Strengthening public sector resilience at local, national and international levels
At 4C Strategies we help to improve organisational readiness at local, national and international levels. As a company, our mission is to build a safer society through the combination of digital innovation and industry expertise, and there’s no better place to do this than the public sector. By helping public organisations increase their capabilities, they become more resilient, better at manging risks, and more prepared for handling incidents and crises. Ultimately, it’s people, commerce and society as whole that benefit from this.
We take a closer look at some of our local, national and international public sector customers and the impact our work has.
The same frameworks, processes, exercises and software can be utilised at local, regional, national or international level to build resilience and develop capabilities. However, complexity increases in distributed groups with many stakeholders. Exercises are tailored to accommodate the size of the project and the number of attendees. In organizations with a distributed workforce across geographic areas, digital tools like our Exonaut® platform become even more important to support the best results.
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At 4C Strategies, we have over a decade of experience from working with international organisations. This includes helping the European Central Bank to develop, verify and track its crisis management capability; developing a risk model for the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence (NATO StratCom COE); assisting the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in defining a Risk and Resilience Framework; conducting exercises with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC); and providing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with continuity management services.
Centralised support for EU member states
Most recently, we have provided the European External Action Service (EEAS) with a next-generation Consular Online Tool, which is powered by our Exonaut® software. EU Member States, their embassies abroad, and EU Delegations can now receive live reports, notifications and dashboard data during a crisis to facilitate real-time information sharing and consular assistance for EU citizens abroad. Consular Online 2.0 has proven instrumental in the recent repatriation of overseas EU citizens during the pandemic.
Much of the work we do with public organisations is done with long horizons. For instance, in 2019 we produced an Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) toolkit together with ENISA (the European Cyber Security Agency) for anybody or company that wants to start and develop an ISAC. It covers the four key phases – Build, Run, Evaluate and Develop – and contains all activities, documents and tools needed for an ISAC to enable sector-specific information sharing between the private and the public sector.
However, we first began assisting ENISA with cyber security in 2011, when we were involved in the planning, delivery and evaluation of the ground-breaking Cyber Atlantic exercise between ENISA and the US Department for Homeland Security (DHS). Since then, we have continued to support ENISA in their goal to strengthen Europe’s cyber defences at similar events including the Cyber Europe exercise, which had participants from 30 countries from the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
We work closely to build the resilience of national organisations in multiple countries. These can be representatives of a larger international organisation or a dedicated public organisation in a specific country. Some of them even span to the private sector, such as FSPOS, the Swedish financial sector’s public-private cooperation body. We have created several training programs and handbooks for the organisation, including their “Business Continuity Management Handbook” based on ISO 22301 and their “Crisis Management Handbook”, as well as delivering many risk and crisis management software projects.
Trusted partner of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
Since 2009, we have supported the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) with everything from developing business continuity management for some of the Agency’s most critical units, to running country-wide workshops on countering information influence activities for various government agencies. Most recently, we helped MSB with the Swedish coronavirus response, with a particular focus on crisis communication.
Inter-agency collaboration in Ireland
Early in 2019, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) conducted its largest exercise to date – together with six other government agencies and authorities – using our Exonaut software. During the exercise, the different organisations’ plans and abilities to make decisions and communicate between agencies and with the general public, were assessed. Over 200 participants at eight different locations took part in this distributed simulation exercise.
Exonaut is also used by a national transport authority to identify, analyse, categorise and visualize risks in infrastructure projects. The software, which has significantly cut administration costs, is used by over 10,000 people including authority workers and external contractors nationwide.
National organisational resilience exercises
Our exercise services are delivered across some of the most high risk and heavily regulated sectors of society.
In the energy sector, we provided and ran large-scale cyber exercises for Statnett, the Norwegian state owned national power grid system owner. With 84 representatives from 16 agencies across the Nordic region, a simulated SCADA system attack was played out to test and develop operational readiness for critical infrastructure providers.
In the broadcasting industry, we supported a nationwide public broadcaster, by planning, preparing and delivering strategic-level crisis management simulations in order to analyze and define ways to increase capabilities. Exercises included assessing the organisation’s response in the event of a nationwide power outage and a major cyber-attack.
Local governments face unique challenges as well as common situations to neighbouring or more distant authorities. We have spent over ten years supporting the city of Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, to become more resilient to these challenges. For instance, we used new climate risk management tools to assess the impact of climate-related crises on the city, its people and commerce. Although a cloud-burst or heatwave would impact Stockholm differently to cities not surrounded by water, learnings can be applied elsewhere. Based on our findings in Stockholm, we were able to increase their incident management capabilities and make the city more resilient to potential natural disasters such as these.
Supporting citywide responses during the pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, we have been supporting multiple cities, of varying sizes, with their immediate and long-term COVID-19 response. Our three-step program has proved invaluable for crisis management teams and communicators in these cities as they come to terms with the “new normal”. Additionally, as each city has been at a different stage of the pandemic, we have been able to take best practices and learnings from one city and apply them to another – and indeed with governments and organisations in the private sector.
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