9 Steps to Critical Event Management Improvement

Charlotte Miller

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Traditional approaches to critical event management aren’t enough. Many organizations typically use manual processes and disjointed systems to deal with critical events. Therefore, they have trouble managing these events effectively and efficiently.

Every day, safety and operational events disrupt business functioning. A few examples include IT outages and supply chain disruptions. Regardless of their nature, events are considered critical when they impact one or more assets that are significant to an organization. 

It is highly recommended to opt for a collaborative, automated, and unified Critical Event Management Improvement platform to manage the changing needs of your company. This post outlines a comprehensive CEM plan to gain access to immediately protect your employees, supply chain, brand reputation, IT systems, and much more.

Although no two events are alike, they all have varying goals, challenges, and risks. You can take several steps to jump-start the CEM planning process, keep security teams on track, and maximize incident response success.

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Let’s get started with 9 crucial steps to Critical Event Management Improvement

  • Devise a Solid Plan

As a business, your critical event management strategy should act as a tool to allow you to respond quickly to crises and emergencies. Also, make sure your current plan is still appropriate before you implement a new strategy. For instance, if your emergency plan is not working, examine your after-incident response when creating a new CEM plan for your security teams. Identify different types of crises and map them to appropriate resources and responses.

As you conduct the review, consider the implications of making changes to your new CEM plan. Plan severity levels so that the most appropriate response team members and responsibilities can be deployed quickly.

  • Build partnerships with leadership

When a critical event occurs, it can disrupt the operations of multiple departments of a company. Taking a consolidated approach makes it easier for stakeholders and teams to connect. Often, major incidents are handled by an overlay team. The collaborative effort enables the center to gain access to resources, expertise, and information with the goal of maximizing the chances of preventing the disruption and responding to critical events, whatever their scope may be.

Nevertheless, if it’s impossible to build this type of alliance, the best practice is to at least build alliances between the Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and Chief Information Officer (CIO). Through combining experience, insights, and intelligence from different departments inside the organization, it is possible to understand an event’s root cause more quickly so that the company can respond quickly and maintain its business continuity. 

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  • Assess your risks and sources of information

Bringing a whole picture of your current and future critical events management strategy can help you make immediate improvements. Take a strategic look at the different risks you have with your business, and if the information you’re gathering is helping you to protect your organization or are just adding to your customer’s risk. You can also compare your current critical event management risks to your sources of information and evaluate the effectiveness of your CEM system. 

The information that people use to assess events and risks is often lacking in details or even contradictory. To confirm the threat event, you must ensure all the relevant inputs are in one place for the appropriate team to make the appropriate decisions. This means aligning trusted information sources with all risks for better outcomes. 

  • Identify critical assets and functions

It is crucial that you do a precise assessment of any software, hardware, and/or communication assets before hosting a critical event. You need to know where employees, travelers, visitors, offices, manufacturing facilities, and other key assets are. Likewise, it is vital to know the way that they are interconnected and where their dependencies lie. It is ideal to capture and organize information from a wide range of critical assets and functions.

  • Quantify and prioritize your risk

Put the pieces of your critical events management puzzle together by using risk-based analysis and providing a baseline assessment for your organization’s risks to help you prioritize future security projects. It is important to ensure transparency and improve decision-making by leveraging the performance of the team members. 

Differentiating threats and risks across the board and then quantifying risk based on,

  • The Threat
  • Nature of the threat
  • Overall exposure or vulnerability of an organization
  • An analysis of the overall impact, which may extend beyond the immediate assets, people, and elements at risk.

Even though it’s important to quantify risk, keep in mind that the impact of a single event can vary across a company and affect different assets in different ways. The key is to understand risk based on all variables to determine the best response to any event.

  • Identify and locate all stakeholders

Critical event management isn’t about having multiple tools and systems. It’s about creating a unified plan to unify your stakeholder and team members all across the organization. Identify all stakeholders, and their roles and responsibilities. 

They can provide context and can assess the threat to determine who is affected. Besides identifying impacted people, organizations must know where they are located so they can be quickly notified. Additionally, communicating with people who are impacted by the critical event. Even more, time can be saved by automating communication.

  • Visualize with a common operating picture

A company that more easily shares information between business departments and functions will be better prepared to face critical events. In order to minimize confusion and speed up an effective response, everyone should have access to the same set of information about the situation. Additionally, it is crucial that people view the right information to make informed decisions and not waste time trying to keep everyone updated.

  • Automate workflows

It is recommended that you begin by automating the most frequent activities you and your team undertake. In a maturing organization, many of the event responses can be automated, reducing errors and handling responses more quickly. So, they integrate a dynamic checklist with CEM implementation and feed minimal information derived from the assessment of the situation into the system to execute their CEM plans.  

  • Analyze performance

Lastly, your security teams and decision-makers should readily be able to access all this information and analyze it in different ways to respond faster. Analyzing how well the organization responds to a particular event can help improve future responses. With the ability to classify and track all assets in a centralized, visual, and correlative manner, each event’s impact and response performance can be assessed.


Increasingly, organizations have to deal with a myriad of threats – natural disasters, pandemics, security incidents, health & safety incidents, IT failures, terrorism, etc. Businesses need to be aware at all times of where their employees are, and to gather information quickly about critical events, so they can be prepared for the event or prevent them. 

Organizations can ensure that the latest intelligence is at their fingertips by implementing a solid CEM plan and system. In this way, organizations can rapidly respond to critical events and improve outcomes by mitigating or eliminating the impact of a threat.

Zapoj is an integrated Critical event management platform for managing operational risks. If you are considering integrating critical event management into your security strategy or want a CEM platform, reach out to us for a demo.