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Top Threats to Prepare for in 2023

Introduction

Several trends developed or grew out of 2022 and will continue to impact people and businesses in 2023. These trends highlight the importance for companies in all industries to create emergency preparedness plans and communication systems that keep them running during an emergency.

This report analyzes the top five trends of 2022 that will affect how organizations plan and conduct business in 2023 and beyond. Knowing the important changes worldwide can help businesses, organizations, and communities prepare for potential hazards and emergencies.

Taking an all-hazards approach to assessing and managing potential threats can help an organization improve its business planning, decrease the loss of intellectual property, save lives and support business continuity. Finally, a robust communication system that delivers on those plans is essential to any organization’s preparedness plan.

Top threats of 2023

  • Geopolitical climate and inflation. Although most of the world experienced civil unrest in 2022, the Ukraine war affected most of Europe. Inflation and supply chain issues were also significant concerns for most organizations.
  • Use of mobile devices and AI. Cybersecurity becomes increasingly important as mobile devices, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT) grow prevalent worldwide.
  • Climate change and severe weather. Everyone has been a victim of severe weather. As climate change increases incidents of devastating weather events, preparing for these emergencies can help a business reduce injuries, deaths, and property losses.
  • Rising concerns for public safety. Increased mass shooting events and media attention in 2022 raised public safety concerns in the US and increased employees’ need to protect themselves from violence in the workplace.
  • Remote work. Working remotely jump-started during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many organizations and employees are looking to keep it that way. Remote work increases the risk of cybersecurity events such as malware and hacking and is a concern most organizations must factor into their emergency plans.
Geopolitical climate and inflation

In 2022, most of the world experienced civil unrest, which is predicted to increase in 2023.1 Political instability and rising inflation affects a country’s infrastructure and have caused a shortage of goods and services and hindered the supply chain. In addition, businesses are still feeling the impact of production delays and logistic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Countries that do not experience civil unrest at home still feel the effects from other countries, as we’ve seen in some European countries that were affected by the year-long war in Ukraine. The risk consulting and intelligence firm Versik Maplecroft reported civil unrest in 101 out of 190 countries they surveyed.2

Civil unrest is not a new phenomenon. Many factors, such as inflation and political discontent, are attributed to the 2022 surge in civil unrest. Still, the results are almost always the same— endangerment of human life, destruction of property, disruption in the supply chain, and rising insurance and rebuilding costs.

The U.S. is not immune to civil unrest, as seen in last year’s protests over racial injustice and political situations. The Guardian reported that in January 2022, 34% of Americans said it was ok to use violence against the government. In August, 40% of those surveyed believed civil war would be imminent in the next ten years.3

Although the causes of civil unrest are complicated and vary, inflation is certainly a contributing factor. Prices for food and gas rose in 2022, and Americans experienced shortages of goods, most noticeably with baby formula. The inflation rate in the U.S. rose from 1.4 percent in 2020 to 7.1 percent in 2022.4

Both the public and private sectors of our society struggle to guess when civil unrest will occur and how to best respond to these events. We know that these very real threats must be met with an augmented approach to preparedness and business continuity, especially for companies with global operations.

To mitigate this threat, take time to formulate possible responses to all possible situations when times are calm instead of trying to figure out an appropriate response in the middle of a crisis. Then, equip your organization with the proper processes and tools that support the crisis management plan.

Use of mobile devices and Artificial Intelligence

Smartphones have evolved over the years and are indispensable for most Americans and individuals worldwide. According to Pew Research, Americans who own a smartphone grew from 35% in 2011 to 81% in 2019.5 Today, using mobile devices is not just accepted at work; they are encouraged.

Additionally, the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining popularity and integrating its functionalities into American businesses has become a priority for many. Statistics show that companies are investing in IoT devices to improve operations. Companies across industries have recognized that if their team members use smartphones and other mobile devices, they are easier to reach and collaborate with while working.

