Crisis Management: Effective Steps for CIOs to Follow

By Marianne Chrisos - Last Updated on January 7, 2020
crisis management effective steps for cios to follow

How to manage a crisis as an IT leader.

Use these crisis management steps to prepare your team and your business.

Every business does their best to lead in such a way that helps them avoid crisis. Still, not every element is inside our control and the worst can happen to even very well prepared people and companies. Just like many businesses employ a PR team to help handle any communication crisis and make sure to help businesses stay seen in a positive light by the media and customers, most businesses also have crisis help in the form of an IT team.

Many CIOs will employ prevention methods to help keep a crisis from ever arriving. Prevention methods usually include training on what to look for, software that helps prevent malicious technology have accessing company data, and other tools to help make sure that a data crisis never becomes a reality. Still, there might come a day when a crisis takes place and CIOs and their teams need to make sure they are ready to handle it.

Here are some things to consider when developing crisis management strategies for your business.

Have a Process and Plan

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to managing a crisis is to have a crisis management process in place. You hope you never need it but you understand that it’s important to have a step by step plan to mitigate any potential damage and to reduce the risk your business is exposed to.

A good crisis management plan will include:

  • Definition of a crisis
  • The crisis management team
  • Crisis response steps (these often include analysis, immediate action, ongoing action, recovery, and evaluation)
  • Tangible checklist to follow and refer to
  • List of roles and responsibilities
  • Emergency numbers

Having this information organized and accessible can lead to better resolution of crisis issues, because all the action steps necessary are in one place for everyone involved to be working from the (literal) same page.

Training in crisis management processes is also important. Having a guide is a great first step, but taking your team through the guide on a dry run is a great way to prevent chaos during a crisis and make it easier and faster to act. This might mean training conducted by internal leadership – like the CIO – or consultants brought in from security firms to help run a day-long seminar on best practices.

Learn by Example

Many businesses have never encountered a crisis IT situation, but that doesn’t mean they should take their data safety for granted. Just because you haven’t experienced a crisis yet doesn’t mean you can learn from others and grow your confidence in taking the correct crisis management steps. Experience is a great teacher, but it doesn’t always have to be your own experience. It can be helpful to look to other businesses and learn from how they handled crisis.

One of the best ways to find crisis management examples to draw from is to use your own professional network or to ask a data consultant for examples. Most companies are proud to share how they overcame a challenging circumstance and serve as a case study for success.

Knowing how to handle a crisis is important for every area of business. Businesses who seek guidance and fully prepare themselves can avoid panicking if the worst should happen and can find themselves on the road to resolution much faster.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a company near Dallas and contributing writer around the internet. She earned her master's degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in Chicago and has worked in publishing, advertising, digital marketing, and content strategy.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a c...

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