How does your team communicate in a crisis? Where do you collect the information needed to make the right decisions when an emergency like an active shooter or an extreme weather event arises?
One way to gather and disseminate crisis data, such as real-time active shooter information, is through the use of open-source intelligence (OSINT). OSINT refers to public sources of information, such as print or digital publications, social media, and government data, that can be used in an intelligence-gathering context.
Tom Meehan, CFI, reviews methods for collecting and analyzing data from OSINT sources during a crisis in a recent article for the October issue of LPM Online. From the article:
The process itself can be broken down into three parts. The first one is the collection of information, and here you have to decide where and how you get your intelligence. It is very useful to define the sources of OSINT ahead of time and what information you wish to collect. The next step is processing and analyzing the intelligence received. And lastly, you will need to define how decisions are made based on the data received. Arguably, the decision part has the most potential impact on the organization. I often refer to this as the tipping point when the open‐source intelligence leads to a specific action that affects the business directly. The tipping point could be the decision to close the store, lock down a location, communicate directly to a field team, notify members of the C‐suite, or take a life‐saving action. Not surprisingly, the scariest part of the decision phase is potentially not acting fast enough and risking the loss of life.
In the article, Meehan highlights three specific examples of the use of OSINT sources in retail loss prevention crisis scenarios, including one instance in which LP had to systematically procure real-time active shooter information from several OSINT outlets. Check out “Using Open-Source Intelligence During a Crisis” to review the three scenarios and learn which misconceptions about OSINT can be dispelled.
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