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More than half a million small businesses in the UK have been forced to halt trading at least temporarily due to a disruption, according to 2016 research by small business insurer Direct Line for Business. The length of the shutdown lasted, on average, more than three months. The average cost of keeping a small business afloat whilst unable to trade for a month is around £20,000 and one in five small businesses believe that they would not be able to survive if they had to suspend trading for more than a month.

The most common impacts of an interruption in trading for small businesses are reduction in profit (48%), reduction in revenue (42%) and loss of customers (39%). This led to 32% of business owners having to invest additional personal money into the business to keep it afloat.

How to keep your business safe from regulatory fines

With the GDPR enforcement date of 25 May 2018 now less than three months away, as the Owner or Director of a small business you might well feel exposed in the face of regulatory requirements for which you become responsible upon taking up your position. As an office-holder you immediately become responsible in law for a whole range of duties, in particular if you hold personal data and employ team members.

The obligations placed upon you will include informing and training your employees, recording compliance related incidents, reporting incidents to regulators within certain time limits and being able to prove that you have done all of the above. If you fail to meet these compliance requirements then regulators typically have the powers to fine you, impose restrictions on your business or even prosecute you.

Crises Control welcomes RW Consulting Solutions to our Associate Programme

Crises Control is delighted to welcome RW Consulting Solutions as the latest addition to our Associate Programme. RWCSL provides business continuity and crisis management consultancy, training and readiness activity to a range of businesses and public sector organisations. They offer tailored services with the benefit of knowledge gained over ten years in the resilience business, experience in supporting some of the UK’s largest resilience projects and the development of a network of subject matter experts.

RWCSL Founder, Rob Walley, has told us: "We have used numerous emergency notification, incident management and plan storage platforms over the years. In fact, it was our Founder's first job in Emergency Planning back in 2005 to establish an online incident management platform and alert package for his then employer after the 7th July Bombings".

Why did the (Kentucky Fried) chicken not cross the road?

Over the last week the news has been full of stories about global fast-food retailer, KFC, running out of chicken, or more specifically not being able to supply the right amounts of chicken to the right places.

This is a classic supply chain interruption on a massive scale. KFC has just switched its logistics supplier from specialist food supplier Bidvest, to global delivery giant DHL. It seems that the new DHL depot in Rubgy, created by DHL for the KFC contract, was just not up and running in time to handle the new work.

Up to 600 of the 900 KFC stores across the UK had to close temporarily because of the disruption. Zero hours staff were told not to come into work and customers were turned away. The cost of the lost business is estimated at more than £1million a day and the loss of revenue might even be fatal to some of the franchisee KFC shops across the country.

A safe and secure place to live and work

If you are a commercial property owner, building manager, campus security manager or tenant housing facilities manager, then you will be very aware of your duty to ensure that your property is a safe and secure place to live and work.

Headlines about tall building fires, terrorist attacks and even flooding will resonate with you very clearly, as you worry about the employees, students or tenants for whom you are responsible.

When a critical event happens, you know that it is your job to handle the situation, alert people of the danger and manage the return to business as usual as quickly and safely as possible.

European SMEs need to wake up to the threat posed by the humble Subject Access Request

Research suggests that owners and directors of EU SMEs need to do more to identify risks that could impact their business and this lack of awareness is greatest over the risks posed to small businesses by the forthcoming EU GDPR. One of the greatest threats might actually come from the humble Subject Access Request (SAR).

The research, collected from 1,000 SMEs in the UK, France and Germany for the Gowling WLG Digital Risk Calculator, consistently identifies data protection as one of the top threats to small businesses. But, in spite of this, only 14% of UK businesses were aware of the fines they may face, under the forthcoming EU GDPR, for failing to handle and protect their personal data properly. This compared with 26% of SMEs in Germany and 45% in France who were aware of the maximum fines that could be imposed.

Crises Control launches Version 5 with new mobile app interface

I am delighted to announce that Crises Control, the award winning incident notification and management solution, has just launched Version 5 of the platform with a number of significant new features, including a complete overhaul of its mobile application interface.

The Crises Control platform is built for ease of use and was designed from the start around its mobile app, which provides complete incident notification and management functions from any mobile device.

Communications that fits your purpose

Have you ever asked yourself, what communications channels does your company use and are they truly fit for purpose?

