Plan to act quickly and efficiently in the face of crisis

By Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Before a crisis occurs, preparing plans that are scripted and tailored to different scenarios and integrating them into workflows can help to mitigate risks and their impact. Tee Jyh Chong, VP, Sales and Services, APAC, for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, tells GovInsider how to make a good start by choosing the right framework.

The risk of a crisis, such as one brought about by a cyber attack, is something you can mitigate with a crisis management plan developed under the right framework, such as ALE's Risk, Resilience and Security (RRS) Framework. Image: Canva

In a recent film, a serious cyber attack disrupts communications channels and traps two families under one roof, as chaos unfolds across America.


While the plot of the streaming success Leave the World Behind may sound extreme, crises can come in varying forms and differing magnitude. Realistically, it can be hard for organisations to adequately predict and plan for a particular crisis.


Tee Jyh Chong, VP, Sales and Services, APAC, for leading communications and networking solutions firm Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE), believes that different crises will require different management plans based on the nature of the crisis, as well as the predicted impact.


“What you can do is to prepare a crisis plan that is scripted and tailored to each individual scenario,” he tells GovInsider, “and to integrate these plans into your crisis workflow engines, with the primary goal of addressing or mitigating risk and the resulting impact.”


Looking to guidelines such as ALE’s Risk, Resilience and Security (RRS) framework can be a good start to bringing together the processes, best practices, and solutions that both governments and cities, as well as private entities, can utilise in their continued efforts to predict, monitor, avoid and counter exposure to cyber and physical risks.

Plan to limit disruption and return to normalcy

Tee Jyh Chong, VP, Sales and Services, APAC, for ALE, highlights the importance of efficient and secure communications during a crisis. Image: LinkedIn

Risk could be identified as anything that prevents communications from being available. This could range from a cyber attack to an outage rendering systems unavailable.


Assessments for communication and network infrastructures, to evaluate, prevent and protect against risk, are required regularly, says Tee.


Making sure resilience is in place, and that infrastructure is up to date, is equally as important as security. As part of the risk assessment, in the event of a security breach or system failure, the plan to limit disruption and get back to normal as soon as possible should be readily available when needed.


For example, last May, the Singapore Police Force held one of the largest anti-terror exercises ever at an MRT station.


Singapore’s public transportation system includes the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems that move on average 2.9 million riders every day.


“In any crisis, efficient and secure communications are critical,” says Tee. “And it’s important for crisis managers to make sure communications and crisis management tools are accessible and available when they are needed most.”


With these tools, the ability for key stakeholders in the crisis management process to be able to engage with members of the public can be useful in these types of scenarios, such as in broadcasting public updates for commuters to avoid specific areas.


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Tap on communications and crisis management tools


In the scenario of a crowded public space such as a stadium, if the command and control centre notices a stricken individual lying on the ground, the outcome for that person could depend on how quickly medical assistance arrives.


This person would need the support of nearby stadium staff, the closest first aid, an on-site doctor, and maybe an ambulance. In order to assist, various parties would need to know the person’s location, real-time status, and the best way to reach this person.


And because crowds can influence the viability of an exit route, constant communication is necessary to enable stadium staff to transport this person and receive medical care. Bridging the gap between people and information, such as that gathered through Internet-of-things (IOT) feeds and video surveillance, and facilitating communication increases the chance of a successful outcome.


ALE solutions for crisis management aim to ensure all the relevant parties are connected and apprised of the real-time situational context so that appropriate action can be taken quickly and effectively.


Solutions such as the Rainbow Communications Platform as a Service, or CPaaS, provide connected communications by coordinating cloud-based communications between people and things by using communication tools such as SMS, chat, calls, video and alerts.


Rainbow simplifies coordination and decision-making by connecting people with artificial intelligence solutions, for example, to efficiently handle crisis situations with fast informed decisions and collaboration across many different services.

Ensuring essential services operate as they should


Tee says that it is crucial that public sector leaders have a clear understanding of potential risk scenarios and how technology can be used to not just drive operational excellence.


“In Singapore, we’ve worked with numerous government offices, ministries, and statutory boards to deploy seamless and dependable connectivity and communications, to ensure that essential government services operate as they should,” he says.


With regards to public safety, Tee highlights use cases such as IOT sensors that monitor water levels and sound alarms if these levels become dangerously high, as well as visual surveillance solutions that can monitor crowd densities, detect and flag instances of crime, and help detect suspicious packages, such as unattended luggage.


Such triggers and notifications can be automated within ALE’s networking and communications solutions, to initiate pre-defined workflows to bring together the necessary resources and the associated escalation processes.


“Just as important is ensuring that each crisis plan identified is scripted, tested, communicated, and trialled with all the stakeholders, either by meetings, or by actual drills,” he says.


“This is so that when event flows start, those managing a crisis can focus on their specific roles and responsibilities, and less on the actual process, thus making the entire process more efficient and effective.”


He also calls upon governments and cities to develop a strategic and tactical approach to security and resilience that is tailored for their unique risk profiles, geographic locations, mandates, budgets, and other requirements.


“Having a holistic approach to risk mitigation allows governments and cities to increase security and resilience, whether in matters of citizen safety, to ensure the secure and reliable operations of city services in all circumstances, as well as in making the spaces that we live, work, and play, both smarter and more secure,” Tee says.