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BDO USA, LLP Expands Crisis Management & Business Continuity Services Through Addition of Lootok

New York-Based Corporate Risk Management Firm Joins BDO

CHICAGO, January 9, 2019 — BDO USA, LLP, one of the nation’s leading accounting and advisory firms, today announced the asset acquisition of Lootok, a crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology firm headquartered in New York. The acquisition of Lootok bolsters BDO’s proactive risk management capabilities, offering clients an end-to-end suite of services across the risk continuum.

Founded in 2006, Lootok integrates military models, cognitive science, design thinking and game theory with industry risk management standards to create new ways of understanding the disciplines of business continuity, crisis management, and enterprise risk management. Lootok helps organizations of all sizes and industries transform their risk programs through risk assessment, program design, self-service technologies, and activity-based learning and engagement.

 

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Lootok names Managing Director, Brian Collins

Consulting at the board and the C-suite levels require more than experience and expertise. Presence matters. Strength of conviction matters. This caliber of consultant is a partner who confronts the thorniest topics head-on and who can speak the language of today’s leaders. Lootok has found such a talent. It is with great enthusiasm and expectation that Lootok announces Brian Collins as Managing Director. Mr. Collins joins Lootok with more than twenty years of risk management experience across industries and sectors. Based in Washington, DC, he will lead the global crisis management practice.

Mr. Collins is a decorated Marine officer with awards for valor in combat and service. He has worked at the highest levels of government with General/Flag Officers, Assistant Cabinet Secretaries, and Ambassadors. He paired his extensive governmental experience with a master’s degree from Georgetown University and graduated from the Senior Executive Fellows program at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Press release: Lootok Partners with Executive Search Specialist Andersen Steinberg

New partnership between two industry leaders brings a new level of talent to outsourced risk programs

Andersen Steinberg logo

Lootok, a leading crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology company, and Andersen Steinberg, an executive search and recruitment firm specializing in risk and resilience, announced a new strategic partnership today. The new alliance will give Lootok an even deeper level of expertise and global resources.

Creating a fully outsourced crisis and business continuity program often requires a global team of highly specialized professionals, and Lootok’s hiring process has always adhered to the most rigorous standards. That thoughtful process can sometimes be time-consuming, a necessity that must be balanced with a need for rapid scalability. The new partnership allows Lootok to achieve that scalability while maintaining the highest level of quality.

“To meet the demand for fully outsourced crisis and business continuity programs, Lootok needed a model that allowed us to deploy the right resources in record time,” said Sean Murphy, CEO of Lootok. “Recruiting the best minds in the risk and resiliency industry, supporting local languages and bringing in specialized skillsets is all a part of our business model. With a global network and a reputation for attracting the finest risk talent, our alliance with Andersen Steinberg gives us the ability to achieve that rapid scalability while accessing the finest talent, while bringing world-class service to our clients.”

Both firms have kindred corporate philosophies and a deep understanding of the value that quality talent brings to clients, culture, and profits. “What matters to Lootok, also matters to Andersen Steinberg,” said Murphy. “When companies call on Lootok to manage their crisis and business continuity programs, Lootok becomes their global team, and the right resources are critical to the success of the program.

In managing a program, Lootok brings together management of technology, training, awareness, messaging, reporting, rollout, and support. A diverse group of specialists is essential, and team members may need to be fluent in multiple languages, understand a niche area of supply chain risk, or have deep knowledge of a specific technology. Andersen Steinberg specializes in finding talent that meets those unique criteria.

Together, the partnership gives Andersen Steinberg the opportunity to place the next generation of leaders in global risk, while giving Lootok the ability to scale their innovative services that have transformed the industry over the last ten years.

See press release on PRWeb.com.

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The future of corporate language learning is here

New technology and devices bring employees together in a global market


Businesses are living in the era of global culture, communication and commerce, greatly increasing the need for multilingual capacity. Little wonder that language learning has become a crucial component of corporate learning programs in the past decade.

Research from Technavio indicates that the corporate language learning market is on the cusp of major expansion. The market research firm released its findings in a press release, showing that corporate online language learning in the U.S. is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16% between 2017 and 2021.

Is the corporate language learning industry headed for big changes in the next couple of years? Experts seem to think so.

Why all this attention on language learning in the corporate world?


For starters, businesses no longer operate with geographic limits anymore. The internet has made every industry a global one. Because of this, nearly every working adult will at some point encounter language and cultural barriers that can make things challenging. Emerging technologies will have an impact as well.

