When Danger Arrives, AlertMedia’s Global Intelligence Team Helps Protect Workers

By identifying and monitoring crisis events worldwide, this team helps organizations make critical decisions to protect their people. Learn how they do it, and why.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Feb. 08, 2023
When Danger Arrives, AlertMedia’s Global Intelligence Team Helps Protect Workers
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Imagine you’re running an errand and feel your phone buzz in your pocket. You check the screen and see the anticipatory all-caps headline: “BREAKING NEWS.”

You know that this type of news alert often denotes danger, so you quickly tap to discover that a dangerous wildfire is spreading quickly across northern California. 

Panic sets in. You immediately start scanning other news outlets to find out more. You think about your cousin who works at a warehouse located directly in the fire’s path and wonder if they have enough time to evacuate.  

What you don’t realize is that your cousin — and the rest of their company’s employees — knew there was a threat long before you did.  

That’s because a team of global intelligence experts at AlertMedia is tasked with monitoring and alerting crises that occur around the world, uncovering where each one is happening, verifying that it’s real and helping organizations understand the impact to their employees.

Lead Global Intelligence Analyst Kathan Fish is one of the minds behind the company’s fast-paced, crucial surveillance. Alongside his colleagues, he spends his days seeking the truth in order to deliver critical, accurate information to organizations in a matter of minutes — or, in some cases, seconds. 

The team refers to this step-by-step process as “sifting through the noise.”

It’s an exercise that could be compared to the Where’s Waldo? book series, said VP of Global Intelligence Sara Pratley. The company’s analysts must search through a sea of thousands of sources in order to surface credible information. Upon verifying the legitimacy of an event, the team immediately alerts all relevant customers. 

 

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According to Senior Global Intelligence Analyst Jenny Sale, if there’s an ongoing and serious threat, such as an active shooter situation, the team will assign an analyst to focus solely on that event. In this case, the rest of the team will cover that analyst’s other priorities, creating a true all-hands-on-deck atmosphere. 

Pratley said collaboration is central to the team’s operations, given the fact that they have analysts working on specific regions across the globe. When a major crisis occurs, the team must decide where to add additional support and how to seamlessly rotate team members throughout the duration of the event. 

 

WHAT CRISIS EVENTS DOES ALERTMEDIA HELP WITH?

The team responds to a wide range of events, from collapsed buildings to citizen uprisings. Yet there’s one universal threat that affects all of the company’s customers: severe weather and natural disasters. 

According to Pratley, the team prioritizes collaboration when dealing with major weather systems. In-house meteorologists forecast upcoming weather events to ensure that companies know what to expect and how it will impact their businesses. For instance, power outages can cause work disruptions, while school closures can force employees to stay home and focus their time on family responsibilities. 

Pratley added that the team’s meteorological support is also helpful for organizations with various office locations. Instead of staying up-to-date on all regional weather forecasts, companies can instead rely on AlertMedia to keep a pulse on their workers across the globe. 

 

 

Support in Seconds

AlertMedia undoubtedly operates with a customer-first mindset, working against the clock to ensure its clients stay safe and informed. Yet supporting a network of thousands of organizations requires maintaining ongoing communication, which is a feat that’s easier said than done. 

Last year, the company found a way to bolster this connection by enhancing its threat intelligence technology. Now, a new “Analyst Access” feature enables customers to directly interact with analysts 24/7 so they can ask any additional questions they may have about current or impending incidents. 

 

AlertMedia’s Analyst Access feature enables customers to directly interact with analysts 24/7 so they can ask questions about current or impending incidents.

 

Considering the company’s customers come in all forms, from mid-market organizations to enterprises, this immediate-access capability is especially important. “What this has become for them is an extension of their team — or, in some cases, a force multiplier,” Pratley said. “They're able to leverage and utilize our team for support where they need it.”

Communication between analysts and customers occurs quickly — within 60 to 90 seconds on average. “It's almost like you're working with a colleague,” Pratley said. 

Sale believes this level of person-to-person interaction has made the new feature successful, as it offers customers reassurance in a world defined by robotic responses. Whether it’s 10 a.m. or 11 p.m., analysts are always there to assist those in need. 

“We’re providing that human aspect,” Sale said. “Our customers are really pleased with being able to chat and get an answer within a matter of minutes.”

 

WHO IS ON THE GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE TEAM?

AlertMedia’s global intelligence team is made up of individuals with a diverse range of backgrounds. While some team members have U.S. and European military intelligence experience, others have worked at national news organizations as well as on security teams at major tech companies, including Google and Microsoft. But according to Fish, an individual’s portfolio matters less than the personality traits they bring to the table. “Due to the environment we work in, urgency and attention to detail are two very important things to have,” he said.

 

AlertMedia global intelligence analysts working together
AlertMedia

 

‘What We’re Doing is Making a Difference’

Adding a human touch to an automated world can mean different things. At AlertMedia, it involves supporting others during some of the most stressful moments of their lives. 

For Sale and Fish, their roles at the company have given them the chance to continue pursuing life-changing work that has defined their professional journeys. Having begun her career as a 911 operator, Sale’s current role enables her to continue fostering her passion for serving others. 

Yet Sale discovered more than meaningful work when she joined the team; she also found a community of like-minded, enthusiastic people. “I feel so blessed to work with such an incredible group of people,” Sale said. “I feel supported every day when I come into work, and it’s always fun.”

Fish said the impact the team has on its end users is the biggest reason why professionals choose to work at the company — and stay. Given his past experience in corporate intelligence and his continued work with the National Reserves, he’s no stranger to protecting lives. Yet he feels that AlertMedia has given him the chance to share this influence on a wider scale. 

 

HOW THE TEAM MAINTAINS THEIR WELL-BEING

Recognizing that the team’s work, though fulfilling, can also be emotionally taxing, AlertMedia’s leadership team ensures analysts only work four days a week, Pratley said. 

From Sale’s perspective, leaders clearly prioritize employees’ mental health, often checking in to gauge team members’ well-being when particularly stressful events have occurred. If needed, employees are encouraged to take time away from work to focus on their personal wellness. “We’re really supported at every level,” Sale said. 

Besides having flexible time off, team members can also take advantage of “project days,” which allow them to focus on building new skills, such as learning a new language. 

 

According to Pratley, Fish is correct in assuming that the company’s mission plays a key role in employee satisfaction. In fact, a recent companywide survey indicated that impact was a main driving force for team members. Pratley added that this galvanizing atmosphere has as much of an impact internally as externally.

“Knowing that what we’re doing is making a difference keeps us all energized and focused,” Pratley said. “It also helps people get through some of the tougher times.” 

Team members may face countless challenges when helping customers, yet Pratley noted that there’s one element of the job that makes it all easier: working alongside collaborative, talented individuals. She said this is tantamount to the success of their work, cultivating a culture of learning and evolution. 

Being a member of AlertMedia’s global intelligence team requires grit. It involves witnessing devastation and supporting people in what may be their darkest hour. 

Nevertheless, Pratley said that hearing inspiring stories from the organizations they serve makes all of the challenging work they do doubly worthwhile. “Knowing that even one person has gotten a lot out of our products and the information we’re sending — that’s more than enough.”

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images courtesy of AlertMedia.

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