Although businesses are utilizing the benefits of mobile devices, AI, and the I0T, they will increasingly become threatened by cyber attacks. Some of the real threats cyber attacks can cause to complicate operations in all industries, whether government, healthcare facility, education space, or business include:

  • A shutdown of a community’s infrastructure
  • Loss of intellectual property
  • Financial information theft
  • Damage to the business’s reputation
  • Blocking access to accounts.

Additionally, these threats don’t always come from unknown parties. According to Logicgate, human error causes 23% of all data breaches, and many attacks are purposefully caused by internal employees.

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The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity7 reported the top trending group of threats as the following:

 

  1. Ransomware
  2. Malware
  3. Social engineering/ Phishing
  4. Threats against data
  5. Threats against availability
  6. Disinformation or misinformation
  7. Supply chain targeting

To mitigate the damage from cyberattack threats, more businesses and organizations are forming preparedness plans and adding communication systems such as mass notification systems that securely and immediately notify others of cybersecurity breaches. According to GMI research, the mass notification systems market will grow by 20 percent and reach 33 billion by 2027.A robust mass notification system will improve response time for a business or organization to continue operating during a cybersecurity breach.

Climate change and severe weather

Freezing temperatures in Texas, a heat wave in Antarctica and severe flooding in South Asia were some of the disasters people experienced worldwide in 2022. But most will remember the year for its extreme heat.

Although climate change didn’t cause these events, it did contribute to the frequency of events in 2022. According to a World Weather Attribution study, climate change made droughts in the Northern Hemisphere 20 times more likely.9

Most of us have lived through extreme weather events and natural disasters of some variety, but climate change will contribute to increased hardships and disruptions. The immediate threats severe weather has on communities are damage to property and life, access to health and emergency services, and necessities such as food and water.

However, climate change also contributes to serious, long-term threats. For example, severe droughts impact food production and human health, and flooding contributes to diseases. In addition, the rising energy cost to heat or cool homes can contribute to civil unrest.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration summarizes climate change as a complex issue, where the ripple effects are felt far longer and outside the immediate area where severe weather has made an impact.10 And even if we invest in technologies to reduce our carbon emissions, we are already experiencing the negative effects, and the positive results from these investments won’t be seen for some time.

One way to mitigate the damage caused by severe weather events is to prepare your organization for any potential hazards. Identifying an organization’s potential exposure and addressing deficiencies are essential practices in any business environment. Such efforts apply to higher learning institutions, businesses, healthcare facilities, and government establishments.

Diligence in planning response efforts can reduce loss of life or injury, lessen the economic blow, and protect organizations against collapse. In addition, the incorporation of a far-reaching communication policy will aid an organization at every step in the preparedness and recovery process. Therefore, it is important to identify opportunities for improving communication before disasters strike.

Rising concerns for public safety

There is no doubt that in 2022, mass shootings took center stage in the U.S. media and have increased concerns for public safety. But, unfortunately, the event coverage and politicians using crime statistics to support their platforms during the Fall midterm elections distorted the numbers and increased anxiety and fear.

According to data collected by Gun Violence Archive, 2022 was the second-highest year for mass shootings.11 Regroup Mass Notification defines a mass shooting as any active-shooter incident involving three or more victims killed by gun violence during the episode. Even though mass shootings are rising, the US experienced a decline in the violent crime rate over the past decade.12

One area where a rise in gun violence has been clearly noted is school shootings. The number of school shootings has risen since 2018, and 2022 has the highest number of school shootings on record. As of October 24, 257 shootings on school campuses have occurred.13

Several of these school shootings occurred on school grounds, but most occur in parking lots and are not the typical events schools conduct drills for. For example, violence and shootings also occur after-school hours from gang violence, suicides, and accidents.

The Uvalde, Texas school shooting on May 24 represented a significant event as schools began to reevaluate and initiate new safety policy requirements and stronger safety plans.