Your number one communications channel is probably e-mail. This is a fantastic tool when it is working well, but what would happen if your power was down or your IT network was out of action? How would you notify everyone that the e-mail service was unavailable to start with? What are your alternatives?

You would probably turn first to your company mobile phones, if you have them. But consider how that would actually work out for you. Do you have all of your company contacts ready to text on your mobile? Would you be able to group them together to reduce the time it takes and how would you deal with the multiple responses that you might receive? Would you have to resort to a good old-fashioned call chain to get your message out to everyone?

Always allow for human error, with two-key authentication

The residents of Hawaii got a shock last Saturday morning when an emergency notification was sent out by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency by SMS to their mobile phones alerting them to an incoming ballistic missile. Hawaii has been on a state of alert for months now because of threats from North Korea to use ballistic missiles against US territories, so the threat was taken very seriously. This was not a test.

But it was a mistake, believed to have been caused by human error when an employee at the Hawaii EMA pressed the send button by mistake on the way out from his shift. This was apparently due to a procedure that is carried out at the end of the shift to make sure that the system is working. I guess you could say that they did prove that the system is definitely operational!

Have a safe, successful and prosperous New Year in 2018

Happy New Year! May 2018 be fulfilling and successful, both personally and commercially for you and yours.

We all recognise that 2017 had its tragedies and challenges, and my home city of London bears new scars and losses on a sobering scale including Grenfell Tower, Westminster, London Bridge and Borough Market.

There were many successes too and the security services foiled innumerable terrorist plots against us, preventing yet more hideous death and destruction. We owe them all our appreciation and deep thanks.

Christmas and the end of last year would seem to have been populated by a series of smaller-scale incidents, no less personally impactful because of their scale, nor less devastating to those involved, their families and friends.

Getting started with an incident notification solution in 2018

2018 promises to be a challenging year for building, security, facility and business continuity managers. Those people tasked with ensuring the safety of employees, tenants, students or just visitors to a business premises, campus or residential building. The range of safety threats is wide and the pressure on responsible employees to have robust notification and evacuation plans in place is growing from regulators and from the public.

A vital part of such business or building incident response plans is a robust incident notification solution that can reach the people on site, quickly and with confidence. This might be to alert your emergency response team or simply to warn site visitors of an ongoing incident.

If you are a building, security, facility or business continuity manager who has been tasked with choosing and implementing a critical incident notification solution then the options facing you can be bewildering. How do you go about choosing a solution? How do you ensure value for money but also get the functionality you need? And how do you get started with implementing a solution?

Best practice #6 - Practice makes perfect

In the previous blogs in this series on best practice in BC planning, I looked at identifying and mitigating the risks to your corporate environment, scenario planning, creating incident plans, supply chain resilience and crises communications that are fit for purpose. The next step in your BC planning should be to make sure that your response plans don't come unstuck in real life by practicing and testing them when the pressure is off.

The best laid plans can come to nothing if they have not been tested. The purpose of this is twofold. First of all, testing will help to ensure that the plan will work in practice. Secondly, testing will greatly increase the chances that the response team will know what they are doing when they are called into action.

There are two different types of test that can be carried out, a desktop/virtual exercise and a real/live exercise. A “desktop/virtual” exercise is a paper run through of your plans. This desktop exercise might simply be checking that all of your incident resources are in place, action plans are available, contact numbers are up to date and any physical supplies necessary are in place.

It’s not the breach that will kill you, but your response to it

Another week, another high-profile data breach and another Chief Security Officer has lost his job as a result. In September it was the CIO and CSO of US credit rating agency Equifax. This week it is the Chief Security Officer of taxi mobile app giant Uber who has been fired following the revelation of a significant data breach at the company back in October 2016.

The Equifax breach involved the penetration of its US dispute portal web application by hackers, who then stole personal data belonging to some 143 million US citizens, including social security numbers and dates of birth.

In the Uber breach, hackers obtained login credentials allowing them to access data stored Uber's Amazon Web Services account. They stole personal data belonging to 57 million Uber users, including names, email addresses and phone numbers, as well as the driver's licence numbers of about 600,000 drivers in the United States.

Building business and community resilience together

Helping companies and communities to build resilience into their operations and networks is the mission that Crises Control was created to achieve. So when we were introduced to business transformation consultants, Alchemmy, and their Application for Resilient Communities (ARC) platform, we realised that we had found some kindred spirits.