“Artificial intelligence is now pushing up against human learning of languages,” said Jeremy Stynes, President of Lootok said, “and with it being so much more accurate now, it’s easy to see how this could become scalable.”

Ignore these trends at your own risk. Stynes shared the story of a former employer that spent a great deal of time and money on localizing the language of corporate training content, only to discover that there were tools (like Google translator) that provided a far better solution.

HR Dive Logo

Read the full article with commentary from Jeremy Stynes on HR Dive.

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Press release: Lootok and Nettitude partner to provide cybersecurity and crisis management services

Nettitude logo

The threats impacting businesses today are complex, insidious, and almost always have an up or downstream impact on technology. Cyber attacks are also borderless and can impact core operations as easily as business partner and supply chain operations. Therefore, when companies look to increase their resiliency they must weigh equally their operational and technological vulnerabilities.

One challenge that many organizations face is that there is no single entity governing cybersecurity and crisis management. With different reporting structures, separate budgets, and uncoordinated planning, they struggle to stay in sync. This partnership takes aim at breaking down those silos and helping organizations to get an honest and holistic view of their risk landscape.

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Bringing play into the business world

Despite the occasional stuffed-shirt boss looking over my shoulder and saying “This isn’t playtime!” some of the best jobs I’ve ever had incorporate a level of playfulness, and the results have always proven to be effective.

A favorite exhortation among fast-food bosses is, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean!” But a little leaning now and then, and even a little guided playfulness, can go a lot further towards getting employees actively engaged in a corporate goal than will any angry mandate.

Where employers and employees alike go wrong is falling into the trap of believing that work isn’t supposed to be fun. Sean Murphy, CEO and founder of Lootok, a crisis management and business continuity consulting and technology company, went into this business – which is normally as dry as a Prohibition-era liquor cabinet – with the idea of actually transforming it into something people actually want to do.

HUFFPOST

Read the full article with commentary from Sean Murphy on HUFFPOST.

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Contextual learning could soon replace traditional learning

Corporate training is big business. Last year alone, American organizations spent a whopping $70.65 billion on corporate training and associated administrative costs, based on data from Training magazine’s 2016 Training Industry Report. Most companies are willing to invest in the learning and development of employees because they must compete in ever-changing markets, which requires enhanced skills.

According to a McKinsey Quarterly survey, nearly 90% of organizations indicated that building on the capabilities of employees is a top priority. However, only around a quarter said that they can accurately measure the success of their learning programs in terms of improved performance. There seems to be a disconnect between investing in learning programs and having a direct understanding of the impact on the bottom line.

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Read the full article with commentary from Jeremy Stynes on HR Dive.

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Participatory learning dramatically improves employee career development

It’s a well-known fact that a strong corporate learning program is an effective retention tool.

By encouraging employees to actively participate, employees can better understand new concepts practically, rather than just absorbing a slew of information. Participatory learning can increase employee career satisfaction when it’s carried out correctly.

According to the National Institutes for Health, the very process of participating in any change activity can support workforce learning. A 2009 study conducted by E. Rosskam involved teaching employees new health procedures in order to improve safety. By using a shared platform where learners can interact and support one another, employees can perceive learning as something they own.

HR Dive talked with Sean Murphy, CEO of Lootok, a business continuity and crisis management firm with headquarters in New York City, about the concept of participatory learning. When employees buy in to active career development, this participation creates another layer in the experience.

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Read the full article with commentary from Sean Murphy on HR Dive.

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Press release: New leadership team paves the way for the future of Lootok

For more than 10 years Lootok has pushed the boundaries of traditional crisis management and business continuity (BC). “I launched Lootok with the singular vision of doing BC differently,” said Lootok CEO, Sean Murphy. “Global volatility and increased competition have escalated the need for companies to prepare for disruptions. While everybody knows that they should have a BC program, nobody wants to do the work. BC is only important when it’s too late, and when an incident does occur, any data and plans that have been collected typically remain untouched.”

Lootok continually confronts these challenges by offering fresh points of view on industry standards and new ways to transform programs to meet today’s highly networked environment. Sean Murphy explains: “I knew that BC was an essential part of business. The negative returns I so often saw were not the result of BC itself, but rather how it was implemented. At that point, I saw a major opportunity in going beyond the cookie-cutter approach and offering something of lasting value.”

With this goal, Lootok based its services on a deep understanding of industry expertise and interdisciplinary sciences.  Why integrate interdisciplinary sciences? It is a simple answer, according to Sean: “We get better results. Through integrating cognitive sciences, gamification, and branding concepts we capture higher-quality data, buy-in at all levels of the organization, and sizable costs savings through self-service and automation.”

