Are You Vulnerable?

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    If you answered no, you’re fooling yourself.

    Even those in the most benign of industries are bound to encounter situations where their reputation is in danger. Let your reputation get hurt and you’ll soon see the bottom line follow. One of the best ways to prevent this is by doing regular vulnerability audits, a multi-disciplinary risk assessment meant to determine both current and potential areas of weakness and strength, and to identify potential solutions.

    Ragan’s Matt Wilson recently interviewed Jonathan Bernstein about why you need to conduct a vulnerability audit, now, and why some organizations still won’t. A quote:

    Most companies simply don’t conduct vulnerability assessments, because they’re often regarded as unnecessary expenses.

    But Bernstein compares them to an inspection from a fire marshal: necessary and thorough. They should look at every aspect of the company. “There is a dearth of crisis management fire inspection going on,” he says.

    Most crisis plans are based on response rather than known vulnerabilities, Bernstein says. And that’s a big problem, because what if the company, in the middle of a major crisis, discovers its phone system can’t handle a flood of calls or its website can’t handle thousands of visits all at once?

    “All the plans in the world won’t stand up if you don’t have the infrastructure for them,” he says.

    Much like athletes run through countless drills to build muscle memory, your organization must practice crisis scenarios on a regular basis to stay in shape to react properly. To discover what type of crises you’re most likely to encounter, you have to have the courage to ask the question, “Where am I vulnerable?”

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is a writer, publicist and SEO associate for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]