If you work in the world of business continuity or disaster recovery, you will be familiar with the concept of acronyms, which populate our world in ever increasing numbers. In fact there are so many out there in business continuity circles that there is a website dedicated to them. ‘BCM’ and ‘DRP’ may be familiar to us all, but how about ‘CBF’ (critical business functions), ‘MTPD’ (maximum tolerable period of disruption) or even ‘RTO’ (recovery time objective).
Did you get those? Well, here is another for you that is becoming increasingly important to all of us, ‘EMNS’ or, in human, emergency mass notification service. EMNS is focused on the electronic activation and management of notification messages to groups or individuals, including disaster recovery teams, employees, customers, suppliers, residents, students or parents.
A flexible EMNS, such as our own Crises Control mobile application, will send messages to multiple endpoint devices such as phones, PDAs, desktops, email systems and they will increasingly be able to integrate with physical security systems, digital displays and other Internet of Things devices. The Crises Control app is already capable of being automatically triggered by a number of monitoring systems. It is also capable of communicating with even the oldest and most basic mobile phones through SMS messaging.
The range of events that might necessitate the sending of a message over an EMNS is very wide and growing all of the time. It would typically include business disruption events that require stakeholder notification, such as loss of power, telecoms or IT, or emergency events that lead to the closure of business premises, such as a flood or a fire. It would certainly include emergency warnings such as impending severe weather and flooding, or events such as a terrorist attack or industrial leakage. However, increasingly EMNS are being used for more mundane events such as, workforce management, transport disruption and even alerting parents to a student’s absence from school.
Some businesses are still using free delivery systems like Google mail and WhatsApp for their emergency notifications. Whilst these services do have the benefit of being free at the point of use, they do also carry hidden costs in terms of the time taken to maintain them, the time taken to actually use them, increased risks to data security and, most importantly of all, the increased risk that the message will not get through to the right person at the right time. During a business disruption crisis, that could be the costliest outcome of all for your business. My advice is, don’t risk it.