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What Did The Ebola, Sony Pictures and Mall of America Crises Have In Common? The Need for a Notification System.

What Did The Ebola, Sony Pictures and Mall of America Crises Have In Common? The Need for a Notification System.

June 29, 2015 Posted by in Pockestop News, Mass Notification

Looking back on the recent uncomfortable and downright scary situations involving the deadly Ebola virus in Dallas, the cyberattack on Sony Pictures and the terror threat at the Mall of America a lot can be said about being prepared for the worst. During emergencies, communications can break down creating confusion and panic and can result in a loss of reputation for those personally involved and for the organizations involved. Today, I am going to take each of these situations listed above and walk through what went wrong or what could have been improved in the area of communication and how a cloud-based emergency mass notification system could have helped each situation.

First, let’s take the Ebola virus scare in Dallas. This one was a doozy. Unfortunately, a man’s life was lost but luckily the virus was contained and the two nurses who did contract it were successfully treated. Before it all unfolded, people were truly in a panicked state. And not to blame them. No one was really prepared for the arrival of the Ebola virus. In this case, a cloud-based notification system could have been extremely handy in distributing information at the Texas Health Resources hospital in Dallas.

It seems, from the public’s point of view that no one internal to the crisis was on the same page. Especially after it was reported that a member of the CDC told one of the ill nurses it was safe to travel on an airplane after symptoms set in. Once authorities determined the proper procedures (which was another point of contention), these procedures could have been sent immediately using a cloud-based notification system to all employees, staff and contractors at the hospital informing them of exactly what to do. A cloud-based notification system with the ability to create an unlimited sized database could also have been used by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to distribute critical procedures and processes to hospitals that were at risk. Utilizing a cloud-based notification system in this situation could have streamlined communications, given people peace of mind and helped keep reputations intact that were damaged by the way events were handled.

Moving on to the cyber attack on Sony Pictures we have a similar breakdown in communications. This time, however, the failure was due to a literal breakdown in the company’s computer system as a result of the hack. Sony Pictures began using a less than modern notification system. They implemented phone trees, dug through boxes to find old Blackberry phones, disseminated information at town hall meetings and simply shared information by word of mouth. Sony did have a cloud-based notification system however, they had not been instrumental in enforcing all employees to subscribe to receive notifications. Sony Pictures actually had the tool but it wasn’t being utilized to its full potential. In hindsight, the movie studio’s CEO wished it had been a mandatory requirement to register for messages from the cloud-based notification system. Additionally, Sony Pictures could have had employees register a personal, non-work related e-mail address or phone number to ensure information would be received in the rare occurrence that their entire computer system goes down — like in the case of this cyberattack.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the recent terror threat at the Mall of America. Just like Texas hospitals (and hopefully all hospitals) will be better prepared in dealing with a deadly virus because of the lessons learned during the Ebola scare, the Mall of America already had a leg up as a result of September 11, 2001. In the almost fourteen years since 9/11, shopping malls have been vigilant in ensuring the public’s safety and the Mall of America is no exception. Technology and training have improved and are constantly evolving to cater to new threats. A shopping mall is an organization that would greatly benefit from a cloud-based notification system because of its many tenants. In the case of the Mall of America and its 400+ tenants communications can be a challenge. A cloud-based notification system is the perfect solution. It gives the property manager, security manager or other administrator access to communicate with all tenants in an instant. Time is of the essence during a terror threat or suspected terror threat. A cloud-based notification system has the potential to distribute life-saving information to tenants at a mall during a critical situation such as a terror threat. Dissimilar to the Ebola and Sony situations, the Mall of America did do a good job keeping communications flowing and even the police deemed the mall “very safe” as a result of the security measures taken.

The three situations were all different but the common thread was the need for clear, concise and consistent communications which can all be delivered by a cloud-based notification system. For more information about the RedFlag Notification System and our other operational and marketing communication solutions, please give us a call at 877-840-2444 or go to to live chat with us today!

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