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Resiliency Challenges

What if we told you that sea levels are rising at their fastest rate in 2,000 years and cyber-attacks are on the rise, rising by nearly 40% and doubling in cost? That more than 40 billion devices are connected to the Internet of Things? That by 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in cities and along the U.S. coastline, the average risk of a 100-year flood will increase 40-fold? 

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As the frequency and severity of weather events intensify, and populations grow, the potential impact on governments, cities and businesses around the world is constantly increasing. This emerging threat is further amplified by aging infrastructure and cybersecurity, adding to the risks to people, the environment and the social cohesion of cities around the world.

As individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, infrastructure and/or natural systems grapple with an urbanizing, increasingly complex and digital world, varying climate and natural and human-made risks yet unknown, becoming resilient offers greater opportunities to rise up and emerge stronger — and reclaim the promise of a more connected, sustainable tomorrow.

These issues impact all of us, in every market and every corner of the world. And the frequency and intensity of stresses — from natural and human-made hazards, supply chain, aging infrastructure and urbanization — is only increasing.

So, what’s keeping people, places and systems from a resilient future?

  • Uncertainty over the frequency and extent of potential major events and ability to give advance notice and plan for extreme events.
  • Inability to predict changes to the regulatory, financial or operational environments in which businesses, communities and infrastructure operate.
  • Lack of robust, resilient communications networks to operate systems and inform citizens.
  • Ability to respond to and recover from major stresses and shocks, including poor information sharing and plan execution.

Building the capacity to be resilient — or to survive, recover, adapt and thrive after unexpected events — centers on confronting the following natural, societal and economic risks

Natural Hazards

Water taps are running dry in India and South Africa. Australia is currently in the grips of a super drought – the hottest and driest on record; rain falling across the Asia Pacific is causing severe flooding and some hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rican communities still don’t have access to critical water and power supplies more than two years after Hurricane Maria. In the past decade, the world has battled an alarming increase in these and other extreme weather events; with rising tides and carbon impacts further heighten the global issues we’re facing.

By thinking differently about natural hazards, resiliency and climate adaptation, we can combat these trends by optimizing planning, response and recovery from major stresses and shocks – ultimately reducing damage and recovery costs and improving citizen safety.

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Operational Boundaries

Owners and operators of businesses and infrastructure work within regulatory, financial, political and stakeholder environments that impose significant boundaries. These are necessary and appropriate, but it’s important to understand that they are not static through time or between locations.

Because change is constant, it’s vital that organizations understand how boundaries could change in the future, or if they move into new territories, and what that means for their business delivery. On the flip side of this, there are opportunities for business improvements with innovative approaches to delivering improved environmental, social and economic outcomes when changes in the operating framework are anticipated and proactively managed.

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Named by The World Economic Forum (WEF) as one of the top 10 global risks in 2020 both in terms of likelihood and impact, cyberattacks continue to present significant risks to people, information and our most important global networks. 

Traditional computer network defenses are designed to repel attackers with low-to-medium-level capabilities by increasing the cost and time required to identify vulnerabilities and conduct cyber-attacks. Most risk assessments avoid the uncomfortable fact that nation states and cyber criminals possess the resources and capabilities necessary to exploit and defeat commercial-grade cybersecurity defenses. This means that for the first time in history, security threats truly have no borders.  Attackers both inside and outside of networks can cause significant damage.

As we enter a fourth industrial revolution characterized by hyper-connectivity, cybersecurity solutions must go beyond traditional information technology to deliver both offensive cyberspace operations across research and development, operations support and intel analysis; and defensive cyberspace operations and training focused on capabilities development, secure mobile communication and software and hardware security engineering to make sure people and information stays safe and protected, no matter the threat.

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Threats from biological warfare materials and indigenous diseases can be some of the most catastrophically impactful.

In developing nations, there’s an urgent need to help those nations comply with international biosafety standards, improve disease detection and reporting and pathogen security through laboratory and hospital emergency operations center design, engineering, construction and infrastructure services and biological sciences expertise. In other parts of the world, continuing research to prevent and mitigate global outbreaks of infectious diseases, as well as advancing protection against biological threats, weapons of mass destruction, improvised explosive devices and other threats is a constant necessity.

Many state, local and regional governments may be the very first responders on the scene, whether biological warfare or infectious disease outbreak. As threats continue to evolve and technology improves, these organizations need more training, equipment and technologies to bolster their ability to respond and help recover, and research before future events occur. On the private sector side, specialized security and other requirements related to homeland security and threat reduction are constantly evolving and require systems and tools to support. Additionally, the private sector also supports many of the counter-weapons of mass destruction programs for departments of defense, including vaccine research and production for biological warfare agents to combat future issues.

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The availability and adequacy of funding/finance to support the development and life-cycle delivery of resilience programs are often major issues.

With government programs and funding sources scarce, and conversely with the additional mandates brought about by a rapidly growing, mobile population desiring data and information, and facing significant climate change issues, networks are continually challenged to provide efficient, affordable, and sustainable solutions for the movement of people, goods, and services.

We help organizations find value, define efficient options, advise on how to use available resources more efficiently, and leverage private sector participation increasingly to be able to deliver their selected programs.  We often help assess and recommend affordable, sustainable, efficient delivery methods, rates and fee programs that customers support. Working closely with our clients, we provide innovative and pragmatic solutions that yield economic, operational, and environmental benefits when implemented.

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