London is home town to both companies and it is a city that has suffered more than most in recent months with the terrorist attacks at Westminster, Borough Market and Parsons Green, and the catastrophe at Grenfell Tower.

So, we were delighted to be able to support the recent Creating Resilient Communities event hosted by Alchemmy, London First and, to discuss how to connect communities and put into place information exchange between community members.

Crises Control and ThreatSpike win Cyber Security Partnership of the Year  2017

I am delighted to announce that leading business disruption incident management tool, Crises Control, and cutting edge behavioural monitoring tool, ThreatSpike, have jointly won the category of Cyber Security Partnership of the Year in the prestigious CIR Risk Management Awards 2017.

Crises Control and ThreatSpike recently joined forces to provide an end-to-end cyber attack alerting system. These two SaaS products are a natural fit for each other. They both address the urgent need for solutions that help businesses to mitigate the threat of cyber attack on corporate IT networks. ThreatSpike will uncover, protect from and prevent such attacks. Crises Control will alert the security or IT team immediately to cyber threats as soon as they occur, thanks to its integrated trigger alert capability.

What can graph theory tell us about resilient communities?

Graph theory is the study of mathematical structures used to connect up nodes or points, which are linked by arcs or lines, first proposed by 18th century Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler. The concept of connectivity seeks the minimum number of nodes that need to be removed to disconnect the remaining nodes from each other. The connectivity of a graph is an important measure of the resilience of a network.

What can we learn from this mathematical theory about resilient communities? Well, quite a lot actually.

First of all, it tells us that the more connected we are as a community, the more resilient we become. If each member of a community is connected with several other members then the strength of that community is multiplied and resilience begins to be built into the network.

Flight delays ahead, plan now for your journey

The UK aviation industry has been having a torrid time of late. Two of our biggest carriers have both been undergoing a nightmare.

Ryanair, the larger of the two, has cancelled innumerable flights both immediately and for the forthcoming months. Hundreds of thousands of passengers have had their plans - business, holidays, celebrations and weddings - thrown into total chaos. To cap it all the company would appear to have utterly failed in its communications strategy to its customers - and one assumes its employees.

Stories abound of no information, poor information, wrong information or totally misleading information. Indeed, the Civil Aviation Authority has finally had enough and severely criticised Ryanair and threatened action if "things" are not put right.

Crises Control features in Business Continuity Software Report 2017

Crises Control has featured once more in the new Continuity Insurance & Risk Magazine, Business Continuity Software Report 2017, a market leading analysis of the top 19 global suppliers of business continuity management software.

The report reviews the current market in business continuity software and draws a number of conclusions on the state of the market:

Crises Control exhibiting at Air Cargo Handling Conference 2017

Crises Control, the business continuity platform and quality assurance tool, is exhibiting at the Air Cargo Handling Conference 2017, to be held at the Corinthia Hotel, Budapest from 19-21 September.

The airline industry is subject to a wide range of predictable events that have the potential to disrupt its smooth operations, including severe weather, industrial action and the security threat. When disruption events take place, air freight companies, ground handling agents and airport authorities, need to be able to respond quickly to alert and activate their response teams. They also need to keep their supply chain and customers informed.

Crises Control can equip air freight operators with the integrated communications platform needed to reach response teams, supply chains and customers. It is also a business continuity tool to handle any business disruption event and return to normal service. It can help to support quality assurance programmes through the delivery and tracking of operating instructions and automated performance reporting.

Crises Control and ThreatSpike are finalists in Risk Management Awards 2017

I am delighted to announce that leading business disruption incident management tool, Crises Control, and cutting edge behavioural monitoring tool, ThreatSpike, have been jointly shortlisted for the prestigious CIR Risk Management Awards 2017, in the Cyber Security Product/Partnership of the Year.

Crises Control and ThreatSpike recently joined forces to provide an end-to-end cyber attack alerting system. These two SaaS products are a natural fit for each other. They both address the urgent need for solutions that help businesses to mitigate the threat of cyber attack on corporate IT networks. ThreatSpike will uncover, protect from and prevent such attacks. Crises Control will alert the security or IT team immediately to cyber threats as soon as they occur, thanks to its integrated trigger alert capability.

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Crises Control
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Crises Control

For me, Crises Control stands out in a crowded field because it continually strives to provide an easy-to-use, action ready, business disruption solution.
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