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Everbridge Critical Event Management tailored for COVID-19

The coronavirus requires a massive response. Emergency communications and crisis management specialist Everbridge seeks to provide critical information for employee protection.

47 million. That's the number of coronavirus-related messages Everbridge sent on behalf of its users in the past week.

Everbridge Critical Event Management software is on the front lines of coronavirus IT response, aided by a specially targeted line of products and recent acquisitions.

Everbridge CTO Imad Mouline said the usage pattern for his company's software is typically spiky. The system was built for large fluctuations in usage and can add capacity quickly.

"This is something we're really, really good at," Mouline said.

Other incidents have put Everbridge software to the test. For example, during Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Everbridge users sent out 14 million messages in just a few days, Mouline said, and that was in a smaller geographical area.

Everbridge takes on coronavirus with 'Shield'

To aid employee protection and business continuity during the coronavirus pandemic, Everbridge launched COVID-19 Shield. The software as a service includes targeted pandemic data feeds and rapid deployment templates.

COVID-19 Shield uses the Everbridge Critical Event Management platform to help organizations identify risks, protect the workforce and manage disruptions to operations and supply chain.

Screenshot of Everbridge dashboard
An Everbridge dashboard shows assets that are potentially impacted by COVID-19 in the Washington D.C. area.

Everbridge has three COVID-19 service levels, which build on each other.

The entry-level "Know Your Risks" provides COVID-19 alerts featuring real-time intelligence such as case statistics, travel advisories, closures and supply chain impacts. The next level up, "Protect Your People," manages critical response plans, automates communications and includes a potential threat feed and coronavirus-specific messaging templates.

"Protect Your Operations and Supply Chains," which includes the other two offerings' capabilities, automatically correlates alerts to physical assets, including buildings and people. It also initiates standard operating procedures to resolve issues and generates real-time status reports on remediation and recovery tasks.

COVID-19 Shield provides access to the Everbridge Data Sharing Private Network, where users can share information publicly and privately to facilitate enhanced local intelligence and response coordination.

Everbridge offers a "Rapid Deployment" package for governments, businesses and healthcare organizations that gets the COVID-19 Shield running in less than two days, according to the vendor. 

Mouline said the coronavirus-tailored products can help streamline communication, provide situational awareness and offer a quick form of protection.

Pricing is based on the size of the organization, for example, the number of people or assets in need of protection. Assets may include the number of office locations or supply chain elements.

The Everbridge Critical Event Management platform in total reaches more than 550 million people globally, according to the vendor, which is based in Burlington, Mass. Everbridge claims about 5,000 customers.

Learn best practices for pandemic response

Paul Kirvan, a business resilience and disaster recovery consultant, said it's important for employees to heed messages from their businesses and government.

"Emergency notification software such as Everbridge's is most appropriate for notifying employees of any new company policies, government notifications, reminders about social distancing and hand washing, and other messages for broad distribution," Kirvan wrote in an email. "The same can be true for notifying remote domestic offices, overseas offices, regulatory authorities, government agencies and other important stakeholders."

Information sharing between companies and within industry groups is invaluable, not just for status reports but also to help share insights into effective crisis and continuity strategies, said Jackie Day, a partner at consulting firm Control Risks, on a webinar last week hosted by her company and Everbridge.

Companies should also take advantage of lessons learned from others who have gone through the pandemic crisis, such as Asian organizations, said Matt Hinton, a partner at Control Risks.

While talk of a business impact analysis is often greeted with eye rolls, Hinton said, companies with one are better prepared to deal with tricky scenarios.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

"Your actions have to be targeted," Everbridge's Mouline said.

Mouline advised organizations to clearly separate informational messaging from emergency messaging, as employees are bombarded with information.

You want to communicate on a regular basis, but you want to avoid over-alerting.
Imad MoulineCTO, Everbridge

"Use the alerting capabilities sparingly," Mouline said. "You want to communicate on a regular basis, but you want to avoid over-alerting."

And the crisis will end at some point, Hinton noted. So organizations need to be thinking about recovery and the transition back to the office environment.

"Recovery is often that forgotten son when it comes to crisis management," Hinton said.

Everbridge acquires three companies

Everbridge has been busy with acquisitions lately, purchasing technology that is helping coronavirus response.

The Everbridge Critical Event Management platform's new IoT extension module uses intellectual property from technology acquisitions of Connexient and CNL Software. Critical Event Management for IoT increases the number of uses for the Everbridge platform. For example, it improves the ability to coordinate first responders and other healthcare resources based on real-time data on the broader impact of COVID-19.

Specifically, Connexient provides information on indoor positioning and wayfinding, with a focus on healthcare organizations. CNL offers integrations with a variety of other types of devices, including access control systems, building management systems, intrusion detection systems and fire panels, Mouline said. The Critical Event Management platform will send out information on needed next steps, for example sounding an alarm or locking doors.

Everbridge also acquired cell broadcast provider One2many. The resulting unified Public Warning System provides a countrywide population alerting capability. The platform enables countries to share updates on viral hotspots and pandemic best practices; coordinate first responders and healthcare resources; establish two-way communications with at-risk populations; and manage disruptions to transportation, education and other services, according to Everbridge.

The three acquired companies have each become an "Everbridge company." Everbridge did not release terms of the acquisitions.

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