In response, schools and governments are learning more about how to prevent and respond to emergencies more effectively. For example, because of the Uvalde tragedy, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, in partnership with the Texas school safety center, put out a mandate that all interior and exterior doors to our schools be checked, along with several other orders.

According to the 2022 statistics, the threat for public safety will not disappear. The rising shootings highlight the importance of preparing officials and first responders to implement emergency operations plans (EOPs) to keep people safe whether at a school, office, healthcare facility or house of worship. EOPs play a key role in taking preventative and protective measures to stop an incident from occurring or reduce its impact. Assessing and managing these threats is essential to minimize loss of life.

Remote work

Remote work is now solidly established in how we operate today. The number of people working remotely tripled from 2019 to 2021.14 As more people worked remotely in 2022, cybersecurity has become a significant concern for everyone.

The threat of cyberattacks increases with the number of remote workers. Some reasons why cyberattacks become more prevalent with more people working remotely include:

The more people that work remotely, the more area and amount of coverage is needed to maintain cybersecurity.
Remote workers often install software or devices that may interfere with an organization’s cybersecurity measures.
Defense mechanisms such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems can weaken as remote workers expand into areas outside these measures’ perimeters.
The existing organization doesn’t have the resources to invest in cybersecurity measures as the number of remote workers increase.15

Cyber threats have continued to grow through 2022. Beta News reported that 82% of CIOs surveyed were concerned about their organization’s vulnerabilities in cybersecurity.16 Additionally, the war in Ukraine dramatically increased the number of cyber attacks in 2022.17

Organizations must prepare for cybersecurity issues such as:

  • Phishing
  • Breaches
  • Malware
  • Privacy
  • Cloud Security
  • Ransomware

Cybercriminals are sophisticated and can quickly attack remote workers unaware of the latest tactics they use to steal information. From a legitimate-looking email, downloading non-encrypted software, or using personal devices such as routers, webcams, and laptops, most people are unaware of malicious online threats or understand the creative methods of cybercriminals.

To protect against cyber attacks, be sure to understand that everyone is vulnerable to an attack, and everyone is accountable for preventing one. Once an organization puts cybersecurity measures into place, it is up to everyone to help out with the successful implementation of that plan.

Improving business continuity

The geopolitical climate and civil unrest, increased use of mobile devices and AI, climate change and severe weather, and concerns about public safety and remote work were growing trends in 2022 and will continue to threaten in 2023.

The fallout of these events includes material shortages, intellectual property theft, structural damage, loss of life, and cyberattacks. No industry is immune, and although different companies and industries face unique challenges in their daily operations, most can lessen these factors’ impact by ensuring their business continues operating without disruptions, otherwise known as business continuity or resiliency.

To stay resilient, organizations require a business continuity plan, improved mechanisms for communication, and a willingness to implement strategies that work. In addition, building an effective operational resilience plan demands critical attention to the existing vulnerabilities and potential trending threats and creating solutions to all potential hazards.

Communication system

A comprehensive communication protocol that keeps key players informed, safe, and productive is an essential component of a preparedness plan. These plans can help save valuable time and ensure optimal operational resilience. For more information on communication planning to boost resilience, view Regroup’s white paper Guide to Operational Resilience.

Using a mass notification system to complement your continuity of operations offers a variety of real-world benefits that far outweigh traditional forms of communication. An emergency notification system like Regroup’s provides several advantages to business continuity, including:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Cloud-based message delivery to ensure alerts can be sent during an outage
  • Two-way response to improve communication and gain important information in real-time
  • Pre-built templates to save time crafting messages
  • Multi-channel message delivery (email, text, push notifications, etc.)
  • Multi-language notifications
  • Geo-targeted messages
  • Desktop alerts
  • Integrations for government and public services such as the National Weather Service, NOAA or IPAWS

You can schedule a no-obligation demo of Regroup’s powerful notification system here.