“We need to start using technology to do those back office routines that haven’t been outsourced before.”
Michelle Griffey, Chief Risk Officer at Communisis, discusses increasing resilience with Jeremy Swinfen Green.
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So how do you increase resilience then, especially for events that are very hard to foresee, as black swan events? How do you make sure organisations can carry out fine?
It goes back to that plan. So the black swan events, or those ones that you don’t foresee, all of your smaller plans are there and they’re supporting that. So, ultimately, you’ve got to be very, very, very swift thinking and very fast paced, and almost move into a mode of, well, we’ve done some of the more traditional mitigation strategies. We’ve done our analysis. We’ve created our template.
We’ve worked out what our risk score is. We know what our risk appetite is. And then you go into a mode of dynamism because people have got that in their background. They’re like, I can see this is coming at me. So which bits do I take, which bits do I use? How do I communicate? How do I speed that up and run multiple channels at any time so that we can come out of the end?
And you may find you’ve just got to make some very strong, very tough decisions very, very quickly. But at the same time, if you communicate why, people understand it. So I think that it is about being able to change and being pragmatic, because ultimately, it might be that you have this process in place.
In the end, it’s really important, but to be quite honest, if it isn’t going to work today, we’re going to have to step around it, and we’re going to have to say, we do that knowingly, we understand we’re doing that. Let’s just make sure we’ve got that locked somewhere so that we can revisit it later and say, OK, we made that change. We didn’t die, nothing bad happened, but we do need to understand what were we trying to protect then and is it still relevant now. So we just have to be able to move and move quickly.
What will organisations need to do to maintain, or indeed, increase resilience after the pandemic?
Draw on what they’ve learned in the pandemic. So we’ve all gone into this working from home and it’s great. You know, some people are loving it, some people are hating it. Yeah, we accept that. We’ve all became experts in Zoom, or Skype, or Teams, or whatever platform we use.
But some of the critical things have been those end customers and how companies are delivering to them. And we can’t go into the office at times anymore. So I think we need to acknowledge there will be times when you won’t about to go into the office, or even if it’s local or whatever, and how do you deal with that?
To think we still need to start using technology to do some of those little jobs, those back office routines perhaps that haven’t been outsourced before because actually you can’t batch them up, and you can’t bulk them up to make the right benefits of saying, well, we outsource this team of sixty because they’re printing those documents on the local printer, and they’re signing them, and they’re sending them out, and no one, historically, was going to take that team in. So I think what we now need to start saying is how do we get those processes?
So is the outbound mail, how do we get that letter that I’ve just written, which is bespoke to Michelle Griffey. And in the office, I go across the office printer, and I pop in an envelope, and someone franks it and off it goes. How do you batch those up and get them sent through? And certainly that is something that we as a company started to on board very, very quickly as we went through the pandemic.
So that’s sort of on the flip side, the outbound side, which is sort of hybrid mail, bringing it together. On the inbound side, again, people have always been, we’ve got to have someone in the post room. They’ve got to open that post. And all of a sudden, they couldn’t get into the post room to open that post.
So how much better is it if you’ve got a position where actually all of your posts goes to somewhere, and by virtue of the fact it’s going there for major regulated companies, and people are accepting the impacts on the person on the street, perhaps not that post getting into the company and being dealt with, send it to that place that is considered a key worker. It can then be scanned and then sent to an individual’s workstation, whether that be in the office and then they can work on it, or whether we’ve had to send them home because of whatever reason. And that reason could be a localised lockdown or it could just as easily be, you can’t get into your office because the office is flooded or whatever, and someone’s there.
And as soon as you enable that with the technology, and it takes us back to what we said at the beginning around that, being able to also use artificial intelligence to identify some of the sentiment in that document and get it dealt with by a person quickly and sent to the right channel. I think that’s where the resilience will come in is actually assessing what processes do we have as a company that actually we had to bring someone in and you don’t need to bring them into an office. You can actually use a provider to batch those up and do them effectively without having to put a lot of people at them, if you just change your mindset.