The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to rethink their strategies and budgets for digital transformation. Often abbreviated DX, digital transformation generally refers to the integration of digital technology to drive innovation in all areas of a business. To be successful, digital transformation must be applied in ways that are strategic, profitable, productive and, more important than ever during and after this pandemic, protective.

According to a recent study by KPMG more than 70 percent of CEOs say the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated their digital investments. And the pandemic isn’t going away any time soon. Prominent companies, including Google, Microsoft, Target, Ford Motor, Uber, Airbnb and The New York Times have just announced delaying in-person work until July 2021.

DX investments are being applied not just to the new normal of working remotely, but to digitally transforming customer experience, supply chain management, products, processes and security.

The pandemic-driven business upheaval, a crisis in and of itself, unfortunately has made companies more vulnerable to other kinds of crises as well. 

Take cyberattacks. Employees working from home don’t have corporate security controls on their home computers. They’re also likely to have unsecured IoT devices, such as doorbells, refrigerators and routers, through which cyber criminals could gain malicious access to the companies for which these home-bound employees work. The result is that a new wave of COVID-19-related ransomware attacks are in full ugly bloom. Ransomware attacks are up 20 percent globally and have increased a whopping 109 percent in the US.

A single ransomware attack can be devastating in multiple ways, affecting multiple stakeholders. Consider: In June, the University of California in San Francisco could not adequately prevent or respond to a ransomware attack, and ultimately was forced to pay cyber criminals more than $1.14 million to retrieve important research — including its work on a COVID-19 treatment and vaccine.  That’s just one example.

Workplace violence is another example of COVID-related crises, particularly impacting retail and services businesses. In July a man opened fire at a convenience store in New Orleans after he was asked to wear a mask. More recently a brawl broke out on a plane when a passenger refused to cover his face. The CDC website now provides guidelines for mitigating violent encounters stemming from COVID-19 prevention policies. “These threats and assaults can come from customers, other employees, or employers,” warns the CDC.

Clearly, businesses must be better prepared to respond to these types of crises that not only can spell human tragedy but also bring lasting harm to the business. When the stakes are this high, it’s clear that an important component of a business’s strategic plan for digitally transforming its security, both physical and IT, must include digitally transforming its crisis response capability.

To achieve this goal, businesses must first develop an overarching protective strategy and then choose a digitally driven response solution that’s right for their individual needs.

What does a state-of-the-art, digitally driven crisis response solution look like? Groupdolists, the leader in mobile-based, incident and crisis response software, provides one: a platform that efficiently helps to define and guide an organization’s response to potential or actual crises.

Groupdolists’ platform instantly brings together and synchronizes crisis team members. The app functions independently from the organization’s computer system, which may have been compromised. Response team members communicate securely by phone, chat, etc., and can share every variety of data. The platform is designed to integrate seamlessly with other related software investments, such as emergency notification services and threat intelligence providers.

Groupdolists digitizes and organizes standard and emergency crisis response plans in advance, making them accessible and interactive on mobile devices when needed. The organization’s pre-planned responses are distilled into actionable checklists that are easily managed, tracked, and documented. Plans can be quickly adjusted and modified during rapidly changing situations. Every communication the crisis team members have and every action they take is recorded and made fully auditable, saved by the software for reference, future analysis, and continued improvement in crisis response.

Groupdolists’ solution helps protect every facet of the entire enterprise – employees, assets, business continuity, brand, and reputation. It’s a judicious investment — inexpensive compared to most other DX investments, yet its ROI can be very substantial. When the platform empowers a business to respond successfully, staving off a potentially calamitous crisis, large amounts of time and money are saved.

A business’s digital transformation strategy may be judged successful if its investments in DX bring increased profitability and productivity. But those sunny results could all turn very dark if a crisis strikes and the business’s response capability has not been optimized.

Truly strategic digital transformation must include investment in the enterprise’s ability to protect itself, as part of an overall investment in risk management.

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