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Hazard Monitoring Helps Companies Monitor, Mitigate, & Recover

June 1st, 2022
Hannah Tichansky
Hazard Monitoring Helps Companies Monitor, Mitigate, & Recover

Risk & Resilience Magazine sat down with Bob Miller, CEO of DisasterAWARE Enterprise, a cloud-based, SaaS risk intelligence platform for monitoring global hazards to discuss how hazard monitoring helps companies prepare for and recover from disasters and disruptive events.

How does hazard monitoring differ from other kinds of risk intelligence?

Bob Miller: The key about hazard monitoring is that you know about the hazard long before it creates disruptions. You get all these data sources, you run it through machine learning and artificial intelligence, and you say there’s a hurricane forming in the Caribbean. It could be six days away from the mainland, but hopefully what you’re going to do is identify the hazard with enough time so that you can mitigate the damage it does. And so, risk intelligence is theoretically when you’ve got the information that tells you what the hazard and damage are going to be.

The other part of this is making organizations aware of what the potential impact of this hazard’s going to be in a timeframe that somebody can either mitigate or, in a best-case scenario, actually improve the business outcome based on proactive planning.

What is the driving need for monitoring risk?

Let me give you a real-life example. We have a customer, a large petroleum company that had offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. For an upcoming hurricane, they had to decide whether to shut the rigs down and evacuate them. You can imagine how expensive it is to shut a drilling rig down, evacuate all the people, and then have to bring them back and restart it. But by us being able to identify this early and giving them days to figure out what to do, they had the time to run it through their own decision analysis. In the end, they decided to evacuate the rigs. Early identification, monitoring, and decision-making are so important. The cost of shutting down and evacuating was very expensive, but there were no lives lost or injuries.

I think the thing that is causing everyone to put so much focus on hazards, in general, is climate change. In the past, a company may have experienced one or two of these events every couple of years. Now, they’re experiencing multiple events each year. As a result, companies are saying this is something they need to deal proactively with on a regular basis. So, they need risk intelligence and impact intelligence, and they need it as close to real-time as possible.

How does hazard monitoring fit into an organization’s business continuity management strategy?

I think it goes back to the fact that we’re experiencing a lot of things that we didn’t experience very frequently in the past. And I think the pandemic has really highlighted how fragile our supply chains are. Companies are now looking to improve, and need the advantage of a global supply chain that’s still resilient. Disruptions happen and you need to be able to adapt to them as rapidly as possible. And to do that you need impact data.

The more warning you get, the more you’re able to minimize significant impacts… the key thing is that every large organization usually has a group whose whole job is to determine where are they going to have disruptions and how they’ll still be able to meet their business objectives. And so, relative to business continuity, the whole idea of what we do is to give you the time.

How can hazard monitoring help companies increase the resilience of their supply chain?

It’s about getting ahead of risks and having an outlook that acknowledges the risk and deals with the fact that it’s going to happen. We need technology that mitigates risk and avoids locating critical facilities (such as a nuclear power plant) where there’s the likelihood of a tsunami, for example. I think every corporation in the United States today has to be working on resilience in some form.

Some of the clients we’re currently working with have outlets that number in the tens of thousands and suppliers that number in the thousands. They’re trying to get a global picture. We’re living in a world where every corporation needs to have a picture of where their exposures are and where the safety of their employees is at risk. We can only supply the information. At the end of the day, humans have to make decisions. But our job is to give you the best information to hopefully help you make the best decision.

Looking ahead to this year, what sorts of disruptive events do you think organizations should be concerned with?

I don’t think they’re going to be very different from what we’ve been experiencing the last two or three years. The frequency will increase. But another area of concern where we’re really going to focus attention on is manmade disasters such as civil unrest.

So, we’re going to try to do more to get ahead of these things to give more of a warning roadmap into man-made disasters. What do you do after the initial warning? Where’s the best place to shelter? Where are there emergency services on the scene? We can shift through an enormous amount of data, while also helping to avoid false positives.

And when it comes to manmade disasters, it’s all about being hyper-local because, for example, a thousand people marching might be very disruptive to the factory that’s across the street from it, but it may not be terribly disruptive to the store three blocks away. So, it has to focus on what impact it’s having on a specific area. And that’s what we hope our manmade product will provide- impact resilience and intelligence risk.

Are there overlooked indicators that people should be paying attention to in terms of the vulnerabilities of their organizations and/or their vendors?

When people are looking at resilience, they should look into all possibilities, such as how long power grids will be down. What if I lose it for a day? What if I lose it for a week? What if I lose it for three months? We do provide impact analysis. We say, this is how many people are currently exposed, but by then you’re in the fight. By the time we give you an impact analysis within three or four days, hopefully, you’ll have that much to try to figure out how to deal with it. But it’s always helpful if you thought about it ahead of time.

And it’s not just the analysis, it’s setting up the processes in your organization so that when something happens and you get the alert, you know what to do. This is how you keep your people safe. This is how you keep the company’s assets safe. And this is how we all come back the next day or the next week, and continue our lives. That’s the key thing is you need- a well-defined process and people trained to behave accordingly in the event that a disruption happens.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

To read this interview, and others like it check out Risk & Resilience Magazine!

About the Contributor:

Bob Miller is CEO at DisasterAWARE Enterprise and is a strong technology leader with more than 30 years of experience in both Fortune 500 companies and private startups. Prior to Tenefit, Bob was CEO of a number of technology companies including MIPS, which he led to its IPO. Bob is a distinguished alumnus of Bucknell University and earned an MBA from Stanford University.

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