2017 marked a reflective period in Lootok’s history, where the company restructured areas of the organization to yield even greater innovation and sharpened its services to Lootok clients. Lootok is excited to announce that there are four changes in its talent pool that set the stage for this evolution. 

New Lootok Leadership Team

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Risky business: the risk matrix

Risky business: the risk matrix

In my previous two posts, I explored better ways of capturing your key assets, threats, and vulnerabilities. Now, we will take these ingredients and plot them on a risk matrix.

First, download Lootok’s risk matrix.

The risk martrix
The risk matrix

The risk matrix provides a way to think about the probability and consequences of risks. Typically, risk is measured using two variables: impact and probability, which make up the axes of matrix.

Both of these variables should be specifically defined before using the risk matrix to plot your risks. The first variable, impact, is a measure of how harmed or disrupted your business would be if the risk occurred. Impacts can occur across different areas, such as finance, regulation, or reputation. Within each impact area, a risk can cause a low or high impact.

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Risky business: Attackers and Defenders™

Risky business: Attackers and Defenders

Welcome back. In my previous post, I presented the first of three activities that Lootok uses to complete risk assessments.

Our second activity, Attackers and Defenders™, identifies threats and vulnerabilities. Remember: threats, vulnerabilities, and assets are the ingredients for a risk. Without these three ingredients, there is no risk. In this post, I will show you how to use this activity to identify your specific threats and vulnerabilities.

At Lootok we love Attackers and Defenders™ because it engages everyone in the room. It is competitive. It involves role-playing. It forces you to think creatively about your business, and most importantly it is fun, which is not a word often used in the same sentence as risk assessments and business continuity!

The Attackers and Defenders™ activity creates an environment for structured dialogue around your organization’s threats and vulnerabilities. The key objective of this activity is to define the threats and vulnerabilities facing your key assets. The activity helps you determine realistic threats to your assets, and the vulnerabilities that allow those threats to cause a disruption. You will also be asked to reach an agreed upon prioritization of your risks, complete with evidence that can be used for reporting, planning, and investment.

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Risky business: Value Map™

Risky business: Value map

In my previous posts about risk, I discussed why we need to consider it, why we have difficulty assessing it, and how to be more objective.

Next, I will explore a number of the activities that Lootok developed to help measure risk at your organization. The first activity is Lootok’s Value Map™. The Value Map™ helps you identify and visualize your organization’s assets. If you recall from the first post, an asset is one of the ingredients of risk.

The Value Map™ is exactly what it sounds like: a giant map on the wall depicting the environment for which you wish to do a risk assessment. The map can be a campus, a country, the globe, an IT map, a factory, or blueprints—whatever environment you wish to measure risk.

Lootok Value Map
Lootok Value Map™

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Risky business: Who cares about risk?

Risky business: Who cares about risk?

Welcome back to my series on risk and risk assessments. In my first post I discussed why it is hard to objectively assess risk, and I suggested ways to look at risk more objectively. If you missed it, check out post 1.

This post explores why we need to think about risk in the first place.

Risk is inherent to doing business, and there are only two strategies that organizations can employ when facing risk:

  1. You can accept your risk
  2. You can reduce or eliminate your risk

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Risky business: What is risk?

Risky business: What is risk?

Risk lurks in all facets of daily life. Luckily, many risks are small: like crossing against the light when there are no cars or trying the new, Ethiopian restaurant down the block. Other risks are high: like quitting your job and doubling down on a new start up. Through our experience working with global organizations, we’ve seen it all. 

In spite of the ubiquity of risks, we rarely analyze them objectively. We are all imperfect, and we rely on past experiences and our emotions to understand the world around us and guide our decision-making. On the one hand, it makes sense that we are wired this way— if we didn’t rely on experience and emotion, we’d have to consciously evaluate every single situation anew, and we’d become paralyzed. On the other hand, there is a downside to the efficiency of this wiring: it makes us awful at objectively estimating risk. For example, bad experiences cloud our ability to accurately measure the impact of risks, as well as their relevance. Other factors, such as media attention, immediacy, control, and choice (Psychologist Paul Slovic) work to further compound that lack of objectivity.

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Avoid the “wait-for-impact”​ culture - on your mark, get ready, get ready, get ready…

In our business, we can all identify with the feeling that something bad is looming—the next big power outage, unprecedented snowstorm, or vicious cyber attack is right around the corner. Sometimes it can feel like all we’re doing is getting ready for a negative event.

