open source intelligence (OSINT) data for threat monitoring. “We’d established mechanisms to receive incident alerts—from both our employees and open source intelligence—but this approach didn’t offer the level of detail we needed,” says Grue. It also hindered the security operations team from responding as fast as they wanted to in critical situations.
It was becoming increasingly time-consuming for the security team to triage the information from OSINT alerts and respond when necessary. “Trying to take OSINT data and turn it into intelligence that we could use to inform and protect our employees was too slow of a process,” explains Grue. Another complication was that the Qualtrics security team couldn’t just focus on threats impacting their offices—they needed a wider field of view.
“We’re looking at threats that impact employees where they live, where they work, where they’re traveling, the whole picture. We want to help them be safe in all those situations, not just at work,” explains Grue.
Without security staff in every international location, Grue knew they needed a better way to identify current and developing threats—and communicate about those threats to employees. “We needed to establish a solid foundation for alert responses that would enable us to respond within our established service agreements,” adds Grue.
Integrating Threat Intelligence and Emergency Communication Capabilities
Qualtrics had considered developing an in-house emergency notification product using its survey platform. But, says Grue, “When we further evaluated building an in-house emergency notification tool, we realized we couldn’t scale it well enough for the size we needed. It would have taken an entire dedicated programming team.” As a result, Grue started looking into the major emergency communication solutions on the market and discovered AlertMedia.
After comparing a few different providers, the integrated threat intelligence capabilities of AlertMedia appealed to Grue and stood out as a key differentiator. “We wanted intelligence across many threat categories that we could choose from based on severity levels,” he says.
The flexibility to turn different threat alerts on and off allows Qualtrics to filter out the noise that used to get in the way and isolate the intelligence that matters. “We have unique threat intelligence needs compared to other companies and potentially care about different threats and adverse events. AlertMedia allows us to create a tailored solution that is impactful, meaningful, and relevant to our security team—and our employees.”
“We could choose multiple threat categories and severity levels, plus define which threat events were important to us. Then we built our security processes and automation around those events using AlertMedia.” The customizability of AlertMedia allowed Grue and his team to create a tailored approach to threat intelligence and emergency communication.
Another feature the Qualtrics security team finds exceptionally valuable is Analyst Access, which allows Qualtrics to interact directly with AlertMedia’s Global Intelligence Team via an in-product, secure chat experience. “We wanted a robust approach to threat analysis, but that’s hard to achieve with such a dispersed team,” explains Grue. “Analyst Access has empowered us to turn over that responsibility to AlertMedia. If we ever need more context or have questions about a threat that may not have been answered in the threat alert, we always have a direct line to a knowledgeable analyst at AlertMedia.”
With AlertMedia’s integrated threat intelligence and emergency communication solution, the Qualtrics security team has the insights they need to stay ahead of emerging threats, turning intelligence into action. “We want to empower our people with the information they need. AlertMedia allows our security team to think about which categories of threats matter to our employees and then build the solution and alerting mechanisms around that,” says Grue. “AlertMedia allows us to give our people the information they need to make decisions that keep them safe.” Plus, the two-way communication capabilities enable the security team to stay connected with employees during critical events. “We don’t just want to push threat alerts to employees—we want to engage with them and make sure they’re okay,” says Grue.
Enabling a Proactive Approach to Employee Safety and Security
“The partnership we have with AlertMedia is phenomenal,” says Grue. “We’re a quick-moving organization and we need a trusted partner that can help us solve our most important problems, when we need them solved. AlertMedia does that for us.”
Since Qualtrics adopted AlertMedia, it has been able to respond faster and more effectively to a range of critical situations around the world. One of those incidents was in California, where severe weather impacted several remote employees’ power and internet supplies. “AlertMedia allowed us to identify which employees were impacted by ongoing weather events and empower them with the resources they needed to take a step back from work, focus on their situation, and stay safe.”
With AlertMedia, when there’s a threat that may impact employees, Qualtrics can make a timely, informed decision about how to act and send an alert to any employees who may be in harm’s way. Adds Grue, “When there’s a critical event like a snowstorm or hurricane, we’re not just able to alert an employee—we’re able to reach out, ask if they’re okay, and find out if anything impacted their personal situation, which could then impact their work situation. If they’re not okay, we determine what resources we have to help.”
Having a centralized platform with integrated threat intelligence and communication capabilities means the security team can consolidate as much as possible in one place—and easily filter out any alerts that aren’t relevant. “AlertMedia helps us ingest a significant number of actionable alerts, but crucially, we can also filter out the false positives that we don’t need,” says Grue.
AlertMedia also enables the security team at Qualtrics to take a proactive approach to emergency communication. “Proactive outreach isn’t always expected from a security team, but with AlertMedia, we can now engage with employees—not just push out notifications,” says Grue. “Safety is our number one priority at Qualtrics, but engagement is also a top priority for us. AlertMedia is an engagement platform just as much as it is a security platform.”
Now, the Qualtrics security and leadership teams can take a proactive approach to security. “It’s essential for our executives to be informed promptly of any high-impact issues that can adversely affect employees,” says Grue. “AlertMedia facilitates better decision-making and allows our leadership team to respond more effectively to employees’ safety and security needs.”
Responding to Critical Events With Speed, Clarity, and Confidence
With a single, unified threat intelligence and emergency communication solution, Qualtrics’ security team has improved efficiency and its ability to respond to critical events in real-time. “In many safety and security situations, speed of response is essential. AlertMedia allows us to respond faster and more intelligently to critical events that may impact our people,” says Grue.
By leveraging AlertMedia’s threat intelligence capabilities—supported by its team of highly trained analysts—Qualtrics can quickly identify any adverse events that may impact its global workforce. And by creating a safety culture underpinned by trustworthy information and proactive responses, employees know their safety and well-being are the top priority.
“We want our employees to trust our leadership to make the right decisions when their safety and security is on the line. To achieve that, we have to empower leaders with the information they need to make those decisions. That’s what we rely on AlertMedia for,” says Grue.
“With AlertMedia, we can efficiently get the information we need to make decisions as a security team. When we worked with open source intelligence, we tried to monitor and analyze every threat ourselves, and it wasn’t feasible anymore. It takes a dedicated team of intelligence analysts to turn information into meaningful intelligence; we don’t have that. But AlertMedia does.”