Skip Navigation

5 Steps to Building a Critical Event Management Program

By Northland Controls, Sep 15, 2021

The number of threats occurring around the world continues to increase each and every day. But a comprehensive critical event management program, powered by CEM technology, can help mitigate their impact.

Turn on the news and it won’t be long before you hear about intensifying natural disasters or political and civil unrest both here at home and abroad. While it may be easy to compartmentalize these stories as “once in a lifetime” events or something that won't threaten your personal or professional network, think again. According to a recent study, 87% of organizations experienced at least one critical event in 2020, not including the pandemic. Furthermore, the average enterprise company faces an average of four notable threats over a 24-month period. Have these numbers caught your attention?

As a security professional, finding ways to predict and manage a variety of events that pose a threat to your assets should be a top priority. While securing a critical event management (CEM) platform that is designed to prevent, manage, and mitigate threats is a great first step, building a comprehensive CEM program will formalize the infrastructure and administrative capabilities needed to truly combat a critical event. Whether through an in-house security team or via a third-party integrator, successful companies invest just as much time and effort into creating a plan to maintain and operate the system as the system itself.

When starting the journey towards creating a critical event management program, getting buy-in from key leadership is your first step. A critical event may require resources from any number of departments within a company so leaders from HR, Operations, Legal, Security, and IT should have a firm understanding of what they can bring to the table to minimize its impact. For security teams, having a direct line of support to each of these departments, and their collective experience and knowledge, will make it easier to quickly pull together critical resources when managing a disruptive event.

Once technology is secured and key personnel are identified, companies must prepare for when a critical event takes center stage. Taking the time to build out comprehensive policies and procedures initiated when an event occurs can be the difference between successfully managing an event and mitigating the disaster left in its wake. Here are five key components of a unified critical event management program:

Sync Important Data with the CEM Platform
When an event happens, teams need to be prepared to identify and communicate with key assets. Syncing critical data, such as the location of your people and buildings, within the system means less downtime when it matters most. Keeping this information updated can limit loss of life and the impact on business operations by understanding who and what is in an area of impact.

Customize Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Creating standard operating procedures specific to your company will help make sure your team is prepared when an event happens. These pre-determined plans of actions not only allow the system to identify and automate a response but will provide a roadmap for operators and staff facilitating them. Advanced planning is key to successfully managing an event and these SOPs will help provide clarity during moments typically overwhelmed with chaos.

Set Up 24/7 Monitoring
CEM platforms with threat intelligence are constantly reviewing and assessing thousands of sources of information. However, when a threat event has the potential to impact a location where your people and buildings are located, having a team of trained operators and a robust GSOC to review and initiate action is essential.

Conduct Periodic Reviews for Continuous Improvement
As a company grows, hires, and fires, periodic reviews should be conducted. During this process, company leaders can determine if key data and SOPs are still relevant and effective. Additionally, by using analytic data produced by the CEM platform, leaders can compare past outcomes with future goals to determine areas of improvement and the need for policy or resource adjustments.

Automate Standard Operating Procedures
If and when an event occurs, operators are responsible for deploying the technology and collaborating with global response teams. Through pre-established SOPs and customer defined incident response plans, notification and dispatch services can work in collaboration with the CEM platform to spring into action.

If these tasks seem overwhelming or are face personnel or budgetary limitations, working with a third party can eliminate the fear of having to face these challenges alone. Northland Controls’ Critical Event Management as a Service (CEMaaS) is designed to provide companies with unmatched around the clock monitoring and enhanced response capabilities without the heavy investment of building a dedicated SOC.

Powered by Everbridge, Northland’s CEMaaS provides the service component needed to effectively manage a comprehensive critical event management program. With over 115 years of combined experience among our operators, we can ensure that when a disaster strikes, our clients have a partner when turning chaos to calm. By utilizing threat intelligence, mass notification, and around the clock monitoring, CEMaaS gives companies peace of mind knowing that an experienced security professional is ready and waiting when a threat arises.

If you're just starting out, check out Northland's Guide to Critical Event Management or let us know how we can help with your critical event management needs by contacting us at