Many industry activities—things like assessments, plans, exercising, and auditing—help to create this “wait-for-impact culture.” As we evaluate endless industry standards, regulations, and consulting methodologies, there is a hyper-focus on documentation, policies, procedures, steering committees, and audits.

This methodical approach works with well-defined risks, or those threats that are so familiar to us that we’ve integrated them into the way we do business. But what about complex risk? The most procedural checklists and plans don’t account for managing those threats that we’ve yet to figure out. Risks that are still emerging and largely unknown are the ones that could actually leave us vulnerable.

Ten years ago, we developed Lootok’s BCM Model®* because we realized that it wouldn’t ever be enough for leaders to simply respond. For companies to stay competitive, leaders must be more proactive than ever to also consider threats that are on the horizon.

get ready,stay alert, take action, Lootok
Get ready, stay alert, take action!

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Risk Management’s Sweet Spot

Chris de Wolfe, global director of risk management at Mars Inc., shares his challenges of getting the global risk management program at Mars up and running.

“The CRM group had a lot to offer but was severely underutilized, which led to high insurance premiums, a high risk profile, and a significantly reduced resiliency and recovery capability,” Chris said.

Reflecting on how Mars as a business became a major success, de Wolfe decided that he needed to market and promote his own department in the same way. Partnering with Lootok, a risk management consultancy firm, he developed a strategy to engage with the employees in a fun yet educational way. He devised a 5- to 10-year plan, broken into 12- to 18-month strategies and individual project plans by mapping out all of the products and services that risk management offers. He conducted a perception survey and drew up a program based on the ABCs of risk management.

“The ABCs allowed people to understand that risk management not only provides insurance, but it also ensures that the business continues,” said de Wolfe.

Sean Murphy, CEO and founder of Lootok, said of de Wolfe:

“I’ve known Chris for 10 years and what differentiates him is that he treats his program as a business. He had a good program before but he wasn’t satisfied with it so he completely revamped it and is now reaping the benefits.”

Read full article

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Can a crisis make you a celebrity?

Picture of man speaking to the press
Ready or not.  Say, “Cheese!”

While artists, athletes, and performers struggle to make their mark in the public eye with a memorable act or viral moment, a different type of celebrity has been emerging on the scene - the spokesperson for a crisis.

Here’s a quick exercise to highlight the point:

Jeffrey Boyd, Lew Frankfort, and Stephen Hemsley. Do these names sound familiar?
If not, don’t feel bad. They are the CEO’s of Priceline.com, Coach, and UnitedHealth Group, respectively.

Now, how about the names Tim Cook and James Comey?
We can immediately recall them as the CEO of Apple and the FBI Director, respectively, feuding over a locked iPhone involving a federal investigation of the San Bernardino shooting.

The media diligently covered Cook and Comey’s debate for more than three months. During that time, both men emerged as stars in a cast of characters ranging from lawyers, judges, politicians, and even presidential candidates. The media and public tuned in to hear their perspectives on data privacy, security, technology, civil rights, and terrorism.

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Should global organizations have a global security operations center (GSOC)?

“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

I was working with a head of risk management—the chief risk officer—at a global organization that does not have a GSOC. One night over dinner, I asked him why his organization didn’t have one, and suggested he spearhead the initiative. His response? “I’m not convinced we need one. The organization has always operated without a GSOC, so why start now?” He also said, “The reality is, we’re already doing it here and there. The system works fine. Let people do their thing.” Something that seemed so obvious to me and so unnecessary to him left me on the defensive and him on offense.

The reality is, if you’re a global organization, you need a GSOC—or some version of it. If you don’t have one, you will need to communicate the severity of the situation and get one. Allow me to illustrate the need for such capabilities so you can justify the business case to your leadership and board…

GSOC

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Debunking myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists

Will BCM software deliver on its promise of making your BCM program easier to run? Is it really possible for BCM software to eliminate the difficulties in running your program?

Yes, it can—but there’s a catch. It won’t address challenges that are unique to your program. Essentially, your problems need to be shared by every other customer of the software.

Download Best-in-class BCM software exists, the fifth myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

Best-in-class BCM software exists
Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.

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Debunking myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier

Keeping a BCM program alive doesn’t get cheaper or easier over time. In this eBook, we’ll talk about why.

Download It gets cheaper and easier, the fourth myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

It gets cheaper and easier
Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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Debunking myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk

The risk matrix is a standard tool commonly used in risk assessments. It’s straightforward to use, and easy to explain. The only trouble is, the risk matrix doesn’t actually forecast or measure risk.

