The roles of security, risk and business continuity management professionals have significantly evolved over the past 10 years, driven by major technological innovations, workforce globalization, increasing legal liability and regulatory actions. While technological changes can be challenging to source, procure and deploy, one such innovation – mobile computing – offers organizations a real opportunity to engage employees in ways like never before. Mobile technology allows security professionals to offer a safer workplace, eclipsing diverse cultures, geographies and governmental guidelines.

Evolution of Duty of Care Concept

While an important step, it’s not enough for organizations to write a business continuity plan to navigate a crisis without factoring in the safety of the employees. Duty of care expectations have grown for organizations – largely due to increased legal liabilities, investor expectations, rising insurance costs and non-compliance penalties from government entities. Enterprise security executives must address the care for their constituents through a strong education and training practice. The frequency and types of potential disasters, large and small, that security and risk managers are facing, combined with the array of tech changes, have underscored the importance of changing the way responses to a situation are handled. This means going beyond a reliance on a hand-picked crisis team to empowering and engaging constituents across the organization with actionable resources. 

Mobile Can Profoundly Aid Security Management Efforts

While organizations seek to adopt software, hardware and cloud-based systems to streamline inter-departmental operations and communications, increase overall productivity and optimize HR endeavors, mobile technology is under-utilized in both security and risk management. As nearly everyone these days uses a smartphone to access all kinds of pertinent information, mobile represents an ideal platform to engage and activate thousands of individuals or departments simultaneously. From preparation and training, to as-it-happens responses to post-crisis reviews and recovery initiatives, mobile risk management applications can be utilized as a tool to gather comprehensive feedback in all phases. New advances in security and risk management technology give managers quick insight into problem areas such as new integrated mapping software that pinpoints exact trouble spots as well as incident reporting tools that offer the ability to gather and record incidents including pictures and videos. These new capabilities provide a better connection between managers and their constituents during a crisis.

Security Concerns at All-Time High

Today, security, business continuity and risk managers are facing ever-increasing concerns over privacy and data intrusions. The combination of individuals becoming more reliant on technology to communicate and store information and the rise of the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon also creates potential vulnerabilities for an organization as well as possible advantages. Through the power of new mobile apps, risk and crisis management professionals have the opportunity to educate their constituents on how to navigate a crisis, including giving them the ability to provide updates via incident reporting, even on their own devices in a secure manner both for the organization as well as the individual. New mobile apps are able to protect company data through secure transport and storage combined with password-protected access, even at the mobile phone level. With advancements in security, mobile apps now enable organizations to empower more of its constituents to act according to protocol when a crisis hits as they have the information at their fingertips.

Compliance and Mobile

While regulation and compliance management is an ongoing and arduous job, the common denominator is often accessibility alignment. First and foremost, organizations must provide proper accessibility for disabilities, diverse languages, surrounding communities and even first responders.Mobile yields a great opportunity to disseminate plans, procedures and close-the-loop functionality in a secure fashion to address both compliance and regulation concerns. In many organizations, regulations, e.g., OSHA, NIOSH, EPA, stipulate how and when a particular situation must be addressed and requires detailed follow-up reporting. For example, if a water spill occurs in a factory, a supervisor can access his mobile device and utilize a mobile crisis management app to guide the workers through the proper clean-up procedure that meets compliance standards and quickly report details and final outcome back to previously-specified safety officials via the app’s incident reporting feature.

Mobile security, risk and emergency management applications offer the most efficient and direct avenue to share key information and resources to every employee, which fosters a safer working environment. In addition, it reinforces responsible stewardship of employees over the business’ assets and provides a critical feedback model, mitigates compliance and regulation issues and ultimately offers complete insight into the full lifecycle of crisis events before, during and after they arise.