January 31, 2023
Canada Goose is a winter clothing manufacturer and retailer with a mission to keep the planet cool while keeping people warm. We sat down with Harris Silver, Director of Security for Canada Goose, to talk about how security teams should operate as a business enabler and how early warning signals help keep employees safe, and help open lines of communication across a company.
Note: Harris’s comments have been slightly edited for brevity and clarity but you can hear his full comments by watching the video.
How does reacting to crisis events impact an organization’s ability to respond?
You’re caught flat-footed and your ability to respond is limited. By having an early warning network out there, we can be planning in advance and have the contingencies in place to deal with events. It's better to have everything spooled up, ready to go and not have to do anything, rather than have something happen and you can’t respond.
Having that real-time alerting just gets you in that mindset of tracking what's going on and looking for trends. So, it's giving us that ability to always be aware of what's going on in each of our markets and to understand what could be coming. So, it's that early warning that I find extremely valuable.
What challenges do you face when manually monitoring for threats and disruptions?
I'd go over to my analyst and I'd see he'd have 30 to 40 tabs open at the top of a web page in a browser. How do you even manage that?
That was part of the problem because you look at so many different sources, everything was manual, and you'd be trying to collate it together to then communicate it out. As a small team, we're trying to leverage technology as a force multiplier, so we have to make the technology work for us. The fit with samdesk was great because it was easy to set up and the onboarding process was fantastic. We were up and running very quickly and then we could tailor it to our needs.
How has samdesk changed your ability to identify emergencies more efficiently?
Prior to samdesk, we had been doing a lot of specific monitoring and it was a very manual process of monitoring news feeds and social media. We had some very specific threat vectors that we knew where to look for, but in a lot of ways we were missing some of the more general stuff. We needed something that would almost give us these protective rings of information around our sites so that we could monitor for early warnings.
What we've done with samdesk is we've set up a perimeter around all of our locations with certain criteria in terms of risk level and then as the alerts come through on samdesk the team is notified. The intelligence team will then start to triage and if there is potential impact then we'll connect the store teams or the manufacturing sites to put out an alert and let people know. So what it's done is it buys us some time and gives us an early warning to respond.
How have real-time crisis alerts improved your operations?
It’s giving us the things that we're looking for with the right amount of time and it's automated. We've got the right people that are getting those notifications who can then still do triage for us; because I think that while AI is great, there's still stuff that needs that human interaction. So, we do that last check and then the decision is made about whether or not it goes out to the teams on the ground. We’re acting as that filter so they can focus on what they need to be focusing on – serving our customers and clients, and delivering that experience that is part of Canada Goose.
By making sure that we're not giving them excessive information, we're making sure that they understand that what is coming through is absolutely important. That makes a difference for them to be able to achieve their goals properly.
What is an example of using a real-time alert to get ahead of a crisis?
We had a couple of really interesting cases. One was recently out of our Eaton Centre store where we picked up on samdesk, I'd say about an hour prior to the evacuation, a fire in the parking garage. We managed to warn the team that this is really close, so there's a potential for an evacuation. Sure enough, there was an evacuation of the mall and by giving that team the early warning, they managed to do all their closing procedures really quickly, be really prepared, and get everybody out easily. So, for me, that was the value proof there.
We also had an active shooter event at the Mall of America. We picked it up on samdesk and we communicated it to the retail management team at the store, and they said: “Sorry, can't talk. We're going into lockdown now.” So we caught it just on that cusp of the event happening. Again, it's just getting that early warning so that we can get the information out to the people that need it, so that they can take the appropriate action locally.
What value has samdesk brought to your team and your organization?
We looked around a lot for a lot of different products. We've trialed all sorts of stuff and from our point of view, the initial effort to set up was one of the biggest selling points. Just the ease of configuration and the tunability were some of the key factors; because again, there are so many tools out there you could get just lost in the analysis.
We were up and running within days as opposed to months. So that made a huge difference for us, having something that delivered just what we needed and was easy to train the team up on and configure. It's a great tool to just hop in and it provides that back-end notification and tracking.
I felt when we looked at all the different tools that this is a perfect fit for us. It was leveraging a gap that we had in monitoring the general stuff. It just kind of gave us that full coverage that we had been missing.
Check out the full conversation between Harris, and samdesk Founder and CEO James Neufeld on YouTube about how security teams can act as a business enabler.