Lay a Foundation for Crisis Management

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    Vulnerability audits key to finding the right direction with crisis management planning

    So, you’ve seen one nasty case study too many and you’re finally ready to get proactive with your crisis management.

    You’ve got pen and paper (well, probably more like laptop or tablet) in hand and are ready to crank out that awesome, airtight crisis management plan, but wait, how exactly do you make it as awesome and airtight as possible?

    It all starts with a vulnerability audit. Here, in a quote from Employee Business News, Bernstein Crisis Management president Jonathan Bernstein explains how you get started:

    Conduct a vulnerability audit

    Look objectively at all the things within the entire organization that might make it more vulnerable to a crisis in general or to a specific crisis, advises Bernstein. Look for red flags in every functional area because a crisis can occur anywhere. A vulnerability audit could, for example, uncover that a website is unable to handle a sudden surge in traffic that typically accompanies a crisis.

    From where the cleaning crew leaves their soap buckets to security procedures for transferring proprietary data, you’ll find vulnerabilities in many more places than you might expect.

    Typically we ask organizations to make their own list before we arrive, and while a thoughtful organization may have noted 10-15 vulnerabilities, they are always shocked when we find pages worth of trouble waiting to happen.

    You can’t prevent every single crisis, but you can greatly reduce the chances of encountering one, as well as the impact of any you don’t avoid. Start your planning off with a vulnerability audit and you’ll be headed in the right direction.

    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, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]