When used as a quantitative tool, the risk matrix is misunderstood. Our challenge as practitioners is to recognize the limitations of the risk matrix, so we can use it in a way that increases understanding of the threats around us. In this eBook, we explore how.

Download The risk matrix measures risk, the third myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

The risk matrix measures risk
Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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Debunking myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA)

Many of us business continuity management (BCM) professionals are convinced that a business impact analysis (BIA) is a “must-have” for any company. On top of that, we often believe the more information we gather, the better. But after the enormous effort to collect mountains of data and conduct endless interviews, we end up with little value to show for it.

Doing a BIA is expected of us, but do companies actually need a BIA? I guarantee that conducting an extensive BIA project is a quick way to exhaust your resources, stall your program agenda, and taint the reputation of your program. But if you’re willing to question why you’re doing a BIA, and then facilitate the process in a practical way for participants, you can maximize your investment. This eBook explores how to do this, and why it matters.

Download You need a business impact analysis (BIA), the second myth in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

You need a business impact analysis (BIA)
Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA)

See Myth #1: The plan is the promised land.
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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Debunking myth #1: The plan is the promised land

As BCM professionals, we’ve long believed in the myth that a plan is our key to recovery during a disruption. Often, we hyper-focus on the plan as undeniable proof that the right actions will be taken in an incident. This is the worst possible approach. Learn why in our eBook, The plan is the promised land, the first in Lootok’s series on the five myths of business continuity management (BCM)!

The plan is the promised land
Myth #1: The plan is the promised land

See Myth #2: You need a business impact analysis (BIA).
See Myth #3: The risk matrix measures risk.
See Myth #4: It gets cheaper and easier.
See Myth #5: Best-in-class BCM software exists.

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Business continuity and the Sony data breach

A massive data breach at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which experts believe was targeted by North Korea as retaliation for a film depicting the assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un, has led to an international incident that has gained the attention of business continuity professionals. Even large companies like Sony can sometimes put business continuity planning on the back burner.  BC professionals say that attacks like this can sometimes change their minds.

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Seven insights from superstorm Sandy: a financial sector retrospective

$18 billion dollars. That’s the number estimated in damages caused by Hurricane Sandy just in the state of New York alone. With the unexpected turns that transpired amidst the super storm, all businesses were reminded of the importance of business resiliency.

Given the vast amount of information presented to-date, it is still very important that the financial sector revisit the surprises from Sandy to ensure that critical financial services are better protected. A team of experienced BCM advisors gathered the recommendations in the accompanying table from industry thought leaders in leading global financial services companies to learn from their perspectives.

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The missing factor in your risk assessment: detectability

Dr. Yossi Sheffi explains the “detectability axis,” which considers threats you can only detect only after the fact. This concept challenges our conventional methods of measuring risk using probability and impact.

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Emergencies happen. Are you ready?

September marks the 10th annual National Preparedness Month – a nationwide, month-long effort sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to encourage everyone to prepare and plan for emergencies. Across the country, there are a host of free educational events focusing on topics such as CPR training, preparedness outreach, and family safety.

family safety
family safety

 

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Carnival Cruise Lines: What they should have done

At first glance, it appears that Carnival Cruise lines was well prepared when one of their ship had an engine fire and subsequently lost power last week. The media, however, tells a different story.  Here are three points that Carnival may have overlooked in their crisis response.

carnival
Carnival cruise

 

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Preparing for Nemo: What to do when a severe winter storm hits

With the winter superstorm Nemo rapidly approaching the Northeast with expected impact in major hubs like Boston and New York City, make sure your people know what to do in the event of a severe winter storm. Here are some last minute tips on what to do when it strikes.

nemo
A different kind of Nemo

 

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How Oreo style the spotlight during the Super Bowl, and other lessons for scenario planning

The highest rated Super Bowl in history may go down in the books for the 34-minute power outage that upstaged the million dollar ads. With all the chatter about the blackout, advertisers were concerned about the effect on television ratings, while some brands capitalized on the opportunity to own the conversation through social media. Many are claiming the real winner of Sunday’s game to be Oreo, whose clever blackout tweet got retweeted 10,000 times in less than an hour.

oreo

When it comes to planning, the power outage also demonstrated that organizations must consider not just critical processes and recovery time objectives, but should also anticipate the impact of potential scenarios. Business continuity is about bouncing back, as well as taking advantage of the situations that may present themselves during incidents—particularly in this case, high profile events. Have you considered this when doing business continuity scenarios or exercises?

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