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Using digital solutions to enhance organisational crisis resilience.

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Human hand reaching out to a robotic hand against a light blue background.
Photo by Tara Winstead

Digital technologies have transformed the way we live, work and play. As the latest major revolution in human civilisation, the digital age is disrupting how we connect, learn, govern, shop, deliver healthcare and generally experience all walks of life. Technology has enabled breakthroughs in helping society and addressing humanity’s most pressing problems. Innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) process data, solve problems and make decisions automatically. However, the digital age and AI have also brought additional challenges that can cause and contribute to crises. Social media can be both a help and a hindrance. This digital medium can compound the effects of crises on individual, brand, and organisational reputations. Misinformation and the spreading of false news can severely impact reputations. If something goes awry, it can take seconds to become public knowledge. Sometimes, you might know ahead of time that something is about to happen, but often it will be unexpected. If you’re unprepared, and it goes viral, the fallout can have devastating consequences. Advances in technology and AI offer multiple opportunities to enhance crisis resilience via digital solutions that address a range of aspects more efficiently and cost-effectively.

As technology develops, it impacts crisis and reputation management. The scope of threats grows, regardless of whether a business is big or small. Hackers use AI, machine learning and other technology to launch more sophisticated attacks. Research by cybersecurity and compliance company Proofpoint found cyber attackers use emerging and tried-and-tested tactics to compromise organisations. While brand impersonation, business email compromise, and ransomware remained popular tactics, cybercriminals have stepped up their use of less familiar attack methods. The research surveyed 7,500 employees and 1,050 security professionals across 15 countries, and in-house telemetry monitored millions of end-user-reported emails and simulated phishing attacks over 12 months. Around three-quarters of organisations surveyed experienced an attempted ransomware attack over the survey period, with 64 percent experiencing a successful infection. Among this group, only half regained access to their data after paying the ransom. Beyond the initial attack, more than two-thirds of respondents said their organisation experienced repeat ransomware infections.

The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) identifies ransomware, malware, threats against data, AI-enabled disinformation, deep fakes and disinformation-as-a-service and supply chain targeting among the main cybersecurity threats in the latest ENISA Threat Landscape (ETL) report. Now in its tenth year, the annual report examines the state of the cybersecurity threat landscape. ENISA also emphasises the new wave of hacktivism observed since the Russia-Ukraine war, highlighting the growing impact of geopolitics on cybersecurity.

Data analytics and digitisation have infinite possibilities and benefits, but there are also risks. Companies are collecting more data from an even wider range of sources while new digital propositions are transforming ecosystems and operating models. As the regulatory landscape and critical infrastructure evolve, today’s cyber controls will likely be obsolete tomorrow. Meanwhile, risk management capabilities struggle to keep pace with shifting demands and changes. Many companies don’t know how to identify and manage the risks. McKinsey projects significant increases in cybersecurity-related investments such as IT security, hiring technically skilled talent and cyber insurance premiums, reflecting organisations’ concerns about the growing threat of cyberattacks in future.

Cyber risks are a reality in today’s ever-more-connected world. Businesses need to be more diligent than ever, especially given how quickly information (and misinformation) spreads. Technology has enhanced our lives but has also made us more vulnerable. Incorporating digital solutions in a crisis resilience programme provides solid tools and resources to help strengthen crisis readiness and manage risks brought on by our exposure to technology.

CS&A International offers a range of highly effective tools developed by our experts that help you manage, mitigate, and overcome a crisis to emerge stronger and more resilient. These include CrisisScan©, a comprehensive crisis readiness diagnostic assisting organisations to assess the status of their risk and issues management capabilities and overall crisis preparedness. Our pioneering Crisis Management Competency Protocol© provides a framework for evaluating and enhancing crisis leadership skills. We’ve applied this model across client organisations that have demonstrated notable improvements in their ability to lead under extreme and high-stress conditions. Other solutions use AI-enabled platforms to help teams make more informed decisions in a crisis or to practice and refresh their skills in simulated real-world situations. You can learn more about these and other CS&A crisis management solutions here.

Such digital crisis management tools allow organisations to be proactive and not just reactive. They help them prepare and have systems to manage, anticipate and prevent a crisis from escalating or even avoiding it altogether. Technology connects people and creates an information hub that builds a big picture of the critical event enabling a more efficient and objective assessment of a situation, allowing teams to focus on what’s important.

While technology offers infinite possibilities, the best crisis response begins well before it occurs. Training, practice, and maintenance help increase confidence and enhance resilience capabilities. As the digital world evolves, it brings new risks and benefits. Companies and leaders must adapt and upgrade their vigilance and preparedness to build and sustain resilience. Digital tools provide many opportunities to enhance the effectiveness, resilience, and sustainability of crisis resilience management cost-effectively and efficiently. In the midst of uncertainty and unpredictability, companies can strengthen their resilience capacity, enabling them to emerge stronger and prepared for what lies ahead.

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