Think Your Training Isn’t “High-Consequence?” You Might be Surprised


September 12, 2018

The term “high-consequence” sounds serious. It brings to mind images of bunkers and intelligence agencies connecting to secure satellites and discussions of state secrets and military operations. There is no doubt that these TV drama-ready situations do exist for conferencing and training. For most organizations though, a greater concern is the high-consequence situations that aren’t so obvious and fit for drama, yet still have the potential to do damage if security is compromised or downtime is encountered.

Below are some of the most common “grey areas” of high-consequence training and online meetings that can leave organizations vulnerable.

Hidden High-Consequence Situation #1: Informal Trainings and Meetings

In industries including healthcare, finance, and government, regulatory standards require data tools used by organizations to meet certain standards for security and record-keeping. While organizations may use tools compliant with SOC II Type 2, HIPAA, HITRUST, or FedRAMP for their major corporate trainings and other formal activities, employees further down the chain of command may not have access to the same tools.

If a manager wants to have a quick online meeting with her team that may contain sensitive material, for example, she’s forced to either forgo the meeting, damaging her team’s effectiveness, or risk using a service with less robust security. Not every conversation needs high-compliance communication tools, but ensuring all employees who discuss sensitive material have access to them when they do need them can help avoid unnecessary risk-taking.


Hidden High-Consequence Situation #2: Meetings that Have to Happen

In addition to information sensitivity, timeliness can also make a situation high-consequence. Sometimes it’s obvious: meetings and trainings around public health and security can’t wait; but there are less obvious examples that probably can’t wait as well. Merger and acquisition discussions, high profile client and customer meetings, and important presentations are all examples of situations that could result in significant damage to an organization if technical problems with the communication platform force a meeting to be rescheduled.

Training around crisis situations is another area that often can’t wait. Imagine your large organization is facing a customer service or public relations crisis. How do you train your global team of reps to field customer calls quickly and effectively? For most organizations this would be a make-or-break high-consequence training situation they may not have anticipated needing a solution to before the crisis hit. This example is a good reminder that organizations outside the heavily regulated finance, healthcare, and government industries have liabilities that can only be addressed with high-consequence-ready communication platforms.


Hidden High-Consequence Situation #3: Supporting Customer-Facing Applications

If your elearning platform is supporting customer-facing products, reliability shortcomings can quickly become a bigger issue than they are for purely internal meetings and trainings. Downtime and any revelations of security problems can cost business, rather than just hinder internal efficiency.

The more central the elearning platform is to a company’s core business, the more damage can be done by failures and security issues. Companies offering the occasional webinar or product training may not need as high-consequence-ready tools as an online university, for example. This example shows that even when the information discussed in a training or meeting is not sensitive, the need for high-consequence reliability may still be called for.


High-Consequence is a Spectrum

Not every use case demands the highest compliance elearning or conferencing technology–in fact, for lower consequence applications, too much security and attention to reliability can push up barriers to access and costs unnecessarily. At the same time, there are grey areas that demand something between military-grade and consumer conferencing tools. In fact, the vast majority of training requirements fall somewhere in between. The key is to balance security and reliability with cost and access for each situation.

When you’re looking for an online conferencing and training platform, look for providers that can meet your unique mix of needs, which might include obvious high-consequence situations, but which might also include less obvious ones.

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