Pick up any newspaper or turn on your TV and you will soon be presented…

..with articles reporting on the seeming rise of either natural disasters, such as the terrible events that occurred recently in the Philippines or so called man-made disaster such as terrorist attacks in Mumbai or the less sinister but no less catastrophic events that have just occurred in the Latvian capital of Riga, killing at least 32 people with the collapse of a super market roof.  Similarly, there also seems to be an upshift of reporting on the occurrence of fraud, be it aimed at the Insurance industry with buzz words such as crash for cash, flash for cash, or the finance sector with insider trader or mortgage fraud.

So where am I going with this? What do these types of incidents have that is common?

All will invoke some form of organised human response, starting with the initial reaction to the incident, resource allocation and  management, then an ongoing cycle of data collection, data consolidation (how does this new information impact on what we already know), and action planning (what does this new information suggest we should do?).

Governments, agencies, organisations and enterprises now see the value of having adequate and flexible solutions at their disposal to both manage their response and mitigate the risks. These solutions can include, but are not limited to, data management software, geospatial technologies, reporting and notifications applications and tools for in-depth analysis.  Unfortunately these capabilities and skills can be distributed across the organisation, which leads to a disjointed approach and non-holistic view of the situation.

Fortunately there are solutions that can bring clarity and a unified view in dealing with such events or emergencies, which also support the investigation / intelligence methodology. In  simplistic terms this could be described as “information capture” and “triage” which includes the process of evaluating the information, it’s source, and cross referencing other sources of information (either automated or manual) with further in-depth analysis if required, and then taking action. We then move into the “life-cycle of the event” where we are managing said actions, acquiring further information or intelligence, and collaborating in sharing important facts and outcome with others. Finally there will be requirements to produce briefing materials or even evidence for “compliance or disclosure”.

To sum up, Incident response and management can be complex and include many actors – that’s why adequate solutions need to be deployed in assisting with the easy consumption of data, management of this and people involved. Such solutions need to be flexible to facilitate  building a common operating picture that is clear and definable by all involved and can be presented or disclosed to other on a need to know basis.